Mirwaiz's Ramadhan Radio Show Goes Off Air18 August 2011
Srinagar: A popular Ramadhan show on FM 92.7 featuring Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and other clerics has gone off the air, inviting criticism from listeners in Jammu and Kashmir. The morning show, hosted by RJ Haya had become an instant hit, with the Mirwaiz, who is also the chairman of separatist Hurriyat Conference (moderate), talking about social issues in light of Islamic teachings. However, the programme, Is Ramadan Mein Suniye Mirwaiz Umar Farooq Ko (Listen to Mirwaiz Umar Farooq this Ramzan), was suddenly suspended and “no reason given.” Other segments related to Ramadhan were also put off. While the Mirwaiz blamed the “State and Central agencies” for putting a brake on the show, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said, “My government has not done anything.” The Mirwaiz, who was doing the show in his capacity as head priest of the Valley, told The Hindu that it “was aimed at addressing the day-to-day religious, cultural and social challenges faced by the people and was in both form and content totally apolitical. It was also an effort to connect the people especially youth with their rich religious and cultural heritage and traditions in order to help them imbibe good values.” But the powers that be wanted to distance people from their religious and cultural milieu, in order to weaken them and their institutions, he alleged. “They see these efforts as a threat to their designs.” Denying any involvement on part of the State government, the Chief Minister told journalists in Jammu: “He was doing a religious programme and I have no problem with it. My government has not done anything. The airwaves are looked after by the Government of India. And the decision is taken by the radio channel and not by the State government.” The FM has also drawn flak from listeners. “The decision to put off the programme is uncalled for as it gave us a lot of information about the subjects which one could particularly follow during Ramadhan,” said Nazir Ahmad, a youth. Many followers of the Mirwaiz have expressed resentment, saying “FM cannot play this joke with us.” However, authorities at the FM radio downplayed the issue saying the programme was part of an innovation.