Satire in the Age of Letters and Technology- more than just a pinch of it.
By Sabika Abbas
After a fairly peaceful winter season, the assassination of Maulana Showkat Ahmad Shah, disrupted peace in the Kashmir valley again. The incident took place ahead of Friday prayers on 8th April, 2011, on the footsteps of a mosque in the Gaw Kadal area, in downtown, Srinagar. Maulana was the local leader of a religious group, Jamat-e-Ahle-Hadith, that promotes Wahhabism, a branch of Sunni Islam.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah stated that the government was looking at all aspects to determine the people accountable for this tragedy. According to a senior police officer, an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) had been planted on a bicycle parked close to the Ahilhadith mosque (in the Gaw Kadal area of Srinagar). When the maulana reached outside the mosque, unknown assassins triggered the IED, resulting in critical injuries to the cleric and another passerby. Mukhtar Ahmad Mir, a resident of Maisuma locality also sustained critical injuries in the explosion.
Though, the motive behind the attack still remains a mystery, there are many conspiracy theories doing the rounds. Maulana Showkat Ahmad Shah was known for his liberal views and has created a stir in the valley after he declared stone pelting as un-Islamic. He was said to be personally close to Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front Chief, Yasin Mallik. Maulana’s critics accused him with charges of corruption and secret desires for fame and wealth. Some even said that Maulana should have concentrated more on social, religious and educational issues than on creating a stir in public with his radical views. There have been prior attacks to kill him, in 2006, he survived an attack, following which he was given police security. His predecessor Prof. Muhammad Ramzan too was assassinated by unknown men at the doorsteps of the same, Ahilhadith mosque. During his president ship, Jamiat-e-Ahle-Hadith was always surrounded with controversies and not many in the party were happy with his leadership.
Major parts of Srinagar were completely shutdown as the news of maulana Showkat’s assassination spread like wildfire. Police issued a red-alert in the valley and the CM requested people to maintain peace and harmony. Tension mounted on the city and shopkeepers downed the shutters in Lal Chowk, Maisuma, Gaw Kadal and Residency Road areas of the city. Security was increased in sensitive parts of Srinagar. Police along with the paramilitary forcces were also placed on high alert.
Now, one can only wish that this incident does not result in what happened last summer, when the valley was completely surrounded by protests and more than 100 people were killed. People in the valley can only hope and pray that the summer of 2011 remains peaceful and life in the Kashmir valley does not get disrupted or affected by protest marches, killing of innocent people, incidents of stone pelting or another bomb blast.