Police has arrested former union minister and senior Congress leader, Mohammad Maqbool Dar's son Gowhar Maqbool for being involved in three incidents of desecration of mosques and the holy Quran in south Kashmir's Anantnag district.
He had also stolen a wooden chest from local shrine and thrown the Holy Quran stolen by him from Jamia Masjid Shangus in a drain at Nowgam and also attempted to set on fire a mosque at Somran Nowgam.
Confirming the arrest of Gowhar, SSP Anantnag Abdul Gani termed him a habitual drug addict with complex family problems and attributed these crimes as his individual acts.
SSP said that there were three incidents of desecration of mosques in Achabal area of Anantnag, creating tremendous resentment amongst the local population. Fire erupted and damaged matting in a mosque at Chandervan during the intervening nights of January 2 and 3.
This incident was thought to be accidental by the villagers, but on January 3, some villagers of Shangus found few pages of the Holy Quran torn out in the mosque and the portion of Holy Quran thrown in the nearby latrine.
The incident provoked massive protest demonstrations in the area. As the embers of anger were yet to die, another incident took place on January 6, when the coir matting of VakhilBalan Mosque at Shangus was again set on fire. This added fuel to fire with residents of the area occupying streets in protest.
Sensing the gravity and sensitivity of the case, SSP said, a special investigation team headed by DySP Hqrs Anantnag Sh Saif-ud-Din Shah, assisted by SHO P/S Achabal and some other police officials was framed to nab the culprit.
He said that during the course of investigations, about 120 suspects were interrogated. "Investigation team finally zeroed in onto one Gowher Maqbool Dar s/o Mohammed Maqbool Dar R/O Nowgam Shangus," he said.
SSP further revealed that sustained investigations revealed that the said 'culprit' was not only responsible for the reported incidents but had also broken open a shop at Chandervan Utrasoo, before trying to set the mosques on fire and added that the suspect had also looted some crackers, sweets, biscuits and cigarettes from the shop.
"The accused had also stolen the wooden chest from the local shrine and thrown the Holy Quran in a drain, at Nowgam and also attempted to set on fire a mosque at Somran Nowgam," SSP said.
He said all these incidents were independently verified by Special Investigations Team and were found correct. "All the stolen items were recovered from his house. A hammer and kerosene pot used by him in his crimes was also found there," the SSP added.