Protests Rock Hazratbal19 August 2010
Srinagar: Police resorted to firing and baton charging at Dargah Shrine after worshippers discovered liquor bottle shards and playing cards from the upper balcony of the mosque. The eyewitnesses said following the deal with police, they entered the mosque to clean it in the wake of Friday. “As we were cleaning the mosque, we found liquor bottle pieces and two bundles of playing cards,” an eyewitness said as he was giving bath to the mosque. “It angered us. It was desecration of shrine. We showed it to media. Police was watching us. Then we entered into mosque and announced on loudspeaker the shrine would be closed” eyewitness said. In the meantime, they said police went berserk and opened fire and started beating people. “They fired hundreds of rounds. It was like war. They also broke the windscreen of vehicle and opened fire inside the residential areas to terrorize people” On the other hand, the Station House Officer Nigeen, Ghulam Mohammad Rather was beaten by armed police and CRPF outside Dargah Shrine when he tried to meddle between the worshippers and police. “People were offering prayers. Then they started raising some slogans,” sources said. “The JKAP and CRPF tried to storm the mosque, but SHO Nigeen intervened”. Sources said the armed police then opened fire. “SHO hold the gun and pointed its muzzle towards sky”. As the protesters dispersed, the armed police persons and CRPF beat up the SHO. Sources said it was JKAP 8th battalion F and C Company who beat up the SHO. Meanwhile, according to a spokesman of J&K Muslim Waqf Board, Gusul ceremony of Asar-i-Sharief, Hazratbal was performed before Zuhar prayers as per the agreement made earlier in presence of Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, Mehraj Ahmad Kakroo and Superintendent of Police, Srinagar. The ceremony was performed amidst Darood Khawani in which large number of respectable and people of adjoining areas participated. On this occasion, Vice Chairman, Muslim Waqf Board, M. Y. Qadri, Secretary of Waqf Board were present. The gusul khawni was performed amicably. However, when carpets and furnishing was being laid, some boys came down from the balcony with two playing card leaves in their hands and attempted to create confusion. They also forced people to move out. Obviously, this seems to be a deliberate attempt to deprive people from offering prayers in the Dargah Sharief.