Mudasir Gul, a Kashmiri artist who was picked up by Srinagar police on Friday, 14 May, is now a free man. He was arrested for drawing a mural that supported Palestine.
After being in custody for three days, as per Jehangir Ali’s tweet, he has been released without the police pressing any charges against him.
Gul was held for painting a pro-Palestinian graffiti on a bridge in Srinagar. He painted a graffiti called, ‘We are Palestine,’ which went viral on social media. Gul’s family said the police forced him to erase it by painting it black.
In the backdrop of the Israeli attack on Palestinian settlements, Jammu and Kashmir police has booked at least 21 protesters who raised slogans against Israel on Saturday, 15 May. According to a report in The Hindu, IGP Vijay Kumar said 21 people were booked in total, of whom 20 were from Srinagar and one from Shopian.
The police has said that they have warned of action against those who are leveraging the unfortunate situation in Palestine ‘to disturb the public peace and order in the Kashmir valley’.
“We are a professional force and are sensitive to public anguish. But the J&K polcie have a legal responsibility to ensure law and order as well. It, however, wouldn’t allow cynical encashment of the public anger to trigger violence, lawlessness, and disorder in the Kashmir streets,” Kumar said according to The Hindu.
He went on to say that all social media posts that are irresponsible and result in actual violence and breaking of law will ‘attract legal action’. Breaking of law includes the various precautions one has to take to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Those who have been arrested were picked in midnight raids. This includes a preacher, Sarjan Ahmed, who was released in October 2020 after being in jail for about four years. Police claim he was arrested for violating COVID protocols. He had during prayers asked the people to pray for Palestine.
What Is Happening Between Israel and Palestine Forces?
At the heart of the conflict in East Jerusalem, which has been in the news for the escalating conflict in the holy month of Ramadan, is an Israeli Supreme Court ruling.
The ruling is on a long-running legal case regarding the eviction of Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, a neighbourhood near the Damascus Fate that was given to Israeli settlers.
As the date for the ruling neared, Palestinians and left-wing Israelis held more and more demonstrations stating that this eviction would pave the way for further removal of people from the area. On 7 May, Israeli security forces attacked worshippers at the Al-Aqsa mosque. In the attacks that were caught on camera the forces can be seen using tear gas, stun grenades and rubber coated bullets.
The ruling was due on 10 May, but was postponed. Reuters reports that a new session will be scheduled within thirty days. Then on 15 May, Israel’s military demolished a building that housed the offices of Al Jazeera and AP.
At least 139 people, including children, have died since the Israeli attacks began, AP has reported. While Israeli military has said that the attacks are a retaliation to the Palestinian firing of rockets into Israel, experts have condemned Israeli attacks by stating that the escalation was a result of Israel’s own attacks in Sheikh Jarrah.
Multiple countries have condemned the violence. India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations TS Tirumurti said New Delhi was deeply concerned about the clashes and violence in Haram Al Sharif and Temple Mount and the evictions in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighbourhoods.
He said India calls on ‘both sides to avoid changing the status-quo on the ground’.
The US seeked a virtual meet on the UN Security Council to address the escalation of conflict in the area. The US said it will not support de-escalatory efforts and asked for an open debate on the matter. Biden “reaffirmed his strong support for Israel’s right to defend itself against rocket attacks from Hamas” on 15 May.
(With inputs from Reuters, AP, ANI and The Hindu.)