SRINAGAR: The copy of a confidential police communication seeking details of mosques and their management committees in Srinagar district, which went viral on social media, continue to ruffle many feathers here although the officials say it was a "routine order".
The copy of a confidential letter sent by Srinagar Senior Superintendent of police (SSP) Haseeb Mughal to various zonal Superintendents of Police (SP) in the district went viral on the social media on Monday.
The letter seeks details of the management committees of the mosques in Srinagar district. It said the information was for the purpose of furnishing to "higher authorities".
When asked to comment on the veracity of the order, Advisor to the state Governor on the Home Department, Vijay Kumar, said he could not be asked to comment on rumours. He even questioned the motives of mediapersons who showed him a copy of the order, asking for the "source" of their information.
Hours after the comments by the Advisor, the SSP Srinagar released a statement to the media owning the order's authorship, asserting, however, that it "was a routine order".
Informed sources told IANS that the details mentioned in the communication pertaining to Srinagar district have already been collected in respect of the other 9 districts in the Valley.
Reacting to this communication, senior separatist leader Mirwaiz Omar Farooq said on his Twitter handle: "Concerned by Govt orders being circulated daily to create alarm among people, after the deployment of more forces. Any move against our places of worship and religious matters will be resisted strongly by all Muslims across the state. Do not deliberately vitiate the situation".
During the past unrests in 2008, 2010 and 2016, mosques have been used for stoking passions and asking people to gather for protests.
"Mosque loudspeakers were basic aids through which the separatist propaganda was spread during 2008, 2010 and 2016 unrests. The exercise to collect details of the number and the management committees of the mosques is a routine security exercise," said a senior intelligence officer requesting not to be named.
"It is in no way intended to interfere with the offering of prayers inside the mosques. Our intention is only to ensure that devotees offer prayers in the sanctity of the mosques and that these are not used by anti-national and anti-social elements.
"The details would help the district authorities to come to the assistance of mosque management committees if anyone tries to disrupt the sanctity of the mosque", he added.