Srinagar: Lashing out at the chairperson of the J&K Waqf Board, Darkshan Andrabi, for her recent announcement that the board was preparing to start recruiting degree-holding Imams, Mubalighs, and Muazins in Kashmir, Apni Party President Altaf Bukhari Sunday said that if recruitment of Imams and Muazins must be based on qualifications and degrees, then let’s commence with assessing the qualifications of the Waqf Board chairperson herself first.
A statement of Apni Party issued here said that addressing a public rally in Tilsara area of Charar-e-Sharief in central Kashmir’s Budgam district, Bukhari to make his opposition more clear and forceful named Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, and Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and posed a question to them saying, “How will you react if someone suggested appointing degree-holding priests in revered places like the Ram Mandir?”
He said, “Such actions amount to direct interference in religious affairs and are absolutely unacceptable. Don’t try to hurt our hearts by such moves, and don’t try to play with our religious sentiments.”
Bukhari urged the people to remain united when it comes to protecting their fundamental and religious rights guaranteed by the constitution.
He said, “I feel sorry for the politicians who are divided to the extent that they can’t even unite on religious matters. However, I urge the people to stand united to safeguard their constitutional rights and not allow anyone to meddle in religious affairs beyond limits, just like the Waqf Board is attempting to do by recruiting Imams and Muazins based on qualifications and degrees.”
Bukhari reiterated his demand for the release of jailed religious leaders and said, “Time and again, I urge authorities to release the Valley’s prominent religious leaders like Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Moulana Abdul Rasheed Dawoodi, Moulana Mushtaq Ahmad Veeri, Moulana Manzoor, and others. These religious leaders have a huge following in Kashmir, and they have a remarkable influence over the people; thus, they can play an imperative role in helping eradicate drug abuse in Kashmir.”
He said: “Let me make it very clear that politicians are unable to help eradicate the prevailing drug abuse in society. However, considering the vast influence of our religious leaders over the masses, they, if freed from jails, will be able to play a significant role in helping to eradicate social evils, including drug abuse.”
Bukhari urged the people to join hands with the Apni Party to strengthen it further so that the party could play its role more powerfully.
He said: “Post August 5, 2019, when the entire erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir was plunged into chaos and uncertainty and people harbored concerns about the future demographic landscape of J&K, we made the choice to stand alongside our beleaguered citizens. We were the first to approach the Union Government to secure our agricultural lands and jobs. At that point in time, some miscreants unleashed a concerted campaign against us. However, we did not bother about name-calling and propaganda against us, as we had resolutely committed ourselves to championing our people’s cause, regardless of any obstacles that emerged. And, we will continue to stand up for our people and will always strive to protect the fundamental and democratic rights of J&K people. We are the agents of our people.”
Bukhari said, “I never mince words when affirming the fact that Jammu and Kashmir is destined to be a part of India, and it will continue to be so. Despite the wounds we have endured from New Delhi, I am confident that we will find solutions to all our problems in Delhi, not elsewhere.”
Apni Party’s Parliamentary Affairs Committee (PAC) Chairman Dilawar Mir was also present on the occasion.