Srinagar: Tens of thousands of Muslims marched peacefully past the UN office in Srinagar on Monday, calling on the international body to intervene in the disputed Himalayan region.
People power: Protestors outside UN office in Srinagar on Monday. Photograph: S. Irfan / PTI
Demonstrators shouting “Oh tyrants and oppressors leave our Kashmir” marched to barricades within a few hundred metres of the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) office in Srinagar.
Several separatist leaders changed their plans of submitting a memorandum to the UN office after the authorities refused to allow them to lead a procession to go there following a large rally addressed by them.
Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik returned from Tourist Reception Centre ground, the venue of the rally, without giving the memorandum to UNMOGIP.
A row over land allocated to Hindu pilgrims visiting a shrine in Kashmir has snowballed into full-scale anti-India protests, uniting separatists and reviving calls for independence.
UNMOGIP, one of the oldest UN missions, monitors a 1949 ceasefire line dividing Kashmir between India and Pakistan.
Protests have also raised tensions between India and Pakistan which claim the region in full but rule in parts. New Delhi has criticized Islamabad for interfering in its internal affairs by calling for UN intervention in the region.
The crisis began after the state government promised to give forest land to a trust that runs Amarnath.
When Muslims protested, the government rescinded its decision, which in turn angered the Hindus in Jammu who attacked trucks carrying supplies to the Kashmir valley and often blocked the region’s highway, the only surface link with the rest of the country.
PTI contributed to this story.