SRINAGAR: Acting tough against a group of youths who raised anti-India slogans at historic Jamia Masjid here post congregational Friday prayers, the Jammu and Kashmir Police in nocturnal raids arrested 13 people, mostly youths, on the charge of sedition, it said on Saturday.
Police said that dossiers were prepared and all of them were booked under Public Safety Act and warned people that any attempt at disrupting peace would be strictly dealt with and strictest action will be taken against them under provisions of law.
“Yesterday afternoon, there were Friday prayers in Jamia Masjid wherein a huge gathering took place. Around twenty-four thousand persons attended the prayers, which is among the largest in recent history,” the police said.
“After the culmination of the prayers, about a dozen persons started anti-national and provocative sloganeering, which was joined by a couple of others as well, while most of the gathering remained aloof,” it further said.
The police further said that there was also an altercation between the persons indulging in sloganeering and the volunteers of intezamia committee of Jamia Masjid who tried to stop such sloganeering and hooliganism.
“This created a situation of ruckus inside the mosque leading to clashes between them. Later the hooligans were dispersed outside the mosque by volunteers. Even after coming out, more than a dozen among them tried to provoke others by sloganeering which failed, and in 2-3 minutes they dispersed in a hurry seeing police presence around,” the police added.
In this regard, police said, a case was registered at Nowhatta police station under sections 124A (sedition) and 447 (criminal trespass) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
During the course of the investigation, the police said, technical means were adapted to identify these hooligans, and raids were conducted at different locations which led to the arrest of two main instigators of the sloganeering namely Basharat Nabi Bhat of Hawal, Nowhatta, and Umar Manzoor Sheikh of Bahuddin Saab, Nowhatta.
“Both were apprehended and formally arrested in the case,” the police said adding that 11 more accused were subsequently arrested.
“Many more suspected persons are being examined and will be formally arrested as soon as their role clearly comes forth in this case. PSA dossiers of all these accused are being prepared for booking them under PSA act as well, in addition to the case,” the police stated.
It also came out during the initial investigation that the accused in furtherance of a well-planned conspiracy had received instructions from Pakistani handlers of terrorist outfits to disrupt Friday prayers in Jamia Masjid and create a law and order situation by provoking the attendees. Thus section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC was also invoked in this case, the police said.
The police said that no attempt at using religious places for furthering anti-national and terrorist agenda will be tolerated. “Parents are also advised to keep a watch on the company of their children, indulging in such activities may cause irreparable damage to career prospects,” police added.