NC, Hizb Blame 'Secret Agencies' For Shopian Mosque Attack
SRINAGAR: Former chief minister Omar Abdullah's National Conference party and militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen Thursday blamed "secret agencies" for the attack on a mosque in Shopian which injured at least 10 worshippers.
“It is like the violence and tyranny at the hands of security and secret agencies is being re-enacted," the party's provincial spokesperson for Kashmir said in a statement, "There is an atmosphere of fear, uncertainty and suspicion and its effects are written on every face here”.
A mysterious explosion in a mosque injured at least 10 worshippers in Shopian's Imam Sahab locality on Thursday morning. The attack, first of its kind in years, took place at around 5:30 am when Muslim worshippers, most of them elderly people, were emerging from the mosque after offering pre-dawn Fajr prayers.
Some hours after the incident, the family members of Wasim Ahmad Malla, a wanted Hizbul Mujahideen commander listed in A++ category, discovered a similar device in the compound of their house. The family lives barely two kilometres away from the mosque where the explosion took place in the morning.
Malla family, however, dialled police and a bomb disposal squad was dispatched to the area which defused the explosive. No group claimed responsibility for the attacks.
However, Hizbul Mujhadeen blamed "Indian security agencies" for the attack on mosque and a failed attempt at its commander's home. In a statement, Hizb spokesperson, Salim Hashmi, quoting United Jihad Council chief, Syed Salahuddin, said the attacks are a retaliation to similar attacks on "Indian security forces" in Kashmir.
“The grenade blast that happened in the premises of Masjid is the handiwork of Indian agencies. These agencies are also responsible for hurling the grenade over the house of Abdul Rashid Mala (Hizb commander Wasim Malla's father). We condemn such acts and pray for the recuperation of the injured,” the statement reads.
The J&K police remained tightlipped about the identification of perpetrators behind the attacks, which have spread fear and anguish among the residents of Shopain where insurgency-related violence has surged this year.
According to a census by J&K Police, about 33 militants, most of them well-read and belonging to financially sound families, joined militant outfits this year. Many of them are residents of Shopian who maintain a covert network of sympathisers and over-ground workers.
Both the Army as well as the J&K Police have been facing the music of their attacks and Thursday's events are being seen by locals as a crack down on militants who are fuelling "new insurgency" in the Valley.
"The situation is back to nineties," a resident of Shopian, wishing anonymity, told The Citizen, "We are fearing a repeat of what happened in Sopore some months back. Mark my words, the perpetrators of today's attack will never be traced."
Four persons including a Hurriyat activist were killed in a spate of mysterious attacks by unidentified gunmen in Sopore in June. The attacks were linked by the Hurriyat as well as the National Conference to Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar's "using terrorists to kill terrorists" remarks.
The attacks in Shopian came on the day when three persons from the district, including a sarpanch and the brother of the Hizb commander, Wasim Ahmad Malla, were slapped with the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA) for their alleged involvement in insurgency.
Officials said Saboor Ahmed Malla along with Mohammad Yusuf Padder of Hep Shermaal and Rayees Ahmed Dar, a sarpanch of Barbugh, were arrested two weeks ago on charges of sheltering the militants. They were slapped with PSA on Thursday.