Mosque committee heads must take responsibility, ensure “militants don’t enter religious places to carry out acts of frustration”
Srinagar, July 01: Special Director General of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Zulfikar Hassan Wednesday said that security forces while conducting anti-militancy operations never touch mosques given to ensure their sanctity remains intact but mosque heads and committee must ensure that “militants aren’t able to use religious places for attacking forces”.
“This seems to be a new dimension in Kashmir as militants are using mosques for taking refuge and attacking forces without caring for the civilians who walk or travel on the roads,” Hassan told news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS).
He said that in the anti-militancy operations, security forces conduct searches in villages, forests, houses but never touch masjids. “Security forces have great respect for the religious places. Even before the attack at Sopore, we have conducted searches in nearby areas but we didn’t search the mosque there,” the Special DG CRPF said, adding that “this is a very serious issue that militants are now using mosques to target forces.”
He said it is the second attempt after Khrew, Pampore in Pulwama district, where two militants took refuge in a mosque. “We ensured that without causing any damage to the mosque both the militants were killed. But the larger question remains that if militants are using mosques for hiding and attacking forces, that’s something serious which needs to be looked into by the people of Kashmir,” the top CRPF officer said.
He urged the mosque heads and management bodies across Kashmir to ensure that militants aren’t able to enter mosques to hide and then target forces. “They have to play a role here,” he said.
He said that the civilian was killed in militant firing. “Our men had de-boarded from the vehicles and taken positions. We didn’t fire at the mosque,” he said. “I along with the IG operations (CRPF) visited the spot and after taking stock, we found the bullets were fired from the militant side that hit the civilian as he was coming in the opposite direction.”
Asked whether there would be some change in the strategy of deploying and re-deploying the forces, he said all precautions are being taken by the CRPF men while performing duties, the question arises that “militants are trying to open a new dimension by hiding in mosques, knowing that we don’t touch, or search mosques.”(KINS)