Subdued Eid celebrations in Kashmir
Even as Muslims in large numbers participated in the congregational Eid-ul-Fitr prayers throughout Kashmir valley in the backdrop of subdued festivity due to the bloodshed in Gaza and most of the separatist leaders remained under house arrest, unruly groups clashed with the Police and the masked supporters of the Hamas and the ISIS on motorcycles marched through streets in downtown Srinagar.
The largest Eid congregation was held at Hazratbal where, according to official sources, more than 70,000 people participated in the prayers on Tuesday. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah attended the prayers amid tight security arrangements at Hazratbal while as the Peoples Democratic Party patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed marked his attendance at a mosque-cum-shrine premises at Sonwar, in the Civil Lines.
Prominent separatist leaders, including Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mohammad Yasin Malik, Bilal Gani Lone, Prof. Abdul Gani Bhat and Shabir Shah, were placed under house arrest as the authorities feared trouble with their participation in the Eid prayers. Mr. Geelani had called for 30 minutes of peaceful demonstrations against Israel at the end of all congregational prayers at mosques and Eidgahs all over the Valley.
Reports said that Imam Hai led the prayers at Eidgah in downtown Srinagar where the Hurriyat Conference chairman and the head of Awami Action Committee Mirwaiz Umar was scheduled to address the gathering. He was not allowed by the authorities to move out of his home in Nageen. Officials said that about 15,000 people attended the prayers at Eidgah.
Though the participants dispersed peacefully, unruly groups held anti-Israel demonstrations and clashed with Police at over a dozen places in downtown as also at Hyderpora and Central Telegraph Office in uptown.
For the first time, an organized group of 25 masked motorcycle-born men marched through streets in entire downtown Srinagar while carrying Palestinian banners and the typical black flags of the ultra-radical jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) for over two hours. They were not stopped by Police or paramilitary forces anywhere in the city reportedly under orders from the top echelons of the State government.