Police has intensified hunt against those who are allegedly involved in “arson” and “threatening people” in Kashmir with arresting nine persons from two districts on Tuesday.
According to Police spokesperson, four persons were arrested in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district while fiver others were arrested on Downtown area of Srinagar city.
Those arrested in Baramulla were identified as Mohammad Maroof Saliah, Bilal Mehraj Bhat, Sameer Ahmad Shakroo and Aadil Gaffar Sofi. However, the names of those arrested in Srinagar were not known immediately.
On November 24 at least three shops were gutted in Baramulla town, triggering panic among the shopkeepers following which they kept their business shut for many days.
Senior Superintendent of Police Baramulla, Abdul Qayoom said the arrest of four persons was made after investigating the case for about eight days.
“Three shops were set ablaze by miscreants at three different places. One three-story shopping complex Libas Ghar was also damaged,” Qayoom told reporters addressing a news conference in Baramulla.
In this regard, a case under FIR No. 181/2019 u/s 436, 506 IPC was registered at Police Station Baramulla and investigation was started,” he said adding the accused, who were arrested on Monday night, have confessed their involvement into the case.
During the investigation, SSP Baramulla said CCTV footage available at different points was retrieved and it was observed that the three out of four persons where moving suspiciously during the day time.
Shakroo had planned the strategy of setting the shops ablaze, Qayoom said.
“Maroof, Adil and Bilal executed the plan of Sameer to set the shops on fire,” he said.
Sameer bought petrol from Azadgunj petrol pump at Rs 400 out of which Rs 150 was paid by Bilal, who is running a shop in Kanlibagh, SSP Baramulla said.
He said they decided to set the shops ablaze before 8pm when electricity curtailment schedule for electricity ends in the area.
“Their motive was to create a fear among the shopkeepers who were operating their business normally,” Qayoom said.
He said incriminating material and logistics used in the crime were recovered from the accused and the involvement of more people cannot be ruled.
“Further investigation is going on,” Qayoom said.
Meanwhile, a Police spokesman said that five persons were arrested for “hurling petrol bombs (Molotov Cocktails) and threatening of shopkeepers and locals in the interiors of Srinagar City.”
A Police spokesman said the group was involved in hurling petrol bombs on vehicles of police and security forces in Sarafkadal, Bohrikadal, Rajourikadal, Khanyar and Nowhatta areas of Srinagar.
“They were also involved in intimidating and threatening of shopkeepers and other businessmen based in the old city,” the spokesman said.
He said during the investigation it was established that the arrested persons were used minors to track the movement of Police and other forces’ vehicles in the area.
A case has been already been registered and further investigation in the matter is underway, an official said.
Pertinently, several incidents of shop’ burnings were witnessed in Kashmir after abrogation of Article 370 of Indian constitution and bifurcation of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state into two union territories on August 05.
An official said Police have made series of arrests of persons involved in publishing and circulating posters that “threatened” shopkeepers in various parts of Kashmir.