SRINAGAR: Businesses and shops closed Friday in India-held Kashmir in a strike called by separatists and religious parties protesting the publication of anti-Islam sketches in the latest issue of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.
Authorities restricted movement of residents in parts of the main city of Srinagar, fearing protests and clashes after Friday prayers.
Police overnight detained a top pro-independence leader, Mohammed Yasin Malik, who called the strike and protests against the magazine's latest issue, which was published following a Jan 7 attack on the magazine's Paris office that killed 12 people.
The attack sparked global outrage as [world leaders rallied in solidarity] with the victims of the attack claimed by the Al Qaeda in Yemen.
Demonstrations were also held in Peshawar and Afghanistan's province of Uruzgan paying tribute to the attackers.
Charlie Hebdo's latest edition after the attack, put together by survivors of the newsroom, once again featured a controversial sketch of an Arab man on its cover – but with a tear in his eye, holding a “Je Suis Charlie” sign under the headline “All is forgiven”.
The issue was sold out within hours across France.
Protests against the fresh publication were held across Muslim countries. The protests turned violent in Niger where at least three churches were burnt down by a mob.
A protest organised in Karachi on Jan 16 also turned violent when a clash took place between protesters and police. Security forces resorted to aerial firing, tear gas and water cannons to push back the charged mob.
Kashmir region has witnessed several protests against the latest cartoon, but Friday's shutdown was the first major reaction in Kashmir since the Paris attacks.
“By encouraging and allowing the reproduction of the highly provocative and insulting caricatures..... the West has contemptuously disregarded sensitivities of the Muslim world,” wrote Hassan Zainagairee, a columnist in Greater Kashmir, the region's largest English daily.
Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan, and both claim it in its entirety since British colonialists left in 1947.
Since 1989, several rebel groups have been fighting to win Kashmir's independence or have the India-held portion merge with Pakistan.
More than 68,000 people, mainly civilians, have died in the armed uprising and subsequent Indian military crackdown.