Thursday 29 September 2016

Violence in Kashmir continues weeks after mob lynched man over claims he ate beef

Fayaz Bukhari

Published 20/10/2015 | 16:45

Protests erupted in Indian Kashmir on Tuesday over attacks on Muslims in the rest of India by Hindus campaigning against the consumption of beef as the federal government struggled to rein in hardline Hindu groups across the country Credit: REUTERS/Danish Ismail
Protests erupted in Indian Kashmir on Tuesday over attacks on Muslims in the rest of India by Hindus campaigning against the consumption of beef as the federal government struggled to rein in hardline Hindu groups across the country Credit: REUTERS/Danish Ismail
An Indian policeman removes a damaged table after it was set on fire by protesters Credit: REUTERS/Danish Ismail

At least two dozen people have been injured in clashes with police after protests erupted in Indian Kashmir over the killing of a Muslim man by Hindus campaigning against eating beef.

  • Go To

The clashes in Kulgam and Anantnag districts broke out on Sunday after a trucker was attacked in the Hindu-dominated Jammu region of Kashmir by a crowd believing him to be involved in transporting cows, police said.

Protesters also pelted police with stones, police said, without specifying who had been injured since Monday.

Read More: Villagers in northern India kill Muslim accused of smuggling cows: police

Protesters have blocked the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, the only road link to the Kashmir valley.

Jammu and Kashmir lawmaker Abdul Rashid Sheikh reacts after activists attacked him with ink for protesting against the death of a Muslim teenager attacked by a Hindu mob over rumors of cows being slaughtered Credit: Kamal Singh
Jammu and Kashmir lawmaker Abdul Rashid Sheikh reacts after activists attacked him with ink for protesting against the death of a Muslim teenager attacked by a Hindu mob over rumors of cows being slaughtered Credit: Kamal Singh

Schools and offices remained shut in the valley following a strike called by separatist leaders and traders in protest at the murder.

"We imposed restrictions in Anantnag today as a precautionary measure after there were clashes soon after the death of truck conductor Zahid Ahmad," said SJM Gillani, head of the state police, said on Tuesday, referring to curbs on the movement of traffic and people.

Tempers had already been running high in Jammu and Kashmir, India's only Muslim majority state, after members of a little known Hindu group blackened the face of a state legislator with ink for throwing a party where he served beef.

Read More: Eight arrested in India for allegedly killing Muslim over beef rumour

Cows are considered holy by many, but not all, Hindus, who form a majority of India's 1.2 billion population.

Indian Kashmiri protesters clash with Indian police during a protest in Srinagar Credit: Tauseef Mustafa
Indian Kashmiri protesters clash with Indian police during a protest in Srinagar Credit: Tauseef Mustafa

Beef is eaten by Muslims and Christians, as well as many lower-caste Hindus.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has long advocated a ban on killing of cows, but the constitution guarantees equal rights to minority Muslims and Christians, and Modi has called for religious harmony.

Protests erupted in Indian Kashmir on Tuesday over attacks on Muslims in the rest of India by Hindus campaigning against the consumption of beef as the federal government struggled to rein in hardline Hindu groups across the country Credit: REUTERS/Danish Ismail
Protests erupted in Indian Kashmir on Tuesday over attacks on Muslims in the rest of India by Hindus campaigning against the consumption of beef as the federal government struggled to rein in hardline Hindu groups across the country Credit: REUTERS/Danish Ismail

Nonetheless, the government is struggling to rein in hardline Hindu groups in parts of the country.

Read More: Angry mob kill man and injure son over 'rumours' they ate beef

Hindu activists have stepped up their campaign in recent weeks on issues ranging from a ban on slaughtering cows to cricket matches with Pakistan, saying their rival neighbour must first stop Islamist groups operating from its soil.

Police in the southern city of Bengaluru ordered an inquiry after an Australian man complained in a Facebook post that he had been harassed by a mob and forced to write an apology by police for sporting a tattoo of a Hindu goddess on his leg.

Modi's critics say there is a climate of intolerance and that his party is pushing the agenda of the Hindu majority. President Pranab Mukherjee said tolerance was the essence of India's civilisation.

Read More: Indian villager set alight after he is accused of killing boy (5) in human sacrifice ritual

"Humanism and pluralism should not be abandoned under any circumstance," he said in remarks widely interpreted as a signal to the Modi administration to crack down on fringe groups.

The latest trouble began when a Hindu mob lynched a Muslim man and beat up his son near the Indian capital, saying they had stored beef in their fridge.

Reuters

Read More

Promoted articles

Editors Choice

Also in World News