Shops close in Kashmir as Muslim traders protest Indian ruling party

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Scores of Muslim traders and transporters in Srinagar staged a protest and raised slogans against Indian ruling party officials on Friday following comments from the officials deemed derogatory to Islam’s Prophet Mohammed.

In Indian-controlled Kashmir, authorities locked down two towns on Friday and snapped internet on mobile phones in the disputed region’s main city, fearing anger against the insulting remarks to Islam could morph into larger, anti-India protests.

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Shops and business in Srinagar spontaneously shut.

Authorities also did not allow Friday congregational prayers in the main mosque of Srinagar and in the remote, mountainous towns of Bhaderwah and Kishtwar.

Protesters criticized the Indian government for not publicly condemning comments deemed derogatory to Islam’s Prophet Mohammed made last week by officials in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party.

One official has been suspended and the other expelled after the BJP denounced insults of religious figures, but protesters in India and neighboring Muslim countries said the actions were not enough.

Tensions have remained high in the divided Muslim-majority Himalayan region, also claimed by Pakistan, since 2019 when New Delhi snapped the semi-autonomy and took direct control of its controlled part.

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