So far, the army or the police have not issued any official statement on the matter.
Srinagar: A security forces officer in Jammu and Kashmir has been removed from duty after a patrol party allegedly forced Muslims at a mosque to raise “Jai Shri Ram” and “Bharat Mata ki Jai” slogans.
The alleged incident took place at Zadoora village in Pulwama district on Saturday morning.
Three former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Ministers — Ghulam Nabi Azad, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti — are among the prominent leaders from the Valley who have demanded a probe into the allegations.
Senior officers visited the village and assured people that the matter is being investigated and necessary action will be taken, according to officials.
Several villagers have also alleged that the soldiers beat them up before forcing them to raise Jai Shri Ram slogans. The villagers say the incident happened early on Saturday when the muezzin gave the call for morning prayers from the mosque.
In the middle of azaan, they alleged, the muezzin was stopped and forced with other villagers to raise slogans.
“The only thing which has been established is that people outside mosque were asked to raise Bharat Mata Ki Jai slogans,” a senior officer said. The officer leading the patrol party has been shifted out of the area and removed from operational duty, the officer said.
Mainstream leaders from the Valley have reacted strongly to the serious allegations.
“Reports of security force personnel entering a mosque in Zadoora in Pulwama are deeply distressing. It’s bad enough they entered but then forcing people to chant slogans like ‘Jai Shree Ram’ as reported by the locals there, is unacceptable. I hope @rajnathsingh ji will issue instructions for these reports to be investigated in a timely & transparent manner,” Mr Abdullah, former Chief Minister and National Conference leader, tweeted.
Sajad Lone, former MLA and chief of Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference, said the incident is “very very scary”.
“The incident at Zadoora Pulwama is highly condemnable. And at the same time – very very scary. The drift seems to have gone too far.
Hoping against hope that the administration will do what it takes to ensure that such incidents never take place again. What a sad state of affairs though,” he tweeted.
Mr Azad, former Congress veteran who now leads Democratic Progressive Azad Party, said “such things are neither in our culture, nor allowed under the law”.
“I strongly condemn reports of the alleged Pulwama mosque incident. At this point these are allegations but we must immediately get to the bottom of this matter. Such things are neither in our culture, nor allowed under the law. Urging the govt to investigate the incident and take strictest action against those responsible!,” he tweeted.
The army has never faced such allegations in the past three decades of its counter-insurgency duties in the Kashmir Valley. In fact, it has shown its religious-neutral characters through Sadbhavana programmes and the MMG concept — Mandir, Masjid and Gurdwara — under which soldiers of different faiths pray together