News ID: 129361
Published: 1023 GMT October 19, 2015

India imposes curfew in Kashmir after anti-Muslim violence

India imposes curfew in Kashmir after anti-Muslim violence

New Delhi forces have imposed a curfew in Indian-administered Kashmir amid growing tensions over the recent killing of a Muslim truck worker by extremist Hindus in the disputed Himalayan valley.

On Monday, Indian police and paramilitary soldiers placed a curfew in Srinagar, the region's main city, and several other parts of Kashmir following protests over the death of a truck worker attacked by extremist Hindus angered by rumors of cow slaughter. 

Hundreds of police and paramilitary forces patrolled deserted streets of the mainly Muslim region.

"We have imposed restrictions on public movement in many areas to avoid loss of life," AFP quoted an unnamed senior Indian police officer as saying. 

Almost all shops, banks and schools remained closed, and traffic stayed off the streets across the Muslim-majority region.

The developments come a day after 19-year-old Zahid Rasool Bhat died of injuries sustained in the October 9 attack. 

He was attacked by Hindu extremists angered by rumors of cow slaughter. Bhat’s truck was firebombed by Hindu activists angered by reports that a ban on slaughtering cows was being flouted in the region.

This came after two dead cows had been discovered in a stream near the area where his truck was attacked. Forensic tests later showed the cows had died of poisoning. 

News of Bhat's death on Sunday ignited anger and sparked protests across the volatile valley. The Indian forces also fired tear gas canisters to disperse the angry protesters. 

Anti-Muslim violence

Several days ago, a mob in northern India beat a Muslim to death and injured four others after accusing them of smuggling cows to be slaughtered for beef.

The mob chased the truck loaded with five cows and ten bulls and attacked the five men in the vehicle in Sarahan, a village in Himachal Pradesh State, located about 260 kilometers north of the capital, New Delhi. 

Also on September 29, Mohammad Akhlaq, a Muslim man, was dragged from his house in the village of Bisada in Uttar Pradesh and beaten to death by about 100 people. The man was killed over rumors that he had eaten beef, a taboo in the Hindu-majority nation.

Akhlaq’s 22-year-old son was also seriously injured in the attack.

Incidents of anti-Muslim violence have fueled concerns as religious intolerance is growing under the Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The premier has been urged to speak out on the case after colleagues in his party came under increasing pressure for appearing to downplay the crime.

Slaughtering cows is banned in many states of India. However, India is also home to a large Muslim population, and a sizable Christian and Buddhist minorities. 

Modi has fallen short of condemning the violence against Muslim and some other religious communities. However, the premier has recently appealed for religious unity, saying the nation would only prosper “when Hindus and Muslims unite and fight” against poverty.

   
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