A MILITANT group in Kashmir had paid Rs 1,000 to a youth to lob the grenade that killed six people outside a mosque at Tahab village in Pulwama district of J&K on Friday.
The army on Saturday paraded 22-year-old Ghulam Nabbi Mir before mediapersons and said villagers had seen him throw the grenade. Ghulam, from Litter village, described himself as just a “worker” of Hizbul Mujahideen.
Ghulam told HT his target was Moulvi Abdul Rasheed Dawoodi, a moderate religious leader and chief of Sawt-ul-Awliya. “I was paid Rs 1,000 to eliminate him,” said Ghulam. “I do not know why (the militants) want to kill Dawoodi.”
Accompanied by his followers, Dawoodi was about to enter the mosque to give a sermon when the explosion took place. He suffered splinter injuries.
Ghulam said a Hizb activist Gulzar Ahmad Mir alias Nikka had lured him to carry out the attack. “Nikka came to me, handed over a grenade and asked me to toss it on Dawoodi,” he said. He said it was his first such assignment.
The army said villagers who caught Ghulam wanted to punish him themselves but handed him over to the army on Friday night after much persuasion.
Brigadier G.S. Katoch of the 70 Infantry Brigade said Ghulam confessed that the plot to kill Dawoodi was hatched by two Hizb commanders, Rais Ahmad Dar and Ghulam’s uncle Ashfaq Ahmad. “Dawoodi preaches peace. This does not suit the terrorists,” Brigadier Katoch said. The Hizb has denied involvement in the attack.
Dawoodi, recovering at a Srinagar hospital, told HT’s Jammu correspondent, “Those having an issue with me should come forward and debate. Let them tell me why I am wrong.”
The attack at a mosque in Pulwama is being seen as a plot by extremists to impose their will on liberal Muslims in the Valley.
In Kashmir, thousands of devotees visit mystics at various shrines such as Baba Rishi in Tangmarg, Baba Shukur-ud-Din in Watlab, Bandipore and Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani at Charar-e-Sharief.