Prominent leader killed in J&K blast

Prominent leader killed in J&K blast

Prominent leader killed in J&K blast

Authorities sounded high alert in the Valley following the killing and put police and paramilitary forces in readiness.

The incident occurred at 12:25 pm when Moulana Showkat was about to enter the mosque through the back gate to deliver the sermon and later lead the Friday prayers.

Eye witnesses said the IED was planted in a leather bag which was fastened to the carrier of a bicycle parked just before the mosque gate. The device was triggered by a remote control as Moulana Showkat reached the spot, prompting police to term it a target killing.

Moulana Showkat was the president of Jamiat-e-Ahlihadees (JeA) Kashmir and was close to JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik.

Earlier, he was associated with the undivided Hurriyat Conference. After the split in the movement in 2003, Showkat stayed away from both the hardliners led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and the moderates led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, while working to unite the factions.

State government provided him with two Police Security Officials (PSO) following three attempts on his life allegedly by militants. The security men were at the parking lot in Naisuma Crossing when the blast occurred.

Moulana Showkat died on the spot and another person also sustained splinter injuries. The religious leader was taken to the SMHS hospital here, where doctors declared him brought dead. His body was moved back to the mosque.

Zeba, an elderly woman, whose house is just in front of the blast site said she and her other family members rushed out of the house on hearing the explosion.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah wrote on Twitter, “Moulana Showkat, head of the Jamat i Ahle Hadees has been killed in a blast in Srinagar. Will cool heads prevail? I pray they do….We are looking into all aspects to determine who is responsible. Red alert is only to heighten security because of blast, not to stop people.”

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