Reenacting literally the Urdu adage Dou Mulavoun Mein Murgi Haram, a number of clerics literally fought a pitched battle in Srinagar. And the cameras were rolling.
It was during a conference of Mutahida Ulema-ie-Ahli Sunat in heart of Srinagar that Molvi Akhzar Hussain talked about a slender campaign being launched against his person. Hussain, a Muslim Waqf Board appointee, leads prayers in the Syeed Sahab mosque at the junction of Gupkar and Sonwar roads.
“I have been always telling my colleagues and friends that when we make an attempt at the respect and reputation of others, we lose our own,” the Molvi said. “I am pained that a lot of propaganda has been unleashed against me for some time.”
As he was making his speech, somebody from the audience shouted at him. “Stop. We have already thrown you out.”
It was at this stage that Molvi Hami intervened who was around the stage. He asked the complaining Molvi about the person who were behind the campaign he is talking about. “So many, including you,” apt came the reply. Somebody from the audience accused Hussain of misusing his position of being Imam at the mosque where kings and their coteries sometimes pray.
There were people shouting at each other and it was a pandemonium that usually is being seen in the state assembly. The clerics started pointing fingers at each other. The din ruled the half for nearly twenty minutes. Everybody was talking and pointing fingers. Nobody was listening to logic.
It was at this stage that Molvi Hamidullah Haqani who heads the Haqani Trust started his intervention. He was seen pleading with both the sides to keep the decorum of the meeting. But nobody listened to him. The warring factions continued with their noisy arguments that not many people could understand. Molvi Haqani pleaded with the audience to stay put, ensure discipline so that the meeting is resumed but nobody listened him and the meeting came to an unpleasant halt.
Later, Akhzar Hussain talked to media persons. Explaining his story, the Molvi said that he had arranged Imam-e-Aazam conference recently in which he had invited Education Minister and MLA Khan sahib Hakim Yasin. “On basis of this, they launched a slender campaign against me,” Hussain said. “My idea for inviting education minister was that he will eventually help in managing recognition to the Imam-e-Aazam College that I am setting up. And why I invited Hakim Yasin was that the College is planned to be set up in the area that falls in his constituency.”
Hussain said his colleagues started a campaign against me saying I am politicking and taking benefits from politicians.
But his rivals did not keep quiet. After Hussain, it was Qazi Yasir who spoke to the media. “He (Hussain) is working for some bureaucrats and have political ambitions,” Yasir said. “He is using this platform to make his own ends.”
Without naming Hussain, Yasir said he is one of those who are routinely doing dastarbandi of everybody. “But we will not permit them to use or misuse this platform for their ends,” Yasir asserted. “He had planned to do this drama. We had to meet at 1 pm but he had invited media at 11 am because he knew he has to create a scene.”
Interesting part of the clerical battle was that Hussain told reporters that he enjoys confidence of 25 constituents who make the Mutahida Ulema-ie-Ahli Sunat. His argument was that he can not be kicked out of the alliance. But Molvi Hami said the alliance has only 11 constituents!
Interestingly, Hami who has been in news much more than others admitted that there could be problems in out functioning. “But these are issues that can be dealt and managed,” Hami said. “We might have committed some mistakes and we will take care of them.”