I see London, I see France, but if I see a mosque, it’s time to riot! “Alleged blasphemous images trigger protests in Kashmir,” by Faiz Ahmad in National Turk, June 6 (thanks to Maxwell):
Srinagar, June 5: The alleged blasphemous images of a mosque on undergarments sparked protests in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian Kashmir on Saturday with the protestors clashing with police and paramilitary soldiers, who fired tear smoke shells and resorted to cane charge.
And it turns out it wasn’t even a mosque:
Police said after verification it was found that the image does not resemble to any Muslim religious place or building.
The protests started in Nowhatta area of Srinagar after some people spotted brown colored sketch of a building with a huge dome fitted with a cross mast and a transept imprinted on an undergarment. Some people termed it as blasphemous depiction of holy Al-Aqsa Mosque. The residents in Nowhatta and the adjoining localities of the old city started gathering and started protesting against the incident.
Terming it the blasphemous depiction of holy Al-Aqsa Mosque, the residents of the area and adjoining localities took out a protest march and staged demonstrations. Chanting pro-Islamic, anti-Israel and anti-India slogans, the agitating people alleged that conspiracies against Muslims are being hatched across the globe.
Just to reiterate: It’s a pair of underwear.
“The images of sacred places on the undergarments have hurt our sentiments. It is a conspiracy of America, Israel and other Western countries to hurt Muslim sentiments,” said a protestor Javed Ahmad.
He said Muslims cannot tolerate such indecent acts.
As the protestors amidst chanting of anti-India and anti-Israeli slogans tried to march towards city centre, police and paramilitary soldiers swung into action. They fired tear smoke shells and resorted to heavy baton charge to disperse the agitating people.
The clashes also broke out between the cops and protestors at Nowpora, Khayam, Rainawari, Maisuma, Koker Bazar and other other places in Indian Kashmir. At least a dozen persons including some protestors were injured in the clashes that continued for quite some time.
The shopkeepers in old city and some other parts of Indian Kashmir closed shutters of their business establishments as a mark of protest against the alleged blasphemous images.
However, police spokesman said the undergarment did not bear imprints of any Islamic workshop place.
“The underwear garment in question was produced and examined and it was found that it carries the imprints and sketches of various buildings on it which resemble places like Big Ben in London, St. Paul’s Cathedral of London and other places. No sketch has any likeness to any Muslim religious place or building. The attempt to create tension in the society is a deliberate move to disturb the situation by indulging in blasphemous rumors.
St. Paul’s Cathedral? When was the Christian riot? Oh, wait…
The general public is advised to remain calm and caution against such elements,” he said.