Maulana opposed to stone throwing killed in Srinagar (Third Lead)April 8th, 2011 - 6:57 pm ICT by IANS
Srinagar, April 8 (IANS) Prominent Kashmiri religious leader Maulana Showkat Shah, a trenchant critic of last year’s stone throwing youngsters, was killed here Friday when a powerful bomb exploded outside a mosque, triggering a spontaneous shutdown that crippled life in the city.
An improvised explosive device planted on a bicycle parked close to the Ahilhadith mosque in Srinagar’s Gaw Kadal area exploded when Shah reached the spot, a police officer said.
The blast seriously injured the maulana, a leader of the Jamiat-e-Ahilhadith. The 55-year-old was rushed to the SMHS hospital, where doctors declared him dead.
Another man, identified as Mukhtar Ahmad Mir of Maisuma locality, also sustained critical injuries in the explosion.
The killing immediately sparked tension in Srinagar, the urban hub of Jammu and Kashmir’s unending separatist campaign.
Scores of mourners, shouting slogans demanding freedom for Jammu and Kashmir, carried Shah’s body in a procession to Gaw Kadal area adjacent to city centre Lal Chowk and Maisuma locality.
He will be buried at the Martyrs’ Graveyard at Eidgah grounds in the Old City, sources in the Jamiat-e-Ahilhadith said.
The Jamiat-e-Ahilhadith is a highly puritanical group of Muslims closer to the Wahabi school of thought in Saudi Arabia.
In the last few decades, the Ahilhadith school of thought has gained a large following in the Kashmir Valley.
Because of their highly puritanical beliefs, the Ahilhadiths are generally seen as being against “Tawheed Parast” (Oneness of Allah).
The Jamiat-e-Ahilhadith is neither a member of the hardline Hurriyat group headed by Syed Ali Geelani nor the moderate Hurriyat group headed by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq.
Personally, however, Shah had a close relationship with Muhammad Yasin Malik, the chairman of the pro-freedom Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF).
Shah was the Kashmir Valley’s most vocal critic of last summer’s stone pelting protests and even issued a fatwa against it, earning for himself abuse, death threats and the tag of “Indian agent”.
As news of his assassination spread, shopkeepers quickly downed shutters in Lal Chowk, Maisuma, Gaw Kadal and Residency Road areas of Srinagar.
Traffic thinned out in the city as tension mounted.
The authorities immediately increased vigil in Srinagar and large numbers of police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were deployed in Lal Chowk, Maisuma and other sensitive areas.
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Tags: campaign scores, chowk, city sources, critical injuries, explosive device, gaw, geelani, hurriyat, jammu and kashmir, jklf, kadal, kashmir valley, liberation front, muhammad yasin, mukhtar ahmad, oneness of allah, school of thought, separatist campaign, syed ali, vocal critic