Army Denies Torching Gen Soleimani’s Picture

Says Identity Of ‘Anti-Social Elements, Miscreants’ Being Ascertained For Legal Action

Srinagar- Two days after violent protests broke out in Magam town after soldiers allegedly torched a portrait of slain Iranian commander Major General Qasem Soleimani, the army on Thursday rejected the allegations and said that identity of anti-social elements and the miscreants was being ascertained and suitable legal action will be taken for spreading rumor.

In a statement issued here on Thursday evening, an army spokesperson said that during a routine check, a poster of a person (holding weapons) unknown to the soldiers in a patrol party in village Malabuchhan was asked to be brought down from the wall.

“It has now been ascertained that the poster was of Iranian military officer Mohsen Hojaji, who was captured and assassinated by ISIS in Syria,” he said.

“The poster got torn on the side while being taken down. This led to objections by the residents. However, it is reiterated that No Burning of the poster took place,” he added.

The army spokesperson said that on intimation of the incident, company commander reached the location and pacified the residents.

“A little later a crowd of 500 was assembled in General Area Magam which is approximately one kilometer away for a religious procession, to commemorate Hazrat Ali's birthday. Permission for the religious procession had been granted by the Police,” he said.

Taking advantage of the situation, the army spokesperson said that some anti-national elements spread the rumour that Gen Soleimani’s photograph has been burnt.

“This led to the crowd getting agitated. In order to bring the situation under control, a Senior Army officer reached the place of the incident and defused the situation by clarifying that there was no intention of disrespecting sentiments of the people,” he said.

He further said that the senior army officer with senior police and civil administration officials further spoke with the elders of community and the situation was brought under control.

“Identity of anti-social elements and the miscreants is being ascertained and suitable legal action will be taken,” the army spokesperson added.

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