Total Pageviews

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sarkar ‘nervous’ as Geelani brings all Sarkari Maulvis under his umbrella

Hurriyat (G) chief views sectarian divide is a ‘world conspiracy against Islam’

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, May 25: National Conference, Congress or their governments in the state and the Centre had never publicly identified themselves with the young cleric Maulana Ghulam Rasool Hami’s Karvan-e-Islam (the caravan of Islam). This Bareilvi preacher from Ganderbal has shot into prominence with his sizeable Meelaad rallies and sermons, demonstrating reverence in Kashmir’s saints and shrines. On January 15th in 2007, Hami’s lieutenant, Maulana Abdul Rashid Dawoodi, survived a grenade attack at Tahab village in Pulwama when five of his followers died and 60 sustained injuries.

Years later, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah inducted Hami as a member of the Muslim Wakaf body in Kashmir. Last year, the Bareilvi’s organized a major show of strength with apparent facilitation of the Government. Earlier this month, Hami silently quit Omar-led Wakf body but not for devoting more time to his green-turbaned movement of the revival of faith in Valley’s shrines. Contrary to common expectations, both, Hami as well as Dawoodi, attended a conclave of clerics at Geelani’s residence and under his stewardship. With their attendance and statements, both lent credence to Geelani’s radical ideology of separating J&K from India and making it part of the theocratic Pakistan which he euphemistically calls ‘Azadi Bara-e-Islam’ (freedom for the religion of Islam).

Hami, Dawoodi and the Grand Mufti of Kashmir, Mufti Bashiruddin, are not the only ones who have dramatically become Geelani’s fiendlies in the changing scenario. Geelani’s arch rival in the separatist camp, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, has also been isolated to an extent. Of late, he has been religiously deputing his aide, Sayeed-ur-Rehman Shamas, as representative of Anjuman-e-Nusrat-ul-Islam to attend meetings of the new formation at Geelani’s house. Other participants, according to sources, include a fairly thick number of the known pro-establishment clerics. In his hard-hitting statements, Geelani had been denigrating them as Sarkari Maulvis (clergymen sold out to the Government). He is no more using the phrase.

For obvious reasons, Geelani’s success in bringing the entire clergy under his umbrella is widely being interpreted as the establishment’s setback---from Srinagar to Delhi. Significantly, most of the clerics, belonging to divergent schools of thought, have buried the hatchet and strengthened Geelani while, more significantly, burying the ‘pro-Delhi’ phrases of Kashmiriyat, Aetiqaad (faith in saints and shrines), pluralism and the Valley’s secular ethos.

This has not occurred overnight. As a particular school of thought, extolling puritanical attributes of Islam, began spreading its tentacles from two revered shrines of Batmaloo and Sarai Bala, two incidents of firing happened in the two neighbourhoods. Killing didn’t appear to be the motive. Pir Jalal-ud-din of Batmaloo was left wounded in the first shootout. PSO of a senior government official, emerging as proponent of the pro-saint pro-shrine form of the religion, was targeted in the second firing. Within the next few days, the official was truncated by the Omar Abdullah government with his transfer from a key department. Unconfirmed reports insist that he too attempted to win Geelani’s mercy when some radical outfits got him in the eye of a storm.

Knowledgeable sources, nevertheless, insist that Geelani used neither the “fear of gun” nor money to dent what he calls ‘the Government’s sinister plan of dividing the Kashmiri Muslims on sectarian divergence’. Even in NC and Congress, a many activists believe that Geelani was yielding minimum influence after failure of the 2010 street agitation and he was not currently in a position to make his writ run in the changing Srinagar. Analysts here assert that recent exposure of several Maulvis and Imams as being the beneficiaries of New Delhi’s funding to Madrasas was craftily interpreted by pro-radical media as an act of “treason to the freedom struggle”. Perceiving the threat of total elimination, they resorted to the prudence of submission before Geelani.

At his news conference today, Geelani claimed that Government had got “unnerved” over his success of bringing all clerics under one fold. He asserted that most of them had attended his initial conclave on May 5th. “It had been decided to unitedly fail and fight all of the Government’s sinister plots to divide the Muslims on sectarian grounds. Next meeting had been scheduled on May 24th. Though all of the invitees had left their places and were on way to Hyderpora, Police put up barriers and sent them threats by telephone to stop them from attending the meeting”, Geelani alleged. He asserted that dividing Muslims all over the world was a “world conspiracy” in which USA, Israel and India were the key characters.

According to Geelani, red herrings were being used to make the Kashmiris forget their sacrifices for the “freedom struggle”. Government agencies, he alleged, had imposed peace in Kashmir with the barrel of the gun. He claimed that neither development nor employment to the youth could make the Kashmiris forget and abandon their “struggle for freedom”.

Geelani significantly ignored reference to contents of the Kashmir interlocutors’ report, made public in New Delhi yesterday. However, when a journalist pressed for reaction, Geelani asserted that the report had only vindicated Hurriyat Geelani’s stand. Geelani and his loyalists had boycotted the interlocutors--- Dileep Padgoankar, Radha Kumar and M A Ansari---and dismissed the UPA Government’s initiative as “merely India’s post-2010 move to mislead the Kashmiris and the entire world over the unreal peace in Kashmir”.

In a significant development, Geelani revealed that he had post-poned the May 29th shutdown to May 30th in response to requests from Kashmiri Pandits, who wished that the annual Khirbhawani festival on May 29th be not disturbed.


No comments: