Shia cleric blames police for Budgam clash


Imran Ansari says

Srinagar: Imran Ansari, son of late Shia cleric and senior PDP leader Molvi Iftikhar Ansari, said on Sunday that a few police officers orchestrated the clash at Khanda in Budgam on Saturday and were now trying to hush it up by terming it a Shia-Sunni clash.
“There was no Shia-Sunni clash. It is a lie told by the police to cover up the conspiracy that got exposed. It is a matter between mourners and the police who tried to kill me,” Imran told reporters at a press conference.
According to Imran, the police tried to stop his entry into Khanda Imambara on Saturday and resorted to cane charge when his supporters protested. Imran and scores of his followers were injured in the police action.
“Deputy Superintendent of Police Ashiq Tak is a notorious, blood thirsty officer. He is responsible for killing a youth in custody in Sopore in 2010 and was transferred from the area for the same reason,” Imran said. He said Station House Officer of Khanda police station Arshid Khan, who has an FIR against him at Ganderbal, is “in the same league”.
Imran said a former militant who was the “source of the DSP Tak” had a hand in creating the trouble.
“Police accuse me of defying restrictions barring entry into the area and misbehaving with the security personnel. If there were restrictions why was my vehicle allowed to enter into Imambara premises? They are concocting stories,” he said, adding he will move Supreme Court if the need arose to prove his point.
“The people told me that CRPF and SOG personnel were marching towards Imambara. I was already inside the premises. I walked up to five officers who were surrounded by about 250 SOG men. I told them not to trouble people. They asked me who I was. I told them the people know me. Then someone among the SOG personnel shouted ‘he is one of them, shoot him,’” Imran said.
“I saw SOG men beat the people. Even inside the Imambara, SOG men with rifles were beating people and misbehaving with women,” he added.
He said the police had fired in air even though the district magistrate had not passed orders to open fire.
The Shia leader said it is not for the first time that Muharram mourners were stopped from observing their religious duties.
“It has been happening for the past 40 years. The government has a different yardstick for Muharram procession and Amarnath Yatra. When it comes to Muharram, the government says there is threat of Shia-Sunni clashes. But there is a bigger threat to Amarnath Yatra,” he said.
Asked if the National Conference had a hand in the clash, he said, “This is no time for politics and it would be unfair of me to accuse Omar Abdullah of anything, he is only a caretaker this time.”