Religious group Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) on Tuesday described the death of a youth in north Kashmir’s Ganderbal district as “political killing” and accused the ruling National Conference sarpanch and his associates of “attacking its cadre while they were praying”.
“There was no sectarian clash inside the mosque or dispute over the loudspeaker. It was a unilateral attack where local NC sarpanch Muhammad Subhan Wani and his supporters barged into the mosque and attacked praying devotees. In the attack, Shabir Ahmad Bhat was killed,” said JeI chief Sheikh Muhammad Hassan in Srinagar.
A curfew has been clamped in Sendhbal, Ganderbal, 30 km north-east of Srinagar, after the killing. Three people were injured in the alleged attack.
Preliminary reports had suggested a sectarian clash over use of the loudspeaker. The police, investigating the matter, avoided to mention the incident in its daily bulletin fuelling speculation.
“The NC has history of killing and attacking Jamaat for its ideology. Monday’s killing is outcome of that political vendetta,” said Hassan.
Sendbal village has been witnessing tension over a local seminary with a stronghold of JeI. “The victim was harassed earlier too to close down the seminary in the area. He was threatened of dire consequences in case he does not stop teaching Quran by the NC sarpanch,” alleged Hassan adding, “JeI does not believe in any confrontation or violent means”.
Ganderbal district is Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s traditional home constituency.
The JeI has appealed to the local administration to investigate the matter impartially without any political influences. “The local administration should bring the culprits to book,” said JeI chief.
NC spokesman Tanvir Sadiq, however, rejected the Jamaat allegations. “It was a sectarian clash. It’s absurd to bring our party in the clash. There was altercation inside the mosque and in a fit of rage one youth died in clash. We condemn the killing,” said Sadiq.
The party spokesman said people should wait for the police to come up with the sequence of events to know the facts.
Hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani, while condemning the killing, accused the NC “of having history of attacking JeI”. “I appeal to people to maintain clam and do not fall trap to any sectarianism,” said Geelani.
Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Yasin Malik visited the village to assuage the flared up tempers.“This killing is a blot on the face of nation. Those who committed the crime are enemies of Islam,” said Malik.
Malik appealed to religious organizations and priests “to rise above our petty interests and find a solution to curb sectarian clashes”. He demanded that the attackers should be booked for murder.
Moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, while condemning the killing, said “such acts have no space in Islam”.