A day after a group of masked youngsters unfurled a flag of the Islamic State from the pulpit of Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid and raised slogans in favour of the outfit, the mosque’s management termed it an attempt to “desecrate Jamia Masjid” by a “lumpen group of hooligans”.
“The attempt to desecrate Jamia mosque by a lumpen group of hooligans, whose identity is not known as yet as they hide it behind masks, nor is the identity known of those on whose behest they are indulging in these shameful acts, is strongly condemnable,” the mosque management said in a statement. “It shows utter disregard by this group of miscreants for Islamic institutions, values and Islamic teachings. Such elements not only malign the name of Islam but also abuse it.”
A 30-second video surfaced on Saturday showing a group of youngsters inside the mosque after Friday prayers. Some of them took to the pulpit and unfurled the IS flag even as others raised slogans in favour of the outfit.
While the IS has very little presence in the Valley, some youths have over the years at several occasions unfurled the IS flag after Friday prayers at the mosque in old Srinagar city, the bastion of Hurriyat leader Mirwiaz Umar Farooq. It is seen as an attempt to undermine Mirwaiz’s leadership and support in the old city.
“A group of masked boys entered the mosque and rushed to the pulpit and one of them stood on top of the pulpit with his shoes on, screaming slogans and creating ruckus,” the mosque’s management said. “In the meantime, his associates videotaped the incident and the video has been put on social media. This clearly indicates that this incident was deliberate and planned. It has naturally led to shock, outrage and deep resentment among people and deeply hurt their sentiments associated with the mosque.”
The mosque management, under Mirwaiz, has said such incidents will not be tolerated in the future. “Anjuman (committee) has taken strong note of this shameful incident and warns those elements or agencies behind this incident that people and Auqaf will not tolerate or allow anyone to violate the sanctity of the mosque and the pulpit …” the statement said. “Jamia Masjid is the spiritual, religious and political centre of the people of Kashmir and representative of our collective cultural heritage, and any attempt to harm it will be dealt with firmly.”