Jammu and Kashmir Police on Friday said it has started a probe into the surfacing of photographs of Islamic State (IS) chief Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi in Shaher-e-Khaas after congregational Friday prayers.
The surfacing of Bagdadi's photographs during protests here has raised concerns for the security agencies across Kashmir. The police, however, ruled out having made any detention during the post-Friday prayer clashes.
Soon after the Friday congregational prayers, a life-size banner appeared on a wall at Nowhatta area of old Srinagar— displaying the photograph of IS chief Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi with a tag—'Welcome Kashmir'. The development took many people by a surprise as this is for the first time after surfacing of IS and Pakistani flags that Baghdadi's portrait was pasted on a wall.
Police sources said Baghdadi's photographs were spotted at two places at Nowhatta. "Police sleuths rushed to the spot to check who had pasted the photographs of the IS chief. We have been observing that soon after the Friday congregational prayers, some masked youth wave IS, Pakistan and also the flags of militant outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba," they said.
The Inspector General of Police Kashmir range, Syed Javid Mujtaba Geelani, said that police has launched investigations into the surfacing of Al-Baghdadi's photographs in Old City.
"We have been watching waving of IS flags during protests. We are ascertaining whether there is some seriousness on this is just for a gimmick. Let the investigations complete and things will be clear," the IGP said. This is for the first time that police has started official investigations into the surfacing of Baghdadi's photographs.
A police source said that some youth might be picked up for questioning in the coming days. "We are on it and have to see as what prompted them to place Baghdadi's photographs on the walls at Nowhatta," he said. "This may not be a serious concern, but things have to be clear and we are on it."
Earlier, he said, some boys were questioned in a "friendly manner" by the police men in civvies as to who waves IS and Pakistani flags. "It was found that young boys do it for fun." he said.
"We had apprised our superiors about the feedback we received from the boys," he said. "Though we had been keeping a tight vigil on the events, especially on the protests after Friday prayers outside Jamia Masjid, you won't believe, we found a boy who seems to be not even more than 12 years in age, waving IS flag."
Meanwhile, youth resorted to stone pelting in Nowhatta and Saraf Kadal area of Shaher-e-Khaas after congregational prayers forcing forces to fire some tear-smoke shells to disperse the protesters. According to reports, some youth were detained for hurling stones on police. However, IGP ruled out having made any detention. "We have not detained any youth in old Srinagar," he added.'