From the Daily Rising Kashmir:
Srinagar, Feb 08: The protests over the inscription of Quranic verses on the skiing gear of a Swedish national reached the city on Sunday with clashes between police and the protesters taking place at several places.
In Nowhatta, Maisuma, Zaldagar and Nawabazar localities of the city, scores of angry youth pelted stones at police.
The controversy started on Saturday when some employees of Gulmarg Cable Car Corporation noticed Quranic verses inscribed on the skiing gear of N Patrick.
The people caught hold of the foreigner and handed him over to police. They demanded stern action against the skier.
Shouting anti-America, anti-Israel and anti-Sweden slogans, the protesters in Srinagar termed it as a deliberate attempt on part of the European tourist.
"Entire Europe and Israel is against Muslims. You can see what Israel is doing in Gaza and Lebanon so such things are very much expected from a Sweden tourist. They should be banned from visiting Kashmir," said a protester in Maisuma Chowk.
In the clashes on Sunday at least five persons received minor injuries. Police resorted to use of teargas shells and cane charging to contain the protests.
Meanwhile, police has shifted the Swedish national from Gulmarg to Srinagar for investigation. Two tourist guides have also been arrested by police for questioning.
Meanwhile, Kashmir's Grand Mufti, Mufti Bashir-ud-din said that the foreign skier met him and sought apology for his act.
"The skier said that he was not aware about the sensitivity of the matter and maintained that it was his Muslim wife who had suggested him to use such Quranic verses on the skiing gears. He has sought public apology for his act," Bashir-ud-din said.
The Grand Mufti has appealed the government to issue instructions to all foreign tourists about such matters at the time of their arrival in Kashmir.
In Gulmarg on Sunday shopkeepers, hoteliers, horsemen and sledge drivers observed complete shutdown.
Shouting anti-America, anti-Sweden and anti-Israel slogans, the protesters blocked Gulmarg-Srinagar road.
Tangmarg also witnessed protests over the issue as people blocked the road and did not allow vehicles to proceed towards Gulmarg.
Meanwhile, some people here maintain that it is a tradition in many Islamic countries to take things inscribed with Holy verses along during a journey for warding off evil and danger.Something new to add to the ever-growing List of Things that Offend Muslims.