Jama’at Ban: Government Starts Sealing Properties across Kashmir

SRINAGAR: A day after the Home Ministry banned the Jamat-e-Islami for five years; Srinagar witnessed a series of property sealing incidents. Revenue officials visited various homes of Jamat workers and sealed their properties.

Jamaat-e-Islami tehsil office Pampore and Darsgah-e Taleemul Quran Wa Alhadees were seized.

Reports said that the officials Friday evening sealed the residential house of former Jamaat-e-Islami district president Bashir Ahmad Lone at Syedpora Harwan area of Srinagar.

A family member of Lone told Kashmir Life that a team led by an executive magistrate Srinagar (north) and SHO Harwan along with some revenue officials sealed his residential house.

“The family members including minors were left shelterless in this chilly winter,” said a family member.

The family member said that the officials were carrying the order signed by the Deputy Commissioner Srinagar that authorised the police to seal the immovable properties of the Jamaat, including vehicles, bank accounts and other things. It was not immediately known if the law permits seizure of individual properties while the ban is imposed on a party, family member of another person whose relative’s property was also seized.

After the house was sealed Lone’s family met Deputy Commissioner Srinagar challenging the seizure on the grounds that the house is their personal property and not part of Jama’at’s assets. “He (Deputy Commissioner) agreed to unseal the house after we furnished an affidavit stating that the house will not be used for any unlawful activities,” said a member of Lone’s family.

The social media has lot of information about these operations carried to implement the Unlawful Activities Act. There were reports of such seizures in Barzalla, and Bemina also.

The Jamaat-e-Islami tehsil office Pampore and Darsgah-e Taleemul Quran Wa Alhadees were also seized. The two facilities were operating from rented premises in the town.

The move comes following government of Delhi’s decision to ban the Jamaat-e-Islami, days after arresting scores of its leaders and activists in a massive crackdown.

Earlier district administration Bandipora sealed the office of Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir at Bagh area of the district.

Sources said that a police team led by DySP and SHO Bandipora along with revenue officials sealed the office.

Meanwhile, clashes have erupted between government forces and youth in main town Pulwama after forces tried to seal Jamaat e Islami district office Pulwama.

Reports from south Kashmir Anantnag said the police have sealed the local assets of the Jamaat including its main office in the district.

“More than 70 premises have been identified for sealing and JeI’s assets worth Rs 52 crore will also be frozen across Jammu and Kashmir,” India Today reported from Delhi. “Other properties and assets of JeI leaders are currently being identified for attachment across the state. The statewide crackdown initiated by the government has been carried out to check JeI funds.” It added: “At present, various institutions associated with JeI being identified for attachment across the state, including educational institutes.”

With these indications, the declaration of the Jamaat as an unlawful association is expected to the biggest crackdown on the party in history. It has already started triggering reactions.

Kashmir’s two main unionist parties, the PDP and National Conference have criticised the ban saying it was undemocratic, will impact the process of reconciliation and shrink the space for opposition.

Mehbooba Mufti who led a protest against the move termed it an outcome of centre’s “muscular approach” of the Centre to deal with the political issue and wondered if “being anti-BJP” is “anti-national now”.

“Democracy is a battle of ideas,” Mehbooba said. “Crackdown followed by banning of Jammat Islami is condemnable, another example of high handedness and muscular approach of GOI to deal with the political issue of Jammu and Kashmir.” In another tweet, she asked: “Why is GoI so uncomfortable with Jamaat e Islami? Radicalised Hindu groups representing fringe elements are given carte blanche to spread misinformation & vitiate the atmosphere…But an org that has worked tirelessly for Kashmiris is banned. Is being anti-BJP anti-national now (sic)?”

“By ideologies, we mean a specific mindset,” NC leader Ali Mohammad Sagar said. “It has to be tackled by arguments. By banning Jamaat, the government will achieve nothing but give it a dissident glamour. The move will not help; it will rather impede the process of reconciliation and rapprochement in our state.”

Engineer Rasheed and Sajad Lone have also reacted to the ban decision. “True test of democracy lies in allowing space to oppose political thoughts and ideologies rather than putting a cage around people with a certain political orientation,” Lone said in a statement. “In vibrant democracy ideas have to be fought not banned. This organisation has given us illustrious leaders and legislators.”

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