| Soldiers take Ghulam Nabi Mir for questioning at the Pulwama army camp on Saturday. (AP)
Pulwama, Nov. 11: Ghulam Nabi Mir was a reluctant assassin. But the Rs 1,000 probably changed his mind.
A day after a grenade lobbed at cleric Abdul Rasheed Dawoodi killed five people, most of them children, the alleged killer revealed how the attack was planned and executed.
“I was given Rs 1,000 by a Hizb-ul (Mujahideen) militant to throw the grenade at Dawoodi,” Mir said. “A Hizb militant, Nika Mir (Gulzar Ahmad Mir), contacted me and asked me to lob the grenade at him (Dawoodi).”
The Hizb denied involvement and said Indian security agencies were behind the attack, carried out with the apparent motive of fanning sectarian clashes.
Mir, who appeared to be in his late 20s, said he was at first reluctant to carry out the attack on the Barelvi sect leader outside Markazi Jami Masjid, about 45 km from Srinagar. “But he persuaded me,” he told reporters in the presence of security personnel.
“Forgive my mistake. I wouldn’t make such a mistake again.”
The resident of Litter, a village 5 km from Tahap, the scene of the attack, said he carried out a recce of the area before the strike.
“A day before the attack, I was given the grenade and was shown how to lob it,” Mir, bruises on his face, said in a broken voice. “I joined Dawoodi sahib’s procession, lobbed the grenade and tried to flee.”
But residents chased and caught him and, for several hours, did not hand him over to the security forces.
“I was taken to a house where I was tortured. They even tried to burn me,” he said. “I pleaded for my life. People burnt some grass beneath my feet.” It was only much later, he said, that the army rescued him.
The Hizb said it was a deliberate attempt to drag its name into the incident and tarnish its image in south Kashmir. “The attack on Dawoodi is part of a larger conspiracy,” Junaidul Islam, a spokesman for the rebel outfit, said.
The spokesman offered to cooperate with “any international probe” into the incident. “Kashmiris know the truth and they would not trust Indian propaganda,” he said.
“The Hizb cannot even remotely think of such an attack at this crucial stage of the freedom movement,” he added.
Islam said the arrested youth had no links with the Hizb and slammed the National Conference’s Tahap activist, Farooq Ahmad Ganai, for “catching him”.
“He has some personal vengeance against him,” Islam said. “Otherwise, he (Mir) has no hand in the attack.”
Dawoodi, a Barelvi preacher who targets his rivals from the Deobandi school in his speeches, said he does not need to add anything more as Mir has confessed.
“But if somebody has differences with my ideology, he should come forward and discuss it,” the injured cleric added. “Violence is no answer.”