It seems Grand Mufti of Kashmir has made it a point to shoot weird dictums in order to stay alive in public memory. Recently, he issued diktats to American citizens, asking them leave Kashmir over a blasphemous Youtube video which evoked condemnation from all circles. Many call his rhetoric an attempt to gain prominence in public sphere.
It was not the only instant of its kind when Mufti Bashir had issued scandalous statements to grab headlines. He first shot to prominence came when he issued a decree over the allegations of motivated conversions in Kashmir. Political commentators believe the way Grand Mufti handled the issue could have jolted the calm prevailing in the valley.
His much criticised remarks came when a mysterious blaze reduced the shrine of Dastageer Sahab at Khanyar to ashes. The ‘sarkari’ Mufti swung into action and exhorted the public to participate in ‘Khanyar Chalo’ demonstration. At that time, there was every possibility of things spiralling out of control which could have plunged Kashmir into a deep crisis. By donning the attire of protestor for the first time, Mufti surprised many. In fact, his bravado was seen as an attempt to divide and polarise the resistance politics narrative.
His decree against American citizens was his third attempt to stay relevant to politics. Experts say his uncalled remarks could have taken violent turn on all the three occasions. The Muslim majority of the state could have committed violence against Christians, locals and Foreigners or there could have been a sectarian clash. In either case, the people of Kashmir would have been at a loss. Besides, it could have altered the global perception towards Kashmiri struggle as that of being a religious struggle rather than a political one.
Of late, the nominated Mufti Azam and son of Gran Mufti, Mufti Nasirul Islam joined the debate by defending his father’s statement.”By asking American citizens to leave Kashmir, we were expressing that very sentiment that flows in our veins of our love for our Prophet (pbuh) that far transcends any worldly love for power or fame.” Taking a dig at Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Nasir said, “We encourage our critics, who tend to promote themselves in public view for a few seconds of fame, to leave the matters of religious affairs to people who are qualified and can pass judgment in this matter.” Perhaps, the father-son due need to take some fresh lesson on history!