Take a Final Call

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Mir Liyakat Nazir

Recently change of guard happened in the state’s largest pan Islamist party, Jama’at-e-Islami (JeI) J&K after its Council of Representatives elected Ghulam Muhammad Bhat as their seventh Amir. Bhat, a former Amir of the organization, is elected fourth time – a record second only to Jama’at J&K founder Saad-ud-Din. Bhat’s tenure is important as Jama’at is caught in the multitude of issues concerning its past and future in J&K. Over the years, there has been a systematic effort within JeI to distance itself from the militancy and resistance politics just to fix itself within the portrait of mainstream politics. Addressing his first press conference, the newly elected Amir reiterating JeI’s stand of suspicion and that  the organization is democratic, peaceful and has nothing to do with the militancy particularly with the UJC chief Muhammad Yusuf Shah alias Syed Sallahuddin. Nobody denies the fact that the JeI is the only religious-politico-organization in the valley with its glorious past in the field of education, reformatory teachings of Islam and its uncompromised resistance against oppression. But the way Jama’at new faces and its current policy makers echo statements like, JeI will not join any Hurriyat amalgam since Hurriyat Conference stands divided put them under the radar of skepticism among its cadres and sympathizers. But Jama’at’s consistent absence from Hurriyat (g) sessions will yield them nothing on the political or religious front. This pacifist approach of nihilism and skepticism will only pave way to ideological crisis which has already crept in the organization.

Why the new leadership of JeI feels that it is time to focus only on the religious ground when it has historically held the reigns of (MUF) and played a significant role in the political history of Kashmir.  It was JeI which protested against the humiliating surrender of late Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah in 1975. Then why JeI should now distance itself from the active resistance politics when it matters a lot given the changing political current in the sub continent. Any shift, weather you call it tactical shift or ideological shift will render this organization hollow, because there will be no stand on which you can reconstruct your ideology.  The new JeI Amir is certainly facing an uphill task because the way RSS ideology is being injected in the valley in the name of development and how the Muslims in Jammu region are subjected to harassment and isolation will be really a litmus test.

The time has come for JeI to come clear on issues like accusations, lobbying, dilemmas and crisis simmering within its structure. Nobody in  Kashmir wants to see yet another Muslim conference becoming the National Conference. I am not saying that JeI should ignore its basic purpose; at least it should maintain a balance between religious obligations and Kashmir sentiment. Hence the entire onus lies on JeI leadership to take a final call related to the new challenging socio- political theater of the valley. They can’t always navigate between the mainstream and resistance politics. They must either make a choice to become a forerunner or flunkeys.

Time to take a clear stand otherwise this tactical shift may transfer into politically driven manifestation of treachery and betrayal.

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