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Kashmiris stage strike in protest at Charlie Hebdo

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Kashmiris throw stones at Indian police during a protest in Srinagar on Jan. 21, 2015. ©AFP

People across the Indian-administered Kashmir have held a shutdown strike in protest at the recent publication of a blasphemous cartoon of Islam's holy Prophet Mohammad by the French satirical daily, Charlie Hebdo.

On Friday, almost all shops, private offices and businesses remained closed, while traffic stayed off the streets in Srinagar and some other major towns of the disputed Kashmir Valley.

Local authorities have restricted movement of residents in parts of the main city of Srinagar to prevent protests and clashes after Muslim Friday Prayers.

The prayers' leaders are expected to deliver speeches against what is believed to be a smear campaign by Western media aimed at promoting Islamophobia and intensifying hostility against Muslims.

The strike came following a call by pro-independence groups and religious parties for a daylong strike across the Muslim-majority region.

Indian forces overnight detained a top pro-independence leader, Mohammed Yasin Malik, who called for the strike and protests.

Contingents of Indian forces have been deployed to parts of the region to prevent more protest rallies and any unwanted incident.

In the recent past, angry protesters in many countries, including Niger, Yemen and Pakistan, have staged similar demonstrations to condemn Charlie Hebdo.

On January 14, the French satirical magazine, whose Paris office was attacked by two gunmen on January 7, once again published a cartoon of the Prophet on the cover of its new edition despite warnings that the move is provocative.

The weekly has repeatedly provoked Muslim anger by publishing cartoons of Prophet Mohammad.

The al-Qaeda branch in Yemen claimed responsibility for the attack on Charlie Hebdo.


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