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The War Within Islam ( 9 Feb 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Firing at Deoband: Ulema’s Battle for Power and Pelf Turns Violent

New Age Islam Edit Desk

On Wednesday, the battle for capture and recapture of Darul Uloom Deoband entered the second round as firing was resorted to during a meeting of the Muhibban-e-Darul Uloom held to discuss the situation at Darul Uloom and take a resolution in this regard. Now it seems that the battle of verbal allegations and counter allegations is over and the rivals have decided to fight the battle with guns and ammunitions.

On Wednesday, the Muhibban-e-Darul Uloom held a meeting at Astana-e-Sheikhul Hind at Deoband and passed a resolution demanding removal of Maulana Vastanvi from the post of VC of the Darul Uloom. According to reports in Urdu press, some goons, allegedly supporters of Maulana Vastanvi, entered the premises forcefully and fired indiscriminately causing chaos and terror in the area. The police had to intervene to control the situation. The meeting was conducted in police protection. A TV reporter was also injured in the skirmish. Cases have been registered against 10 persons from both sides.

Wednesday’s incident can be termed as the most unfortunate incident in the history of Darul Uloom. It indicates how serious and complicated the issue has become due to the inactivity and insensitivity of the Majlis-e-Shoura that has been a silent spectator after electing the VC. It gave more than one month’s time for a review meeting. This has given space and time for both the sides to indulge in all kinds of politics.

Until now, the battle was being fought through newspapers or meetings in support and opposition of Maulana Vastanvi and that was not a bad thing. In a democracy, everyone has the right to have his or her own opinion on an issue of public interest and hold meetings in a democratic and peaceful manner which both the parties were doing in right earnest. Earlier, peaceful meetings were held by supporters of Maulana Vastanvi in Saharanpur and elsewhere. Clearly, though Madanis and Qasmis have ruled the roost in Deoband for over a century, an outsider like Maulana Vastanvi too has supporters in the Saharanpur area for his agenda of change. . Indeed, the Maulana has been a member of the Shoura for the last 18 years. But opening fire in a meeting being held by the Qasmi groups of ulema allegedly by Maulana Vastanvi’s supporters, if true, deserves severe condemnation.

The powers-that-be at Deoband are not going to leave their power and privilege so easily. They have been in politics for long and like other politicians they too must have supporters with arms and ammunition. Majlis-e-Shoura should not give more time to mischief mongers from either group to succeed in inflicting damage to Darul Uloom and call its meeting as soon as possible and take a decision once and for all to prevent the situation from going out of hand. The firing should stir the Majlis-e-Shoura into action or it may be too late.

The battle should not enter the third round: death and bloodshed.