Youth Dead, 2 Injured In Clash Over Mosque Loudspeakers In North Kashmir

Youth Dead, 2 Injured In Clash Over Mosque Loudspeakers In North Kashmir

6 August 2012
The Hindustan Times
Peerzada Ashiq

Srinagar: Violence that broke out between two Muslim sects over the use of loudspeakers at mosques in north Kashmir's Ganderbal left a youth dead and two others grievously injured on Monday afternoon. Two groups of people praying at a mosque in Sendabal village, 30km north of Srinagar, entered into an argument soon after their afternoon prayers over the use of public address system. Eyewitnesses told Hindustan Times over phone that the argument was over the issue of use of loudspeakers during prayers or not. 'There was a verbal duel inside the mosque. It turned violent. There was nothing pre-planned in the clash. Heated arguments turned into sectarian clash on the spur of a moment. Three people were hit with some hard object. One of them succumbed to his injuries,' Ganderbal superintendent of police Shahid Mehraj told Hindustan Times. The victim has been identified as Shabir Ahmad, a local in his early twenties. Two other injured have been hospitalised in Srinagar. 'There is a claim that the clash was an outcome of an argument over the use of loudspeakers. We have not concluded anything at this point of time. The matter is under investigation,' said Mehraj. The shocking incident has come in the holy month of Ramadan when any violence and abuse is strictly prohibited in Islam. After the incident, security was beefed up in the locality that continued to be tense till late on Monday evening. There is difference of opinion among Muslims over the use of loudspeakers in mosques. One sect propagates that loudspeaker should only be used for azaan (call for prayers) but the other sect maintains that prayers and verses in praise of Allah should be broadcast through these loudspeakers. The incident has come just a day after Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Yasin Malik organised an iftar, the practice of breaking fast in Ramadan, where separatists and religious priests pledged to stop hate speeches and growing sectarian divide. Clerics from most sects pledged not to criticise or malign each other.