Crackdown draws flak from local artists, civil society members and political leaders
The crackdown on anti-Israel protesters in Kashmir drew flak from local artists, civil society members and political leaders on Sunday, forcing the police to release seven youth, including the 32-year-old graffiti artist who drew a sobbing Palestinian woman with a slogan “We are Palestine” in Srinagar on Friday.
“Out of 20 youth arrested on Saturday [for being a part of anti-Israel protests], seven youth, including the painter, have been released,” IGP Vijay Kumar told The Hindu.
Besides, 10 protesters, arrested earlier for indulging in stone throwing on the security forces, were also released after “they and their families were counselled by police officers”.
Around 21 people were arrested in the past two days for participating in anti-Israel protests in Kashmir.
Mudasir Gul was arrested on Friday night, hours after he drew the picture. He is known for his murals and paintings on structures in the city.
His arrest was criticised widely in Kashmir. “People all over the world are protesting against the atrocities committed by Israel on Palestine. But in Kashmir it’s a punishable offence where an artist is booked and a preacher is arrested simply for expressing solidarity with Palestinians. Expressing solidarity with Palestine is no crime,” former Chief Minister and Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti said in a tweet.
Many artists and members of the civil society groups also rallied behind Mr. Gul and had demanded his early release.
The Hurriyat, headed by incarcerated Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, said the artist and other youth were “expressing their feelings and nowhere in the world is expressing solidarity with a subjugated people a crime”. “Such policies reflect the same mindset that is displayed by Israel to persecute the Palestinians,” Mirwaiz’s spokesman said.
Held for raising anti-India slogans: Police
The J&K police on Sunday said it has arrested two sons of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat chairman Ashraf Sehrai, who died in a Jammu jail on May 5, for raising anti-India slogans during the funeral prayers of the separatist leader.
“The two sons of Sehrai have been arrested for raising anti-national slogans during the funeral of their father in Kupwara. They are not detained under the Public Safety Act,” a police spokesman said.
The body of Sehrai, 77, was handed over to the family only after assurances that only close family members will attend the funeral, which was carried out around 4 a.m. on May 6 at his native village in Kupwara.
The detention however evoked criticism. Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Lone said, “And why do you have to do that. Which society will condone your actions. They lost their father who died while being in government custody. What are you competing for — ferocity. Point taken. Yes you do come across as ferocious, cruel and ugly. Now can we have an end to this Rambo culture.”
Ms. Mufti also condemned the arrests.
Former Union Minister and Congress leader Saif-ud-Din Soz termed the arrests as ‘unfortunate’. “Some people are adamant to see Sehrai’s sons punished for the ideas of their father. This is an obnoxious trait in the character of those who want to fight Sehrai’s family after his demise. I reject this attitude with contempt,” Mr. Soz said.
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