SRINAGAR, Kashmir -- In a brutal slaying reminiscent of the Taliban, suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba militants gunned down an 18-year-old youth who had taken refuge inside a Sopore mosque, Indian media reported Thursday (March 21st). The militants were apparently angered because he had participated in sporting events organised by the police and army.
Suhail Ahmad Sofi, 18, was sitting with friends in the mosque compound – where Muslims had assembled for night prayers -- when gunmen started to open fire, according to Press Trust of India. He took refuge inside the Hamaam section of the mosque, but was followed there by the one of the militants, who shot him dead.
"Preliminary investigation reveals that the militants of Lashkar-e-Taiba have killed him," Daily News and Analysis quoted police sources as saying. Sharply condemning the attack, Jammu and Kashmir Grand Mufti Bashiruddin Ahmad said Islam does not allow the murder of innocent people, particularly in a mosque.
"A mosque is house of Allah and anyone who enters house of Allah is safe. The mosques cannot be turned into killing fields," the Mufti said, according to the Press Trust of India (PTI).
Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah, meanwhile, lashed out at opposition parties in Kashmir for what he said were their double standards concerning violence.
"If security forces would have killed anyone you would have marched to the well and torn your clothes," he said during a state assembly session, according to PTI. "You would have thrown mikes and demanded answers from me, but when militants kill any one why don't you raise your voice. Why these double standards?"