Kashmir clerics denounce NIA summons to Mirwaiz, ban on JeI
Photo: Aman Farooq/GK

Kashmir clerics denounce NIA summons to Mirwaiz, ban on JeI

MMU calls for peaceful protests after Friday prayers, Valley-wide shutdown on Saturday

Kashmir's top clerics and religious scholars Tuesday strongly denounced summoning of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq by the National Investigation Agency and called it a "direct religious interference, which won't be tolerated".

The clerics and religious scholars, who had assembled under the banner of Mutahida Majlis-e-Ulema (MMU), discussed a range of "serious issues", including the NIA notice to Mirwaiz, disallowing congregational prayers at Jamia Masjid, ban on Jamaat-e-Islami and crackdown on resistance and religious leaders across the Valley.

The MMU called for peaceful protests after Friday prayers (on March 15) and a complete Valley-wide shutdown on Saturday (March 16) as a mark of protest against these "unwarranted moves."

Announcing these decisions on behalf of the MMU at a pressconference here, Kashmir's grand mufti, Nasir-ul-Islam, said: "Mirwaiz is notjust a social and political figure but a respected religious leader as well.People of Kashmir have their sentiments and emotions attached with him. I, onbehalf of the MMU, urge the NIA that instead of summoning Mirwaiz to Delhi forquestioning, it should carry out such an exercise in Srinagar itself."

Nasir-ul-Islam was flanked by representatives of almost allreligious bodies including Jamiat-e-Ahlihadith, Anjuman-e-Himayatul Islam,Karwan-e-Islami, Anjuman-e-Ulema-e-Ahnaaf, Daarul-Uloom Raheemiya, AhlibaitFoundation and others.

He said there were "security concerns" if Mirwaiz wouldvisit Delhi "given the attacks being carried out on Kashmiris in many parts ofIndia."

"If the NIA continues to pressurise Mirwaiz to fly to Delhi,the situation in Kashmir would take an ugly turn and there will be no optionfor the people than to hit the streets and hold mass protests," he said.

Asked if the NIA refuses to question Mirwaiz in Srinagar,Nasir-ul-Islam said the MMU would, in that case, plan a protest programmeaccordingly.

"I reiterate that we will hit the streets if the NIA insistson questioning Mirwaiz in Delhi only. We will also chalk out the future courseof action if the situation reaches that point," he said.

The grand mufti said that all ulema (clerics), irrespectiveof their sectarian ideologies, have unanimously decided to put their weightbehind Mirwaiz.

"All of us are with Mirwaiz and will remain so to foil alldesigns against him," he said.

He announced that as a mark of protest against the NIAsummon to Mirwaiz, the recent ban on socio-religious organisationJamaat-e-Islami, crackdown on religious and resistance leaders and sealing ofJamia Masjid (in Srinagar) on Fridays, peaceful protests will be staged acrossKashmir after Friday congregational prayers (on February 15) against these"repressive measures." "There will also be a complete shutdown across Kashmiron Saturday," he said.

On March 9, the NIA sent a notice to the Hurriyat Conference(M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq—also Kashmir's chief cleric—asking him toappear in person before the agency's court in New Delhi on March 11 inconnection with a case filed into alleged funding of militancy in Kashmir.

The Mirwaiz however refused to fly to New Delhi, citing"hostile security atmosphere".

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