India Police Jails Anti-Israeli Protesters
Police said in a statement they were keeping a close watch on attempts to leverage the situation in Israel to disturb public peace and order.
Police in Indian-controlled Kashmir said Saturday that 21 people were arrested for disturbing public order by expressing solidarity with Palestine and holding protests against Israel’s military offensive in Gaza.
The author of the statement said police were sensitive to public anguish but wouldn’t allow those sentiments to trigger violence, lawlessness and disorder.
The Muslim-majority Himalayan region of Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and claimed by both in its entirety. Kashmiris have long shown strong solidarity with Palestinians and have often staged anti-Israel protests when fighting broke out in Gaza.
Police inspector-general Vijay Kumar told reporters that 20 people were arrested in Srinagar, the region’s main city, and one from a village in southern Kashmir.
A police officer, speaking anonymously in line with department policy, said the 21 were arrested for social media posts, taking part in anti-Israel protests and making graffiti in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza and Jerusalem.
The officer said the arrested include Mr. Sarjan Barkati, a Muslim cleric and a prominent anti-India activist, as well as an artist. The artist was arrested for painting pro-Autonomy graffiti on a bridge in Srinagar on Friday showing a woman wearing a scarf made of a Autonomy flag and a tear tricking from her eye, with the words: “We are Palestine". The police removed later the graffiti.