Soon after the first-ever international half marathon in Kashmir Valley in Srinagar, violence erupted as some youth shouted “anti-India” slogans, raised Pakistani flags and pelted stones at forces, who resorted to lathi charge and firing of teargas shells. Following the incident, 12 persons were arrested for allegedly eve-teasing and molesting women runners.
The event was organised to spread awareness about saving Srinagar’s iconic Dal Lake which was flagged off at Kashmir University at Hazratbal. “The situation is under control now,” police said, adding that there was, however, no report of any injury to anyone.
Reacting to the outbreak, Omar Abdullah, said on Twitter: “The theme for the run was ‘save the Dal’. It’s such a pity that politics had to come in the way of that also (sic).” A PDP leader said those who indulged in sloganeering and raising of Pakistani flag were also behind eve-teasing and molestation, leading to the disturbance.
PDP president and MP Mehbooba Mufti expressed her dismay over the alleged incidents of molestation and eve-teasing and said, “Such a rowdy behaviour is unacceptable in a civilised society. The state’s civil society should rise against such unruly behaviour where our daughters are being dishonoured by misguided, disruptive elements.”
“I do not know what was wrong with this marathon and why the youth tried not only to disrupt it but also to humiliate the female participants both from within and outside the state,” she added.
In the 21-km half marathon, besides some international participants, a large number of locals also participated in the event, which was to pass through the banks of Dal Lake along Foreshore Road.