People protest in Srinagar in Kashmir Sept. 8 against the violence on Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. They demanded intervention of international organizations to end the violence. (Photo by Umar Asif)
People in Jammu and Kashmir, India's only Muslim majority state, are protesting violent attacks on Muslim Rohingyas in Myanmar.
Protests intensified in recent days after video clips showing victims, in Myanmar's northern Rakhine State, went viral on social media.
It is estimated that more than 350,000 people have fled to Bangladesh since Aug. 25 in the wake of a new wave of attack that have been branded as ethnic cleansing.
Shouting pro-Islamic slogans and waving placards, hundreds of people, including women and children, began taking to streets in all ten districts of the state after Friday prayers on Sept. 8.
Scores of socio-religious organizations under the Joint Resistance Leadership have since then issued a call to demonstrate against the persecution of fellow "Muslim brothers in Rakhine State."
The protesters demanded intervention by international organizations to end what they called the "genocide of Muslims."
The administration imposed curfew in several restive areas of the state's summer capital, Srinagar, as groups clashed with police. At least least 20 people, including 12 police personnel, were injured in the clashes.
A senior police official told ucanews.com on the condition of anonymity, there are concerns that protests in Jammu and Kashmir could become more violent.
Some 5,000 Rohingya Muslims, who fled violence in Myanmar in 2012, are already living Kashmir.
Kashmir's chief Islamic cleric, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, said he has sent a joint resolution to human rights organizations around the world, including the United Nations, seeking immediate international action to stop further massacres of Rohingya Muslims.
He said a lack of action so far is "criminal."
The Myanmar government refuses to accept Rohingya as natives and instead treats them as illegal migrants from Bangladesh.Kashmir has been witnessing intermittent violence for the past three decades. Some militant Muslim groups have taken up arms to fight for an end to Indian rule in order to join with neighboring Islamic Pakistan. At least 100,000 people, including militants, civilians and army personnel have been killed in the strife.
Syed Ali Geelani, a senior separatist leader, criticized Myanmar's de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi for comparing the Rohingya issue with the situation in Kashmir.
Suu Kyi reportedly said that, in both Rakhine and Kashmir, the difficulty is to differentiate between terrorists and innocent people.
Geelani said rather than making such an unjustified comparison, Suu Kyi should pay greater attention to basic humanitarian values.
Father Roy Mathew of Jammu-Srinagar Diocese, which covers the entire state, said people should not be selective in protesting against violence.
"It has to be condemned whenever and wherever it happens," said Father Mathew, who is a priest at the Holy Family Catholic Church in Srinagar.
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