The first international half marathon in the Indian-held Jammu Kashmir turned into an Azadi demonstration, culminating in stone-throwing protests, as Pakistani flags were also raised in the marathon, the Indian media reported.
The national Indian daily reported that police resorted to cane charge and fired tear smoke shells to disperse the protesting runners. On Sunday morning, as the runners assembled near the Kashmir University, the beginning point of the first ever half marathon of the disputed state, a masked youth took to the stage and raised a Pakistani flag.
As the 21-kilometre run started, some youth raised pro-freedom slogans and resorted to stone throwing on the policemen and paramilitary forces guarding the venue resulting in clashes. As the situation turned out of control, police resorted to cane charge and fired tear smoke shells to disperse the protesters, the paper reported.
The half marathon was organized by a Big 92.7 FM radio service to raise awareness about saving Srinagar’s iconic Dal Lake and was participated by some international professional runners. The state-run Press Trust of India news service reported that the protestors pelted stones at the Indian armed forces.
As many as 15 international athletes had confirmed their participation in the event for which more than 15,000 people had registered. The ruling PDP government accused some protesters of indulging in ‘eve-teasing’ leading to disturbance. The police arrested 12 persons allegedly involved in the incident.
This raged the Indian government and authorities, though this showed how much Kashmiri youth loves to be part of Pakistan. Recently a woman hoisted Pakistani flag on her house, which made her under trial, This is the other event which showed that Kashmiris want to be recognised as Pakistanis.
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