Muslims in Poonch demand release of rioters before Eid

September 26th, 2008 - 5:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Jammu, Sep 26 (IANS) Muslims in the Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir Friday asked the administration to release the people arrested during the riots in the region and threatened not to celebrate the festival of Eid if their demand is not met. After offering Friday prayers, Maulana Mufti Yaqoob, head priest of the Jama Masjid in Poonch, said: “We will mark this as black Eid if all those arrested by the administration during the recent riots are not released before the festival. We also demand reinstatement of all government employees suspended for allegedly abetting rioting.”

Eid is to likely to be celebrated on Oct 2, depending on the appearance of the moon.

Many shops and houses of both Hindus and Muslims were burnt, looted and damaged by either side in rioting in August during the dispute over allotment of government land to the board that runs the Hindu shrine of Amarnath in Kashmir.

Mohammad Afzal Bhat, deputy commissioner of Poonch, said: “We had arrested over 30 civilians under various sections for looting, rioting and damaging property from both the communities.”

He said some of them had managed to get released on bail while others were still under detention.

Bhat added that 18 government employees, including eight Muslims, were suspended for abetting rioting.

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