Tension In Kashmir Over Alleged Desecration Of Religious Books

Tension In Kashmir Over Alleged Desecration Of Religious Books

29 June 2012
Times of India
M. Saleem Pandit

Srinagar: Tension mounted in the Kashmir valley on Friday morning after the news of an alleged desecration of religious books near a local Imam Bargah at Gundhassibhat Mirgund in Baramulla district spread. 'We have registered an FIR (No. 202-2012) after we recovered the torn leaves of a religious book and a half burnt religious book near the Imam Bargah in the morning today,' SHO Parimpora, Ghulam Mohi-ud-din said. The SHO, however, said the police have started the investigation and the situation in the area was under control even though the locals had gathered inside the Imam Bargah to protest against the sacrilege. The incident occurred at a time when the valley remains under strict police surveillance following the Kashmir Grand Mufti's (Mufti Bashir-ud-Din) call for a Friday march from Lal Chowk to the Dastgeer Sahib shrine in the old city to protest against the fire that destroyed the 200-year-old Sufi shrine of Saint Abdul Qadir Jeelani on Monday. Although the state authorities have ordered an inquiry into the June 25 blaze, some sections in the valley suspect that it was not an accident. Mufti Bashir-ud-din has accused the Omar Abdullah administration of destroying the evidence of the cause of the fire. The authorities have announced curfew in the areas of downtown to avert any law and order problem. The valley has been relatively calm for the past two summers but the latest incidents of desecration of religious books and the destruction of the Sufi shrine has caused anxiety. Syed Ali Shah Geelani, prominent Kashmiri separatist leader has asked Muslim scholars of the valley to desist from issues of secondary importance and polemic discussion on sectarian issues. 'The Ulema should not take any step which may prove detrimental to the unity of the Muslims and interest of the ongoing freedom struggle,' said Geelani in a statement today, expressing serious concern over the reports that some Ulema in south Kashmir were challenging each other for polemic debates publicly. Geelani said the biggest challenge the people of Kashmir were confronting was that of sectarian extremism and the clashes and violence triggering from it. 'People involved in this sort of extremism are doing disservice to Islam by creating divisions among Muslims. There is a hand of anti-Islamic forces behind all these undesirable acts,' he alleged. 'Unfortunately some Moulvis, who are quite ignorant of Islamic teachings, are becoming instrumental in spreading the fire of Maslaki (sectarian) hatred and tension in the valley,' he said, adding that the main objective behind all this 'game plan is to divide the Muslims and weaken the ongoing freedom movement' in Kashmir.