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Jammu-Kashmir: A story of two cities: Stirs reveal the divide in Jammu and Kashmir | Srinagar News

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SRINAGAR: Regional polarization in the state is so deep that even as both Kashmir and Jammu are hit by protests, the reasons are entirely different. While the winter capital, Jammu has been up in arms against the arrest of seven Hindu men accused of raping and murdering 8-year-old girl of Muslim Bakarwal community, the valley continues to protest against the killing of four civilians who rescued militants during an anti-terror operation on Wednesday.

Four youth, Sharjeel Sheikh (25), Bilal Ahmad Tantray (16), Faisal Illahi (14) and Aijaz Ahmad Palla (30) were killed on Wednesday when they disrupted a counter-insurgency operation of the security forces at Khudwani in Kulgam. The three holed-up terrorists managed to escape in the melee but later reappeared in public after security forces withdrew the cordon due to intense stone-pelting from sympathizers.

The killings triggered protests, with a complete shutdown observed in parts of Kashmir on Friday. Srinagar-Banihal train services were suspended and internet connectivity suspended on Thursday in south Kashmir soon after the news of the killings spread in the area. Even as the rest of the country is outraging against the gruesome rape and murder of the Kathua minor, there has hardly been any reaction from Kashmir’s civil society. The press in Kashmir was also not as vociferous as the national and international media were.

Among separatists, JKLF chairman Yasin Malik was the only leader who led a protest march as early as on February 22 against the ghastly rape and murder and issued a statement demanding action against the accused. However, Syed Ali Shah Geelani ignored the issue and so did the new chief of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat chairman Ashraf Sehrai equally. Kashmir’s top clergyman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq addressed it only through a tweet: ”Nothing can be more evil and shameless than supporting the rapists and murderers of an eight-year-old child and then threatening the community to which the child belonged, with dire consequence! It reflects the total moral bankruptcy of BJP in supporting the front that is threatening the Gujjars in Kathua and completely exposes its communal and anti-humanity mindset for reaping political dividends.”

In contrast, Jammu lawyers protested against the arrest of seven persons including two cops for allegedly raping and murdering the Bakarwal girl. They have been suspecting the police of bias and conspiracy against the Hindu community and demanding CBI investigation into the case. A group of lawyers even tried to prevent the crime branch of J&K police to file a chargesheet against the accused in the chief judicial magistrate court in Kathua on April 10.

Lawyers of Jammu High Court Bar Association together with Jammu civil society held a bandh on April 11 demanding transfer of the case to the CBI.

Updated: April 14, 2018 — 5:44 am

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