Srinagar, April 9: Police on Thursday arrested thirteen persons on charges of sedition and criminal trespass in connection with slogans at Jamia Masjid Srinagar following Friday prayers. Police also 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 huge number of gathering took place, around twenty four thousand persons attended the prayers, which is among largest in recent history,” he said, adding, “After 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 police said that there was also 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 police said in the statement.
In this regards, police said, a case was registered in police station Nowhatta as FIR no 16/2022 under IPC sections 124A (sedition) and 447 (criminal trespass).
During course of investigation, police 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,” police 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,” police said.
The police also claimed that it also “came out during 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, police 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 law will be taken against all those who get involved in such illegal activities.”
In addition to this, police 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.”