Scores injured as police break up Muslim march in Kashmir

Scores injured as police break up Muslim march in Kashmir
A Kashmiri Shiite Muslim man is detained by Indian police as devotees defy restrictions for a Muharram procession in Srinagar on August 28, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 29 August 2020

Scores injured as police break up Muslim march in Kashmir

Scores injured as police break up Muslim march in Kashmir
  • Medics at one hospital said they treated at least 30 people, some of them with pellet and teargas injuries
  • Officials said at least 200 people were detained in Srinagar this week for participating in Muharram processions and at least seven people were arrested

SRINAGAR, India: Government forces on Saturday fired shotgun pellets and tear gas to disperse hundreds of Shia Muslims participating in a traditional religious procession in the Indian-controlled Kashmir, injuring scores, eyewitnesses said.
An officer at the police control room in the main city of Srinagar said the mourners on the outskirts of the city violated prohibitory orders in place that restricts all religious processions and gatherings across the disputed region.
A duty officer said the police were confirming the number of injured.
Medics at one hospital said they treated at least 30 people, some of them with pellet and teargas injuries. Many injured were taken to another hospital.
Videos circulating on social media showed police in armed vehicles warning the mourners, who were beating their chests and reciting elegies to mourn the martyrs of Karbala as part of the Muharram ritual, to disperse before firing shotgun pellets and tear gas on them. Some mourners were also seen raising slogans seeking an end to the Indian rule in the disputed region.
“The procession was not just peaceful but was also following health protocols,” said Sajjad Hussain, an eyewitness. “They (government forces) unleashed such violence and did not spare even women mourners.”
Police broke up several such processions in the region this week.
Officials said at least 200 people were detained in Srinagar this week for participating in Muharram processions and at least seven people were arrested under an anti-terror law for raising pro-freedom slogans.
Some main Muharram processions have been banned in Indian-controlled Kashmir since an armed insurgency broke out in 1989 demanding the region’s independence from India or its merger with neighboring Pakistan.
Such measures are particularly galling to Kashmiri Muslims. They have long complained that the government curbs their religious freedom on the pretext of law and order while promoting and patronizing an annual Hindu pilgrimage to the Himalayan Amarnath Shrine in Kashmir that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors.
Conditions have worsened in Kashmir since August last year, when New Delhi stripped the region of its statehood and semi-autonomy, setting off widespread anger and economic ruin under a harsh security clampdown.


Militants open fire and burn police car in Philippine town

Updated 04 December 2020

Militants open fire and burn police car in Philippine town

Militants open fire and burn police car in Philippine town

COTABATO, Philippines: Dozens of militants aligned with the Daesh group opened fire on a Philippine army detachment and burned a police patrol car in a southern town but withdrew after troops returned fire, officials said Friday.
There were no immediate reports of injuries in Thursday night’s brief attack by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Datu Piang town. Nevertheless it sparked panic among residents and rekindled fears of a repeat of a 2017 militant siege of southern Marawi city that lasted for five months before being quelled by government forces.
“We are on top of the situation. This is just an isolated case,” regional military commander Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr. said in a statement.
Security officials gave differing statements on the motive of the 30 to 50 gunmen. Some said the militants targeted Datu Piang’s police chief over a feud but others speculated that the militants wanted to project that they are still a force to reckon with by attacking the army detachment in the center of the predominantly Muslim town.
Officials denied earlier reports that the militants managed to seize a police station and burn a Roman Catholic church.
When reinforcement troops in armored carriers arrived and opened fire, the militants fled toward a marshland, military officials said.
The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters is one of a few small armed groups waging a separatist rural insurrection in the south of the largely Roman Catholic nation. The groups opposed a 2014 autonomy deal forged by the largest Muslim rebel group in the south with the Philippine government and have continued on and off attacks despite being weakened by battle setbacks, surrenders and factionalism.
The armed groups include the Abu Sayyaf, which has been blacklisted by the United States and the Philippines as a terrorist organization for kidnappings for ransom, beheadings and bombings.