Kashmir Valley residents despondent, confused after cleric’s assassination

April 9th, 2011 - 5:58 pm ICT by ANI  

Srinagar, Apr. 9 (ANI): The assassination of Islamic cleric Maulana Showkat Ahmad Shah on Thursday has left most parts of the Kashmir Valley tense, even as the state administration has taken steps to beef security up to prevent law and order from going out of control.

On Friday, a majority of the population in Srinagar opted to stay indoors. Leaders from a cross section of Kashmiri society appealed for calm and peace, while others termed the killing in an explosion outside a mosque a conspiracy.

Shops and business establishments remained shut. The mood in the valley is despondent and confused. There is a simmering anger also in certain quarters of Kashmiri society.

State Chief Minister Omar Abdullah visited Maulana Shah’s Lal Bazar residence on Saturday to condole his death with bereaved family members.

He met Maulana Riyaz Ahmad Shah and Maulana Intiyaz Ahamd Shah, the brothers of the slain cleric, as also his 15-year-old son Shoaib Ahmad.

Abdullah said that in the death of Maulana Shah, a void has been created that would be difficult to fill. He said that it was a great loss to Kashmiri society.

Tourism Minister Nasir Sogami and Director General of Police Kuldeep Khoda accompanied the chief minister during his visit to the residence.

The Jamiat Ahle-Hadees president was assassinated outside a Srinagar mosque on Friday afternoon.

Police said that the explosion was caused by an improvised explosive device (IED), concealed in a bicycle, and added that unidentified men triggered it as Shah was heading towards the mosque in the Gaw Kadal area for Friday prayers.

Sources said an intercept of a message from Pakistan occupied Kashmir indicated that there was an attempt to blame the killing on the right-wing Bajrang Dal and the Shiv Sena.

Shah died on the way to hospital. No militant group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.

Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF chief Yasin Malik attended his funeral on Friday.

The Mirwaiz said: “Those elements who killed Shah have to answer.” He said Shah always strove for unity. “This is a conspiracy to weaken our struggle but our struggle will never get weak.”

Yasin Malik said: “The killers of Shah are cowards… Can one who kills a scholar, that too at the gates of a mosque, claim to be a Muslim?”

Hurriyat hardliner Syed Ali Geelani said: “This is a barbaric act of terrorism. The killers of Shah cannot be human.”

His wife and three children survive the 55-year-old cleric. (ANI)

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