ANANTNAG — Over two years after the Government of India (GoI) banned Jamaat-e-Islami, Jammu and Kashmir, under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), three of its former Ameers (chiefs) on Tuesday broke their silence regarding the ban and issued a lengthy statement.
The three former supremos of the proscribed socio-religious organisation said that they did so on its behalf to remove and clear the “misunderstandings” about it and its current status so as to mould and motivate the Government of India to rethink its “harsh” decision of legally banning it.
The former Jamaat leaders include Ghulam Mohammad Bhat, Sheikh Mohammad Hassan and Mohammad Abdullah Wani.
In a three-part longish statement emailed to Kashmir Bylines on Tuesday late evening, the former leaders stated that while they were preparing to conduct a press conference on behalf of the organisation, mass raids were carried out by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on the residences of a huge number of the ex-leaders and cadres of Jamaat throughout J&K, prompting them to release their statement through the email of its ex-spokesperson, Advocate Zahid Ali.
The statement follows close on the heels of the raids conducted by the NIA on the premises of office-bearers of the proscribed association, its members and also the offices of trusts purportedly run by it.
The NIA on Sunday conducted searches at 56 locations across all the 10 districts of Kashmir and four districts of Jammu in pursuance of an order from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs relating to alleged separatist and secessionist activities of Jamaat.
In a statement later, the NIA claimed that the members of the banned organisation have been collecting funds domestically and abroad through donations purportedly to further charity and other welfare activities but the funds are instead being used for violent and secessionist activities.
“The funds raised by Jamaat are also being channelised to proscribed militant organisations such as Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and others through well-organised networks of Jamaat cadres. Jamaat has also been motivating impressionable youth of Kashmir and recruiting new members (Rukuns) in J&K to participate in disruptive secessionist activities,” the statement read.
It added during the searches, various incriminating documents and electronic devices were seized from the premises of the raided suspects.
The raids continued on Monday with NIA sleuths, along with police and the CRPF, carrying out searches at five places in Bandipora district.
The Government of India on February 28, 2019, declared Jamaat as an “unlawful association” for five years under anti-terror laws on grounds that it was “in close touch” with militant outfits and was likely to “escalate secessionist movement, support militancy and incite violence in the country”.
The ban was confirmed on August 27, 2019, by the tribunal constituted to adjudicate whether or not there is sufficient cause for declaring Jamaat as an unlawful association.
However, in the latest statement, the former leaders maintained that the charges against the banned organisation are false. The statement explained at length the organisation’s evolution throughout its chequered history since its establishment in 1941 and its subsequent import to J&K in 1945, its relations or the absence thereof with Hurriyat Conference and militant outfits, and the role played by it in its socio-religious domain.
The detailed statement is reproduced below:
Part I: Note
The press release prepared for the press conference along with the reaction on mass raids on the banned Jamaat functionaries and cadres conducted by the National Investigation Agency on 8th August 2021, is hereby released to the general print and electronic media.
Now instead of holding a press conference, this press release is posted through the email of the ex-spokesperson of the banned Jamaat for the public at large.
It is expected that the NIA authorities will without any delay release the seized goods, phones and other electronic gadgets to their owners so that their users are not put to any mental trouble or physical loss.
Part II: Press statement regarding the ban of Jama’at-e-Islami, Jammu and Kashmir, jointly prepared by the three erstwhile Ameers (party heads) on the said organisation before it was declared unlawful on February 28, 2019, by the Government of India.
It is herein mentioned that after the advent of militancy in J&K in 1989, Jamaat-e-Islami, Jammu and Kashmir (hereinafter referred in short to as “Jamaat”) was banned in early 1990 and it re-organised its cadres in 1997 and started functioning after opening its headquarter at Baran Pather, Batamaloo, Srinagar (which is now sealed
again) soon thereafter and its normal activities started therefrom from January 1998 and a press conference was arranged by the then Ameer-e-Jamaat Jenab Ghulam Mohammad Bhat at its headquarters wherein the policy and programme of Jamaat was declared whereby it was made quite clear that Jamaat was a peaceful, democratic and upperground socio-religious organisation working transparently without having an open or tacit connection with any underground organisation or militant outfit. It was also declared that Jamaat neither supported any militant outfit nor did it have its own militant outfit and all allegations which were levelled against it by the govt. quarters or security agencies were vehemently refuted. It was also made quite clear that Jamaat had never supported any unlawful activity or any activity which might cause any strife or disorder in the state or elsewhere. All the questions raised by the press-representatives were answered accordingly leaving no doubt that Jamaat was a peaceful, democratic and transparent organisation made for the propagation of the Islamic teachings amongst the public in its pristine form and for the social service of humanity without any discrimination of creed, colour or region, in particular providing material assistance to the economically and educationally downtrodden section of the general public from its lawfully created sources and also for providing the educational facilities to the general people according to the modern trends keeping in view the fast-growing scientific research and development. Jamaat had done tremendous services to humanity during the tenure it was allowed to function normally though it faced great hardships and hurdles at the hands of those who disliked its social and educational services and it also faced a hostile atmosphere by being banned by the government a number of times without any apparent justifiable cause or reason.
It is hereby claimed that Jamaat never believed in agitational politics and had never employed any such methods which might cause any least disturbance in the law and order situation or any kind of strife on the earth. Jamaat always employed propagatory methods, verbal as well as written, to carry forward its mission, programmes and policies which were beneficial for the entire human society. But despite this fact, it was banned and declared as an ‘unlawful association’ a number of times without any rhythm or reason levelling such allegations which had no basis but were all against the facts in total ignorance of the real situation i.e., the tremendous social services in economic and educational fields besides the splendid moral-building activities wherein Jamaat widely propagated against the social evils of dishonesty and extravagance, drug addiction and immoral practices, etc. All these public services were altogether ignored without giving any weightage thereto and on some flimsy and concocted allegations, it was restricted from continuing its selfless noble services to the society at large.
It is furthermore made obvious that Jamaat never indulged in any illegal or immoral activities or practices in order to gain public support as is vogue in modern-day political trends. Jamaat always upheld transparency in all its fields of functioning and never employed any deceitful method to gain public support or to grab power. The people associated with Jamaat always demonstrated their higher moral standard wherever they worked and established examples of honesty and dedication and at times, became role models for their co-workers and other companions.
This fact is once again brought to the notice of the people as well as the state-machinery that Jamaat (now banned) was established in the Indian subcontinent in 1941 and in Jammu and Kashmir, then an independent state ruled by the Dogra dynasty, in 1945 before the partition of 1947. So, it had no role in the creation of the Kashmir issue. And as a lawful organisation, adopted its party constitution in 1953 wherein its aims and objectives are written in unambiguous terms and language and the methodology for achieving its set goals is also clearly mentioned which is peaceful, democratic, upper ground and transparent restricting the use or employment of any illegal or underground method which may cause any kind of strife on earth. Jamaat is meant for the spiritual, moral and social reformation of the society at large by the means of propagation of its teachings in a democratic way.
It is hereby made clear that Jamaat had nothing to do with the militancy and whenever it was allowed to function, it demonstrated its regard to the democratic and lawful means and methodology and never indulged in any activity which could be remotely called even an “untoward activity” but despite this fact, this organisation became the most harassed group by the state machinery as well as some political vested interests. The wrong and baseless information against this peaceful and democratic organisation on the basis of which, without verifying the veracity of those concocted allegations, the Jamaat had been banned time and again which was quite against the very spirit of the fundamental freedoms, e.g., freedom to form associations, freedom of speech, freedom of practising, professing and propagating any religion or faith, and freedom of personal liberty, guaranteed both by the U.N. Charter of Human Rights as well as the Constitution of India.
Jamaat was a socio-religious organisation with a democratic atmosphere always upholding the democratic values and rights of each and every person of the society, without using any methods of compulsion, whatsoever and still then, in the notification of declaring Jamaat as an unlawful association, it had been termed as an organisation with extremist ideology and a supporter of the extremism and militancy without any factual or legal justification as the party constitution and the past conduct of the cadres belonging to it manifestly contradicted all these allegations and in this open press conference, all these allegations are vehemently refuted as being the result of the false and malicious propaganda and defamatory campaign against this most peaceful and democratic organisation which worked in Jammu and Kashmir for more than sixty years excluding the period it was banned by the govt. Jamaat has time and again made it quite clear that it had no direct or tacit touch or link with any militant group and all such allegations against Jamaat were false.
Furthermore, Jamaat never indulged or participated in any unlawful activities prejudicial to the peace or public order. Jamaat has never indulged in any violent activities nor supported any such activity in its whole history of existence and functioning. Jamaat even avoided all agitational strikes which every political or social group usually adopt. Jamaat was an association of the disciplined cadres and individuals, everyone of whom supported the policy and programmes, adopted by the central leadership or the forum of Jamaat. Anyone who deviated from the adopted policies and programmes was not allowed to continue in this peaceful and disciplined cadre-based organisation governed by a written party-constitution.
It is hereby further cleared that Jamaat was neither a creation of any political issue nor had so far created such an issue. If there was any such public political issue, Jamaat too was affected only because of being a part of the public at large. Jamaat had dissociated from the Hurriyat Conference (both factions) in 2008 and as such remained no unit of any of these factions therefrom.
Jamaat was as such a socio-political group in J&K with peaceful and democratic agenda having a tremendous public-friendly peaceful record of more than seventy years since its inception in 1945. Jamaat has a great record of social services in J&K particularly during the periods of natural calamity and disaster e.g., earthquakes, inundation, fires, etc.
Through this August press conference, it is brought to the notice of the people that Jamaat always followed the path of peace and democracy for the achievement of its larger objectives and never indulged in any activities which could be termed as prejudicial to the peace or public order or security of the state. The services rendered by this banned organisation were all beneficial to the public at large and there was nothing that could be termed to be harmful to any individual or the society at large. Jamaat always believed in communal harmony and human brotherhood considering all human beings to be the progeny of one pair of human beings created by God. Jamaat never preached or practised or professed any kind of sectarianism based on creed, colour or region in the territory of J&K and rendered its services to all and sundry leaving aside any sectarianism. Jamaat was meant for creating a conducive human environment in which every human being could live harmoniously without any fear of discrimination or any apprehension of being maltreated.
Jamaat was a group of God-fearing pious people believing in the human-friendship and all its programmes were devised accordingly keeping in view the ultimate goal of accountability before God in the life hereafter. Jamaat always propagated justice for all even if it contradicted the personal or family interests of anyone,
without any discrimination of race, religion or region. So the vicious propaganda unleashed against it by some vicious elements that this organisation is a reactionary movement to counter the progressive politics wearing the cloak of religion is nothing but sheer lie. It wants every human being to understand Islam so that all misgivings about it are removed and it is taken as a code of life beneficial for the entire humanity as it really is but that doesn’t mean that it should be imposed upon anyone by dint of force, fraud or undue influence. It (Islam) gives space to every human being to choose the way of life he likes and there is no justification for compelling anyone to adopt it against one’s choice. The scripture of the Qur’an in unambiguous terms declares: “…The truth is from your Lord. Then whosoever will, let him believe, and whosoever will, let him disbelieve…” [al-Qur’an 18:29]
There is complete freedom of choice regarding one’s faith in Islam. So the allegations against Jamaat that it represents a totalitarian and fascist version of Islam is quite baseless and defamatory.
Jamaat always respected all the human rights regarding the life, property and honour of all human beings and never violated any of these rights. Jamaat never believed in any violence or violent methods but always remained peaceful and supported peaceful democratic methods.
Through this press conference, it is very respectfully conveyed to all to know Jamaat in its real form and it is too hoped that the ban on it will be lifted forthwith thereby allowing this human-friendly socio-religious organisation to work freely for the cause of humanity so that it is able to continue its social services for the benefit of the society at large in this small region of Jammu and Kashmir.
Holders of Press Conference:
3. Jenab Mohammad Abdullah Wani
Ex Ameer-Jama’at for one term: i) 2012-2015
Assisted by: Ex-Spokesperson of Jama’at from 1997 till his arrest on February 22, 2019.
Part III: Addendum
On one side, the ex-hierarchy of the banned Jamaat was going to conduct the press conference on behalf of the Jamaat to remove and clear the misunderstandings about it and its current status so as to mould and motivate the govt. of India to rethink its harsh decision of legally banning the Jamaat on 28th February, 2019, that in the meantime, a sordid and discouraging state of affairs was created by conducting mass raids on the residences of a huge number of the ex-leaders and cadres of Jamaat throughout J&K stretching to fourteen districts, without any apparent cause or justification. After the ban, Jamaat stopped all its party functions and most of the party functionaries started their own personal business and jobs who before the ban were providing their full-time services to the Jamaat for the promotion of its human-friendly cause and objectives. Jamaat was employing all lawful means to get out of the ban and it was also waiting for the judicial verdict in the case filed against the ban.
It is brought to the notice of all and sundry that the people associated with the banned Jamaat were not involved in any underground activities to achieve any unknown goal or agenda but all its associates whether simple sympathizers or cadres or office bearers, were doing upperground, lawful, transparent and democratic human job for the ultimate good and general welfare of the people residing within the territorial limits of Jammu and Kashmir and had no hidden agenda or any unknown cause. The goal, as well as the means to achieve the goal set by Jamaat, was lawful, transparent, democratic and human-friendly because if the society at large becomes God-fearing, human-friendly, charactered, honest and dedicated, it can reach its goal of the real welfare and development hundred times faster than the normal pace as the social and moral malpractices are the main causes of the retrogression and continued poverty and educational and economic backwardness.
Keeping the above-mentioned facts in view, the raids by the National Investigation Agency are meaningless and an open attempt to harass, intimidate and restrict the sympathizers of the banned Jamaat from carrying any activity on their personal and individual capacities for the ultimate good of the society at large. Instead of being encouraged for doing noble services to the society, by conducting these raids the people involved in noble human services are being discouraged and disheartened and the ultimate result would be that the vicious and unruly elements will hold the reins of the society and its social fabric will thus get dehumanized and all roads and lanes to development and progress will get limited by these vicious and unruly sections of the society and the whole progressive social-fabric will get destroyed. It is hereby made clear that by employing these intimidating tactics, nothing will be achieved except restricting the growth and development of the pro-human social factors in the already socially, morally and economically deteriorated society.
Note: The statement has been minutely edited in line with our style manual and to rectify grammatical mistakes.