News Nation Exclusive: Kashmir seethes in anger as leaders question timing of ban on Jamaat-e-Islami

New Delhi, Fayiq Wani | Updated : 06 March 2019, 12:54 PM
On February 22, the state police detained around two dozen of Jamaat's cadres, including its chief Abdul Hamid Fayaz
On February 22, the state police detained around two dozen of Jamaat's cadres, including its chief Abdul Hamid Fayaz

Following the Pulwama attack, the Central government declared the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) in Jammu and Kashmir as an 'unlawful association' under Section 3 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 for alleged anti-national and subversive activities. The ban was ordered by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) after a high-level meeting on national security, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On February 14, at least 42 CRPF personnel were killed in one of the deadliest terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district when a Jaish suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying over 30 kg of explosives into their bus in Pulwama district that also left many critically wounded.

More than 2,500 Central Reserve Police Force personnel, many of them returning from leave to rejoin duty in the Valley, were travelling in the convoy of 78 vehicles when they were ambushed on the Srinagar-Jammu highway at Latoomode in Awantipora in south Kashmir.

On February 22, the state police detained over 100 of Jamaat's cadres, including its chief Abdul Hamid Fayaz. Detainees include Advocate Zahid Ali (spokesperson), Ghulam Qadir Lone (former secretary general), Abdur Rouf (Ameer Zila Islamabad), Mudasir Ahmad (Ameer Tehsil Pahalgam), Abdul Salam, Bakhtawar Ahmad, Mohammad Hayat (Tral), Bilal Ahmad, Ghulam Mohammad Dar, and others.

Earlier, in a letter dated February 22, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had ordered deployment of 100 companies of paramilitary forces with 'immediate effect' in addition to the number of forces already stationed in the state. The letter was addressed to the Jammu and Kashmir home secretary, the state Chief Secretary and the Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police.

Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) chairman and president Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF) Mohammad Yaseen Khan, while speaking to News Nation questioned the timing of the arrests. "Jamaat-e-Islami has been there since decades, if they had any affiliations with terror organisations why weren't they arrested in last four years. Has the government unleashed the arrest spree just because elections are approaching?" he said.

"The government claims to not have sealed the Jamaat affiliated schools and other organisations but who will help them function when its entire leadership and workers have been jailed," Yaseen said. Calling for the ban to be revoked at the earliest, Yaseen said the Jamaat is a socio-religious organisation. It played a significant role post the earthquake in 2005 and 2014 floods in Kashmir.

"The government is claiming to have taken steps to bring peace here but such conditions won't end the hostilities. We will have no option else than to hit streets if the ban isn't revoked," he said.

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday termed the ban on Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) Jammu and Kashmir an act of "vengeance" by the Centre, saying it would have "dangerous consequences". "There is an atmosphere of vengeance in the state, especially in the Valley after JeI youths and leaders were arrested.

Jamaat-e-Islami in Jammu and Kashmir

Jamaat-e-Islami is an Islamic political organisation founded by Abul Ala Maududi in 1941. Following the partition, the organisation split into two - Jamaat-e-Islami Hind and Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan. In 1952 the Jamaat-i-Islami Hind decided to separate its Kashmir branch because of the disputed nature of Jammu and Kashmir. The Jamaat later contested the 1983 State Assembly election but failed to win a single of the 26 seats it had contested because of alleged massive rigging. Increasing anti-Indian protests took place in Kashmir in the 1980s.

The last time the Jamaat contested the elections was in 1987 as part of the Muslim United Front which was fought on the platform of advocating the establishment of rule by the Quran and Sunnah. These elections were allegedly rigged too. In 1989 Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) was adopted as the group's "militant wing". In 1990 a chief commander of Hizbul Mujahideen pronounced it as the "sword arm of the Jamaat". In November 1997, Jamaat publicly distanced itself from militancy. The then political chief of Jamaat-e-Islami, Syed Ali Shah Geelani separated himself from the organisation and later found Tehreek-e-Hurriyat.|

What does Jamaat-e-Islami do?

Jamaat-e-Islami has over 370 schools in the Valley with over 75,000 students enrolled. One of the school holds undergraduate courses as well in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir, according to a local daily. "I am a widow who has three daughters and a son. Jamaat has been taking care of my expenses from the local Bait-ul-Maal for the past seven years without letting anyone know about it. This Jamaat ban will make my life difficult. I am asking the government. Who will now take care of me and thousands like me? You were not taking care, that's why Jamaat was," News Click quoted a local woman as saying.

"The Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba, the student wing of the Jamaat, organises seminars to spread awareness about various dangerous trends in the society. Issues of drug addiction, mental depression, imparting Islamic knowledge among the students and freeing humanity from all forms of economic exploitation are the things we discuss," said a Talaba student pleading anonymity.

First Published: Wednesday, March 06, 2019 09:50 AM
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