Jamaat-e-Islami Splits4 December 2011
Srinagar: For the first time in its 65-year history, Jamaat-e-Islami has formally split. A dissident group of senior Jamaat-e-Islami members (arkan) have got together to form a parallel Jamaat. Professor Mohammad Abdullah Shaida, a renowned educationist and one of the senior most members of the Jamaat is heading the rival outfit. Advocate Sofi Abdul Gaffar, another senior Jamaat stalwart is its general secretary. “We have our offices and cadres in all the districts of the state,” said Professor Shaida. He said that separation from the mainstream Jamaat and formation of the parallel one was “painful” but “unavoidable”. Reasoning for the need of the new Jamaat, he said that Jamaat-e-Islami leadership had indulged in some activities that were quite against the spirit and letter of the party’s constitution. “A conscious group of senior members objected to it and informed Jamaat leadership of its defiance of the constitution. But instead of reforming and correcting themselves, they took it as rebellion on our part and expelled us from the party’s basic membership (Rukniyat),” he said. “We had series of meetings with central leadership of the Jamaat in-between. But they remained stuck to their positions forcing us to form a separate faction,” Shaida added. The rival Jamaat members privately say that their differences with the Jamaat leadership erupted when the latter reneged on an agreement with Syed Ali Geelani. “They allowed Geelani Sahab to form a separate party (Tehreek-e-Hurriyat) under a written agreement but put a brave face later and denied having undergone any agreement with him”, said one of the rebel members who refused to be identified as he was not supposed to talk to the press. “That is not the way a Jamaat man, who claims to be representing Islam in its true sense, is supposed to be seen and act. Islam gives extreme importance to the agreements you reach upon with others, even with non-Muslims. You cannot change your colour with your convenience,” said another member. “As we objected to it, our rukniyat (membership) was put under suspension. But when we did not succumb, we were expelled from the party,” he added. The expelled Jamaat members who were around 50 in number formed a group known as “Tafuz-e-Dastoor Forum” (Forum for Protecting Constitution). “For six years we argued with the Jamaat leadership, held meetings with them. Some mediatory committees were also formed.But they always ran away from the truth”, said another member.“Ultimately we were left with no choice but to form our own party,” he said. Last week, the new Jamaat held an Ijtima (convention) at Shah-e-Hamadan mosque Batamaloo. “Around 250 members and sympathizers attended the Ijtima and vowed to work for the spread of message of Islam.The new Jamaat chief said that his faction has all the respect and sympathy for Syed Ali Geelani and his Tehreek-e-Hurriyat. “But we see more merit in working under the banner of Jamaat-e-Islami than joining his Tehreek”, Shaida said. “Right from our younger days we have loved the Jamaat and its ideology, worked for it and suffered for it. Our identity is Jamaat, and we will keep this identity,” he said. The Jamaat lost several senior leaders including Syed Ali Geelani, Ashraf Sahrai, Shaikh Mohammad Abdullah, Shah Wali Mohammad, Ghulam Mohammad Safi and dozens of middle-rung cadres and activists to Tehree-e-Hurriyat Kashmir in 2004. Though tehreek was launched with Jamaat approval but the Jamaat later cancelled Syed Ali Geelani and Ashraf Sahari’s membership from its majlis-e-Shoora (Central Advisory Council), causing serious controversy among the party’s basic members that ultimately gave birth to the new Jamaat. A senior leader of the mainstream Jamaat said: “We are little worried about the formation of new faction. It is a rootless party with no appeal and bases at grass root level”. He reminded that a faction of Jamaat-e-Islami leadership in India too had separated from the mainstream party and formed rival outfit in India as well. “But the faction soon vanished,” he said.