Majid Kapra

Banning of Jamaat-e-Islami ‘an act of vengeance’ by the Centre: Mehbooba

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Srinagar, Mar 02: Former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti Saturday termed the ban on Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) an act of “vengeance” by the Centre, saying it would have “dangerous consequences”.

“There is an atmosphere of vengeance in the state, especially in the Valley after JeI youths and leaders were arrested. JeI is a social and political organisation. It is an ideology and I do not think you can imprison an ideology by arresting some activists of the outfit. We totally condemn it,” Mehbooba told reporters at the PDP headquarters here.

The PDP president said while there was no action against those persons responsible for incidents of lynching in the country, “a social organisation involved in helping the poor” in Kashmir has been banned.

“You have Shiv Sena, Jan Sangh, RSS in the country who have lynched people on the basis of eating a type of meat, but there was no action. However, an organisation which has been helping the poor and running schools has been banned and its activists put in jails. We will not allow this. Its consequences will be dangerous,” she said.

Mehbooba asked the Centre not to turn Jammu and Kashmir into a prison.  “You cannot imprison an ideology, we live in a democratic nation and in a democracy, there is battle of ideas. If you have a better idea, let there be a battle on that, but do not turn J-K into a prison.

“We had not allowed the BJP to do whatever it is doing now (during the PDP-BJP coalition), but unfortunately there is no one to stop them (now). When a Kashmiri is beaten, people applaud and become happy,” she said.

When asked about the sealing of properties of Jamaat leaders, including schools run by the organisation, the former chief minister said it was unfortunate and should not have been done.

“It is unfortunate as these schools were providing education to the poorest of poor. Their students are meritorious. Where will all these students go after their schools have been banned? They are playing with our future and this is very wrong. They should rather ban (RSS) ‘shakhas’ where swords are displayed. No Jamaati carries a sword,” she said.

Condemning the recent NIA raids on Hurriyat-M chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s properties, Mehbooba said the Centre wants every Kashmiri to pay for “a thought which is in his mind”.

“I condemn the NIA raids on Mirwaiz. After all, he is the religious head of Jammu and Kashmir and has respect among the people. All these are acts of vengeance and it seems that they (Centre) want every Kashmiri to pay for a thought which is in his mind,” she said.

Referring to Pakistan Premier Imran Khan, who released Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot as a “peace gesture”, Mehbooba said Imran Khan’s decision proved that he is really a “true statesman”.

“Imran Khan’s decision is a big gesture, he worked and acted like a true stateman and we should praise him. This move of Pak PM was aimed at deescalating tension but unfortunately response from our side was not appropriate,” Mehbooba said.

During the day, PDP also took out a protest march against the ban on Jamaat-e-Islami. Various party leaders and activists assembled at party headquarters and tried to march towards Lal Chowk City Centre here, but were stopped by a large contingent of policemen near Sher-e-Kashmir Park.

After ban, properties linked to JeI leaders sealed

Srinagar, Mar 02: Authorities in Kashmir have sealed several properties belonging to Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), including residences of some of its activists, police said Saturday, days after the Centre banned the outfit on.

Several properties, including residential houses, belonging to various JeI leaders and activists were sealed in many areas of the city and elsewhere in the Valley Friday night, a police official said.

He said bank accounts of JeI leaders have also been frozen.

Various district magistrates have also sought list of moveable and immovable properties of the Jamaat leaders, he said.

However, it was not clear if the move was linked to the ban on JeI or was done by NIA in connection with its probe into money-laundering cases.

The Centre Thursday banned Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir for five years under anti-terror law on grounds that it was “in close touch with militant outfits” and was expected to “escalate secessionist movement” in the state.

A notification, banning the group under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, was issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs after a high-level meeting on security, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The ban follows a massive crackdown on the outfit in the Valley since last week. Around 150 leaders and activists of the outfit have been detained in raids at several places across Kashmir.

According to central government officials, the Jamaat was responsible for the creation of the state’s biggest militant group Hizbul Mujahideen and the brain behind the formation of Hurriyat Conference.

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