Kashmir shutdown over Charlie Hebdo's cartoon

2015-01-23 11:33
Kashmiri Muslim cyclists turn back after seeing blocked road by barbed wire set by Indian police as barricade during a strike against caricatures published in French magazine Charlie Hebdo. (Dar Yasin, AP)

Kashmiri Muslim cyclists turn back after seeing blocked road by barbed wire set by Indian police as barricade during a strike against caricatures published in French magazine Charlie Hebdo. (Dar Yasin, AP)

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Srinagar -  Businesses and shops closed Friday in Indian-held Kashmir in a strike called by separatists and religious parties protesting the publication of a caricature of Prophet Muhammad in the latest issue of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.

Authorities restricted movement of residents in parts of the main city of Srinagar, fearing protests and clashes after Muslim Friday prayers.

Police overnight detained a top pro-independence leader, Mohammed Yasin Malik, who called the strike and protests against the magazine's latest issue, which shows a drawing of a tearful Prophet Muhammad holding a sign "I am Charlie" in French. It was published following a 7 January attack on the magazine's Paris office that killed 12 people.

Many Muslims believe their faith forbids depictions of the prophet.

The region has witnessed several protests against the latest cartoon, but Friday's shutdown was the first major reaction in Kashmir since the Paris attacks.

"By encouraging and allowing the reproduction of the highly provocative and insulting caricatures of our beloved prophet, the West has contemptuously disregarded sensitivities of the Muslim world," wrote Hassan Zainagairee, a columnist in Greater Kashmir, the region's largest English daily.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan, and both claim it in its entirety since British colonialists left in 1947.

Since 1989, several rebel groups have been fighting to win Kashmir's independence or have the Indian-controlled portion merge with Pakistan.

More than 68 000 people, mainly civilians, have died in the armed uprising and subsequent Indian military crackdown.

Read more on:    india  |  france  |  charlie hebdo

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