Anti-Muslim abuse alleged in death of US Marines recruit

In this file photo, US Marines work with an instructor on the firing range in Chesapeake, Virginia. On Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, the parents of a US Marines recruit who died during training have filed a wrongful death lawsuit claiming their son was physically abused and targeted because of his Muslim faith. (REUTERS)
Updated 16 October 2017

Anti-Muslim abuse alleged in death of US Marines recruit

CHICAGO: The parents of a US Marines recruit who died during training have filed a wrongful death lawsuit claiming their son was physically abused and targeted because of his Muslim faith.
The military has said Raheel Siddiqui committed suicide last year by jumping over a third-story railing, after enduring days of hazing. A drill instructor and battalion commander face military trials in the case.
In a $100 million lawsuit filed Friday in Siddiqui’s home state of Michigan, his Pakistani immigrant parents rejected the suicide claim, saying the 20-year-old’s Muslim faith would have made him incapable of killing himself.
“Raheel Siddiqui was excited about serving,” the lawsuit said, and “told friends and family he will ‘come back as a Marine and will not quit no matter how hard it is’.”
“No witness has come forward with any credible and/or verifiable information corroborating the allegation of suicide.”
The lawsuit charges that the military should have prevented the abuse, because the trainer supervising Siddiqui had been accused of targeting another Muslim recruit in an earlier incident.
The family claimed the young man was repeatedly struck and had a significant throat injury which was not given proper medical treatment.
Since Siddiqui’s death, approximately 20 Marines at the Parris Island training facility in South Carolina have been accused of abusing recruits, according to US media.
A Marines Corps spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment.


Kashmir protesters defy restrictions, clash with security forces

Updated 23 August 2019

Kashmir protesters defy restrictions, clash with security forces

  • Paramilitary police tried to enter Soura, which has emerged as a center of the protests, as hundreds demonstrated against Narendra Modi’s decision to withdraw autonomy
  • Posters appeared overnight in Srinagar, the Muslim-majority region’s main city, calling for a march to the office of the UN Military Observer Group for India and Pakistan

SRINAGAR, India: Security forces used tear gas against stone-throwing local residents in Indian Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar on Friday, after a third straight week of protests in the restive Soura district despite the imposition of tight restrictions.
Paramilitary police tried to enter Soura, which has emerged as a center of the protests, as hundreds of locals staged a protest march against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to withdraw autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir on Aug. 5.
Posters appeared overnight this week in Srinagar, the Muslim-majority region’s main city, calling for a march to the office of the UN Military Observer Group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), to protest against India’s decision.
This was the first such call by separatists seeking Kashmir’s secession from India. India’s move was accompanied by travel and communication restrictions in Kashmir that are still largely in place, although some landlines were restored last week.
The UNMOGIP was set up in 1949 after the first war between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, a Himalayan region both countries claim in full but rule in part. The group monitors cease-fire violations along the border between the countries.
In a narrow lane of Soura, blocked like many others with rocks and sheets of metal, residents hurled stones at the paramilitary police to stop them moving into an area around the local mosque, Jinab Sahib, which had earlier been packed for Friday prayers.
The police responded with several rounds of tear gas and chili grenades but were beaten back by dozens of stone-pelting men. Some men suffered pellet injuries.
The locals said the security forces had been repeatedly trying to move into Soura, often using tear gas and pellets.
“We are neither safe at home, nor outside,” said Rouf, who declined to give his full name. He had rubbed salt into his face to counteract the effects of tear gas.
The afternoon had begun peacefully, with men and women streaming into Jinab Sahib for afternoon prayers. A cleric then raised a call for “Azadi” – Urdu for freedom – several times, and declared Kashmir’s allegiance to neighboring Pakistan.
“Long live Pakistan,” the cleric said, as worshippers roared back in approval.
US President Donald Trump plans to discuss Kashmir when he meets Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of a G7 meeting in France this weekend, a senior US administration official said on Thursday.
Trump, who has offered to mediate between India and Pakistan, will press Modi on how he plans to calm regional tensions after the withdrawal of Kashmir’s autonomy, and stress the need for dialogue, the official said.
Some Indian media reports on Friday said “terrorists” were trying to enter India from Afghanistan, citing unnamed government officials.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan responded on Twitter on Friday that such claims were being made to “divert attention” away from what he called human rights violations in Kashmir.
“The Indian leadership will in all probability attempt a false flag operation to divert attention,” Khan said.
Khan’s comments came a day after United Nations experts called on the Indian government to “end the crackdown on freedom of expression, access to information and peaceful protests” in Kashmir, saying it would increase regional tensions.
“The blackout is a form of collective punishment of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, without even a pretext of a precipitating offense,” they said in a statement.
At least 152 people have been hurt by teargas and pellets since security forces launched their crackdown, data from the Himalayan region’s two main hospitals shows.
Large swathes of Srinagar remain deserted with shops shut except for some provision stores with shutters half-down. Police vans patrolled some areas announcing a curfew and asking people to stay indoors.
On the Dal Lake, long rows of houseboats, normally packed with tourists at this time of year, floated closed and empty, as police patrolled its mirror-calm waters in boats.