Agence India Press
Srinagar: Jamiat-e-Ahlihadees president, Molana Showkat Ahmad Shah was killed in a blast at Maisuma in Srinagar this afternoon.
No group has claimed responsibility for the killing yet and police suspects that militants were behind the killing of religious leader. A civilian identified as Munir Ahmad Mir was also critically injured in the blast.
Eyewitnesses told Agence India Press that at around 12.30 PM this afternoon, a powerful IED planted in a bicycle near the rear gate of the mosque went off minutes after Moulana Showkat arrived near the gate.
The blast which went off with a big bang left Showkat critically injured. He was rushed to Sheri Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), where doctors declared him brought dead.
“The IED planted in a bicycle went off minutes after Moulana Showkat reached the gate. Smoke engulfed the entire building as we find him lying in pool of blood. He was rushed to SKIMS but doctors declared him brought dead,” an eyewitness told Agence India Press.
Showkat was also close to JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Mali and used to lead Friday prayers at the mosque in Maisuma. Contingents of police and paramilitary CRPF rushed to the incident of occurrence and cordoned off Maisuma. Inspector General of Police, S M Sahai, senior police and civil officers also visited the spot.
Panic gripped Lal Chowk and adjoining areas after the incident. The shopkeepers downed their shutters and vehicular movement came to a screeching halt. A sea of people from different walks of life thronged Maisuma after the incident. Carrying the body of deceased on their shoulders, people shouted pro-Islam slogans amid a complete shutdown in Maisuma and its adjoining areas.
The All Parties Hurriyat Conference, an alliance of separatist political and religious groups in the Indian portion of Kashmir, offered condolences for Shah’s death and called a general strike for Saturday.
Prominent Jamiat-e-Ahlihadith leaders in Kashmir over the last half a century include Maulana Noor-ud-Din Noori and Abdul Rashid Tahari, both residents of Srinagar city.
Tahari founded the Ahlihadith-run public school ‘Al Kulyatu Salfia’ in Batmaloo area of Srinagar city in late 1980s.
Jamiat-e-ahle Hadith has nearly 1 million members in Kashmir and runs about 600 mosques and religious schools.
The Ahlihadith has been exclusively focusing on religious activities and it is generally believed among its cadre that this school of thought does not permit indulgence in political activities unless these are part of an Islamic state.
Condemning the religious leader’s killing, Moderate Hurriyat Conference chief Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said it was an inhuman act and called for a general strike tomorrow across Kashmir valley in protest.
Hard line Hurriyat conference headed by Syed Ali Shah Geelani also condemned the incident saying, “It is an act of terrorism. Whoever has done this is a terrorist.”
Peoples Democratic Party leaders Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and Mehbooba Mufti also condemned the incident.
“This killing is another painful addition to the larger Kashmir tragedy when the society in Kashmir is fighting a grim battle for their rights and have strongly rejected violence as a means to achieve political goals,” the Muftis said in a statement.
Expressing profound grief over Shah’s death, CPI (M) state secretary M Y Tarigami said, “The killing is a heinous and barbaric act. This is a big tragedy for all the people as the religious luminary was a highly respected in the society. Words fail to condemn this barbaric murder. Only enemies of Kashmir benefit from such heinous acts.”
Kashmiri Pandit Sangarsh Samiti, a body of Kashmiri Pandits living in the valley, said in a statement, “It will be written as one of the black days in the history of Kashmir when such a great Ulema of Kashmir got killed in a cowardice act.”
The organisation also demanded that the union and state governments book the culprits who are behind this heinous act.
Meanwhile Hilal Ahmad War, chairman, People’s Political Party (PPP) has also condemned the brutal killing of Moulana Showkat, President, Jamait-ul-Al-Hadees. He further said that the killing of Showkat was a well thought-out plan of intelligence agencies to divide the pro-freedom fraternity.
According to a statement, he asked pro-freedom leaders and factions of Jamiat-e-Ahlihadis to remain united to foil the designs of enemy. (AIP)
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