Kashmir police arrest graffiti artist over Palestine mural | Israel-Palestine conflict News

Srinagar, Indian-administered Kashmir – Police in Indian-administered Kashmir have arrested not less than 20 folks, together with an outspoken non secular chief who prayed for Palestine and an artist who drew graffiti in solidarity with the Palestinian folks.

The household of 32-year-old Mudasir Gull, an artist primarily based in the principle metropolis of Srinagar, accused the regional authority of censoring freedom of expression of an artist.

“Why is he detained? What has he executed? Has the federal government banned artwork right here?” his sister Muzamil Firdous requested.

“When the entire world is waking up towards Israel’s atrocities, we will’t communicate, we will’t apply artwork; what sort of democracy we stay in? Can’t we specific our grief for Palestine?” Firdous advised Al Jazeera.

Kashmiris got here out on the streets after the congregational Friday prayers in help of Palestine, waving their flags in a present of solidarity towards lethal Israeli air assaults on the Gaza Strip and a brutal crackdown on Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem and Israel.

Not less than 174 Palestinians have been killed, together with greater than 40 youngsters, triggering solidarity protests internationally.

Can’t we specific our grief for Palestine?

Muzamil Firdous, sister of arrested artist

However safety forces in Kashmir, some of the militarised zones on the earth, moved rapidly to clamp down the protests within the area the place anti-India sentiment stays excessive. In August 2019, India’s Hindu nationalist authorities eliminated the area’s restricted autonomy and imposed a safety lockdown to keep off protests.

Gull’s household stated that he was approached by a gaggle of younger folks on Friday to color the graffiti. “They advised my brother, it’s a protest of solidarity. They satisfied him that it isn’t towards India or there is not going to be any such slogan raised,” Firdous stated.

The 32-year-old artist was arrested and made to deface the graffiti that confirmed a girl sobbing along with her head wrapped within the Palestinian flag. The graffiti that learn “we’re Palestine” was extensively shared on social media.

“He’s an artist. We’re shocked at his detention for doing his job. We don’t need the federal government to break his life, portray is his livelihood,” Firdous advised Al Jazeera.

The household stated that Gull is affected by well being points and can’t stay in detention for lengthy amid an outbreak of COVID-19.

‘Detained for praying’

Among the many 20 arrested is a non secular chief, Sarjan Barkati, from southern Kashmir’s Shopian district. He was arrested after he raised slogans and prayed for the Palestinian folks in a mosque, his household stated.

Barkati was arrested in 2016 when he led protests towards the killing of a preferred insurgent commander, Burhan Wani, by Indian forces. Hundreds of individuals have been killed in a long time of armed rise up towards Indian rule.

The area has witnessed protests and help by way of artwork and writing for the Palestinian trigger through the years. In elements of Srinagar’s outdated metropolis, graffiti depicting help for Palestine can nonetheless be seen on store shutters, roads and partitions.

For the reason that abrogation of Kashmir’s autonomy in 2019, the area has been below great state strain to forestall any public protests. At the same time as Kashmir has been unusually calm over the past 12 months and a half, the simmering tensions have resulted in just a few protests in current months.

“We all know there may be a variety of pent-up anger in folks. Our previous observations counsel that it wants a set off to come back out and that set off could possibly be something,” a police official advised Al Jazeera on the situation of anonymity.

“Even these solidarity protests might set off larger pro-separatist protests. That’s why we don’t need to take an opportunity this time round,” he stated, referring to pro-freedom leaders as separatists.

Kashmir insurgent teams and pro-freedom leaders need independence from India or its merger with Pakistan. India has accused Pakistan of arming the rebels – a cost Islamabad has denied.

‘O the oppressed of Palestine’

Shabroza Jan, 30, the arrested Shopian non secular chief’s spouse, advised al Jazeera that her husband has been arrested for a solidarity prayer.

“He didn’t do something improper. He simply prayed for them (Palestine). On Saturday morning, police took him away from his residence. We tried to satisfy him however we weren’t allowed,” she stated.

Within the video, shot inside a mosque in Shopian, Barkati will be seen praying for Palestine and elevating slogans like “O the oppressed of Palestine, we’re with you”.

Police officers advised al Jazeera that they won’t enable any such protests within the area.

Even these solidarity protests might set off larger pro-separatist protests.

Kashmir police official

“We is not going to enable such protests and never give an excuse to miscreants and pro-Azadi (pro-freedom) parts to galvanise folks on this level to go for road protests,” one other senior police official advised Al Jazeera on situation of anonymity.

Earlier, the police in an announcement warned towards any road protests and stated that police had been maintaining a really shut watch on parts “who’re making an attempt to leverage the unlucky state of affairs in Palestine to disturb public peace and order within the Kashmir Valley”.

The police in an announcement stated that “it might not enable cynical encashments of public anger to set off violence, lawlessness and dysfunction on Kashmir streets.”

Sheikh Showkat Hussain, a political analyst primarily based within the area, stated that “Kashmiris have all the time been supportive of Palestine ever for the reason that challenge erupted.

“Although they (Kashmiris) have themselves been concerned in the same sort of state of affairs. However the truth that they too perceive the pangs of subjugation made them extra delicate in the direction of the Palestine challenge as in contrast with different elements of the sub-continent,” Hussain stated.

Hussain stated that India was extra vocal in regards to the Palestinian challenge following its independence in 1947 from British rule.

“It was solely in the direction of the later years of [Prime Minister] Indira Gandhi that they began to get nearer to Israel, and now the ruling authorities is hand in glove with Israel,” he stated, including that the federal government in Kashmir fears that there could be a comparable form of rebellion right here.

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