Srinagar, July 02: Special Director General of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Zulfikar Hassan today said that use of mosques by the militants to target the forces is highly “reprehensible” and that the masjid committees must ensure that religious places aren’t allowed to be “hijacked” by militants.
According to news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), while talking to reporters on the sidelines of the wreath laying ceremony of a CRPF man who was killed yesterday at Sopore shootout in which a civilian was also killed, the special DG CRPF said that the militants had taken position from inside the mosque and were waiting for the CRPF party to arrive. The wreath laying was organized by the CRPF at RTC Humhama where top police, CRPF and army officials were present.
“I find the use of mosques by militants to target forces as highly reprehensible. We don’t enter or search religious places keeping in view their sanctity,” Hassan said. He said that masjid committees across Kashmir must ensure that masjids are not allowed to be hijacked by the militants.
Asked how the civilian got killed, he said that they found two magazines in the mosque. “The elderly man got killed in the firing from the mosque. We are technically clear that the bullet was fired from the mosque that hit the civilian in his back. I have personally visited the spot, met people and checked the camera. It is beyond doubt that the civilian was killed by militant fire,” he said.
He said the boy accompanying his grandfather was extremely scared. “He was rescued by the CRPF man at the spot,” Hassan said. About the Amarnath Yatra, he said if the pilgrimage is conducted, CRPF will ensure smooth conduct of Yatra.
Talking to KNO, exclusively, the special DG CRPF said that use of mosques by militants seems to be a new dimension in Kashmir. “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 area but we didn’t search the mosque there,” the Special DG CRPF said.
He said it is the second attempt after Khrew, Pampore in Pulwama district, where two militants took refuge in a mosque. 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.