13 arrested for sloganeering inside Jamia Masjid, says J-K Police

SRINAGAR — Jammu and Kashmir Police on Saturday claimed to have arrested 13 accused persons involved in sloganeering inside the historic Jamia Masjid during the Friday congregational prayers.

“Yesterday afternoon, there were Friday prayers in Jamia Masjid wherein huge number of gathering took place, around 24,000 persons attended the Friday prayers, which is among largest in recent history,” a police spokesman said in a statement issued to the news agency Kashmir News Observer (KNO).

“After the culmination of the prayers, about a dozen persons started anti-national and provocative sloganeering for a while, this was joined by a couple of others as well, while most of the gathering remained aloof. There was also an altercation between the persons indulging in sloganeering and the volunteers of the Intezamia Committee of Jamia Masjid who tried to stop such sloganeering and hooliganism,” the statement said.

It added that this created a situation of ruckus inside the mosque, leading to clashes between them.

“Later, the hooligans were dispersed outside the mosque by volunteers. Even after coming outside from one gate, more than a dozen among them tried to provoke others by sloganeering which failed and in 2–3 minutes, they dispersed in hurry seeing police presence around,” police said.

A case in this regard was registered in Nowhatta PS under FIR number 16/2022 under sections 124A and 447 of IPC, police said, adding that during the course of 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, who were identified as Basharat Nabi Bhat, son of Ghulam Nabi Bhat of Hawal, Nowhatta and Umar Manzoor Sheikh, son of Late Manzoor Sheikh of Bahuddin Saab, Nowhatta.

“Both were apprehended and formally arrested in the case. Eleven (11) more accused were subsequently arrested in this case who were involved in the sloganeering and hooliganism inside the Jamia Masjid and at the gate,” police said, adding that many more suspected persons are being examined and will be formally arrested as soon as their role clearly comes forth in this case.

“PSA dossiers of all these accused are being prepared for booking them under PSA as well, in addition to the case,” police said.

It added, “It also came out during the initial investigation that the accused in furtherance of a well-planned conspiracy had received instructions from Pakistani handlers of militant outfits to disrupt Friday prayers in Jamia Masjid and create law and order situation by provoking the attendees. Thus, section 120B was also invoked in this case.”

The spokesman said that investigation, in this case, is undergoing at a fast pace and some more arrests are likely.

Meanwhile, Srinagar Police informed all citizens that any attempt at disrupting peace will be viewed very seriously, and the 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 militant agenda will be tolerated at all. Lastly, parents are also advised to keep a watch on the company of their children, indulging in such activities may cause irreparable damage to career prospects,” police said.

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