SRINAGAR: CRPF, Special DG, Zulfikar Hassan on Thursday said militants taking over mosques is a new dimension in Kashmir militancy and appealed masjid committees and people to secure religious places.
“The use of mosques by militants seems to be a new dimension in Kashmir. During anti-militancy operations, security forces conduct searches in villages, forests, houses but never enter mosques as we have great respect for religious places,” Hassan told reporters on the sidelines of the wreath-laying ceremony of a CRPF jawan killed in Sopore.
The use of mosques by militants is highly reprehensible and militants are repeatedly using mosques, he asserted. Militants had fired on a CRPF party from a mosque in Sopore on Wednesday which resulted in the killing of a CRPF personnel and a civilian.
“We found 60 empty cartridges and 2 magazines from inside the mosque. This shows they had taken position well in time in the mosque and were waiting for the CRPF to arrive,” he said.
The Sopore gunfight was the second time when militants had used a mosque, Hassan said.
“On June 19, two militants took refuge in a mosque in Meej, Pampore area in south Kashmir and were killed in subsequent gunfight.”
He appealed masjid committees and citizens to secure the mosques and not allow them to be hijacked by militants. Meanwhile, Amir Siraj Bhat, a 21-year-old footballer hailing from Baramulla district, is missing since June 24. His family have registered a missing complaint with the police.
PDP-NC to join hands?
Arch-rivals National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party are willing to join hands with like-minded parties to fight for restoration of J&K’s special status while Congress is in a “wait and watch” stance.
“The battle ahead is very tough. We have to put up a collective face,” PDP leader Firdous Tak asserted.