Violent protests erupted in north Kashmir’s Magam area on Tuesday afternoon after an army patrol allegedly burnt down a poster of Qasem Soleimani, an Iranian military commander who died in a drone attack in Iraq in 2020. According to locals, an Army personnel during a patrol entered a house at Mulbuchan village and allegedly pulled down a poster of Soleimani hanging on a wall of the premises and burnt it down.

The incident sparked violent protests, with youth taking to the streets and blocking the main road leading to the famous tourist destination of Gulmarg in Baramulla. Protesters also clashed with the police and hurled stones. There were no reports of any injuries in the clashes. “The timely intervention of the J&K Awami Awaz Party’s chairman Suhail Ahmad Khan and general secretary Irfan Hashmi helped cool tempers.

The Army Commanding Officer apologised for the wrong act of his Jawan,” a spokesperson of the party said. A police spokesperson said the people of Malbuchan village held protests at the Magam square and alleged that a party of security forces while on patrol “misbehaved with locals”. Senior police and civil officers visited the spot and talked to the locals, while traffic was restored and the situation was under control, the spokesperson said. “The incident that happened in Magam really hurts our religious sentiments.

Our devotion and feelings are related to Imam Khameini, Shaheed Soleimani and other great personalities, so the Shia community of Kashmir cannot tolerate even the desecration of their photos,” Shia leader Masroor Ansari said in a tweet. The Army did not issue any statement over the incident till late Tuesday evening.