Three arrested for Maulana Showkat killing (Lead)

April 16th, 2011 - 9:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, April 16 (IANS) Jammu and Kashmir Police Saturday said three persons have been arrested for the murder of respected cleric Maulana Showkat Ahmad Shah, and added that the conspiracy, hatched in Srinagar’s Central Jail, also involved a radical leader based in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

S.M. Sahai, Inspector General of Police for Kashmir zone, told a media conference here that “a radical religio-political outfit, namely ‘Sout-ul-Haq’, and some other radical elements have been found behind the conspiracy.”

Maulana Showkat was killed in a triggered blast of an improvised explosive device (IED) as he was entering a mosque here April 8.

The plan to eliminate the Maulana was hatched in the Srinagar Central Jail some time back, Sahai said.

“The conspiracy behind the killing has been unearthed and radical elements have been found responsible for it,” Sahai said.

In a significant revelation, Sahai said these radical elements were in touch with Jameel-ur-Rehman, secretary of the Muzaffarabad-based conglomerate of guerrilla groups, the United Jehad Council (UJC).

According to Sahai, the radical elements perceived Maulana Showkat as one against sectarianism and helping to defuse sectarian clashes.

“His work in the field of education, especially trying to establish a university with the help of the government, was perceived by them as a compromise with the government,” the IGP revealed.

Sahai also said one man, Abdul Ghani Dar alias Abdullah Gazali, had called on Ashiq Hussain Fakhtoo alias Dr. Qasim lodged in the Srinagar Central Jail and the two had discussed the plan to eliminate Maulana Showkat since he could not be defeated by the radicals through elections, which he had won as the president of the Jamiat-e-Ahlehadith.

“However, the actual execution was entrusted to Nisar Ahmad Khan alias Ishaq, a resident of Chanapora locality in Srinagar city,” Sahai said.

“Abdul Ghani Dar, Javaid alias Bill Papa and Nisar Ahmad Khan have already been arrested,” he said.

Sahai added: “Bill Papa sought help from Lashkar commander Abdullah Uni. He received some material from Abdullah Uni and also arranged some of it locally. Various parts of the execution were carried out by various other members.”

“The IED (improvised explosive device) was triggered by Nisar Ahmad Khan,” he said.

Maulana Showkat was the cleric Of the Jamiat-e-Ahlehadees - a highly puritanical group of Muslims closer to the Wahabi school of thought in Saudi Arabia, which has gained a large following in the Kashmir Valley in recent years.

He had fiercely opposed last year’s stone throwing youngsters during the summer riots in the Kashmir Valley, which led the radicals to dub him as an “Indian agent”.

He had been receiving many death threats before the assassins finally struck.

The cleric is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.

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