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July 2019 Edition of Power Politics is updated.    Wishing You All a Happy New Year.       July 2019 Edition of Power Politics is updated.
Issue:June' 2019


Politics shrines-centric

RC Ganjoo

Hazaratbal Shrine

Jama Masjid Two worship places - Jamia Masjid and Hazratbal Shine - have been the centre-stage of politics in Kashmir. The late Mirwaiz Maulana Farooq used Jamia Masjid as a political platform for his party Awami Action Committee, called "Bakra" (Goat) party. His rival National Conference of the late Sheikh Mohd Abdullah called "Sher" (Lion) would operate from Hazratbal Shrin
In 1963-64,the theft of Holy Relic at Hazratbal led to a political upheaval in Kashmir and resulted in the ouster of then Prime Minister Shams-u- din. Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah launched his political struggle from the same place. Late Mirwaiz Molana Yousuf Shah (grandfather of present Mirwaiz Mohammad Umar Farooq) introduced him (Sheikh) to the people from the minarets of Jamia Masjid.

Sheikh Abdullah Farooq Abdullah Realising the importance of shrines and mosques in Kashmir, Sheikh Abdullah constituted Auqaf-e-Islamia which later became Muslim Auquaf Trust (MAT). Abdullah continued to hold his control over Hazratbal till 1953, the year when he was dismissed as Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir. However, he made his appearance to a rousing reception at the Shrine on 21 February 1958 when he was set free. When Sheikh was finally released in 1964, his successor Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad formally handed over control of Auqaf to him . Until 1990, the management continued to be with Sheikh family. Farooq Abdullah replaced his father as the chairman of MAT.

Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Mirwaiz Umar Farooq With the change of guard in 2002, the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed led PDP-Cong government had its eyes on MAT . Mufti got Muslim Waqf Board under an Act in 2003 and took over the shrine. When NC-Congress government headed by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah came to power in 2008, he took over as its chairman.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq succeeded to take over the reins of Jamia Masjid after the assassination of his father Molana Farooq on 21 May 1990.

NC leadership after Late Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, generally offers Eid prayers at Hazratbal.

Mirwaiz family has propagated its political, social and religious agenda from Jamia Masjid.

Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the hard-line separatist leader, too has been struggling hard to capture a worship place wherefrom he could deliver political speeches.

Hazratbal Shrine has been on the radar of separatists and political leaders. On October 15, 1993, Hazratbal shrine was captured by militants. Security forces got it free on November 16, 1993 after a deal was struck for a free passage for militants to PoK.

The challenges thrown up by present political unrest cannot be delinked from these places of worship.