Thirteen persons have been arrested by the Jammu and Kashmir police for their alleged involvement in raising slogans inside Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid after the first Friday prayers of the holy month of Ramazan. Police claimed the two kingpins had acted on the instructions of their Pakistani handlers and their motive was to create a ruckus and disrupt peace in the Valley.
As soon as the prayers were over about a dozen persons started raising anti-national and provocative slogans. A few more joined them but an estimated 24,000 strong congregations remained aloof. This even led to altercations and heated arguments between the slogan-raising men and the volunteers of the mosque committee, who tried to dissuade them.
At one point the two sides even indulged in fisticuffs and it led to a ruckus inside the mosque. The volunteers later managed to push the hooligans outside. Again, they raised slogans with a clear motive to involve others. The video clip of this sloganeering outside the mosque went viral on social media. The video also shows people smiling and walking away from the sloganeering brigade.
However, the group got dispersed soon as the passerby and others ignored them.
Police have identified the ring leaders after a case was registered in Nowhatta Police station under sections 124A and 447 of IPC.
Police said, “During the investigation, technical means were adapted to identify these hooligans and raids were conducted at different locations which led to arrest of two Main instigators of the sloganeering namely Basharat Nabi Bhat of Hawal, and Umar Manzoor Sheikh of Bahuddin Saab, Nowhatta, downtown Srinagar.” Police first arrested the kingpins of the conspiracy and followed it with the arrest of 11 others. Police is investigating the role of many others in the episode of failed attempt to create a ruckus and more arrests are likely.
All the 13 arrested persons are likely to be detained under the Public Safety Act (PSA) and their dossiers are being prepared.
Police said during early investigations, it has come to their notice that the accused in furtherance of a well-planned conspiracy had received instructions from Pakistani handlers of terror outfits to disrupt Friday prayers in Jamia Masjid and create a law and order situation by provoking the attendees.
For this reason, Section 120B (Criminal conspoiracy) was also invoked in this case.The investigation, in this case, is undergoing at a fast pace and some more arrests are likely.
Srinagar Police has informed “all citizens that any attempt at disrupting peace will be viewed very seriously, strictest action under provisions of the law will be taken against all those who get involved in such illegal activities. In addition to this, no attempt at using religious places for furthering anti-national and terrorist agenda will be tolerated at all.”
The police have also advised the parents of young men to keep watch on their children’s friends and said “indulging in such activities may cause irreparable damage to career prospects.”