Srinagar- The Jammu and Kashmir have arrested thirteen persons on charges of sedition and criminal trespass in connection with anti-India slogans at Jamia Masjid Srinagar following Friday prayers on 08 April.
A video of some people raising slogans went viral on social media on Friday prompting the police to register an First Information Report (FIR).
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Rakesh Balwal told Kashmir Observer that no one will be allowed to disturb peace in Srinagar and the accused will be booked under Public Safety Act (PSA)
In a statement issued here, a police spokesperson said that “dossiers” have been prepared and all of them are being booked under PSA and warned people that “any attempt at disrupting peace will be viewed very seriously and strictest action under provisions of law” will be taken against them.
“Yesterday afternoon, there were Friday prayers in Jamia masjid wherein a huge number of gathering took place, around twenty-four thousand persons attended the prayers, which is among largest in recent history,” the spokesperson said, adding, “After the culmination of the prayers about a dozen persons started anti-national and provocative sloganeering for while, this was joined by a couple of others as well, while most of the gathering remained aloof.”
The spokesperson said that there was also an altercation between the persons indulging in sloganeering and the volunteers of intezamia committee of Jamia Masjid who tried to stop such sloganeering and “hooliganism.”
“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,” the spokesperson said.
In this regard, he said, a case was registered in police station Nowhatta as FIR no 16/2022 under IPC sections 124A (sedition) and 447 (criminal trespass).
During the course of the investigation, the spokesperson said, 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 namely 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,” he said.
“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 act as well, in addition to case,” he added.
The spokesperson also claimed that 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, he said.
“ Investigation, in this case, is undergoing at fast pace and some more arrests are likely,” police said, adding, “Police informs all citizens that any attempt at disrupting peace will be viewed very seriously, strictest action under provisions of the law will be taken against all those who get involved in such illegal activities,” the spokesperson said.
In addition to this, he said, 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 company of their children, indulging in such activities may cause irreparable damage to career prospects,” the spokesperson added.
The Friday prayers at the Jamia Masjid were allowed by the authorities on April 8 and a large number of people offered the prayers.