JKCCS to file case against Mufti Bashir over ‘fatwas demonizing Kashmiris’

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Srinagar, Feb 08: Accusing Mufti Bashir-ud-Din of working for the state, a civil society group Thursday said it would file a case against the Grand Mufti for issuing fatwas (religious decrees) which defame and demonise Kashmiri society before the international community.
“There is no institution of Grand Mufti. He is a self-proclaimed Grand Mufti. And it is not provided any stature under the constitution. So how can he hold a so-called Supreme Court and give decrees and hold his own judicial system? How can there be two parallel judicial systems in a state? We will move a petition in the court in this regard very soon,” president J&K Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) advocate Pervez Imroz said.
The Grand Mufti had recently issued a fatwa against three girls who formed ‘Pragaash’, the Valley’s first all-girl rock band, prompting the girls to call it quits.
“Why doesn’t this self-proclaimed Mufti give decrees when young Kashmiri girls are asked to dance before the people at the state functions, like January 26 and August 15?” asked Imroz.
Imroz, a prominent human rights activist, alleged that Mufti Bashir-ud-Din has a nexus with the government of India and the state government, and “enjoys their patronage for diverting people’s attention from major issues.”
The state government, Imroz said, didn’t question the Grand Mufti when he asked the foreigners last year to leave the Valley but arrested a pro-freedom leader who had issued statement asking Biharis to leave Kashmir.
“The state has never prosecuted him for whatever he has done over the last few years. He asked Americans to leave. Before that he asked the Christians to appear before his kangaroo court. But the government remained silent,” he said.
“He defames and demonizes Kashmiris before the international community by projecting them as intolerant, fundamentalists, and Taliban. It is very worrying for us. It is very worrying for Kashmiri society. The civil society has to react. Enough is enough,” Imroz added.
Lashing out at the Grand Mufti for his silence over the major issues facing Kashmiris, Imroz said that he has never spoken about the serious issues like mass graves, custodial killings, disappearances, rapes and molestation or the “torture of five lakh people” in the state.
“The major issues in Kashmir are human rights, the war crimes committed by the state. This self-styled Mufti has never taken any position in the larger issue of Kashmir. He has never spoken about human rights violations in the state,” Imroz said, adding, “He has nothing to do with the society. He has nothing to do with pro-freedom movement. He has served the state during the recent uprisings. He was the one who termed stone pelting un-Islamic.”
Terming the Mufti as the “darling of Indian media,” the JKCCS president said that the Grand Mufti blows trivial issues out of proportion and allows the Indian media to exploit the situation.
“His fatwas appear on the front pages of Indian newspapers, while the electronic news channels remain busy booming the news on their big screens,” he added.
Imroz said that the Grand Mufti’s actions were affecting the human right groups’ engagement with the international institutions and organizations as the people across the world believe that he has been chosen by the religious groups.
“On the one hand we’re engaged with the international institutions and organizations to show them the truth of Kashmir, and on the other hand this person is deviating them from the main issue. This is unfortunate,” he said.
However, Imroz clarified that his petition has nothing to do with the recent fatwa issued by the Mufti over the all girls rock band.
“The religious leaders will decide whether that rock band is halal or haram. We have nothing to do with it. We’re just questioning the self-styled Grand Mufti and his kangaroo court,” he added.

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