Srinagar, October 14, 2019 (PPI-OT): In occupied Kashmir, a group of Muslim delegation in the garb of Sufi clerics from India, apparently on a mission to placate Kashmiris, were heckled, ‘greeted’ with anti-India slogans and forced to beat a retreat during a visit to Srinagar’s Hazratbal shrine.
The protesters knew that the Indian government was playing a Sufi card to divide Kashmiris on sectarian lines. That the Sufi clerics faced such hostility at the renowned shrine was a measure of the public anger at the August 5 revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.
Clerics from the All India Sufi Sajadahnishin Council, headed by Syed Nasiruddin Chishti, heir to the chief priest of the Ajmer Sharif Dargah, were on a three-day visit to the Valley “to ascertain the ground situation”. The 17 members of the delegation came from several prominent shrines, including Ajmer Sharif and Nizamuddin.
Theirs is probably the first outstation delegation that the local administration has hosted since August 5, providing it with heavy security and permitting it to reach out to people. The government had earlier sent back several high-profile delegations, while allowing some others to visit the Valley only after court intervention. Eyewitnesses said hundreds of devotees chanted pro-freedom, anti-India and anti- Modi slogans to express anger against the clerics’ visit to the Hazratbal shrine.
“People chanted slogans like, ‘Go India, go back’ and ‘We want freedom’. The protesters surrounded the Sufi clerics but did not harm them. The (visiting) maulvis rushed out of the shrine, and police escorted them to safety,” said a devotee. “People thought they had been sent by the Indian government. Old and young, men and women joined the sloganeering and for a moment I thought my heart would collapse,” he added.
For more information, contact:
Kashmir Media Service
Phone: +92-51-4435548, +92-51-4435549