Amid troops on the ground, tension in the air and heat in the atmosphere, Eid-al-Adha festivities passed off peacefully in Kashmir Valley barring stray protests in one of the first tests for the government following its decision to scrap J&K special status and bifurcate the state into two Union Territories. Follow LIVE Updates
Even though the usual hustle and bustle of Eid al-Adha, one of the biggest festivals in Kashmir, was missing, the turnout of people offering Eid prayers and ‘namaz’ was good, the Union Home Ministry said despite strict curbs on movement and communication still being in place.
Curfew was re-imposed in Srinagar on Sunday afternoon even though authorities had said people would be allowed to visit neighbourhood mosques to offer prayers.
“#Eid prayers offered peacefully in all local mosques of Anantnag, Baramulla, Budgam, Bandipore, without any untoward incident. Jamia Masjid old town Baramulla witnessed approx 10,000 people offering prayers. Over 4,500 people offered prayers at Eidgah,” a Union Home Ministry spokesperson said on Twitter.
Holding a press conference in the evening, Inspector General of Police SP Pani said there were a couple of localised incidents of law and order that were handled professionally.
“There have been a couple of minor localised incidents of law and order which have been handled very professionally. In these incidents, there have been a couple of injuries which have been reported. I strongly deny any incident of firing anywhere in the Kashmir Valley,” he said.
Rohit Kansal, principal secretary and the designated official spokesperson of the government, said Eid was celebrated in 90 per cent of the place. But the mood was subdued with deserted roads and the silence only being broken by police sirens and IAF helicopters hovering overhead.
Meanwhile, the CRPF refuted a social media post by a Pakistani journalist about a clash between some personnel of the counter-terrorism agency and the Jammu and Kashmir Police, saying the content was untrue and absolutely baseless. Kashmir police tweeted that it had reported the matter to the micro-blogging site for remedial action.
The malicious content of this tweet is absolutely baseless and untrue. As always, all the security forces of India are working with coordination and bonhomie. Patriotism and our tricolour lie at the core of our hearts and existence, even when the color of our uniforms may differ. pic.twitter.com/1Rhrm09dPN
— 🇮🇳CRPF🇮🇳 (@crpfindia) August 12, 2019
“The malicious content of this tweet is absolutely baseless and untrue. As always, all the security forces of India are working with coordination and bonhomie. Patriotism and our tricolour lie at the core of our hearts and existence, even when the colour of our uniforms may differ,” the CRPF tweeted.
The post spoke of an alleged rift between security forces in Kashmir. “Rifts emerging among Indian security forces deployed in Kashmir. A Muslim Kashmiri policeman shot & killed five Indian CRPF personnel in a ‘blue on blue’ attack after they refused to let a pregnant woman by because she didn’t have a curfew pass. Things on edge since that attack,” the post read.
On the backdrop of Pakistan unilaterally downgrading diplomatic ties with India, the customary exchange of sweets between BSF and Pakistan Rangers along the international border did not take place on Monday on the occasion of Eid al-Adha.
The unilateral withdrawal of diplomatic ties by Pakistan with India, in the wake of the Modi government’s decision to revoke provisions of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir, is being seen as a reason for the non-conduct of the ceremony.
PTI quoted an official as saying that the Pakistani side did not respond to the BSF’s move to exchange sweets and greetings along the IB running through the states of Jammu, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat. “The customary event did not take place on the occasion of Eid al-Adha on Monday,” a senior official said.
In Delhi, Kashmiris gather at Jantar Mantar for Eid
Back in Delhi, a group of Kashmiris, away from their home on Eid al-Adha, gathered at Jantar Mantar to observe the festival, with many saying it was difficult to celebrate when they could not communicate with their families in the Valley.
People from various walks of life, including noted writer Arundhati Roy, joined them in solidarity. Among the nearly 100 odd who converged for the ‘silent protest’, the common refrain was that communication lines to the Valley should be restored as not being able to contact their families back home was causing much despair among people.