Kashmir: Jamiat Calls Clerics’ Meet Next Month20 September 2010
The Indian Express
New Delhi: In the first such initiative by a mainstream Muslim outfit, the Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind is set to assemble around 10,000 Islamic scholars and clerics at Darul-uloom Deoband in the first week of next month to give a call for peace in Kashmir, and to seek protection of the “democratic and human rights” of Kashmiris. Islamic scholars and clerics of “all shades of opinion and schools of thought” would be invited for the conference to be held on October 4, which would be on the lines of a conclave it had organised two years ago at the end of which some 6,000 clerics had issued a joint fatwa against terrorism. This was decided at a meeting of the working committee of the Jamiat here on Sunday. One of the country’s leading Islamic organisations and an influential voice of Deobandi ulema, the Jamiat hopes to rally support for the people of Kashmir through the conference and at the same time send a powerful message that Kashmir is an integral part of India and peace has to be restored through dialogue with all stakeholders. Senior Jamiat leader Maulana Niaz Farooqui said there would be a joint declaration by the ulema at the end of the conference, talking about humanitarian and religious angles. Asked whether the declaration would condemn “stone-pelting”, he said such “specific matters” would be decided at the conference. He said the declaration would not talk about political package or initiative. “That is not our subject. We will confine ourselves to humanitarian and Islamic aspects,” Farooqui said. A Jamiat delegation will also visit Jammu and Kashmir after the Deoband conference to meet all groups. “As of now, there is an agreement that we should talk about the democratic rights of Kashmiri people and issues like violation of human rights. The physical problem and agonies that the people are facing because of frequent bandhs, strikes and curfew have to be addressed. It is time to douse the fire and find a solution. We would demand a meaningful dialogue with all sections,” he told The Indian Express. “None of the Muslim outfits has taken any major initiative on Kashmir. We would invite leaders of all sects and leaders of other prominent Muslim outfits for the conference,” he said. The Jamiat leadership has also decided to urge mosque leaders and Imams not to give any provocative speeches at the Friday prayers after the Ayodhya verdict and appealed to the community at large to refrain from taking out either celebratory or angry demonstrations.