Religious leaders urged to end clashes in Kashmir

 Civil society members in Kashmir on Thursday urged religious leaders to play a positive role in ending the sectarian clashes in the central Kashmir district of Budgam.

In a joint statement issued here, the members said that for the last few days some villages of Budgam district are witnessing unfortunate incidents of sectarian clashes.
“Many villages continue to be under curfew but without cessation of violence,” the statement said.

 “It is reported that two youth groups entered into a brawl near Khomeni Chowk, Bemina on the Thursday evening, July 18.” As the rival groups belonged to Sunni and Shia sects, the statement said that this minor tussle was manipulated by “vested” interests into a Shia-Sunni clash.

“Next day, on July 19, the clashes spread to many other adjoining villages, despite the fact that entire valley was under strict curfew and at various places there were protests being carried out against the desecration of the Holy Quran, sacrilege of the mosque and unprovoked extra-judicial killings of 4 unarmed persons in cold blood at Gool, Ramban by Border Security Force and Police,”they said.

Despite curfew and deployment of police and CRPF, the members said it was baffling how properties continue to be damaged.

The civil society members urged the people at large and the religious leaders from all sections of society to play a positive role in ending sectarian clashes in Budgam forthwith. “Also we urge the religious leaders, particularly of Sunni majority community to urgently attend to the need of de-escalating the anti-Shia discourse amongst all sections of our society.”

The joint statement was by 26 civil activists, authors and journalists.

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