Monday, 30th October 2017

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Ministry alters tune on Friday protest

A spokesperson for the ministry insisted that security forces did not fire any bullets

  • Published 14.08.19, 1:50 AM
  • Updated 14.08.19, 1:50 AM
  • a min read
Kashmiri women participate in a protest march in Srinagar on August 9. (AP)

The Union home ministry on Tuesday said “miscreants mingled with people returning home after prayers” on August 9 “to cause widespread unrest”, doing an about-turn on its claims that a report about a protest in Srinagar that day had been “completely fabricated”.

A spokesperson for the ministry, however, insisted that security forces did not fire any bullets.

“Stories in media on a said incident in Soura region of #Srinagar. On 09/08, miscreants mingled with people returning home after prayers at a local mosque. They resorted to unprovoked stone pelting against law enforcement forces to cause widespread unrest,” the spokesperson tweeted.

“Law enforcement authorities showed restraint and tried to maintain law & order situation. It is reiterated that no bullets have been fired in #JmmuAndKashmir since the development related to #Article370.”

In a statement issued on Saturday the ministry had denied a Reuters report that 10,000 people had protested in Srinagar after Friday prayers.

“A news report originally published in Reuters and appeared in Dawn claims there was a protest involving 10,000 people in Srinagar. This is completely fabricated & incorrect. There have been a few stray protests in Srinagar/Baramulla and none involved a crowd of more than 20 ppl,” the ministry’s spokesperson had tweeted at 12.20pm.

Less than two hours later, the BBC had shared video footage of a large protest that it said was held on the streets of Srinagar on Friday.

The broadcaster said thousands took to the streets at Soura after Friday prayers in the largest protest since the government last week scrapped Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370.

The BBC said it witnessed police opening fire and using tear gas to disperse the crowd. “Despite that, the Indian government has said the protest never took place.”