J-K police releases youths who were detained for holding anti-Israel protest during corona curfew

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Srinagar, May 16 (PTI) Police on Sunday released 17 youths, including an artist, a day after they were detained for holding an anti-Israel protest here during the corona curfew.

Artist Mudasir Gul, who had painted pro-Palestine graffiti, was among 20 people detained by the police on Saturday in the city's Padshahi Bagh area.

“Seventeen boys were handed over to families via Community Bond after counselling. They violated section 51 of DM Act by participating in protests during corona curfew,” a police official said.

The official said that engaging the families is important for preventing youngsters from going astray.

Gul, 32, had drawn the face of a weeping woman whose head was draped in a Palestinian flag. The words 'We are Palestine' were written in bold, white letters.

“He was released on Sunday evening and has reached his home,” Gul's elder brother Sami-ullah Rather told PTI.

Gul's mother said a few local youths came to their home and asked him to draw a mural.

She said his son refused to draw the mural at first, but was convinced by the youths that it was a protest to express solidarity with the people of Palestine only and there would not be anything against India.

On Saturday, police detained Gul and made him deface the graffiti before taking him away.

Rather said Gul was interested in art and would dedicate about 18 hours a day to it.

“We are happy he has been released,” he said.

The arrest of the youths had drawn a sharp reaction from PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti and the moderate Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.

They had also expressed concern over the detention of two sons of late separatist leader Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai from their residence last night.

The two were detained from their residence in Barzulla area of the city late Saturday evening in connection with a case registered by police in Kupwara district on May 6 after pro-freedom slogans were raised at the separatist leader's funeral, officials said. PTI SSB RT RT

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