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This ‘Hafta-e-Shahadat’ In Kashmir Is The Time For An Honest Introspection, Not Just For Qur’an Recital Competition (Husn-e-Qirat Mehfil)!

New Age Islam Special Correspondent

21 May 2019

The ‘Hafta-e-Shahadat’, also known as ‘Hafta-e-Shuhada’ (the week of martyrs)—the anniversary of Mirwaiz Maulvi Muhammad Farooq or ‘Shaheed-e-Millat’—commenced from May 18 in the valley of Kashmir. The Awami Action Committee (AAC) has called for complete shutdown on May 21 to commemorate the occasion.

On May 18, the ‘Hafta-e-Shahadat’ commenced with the recitation of holy Qur’an at all district and Tehsil headquarters of the party amid special prayers for the ‘Shaheed-e-Millat’ Mirwaiz Maulvi Mohammad Farooq, who was brutally murdered on May, 2, 1990, at his residence in Srinagar. On this occasion, the Anjuman-e-Auqaf Jamia Masjid also organised a competition for the Qur’an recitation (Muqabal-e-Husn-e-Qira’at) at the historic Jama Masjid.

On May 19, the Hurriyat Conference (M) organised a seminar at its Rajbagh headquarters wherein the Hurriyat leaders paid tributes to ‘Shaheed-e-Millat’, ‘Shaheed-e-Hurriyat’ and martyrs of Hawal massacre. On May 20 today, Anjuman-e-Nusratul Islam organised a seminar at the auditorium of Islamia Higher Secondary School Rajouri Kadal under the title “Amal Say Zindagi Banti Hai Jannat Bhi, Jahannam Bhi”. On this occasion, a special issue of ‘Shaheed-e-Millat’ number 2019 has also been released.

Having organized all that, what the Hurriyat and other commemorators of the ‘Hafta-e-Shahadat’ have consciously or unconsciously missed out is the self-appraisal about the brutal assassination of the top leaders of the Hurriyat conference. This occasion of the ‘Hafta-e-Shahadat’ must open the conglomerate to introspection and self-assessment on these questions:

Can anyone among them do an independent review of the gruesome assassination of ‘Shaheed-e-Millat’ without blindly accepting the dictates of Pakistan’s army or ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence)? How many hidden truths such as this are lingering in the political closet of the separatist leadership in the valley? What is the attitude of the separatist leaders towards the security of the region at a time when the criminality of terrorists gets exposed?

On May 21, a complete shutdown will be observed across Kashmir in memory of ‘Shaheed-e-Millat’, ‘Shaheed-e-Hurriyat’, martyrs of Hawal massacre and all other martyrs of Kashmir and a congregational Fatiha Khawani will be held at martyrs’ graveyard Eidgah. Eventually, the Hurriyat leaders, as usual, will again take a pledge to carry on the ‘peaceful struggle’ for the right to ‘self-determination’. They would again call all such gruesome murders as a ‘state-sponsored conspiracy’ to derail the ‘armed struggle’.

But regrettably, no one would tell the common people in Jammu & Kashmir about the real culprits and terrorists who crush down every voice of reason in the valley. In 2011, almost two decades after the assassination of the Mirwaiz, the prominent Hurriyat leader, Abdul Ghani Bhatt, admitted that the killing of many Kashmiri leaders, including the Mirwaiz, Abdul Ghani Lone, his own brother Mohammad Bhatt and Professor Wani was the handiwork of terrorists. "Lone sahib, Mirwaiz Farooq and Prof. Wani were not killed by the army or the police. They were targeted by our own people. The story is a long one, but we have, to tell the truth," he said.

This admittance was corroborated by the facts brought out by Wikileaks which said that ISI had a direct hand in the killing of prominent personalities in Kashmir. Wikileaks quoted a US cable as saying that an Al Qaeda terrorist arrested in 2002 had given this information when interrogated. Notably, the targets in India, according to the terrorist, were chosen by the Pakistani Army. This acknowledgment sent shock waves outside the valley, but the common Kashmiri people have been kept in the darkness about all this, as the separatist leaders continue to mislead them to achieve their own political interests. They are just offered the beautiful recitation of Quran and special payers to mark the commencement of “Hafta-e-Shadat”, while being left in the lurch about the real motives behind the  death of slain Hurriyat leaders Mirwaiz Maulvi Muhammad Farooq and  Khawaja Abdul Ghani Lone and victims of Hawal massacre of May 21, 1990. 

Even the Islamic clerics, Imams and other prominent local leaders do not seem fully aware of how Islamic leaders are misused and sometimes brutally killed if they speak out the truth. In this ongoing ‘Hafta-e-Shahadat’ too, a large number of imams of various mosques have participated in the Husn-e-Qirat Mehfil organised by the Anjunam-e-Auqaf Jamia Masjid along with the Hurriyat members and workers. According to their statement, the Qur’an recitation competition was held with the sole aim of attracting children towards the better recitals and understanding of Qur’an and its teachings. The Qur’an recitation programme assumes more significance owing to the month of Ramazan which is the same month in which holy Qur’an was revealed upon the beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW). As a result, great enthusiasm was shown on this occasion from several madrasas and their rectors including the Madrasa Kanzul Uloom Ganderbal, Darul Uloom Dawoodiya Srinagar, Sa’adatul Quran Nagabal, Darasgah Farooqiya Hawal, Srinagar among others. The prominent Islamic clerics of the valley who participated in the event included the Imam and Khateeb of Jamia Masjid Srinagar Maulana Syed Ahmed Naqashbandi, Mufti Muhammad Abdullah Qasimi, Maulana Inayatullah, Mufti Ghulam Rasool Samoon, Muhammad Yasin Shah and Molvi Altaf Ahmed. This was perhaps the biggest function to pay tributes to ‘Shaheed-e-Millat’, ‘Shaheed-e-Hurriyat’ and martyrs of Hawal massacre. Mirwaiz distributed prizes among the children who won the Qur’an recitation competition.

But the worrying fact of this Husn-e-Qir’at programme is that students of Hifz from various Kashmiri madrasas and Darul Ulooms, who participate in it having memorized the entire Qur’an by heart at a tender age, are susceptible to the misinformation being promulgated on these occasions.  

On April 2011, a similar brutal murder of a religious leader—Maulana Shaukat Ahmed, the soft-spoken, 55-year-old chief of the Jamiat-e-Ahli-Hadees (JAH)—was witnessed. Maulana was a man of conviction who did not hesitate from speaking out his mind. He held pro-freedom views but was also very vocal against all forms of violence in the valley. Therefore, he openly denounced stone pelting and other such disruptive activities as completely “un-Islamic”. He also issued Fatwas against the acts of violence in Kashmir. Unfortunately, he faced the ire of the separatist leaders like Syed Geelani and other terrorist organisations. But ironically, after Maulana’s gruesome assassination, conspiracy theories from the separatist leaders abounded. Geelani said the killing was “the handiwork of the anti-Kashmiri and anti-Islam elements”. Significantly, Maulana Shaukat Ahmed was the first to demand an inquiry into the killings of Mirwaiz Farooq and Abdul Ghani Lone. It was as a follow-up to his statements that Abdul Ghani Bhat openly said that these leaders had been killed by “our own men”.

This ‘Hafta-e-Shahadat’ is the prime time for the Hurriyat and all separatist outfits to turn inward and introspect. The commemoration should not be confined to only the valley-wide Husn-e-Qirat Mehfil. While the Awami Action Committee calls shutdown on May 21, the more needful to do is an honest and candid exposition of the hidden truths in the killings of Kashmir. There was a deafening silence from the separatist leaders when the Hurriyat leaders were mercilessly killed by the terrorists back in 1990. Much damage has already been done and a huge price will be extracted once again if the truth is not told. Most of the Kashmir carnages are direct or indirect result of a plethora of misinformation being spread by vested interests bred by the foreign forces.


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