Jamiat chief Maulana Showkat assassinated outside Maisuma Masjid in Srinagar

Srinagar, April 8, 2011: Prominent political and religious figure and President of Jamiat-e-Ahl-e-Hadees (JAH), Maulana  Showkat Ahmad Shah, was today killed in a low intensity Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blast outside a Masjid in Maisuma locality of Srinagar.

The 57 year old president of Jamiat-e-Ahlihadees Maulana  Showkat Ahmad Shah, who was killed in an IED explosion near Maisuma mosque was born at Qalamdanpora-Nowabazar in Srinagar. He is survived by his wife, mother, a son and a daughter. They had shifted their residence to Lal Bazar some 25 years back. His  son, Shoaib Shah recently completed his MBA from Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST) Awantipora.
 The attack happened at around 12:20 pm when the noted cleric disembarked from his vehicle and proceeded towards the JAH Masjid at Maisuma to deliver the Friday sermon and lead the prayers. Witnesses said as Shah was about to step inside the Masjid from the rear entrance, the IED exploded resulting in injuries to him.
 “I was in my room when I heard a loud thud. I went upstairs. I saw a man lying in a pool of blood on the ground with his legs facing the Masjid entrance,” said an eyewitness, Yasmeena, who was the first to spot Shah from the first floor of her house adjacent to the Masjid. “There was nobody there to lift him up. I became unconscious and fell down.”
 Later Shah was rushed to SMHS Hospital by the people present inside the Masjid and neighborhoods.
  “He was brought dead,” Medical Superintendent SMHS Hospital, Wasim Qureshi, told media men in Srinagar. “He had multiple blast injuries on chest and abdomen.”
  Ashiq Hussain, an eyewitness told newsmen that a bi-cycle was carefully parked on the rear entrance of the Masjid from where the cleric used to enter every Friday for delivering sermons.  The mangled bicycle with its ripped apart tyres was bearing testimony to the incident at the spot.
Another eyewitness, Waseem Ghazi, whose house faces the incident spot, said he heard an explosion similar to the sound when a gas cylinder bursts. “I spotted smoke emanating,” Ghazi said. “Then somebody fired shots in the air. Later I found he was Maulana ’s security guard.” The witnesses said the attack was well planned.
 “His nephew and two security guards were with him in his car,” Ghazi said. “When he went off the vehicle near the narrow alley which leads to Masjid entrance, the attack was carried out. In the meantime the two security guards and his nephew had gone to park the car.”
“I was not well and was sleeping when a powerful blast woke me. I found the windows of my house damaged. In panic I moved out and found heavy volume of smoke and dust. One person lying injured near the gate of the mosque and another person was running helter skelter, he was saying Molvi sahib Molvi sahib,” said Zeba, an elderly woman living in a house just in front of the blast site.
Another member of her family said only females were inside their house when the explosion occurred. “My three minor daughters had gone to school, I rushed to bring them home after the blast,” she said.   
An old man who was inside the mosque when the blast took place said he felt the wall will come down. "I saw a bag on the cycle but I went inside the mosque. When the blast took place everything just trembled," he said.
One of the PSOs of Maulana  Showkat said, as the blast was heard by them, somebody said that a cooking gas cylinder had exploded.” As we rushed to the spot there was smoke and dust. We found Molvi sahib lying critically injured on the ground,” he said.
The SPOs fired some rounds in air. The blast and firing caused panic. People in the area ran helter skelter and shopkeepers pulled down their shutters. However, after some time as the order was restored, the people came to know that Maulana  Showkat has been targeted.
 The attack was so precise that it killed Shah on the spot while two girls received minor bruises due to flying glasses.
 The funeral prayers of Maulana Showkat Shah were offered in the Friday, 8 April evening in the nerve centre of Srinagar- Lal Chowk. Thousands of people poured in from different corners of the Valley to pay last tributes to their beloved scholar.
Amid pro-freedom slogans and wailing, the people shouldered the coffin. Thousands of people filled the Maisuma streets and later in the form of procession moved to Lal Chowk.
On the occasion, Chairman Hurriyat (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Chairman JKLF Yasin Malik addressed the gathering. Hurriyat (G) Chairman Syed Ali Geelani was put under house arrest. Prof Abdul Ghani Bhat, Bilal Gani Lone, Agha Syed Hassan and Nayeem Ahmad Khan were also present on the occasion.
 Maulana Showkat Shah succeeded Mohammad Ramzan, who incidentally was also injured in an attack by unidentified persons on 29 January 1999. Ramzan was coming out of a mosque after offering Friday prayers and died seventeens days later in a hospital.
  P R O F I L E
 Maulana  Showkat Ahmad Shah is remembered by his peers as a soft-spoken saintly figure. He was known as the best organizer and a person who streamlined Jamiat-e-Ahli-Hadees in the Valley to make the organisation cadre based. It was under Maulana ’s supervision that JAH increased its membership many-folds to reach the mark of 15lakh valley-wide. He also headed 814 mosques affiliated with the organisation.
 Maulana  who sported a free flowing grey beard had a modest beginning. He worked for 30 years in Indian city Kolkata selling shawls and was known for his honesty. Being the nephew of Maulana Noorudin, who is regarded as one of the pioneers of JAH in Kashmir, Maulana Showkat remained fully involved with the organisation since his youth.
 Afterwards, he moved to Srinagar and worked for JAH to strengthen its base. He toiled hard to bring the Jamiat at the forefront and later in 2004 he was elected as president by the 400 plus Shura members.
  For his exemplary contribution, Maulana was elected three times for the post of JAH chief and last elections were held in 2010. He was also known for his philanthropic work. He established a diagnostic centre and was working hard to get Transworld Muslim University approved from the Government.


He met Imam Kaaba on 27-28 in New Delhi and extended him invitation to visit Kashmir. The Imam accepted the invitation.
 However, his tenure as President has not been always peaceful. He was a pro-freedom scholar. He was arrested several times for his association with pro-freedom movement. In 2008 he was arrested and was sent to jail after the authorities booked him under the draconian law, Public Safety Act.
 Unidentified gunmen had earlier fired at his car in 2006-2007 in Barbarshah while as in 2008 his house was attacked with a grenade at Lal Bazar in outskirts of city.
 Besides his studies, Maulana Showkat got associated with the business of Kashmir arts from the very beginning. He was closely associated with Hurriyat Conference. However, after the split of Hurriyat, he remained neutral.
 Maulana Showkat remained active during the mass agitation against the transfer of Kashmiris land to non-Kashmiri people and last year’s 2009. and against atrocities and human rights violations in 2010.
 The JeA president was keen for establishment of transworld Muslim university by his organisation in Kashmir.
 The JeA president played a key role during the visit of noted Islamic scholar Dr Zakir Naik to Valley some year’s back.
He was among the first to demand a fresh enquiry into the killings of leaders including Mirwaiz Farooq, Abdul Gani Lone and Dr Qazi Nissar Ahmad.
In year 1999, unknown person killed Shah’s predecessor, professor Mohammad Ramzan. Professor was injured in an attack by the unknown persons on January 29, 1999, when he was coming out of a mosque in Chattabal in Srinagar after offering Friday prayers. He died on 15 February 1999.
Prior to professor Ramzan’s killing, a prominent religious scholar of the Jamiat-e-Ahle Hadith, Salim Javaid was also killed by the unknown persons.
In June 1994, unidentified gunmen killed Dr Qazi Nissar Ahmad of Islamabad, Mirwaiz of south while on May 1990 unknown gunmen also assassinated noted religious luminary and Mirwaiz Maulana Mohammad Farooq, the father of Hurriyet leader, Mirwaiz Moulvi Umar Farooq.
In last two decades of military violence has witnessed deaths of thousands of people by men in uniform and others who fell to the phenomenon called unidentified killers also. 
However killers always remain a mystery for people of Kashmir. From commoners to famous, these unidentified persons have spared none in Kashmir. Unidentified persons in last two decades killed several leaders, scholars and intellectuals also.
Assassinations of prominent people began; the first victim of these unidentified killers was Chairman of the Awami Action Committee, Mirwaiz Maulvi Farooq. On May 1990 unidentified gunmen barged into his Nageen residence and shot him dead. 
Hriday Nath Wanchoo, a Kashmir Pandit and a noted human rights activist was assassinated by unidentified gunmen on December 5, 1992. Wanchoo, who was a retired civil servant and trade unionist, had documented and filed writ petitions for hundreds of custodial deaths in courts. Amnesty International in its report stated that Wanchoo may have been extra-judicially executed because he was one of the most vocal human rights activists in Kashmir.
Dr Abdul Ahad Guru renowned Kashmiri cardiologist and a founder of a Medical College was assassinated in Srinagar on March 31, 1993. Dr Guru was one of the prominent faces of pro-freedom camp during early 90’s.
Prof Abdul Ahad Wani, was kidnapped by unidentified gunmen on December 31, 1993 from Kashmir University’s Department of Law and hours later his bullet-riddled body was spotted at a deserted spot outside the university premises.
Dr Qazi Nissar a prominent religious leader and Mirwaiz of south Kashmir was assassinated on June 18, 1994. Nisar had participated in the election of 1987 and was one of the founding members of Muslim United Front (MUF).
Professor Mohammad Ramzan, president of Jamiat-e-Ahle Hadith was injured in an attack by the unknown persons on January 29, 1999, when he was coming out of a mosque in Chattabal in Srinagar after offering Friday prayers. He died on 15 February 1999.
One popular political and liberation leader and a scholar Dr Ghulam Qadir Wani of Bandipore was assassinated in Bandipore. 
Abdul Gani Lone of Handwara, Chairman of Peoples Conference and a Hurriyat Conference leader was assassinated May 21, 2002. Lone was shot dead by unidentified gunmen at a rally in Srinagar. The shootout happened during a ceremony to mark the death anniversary of former Mirwaiz of Kashmir Maulvi Mohammad Farooq. Normal 0
Sheikh Abdul Aziz (1952 – August 11, 2008) was Chairman Jammu Kashmir Peoples League and a prominent member of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, strong advocate of Right to Self-Determination of Kashmiri people and believed that an Independent plebiscite under UN supervision can bring long lasting peace in South-Asia was assassinated by of Indian Paramilitary Forces on August 11, 2008 in Uri in Baramilla while leading a peaceful public demonstration against the ‘economic blockade’ of the Kashmir by Indian Hindu extremist groups with the tacit support of the Indian government.
Maulana  Showkat Shah, president, Jamiat-e-Ahli Hadith was assassinated on April 8, 2011. Shah was heading for Friday congregation when an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) placed on a bicycle near a mosque in uptown Maisuma exploded and killed him.