Kashmir Indepth
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Jamaat ban, is Hurriyat next in line?

Srinagar, Feb 4: The ban imposed by Centre on the Kashmir’s socio-religious organisation, Jamaat-e-Islami has triggered uproar across the Valley as JeI has at least 500 schools and orphanages under it where more than five lakh children are enrolled. The Government of India announced that Jamaat had been working “to carve out an Islamic State out of Jammu and Kashmir” while disputing the accession with the union of India and that the ban would stay for five years.

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Rumour mills are rife that whether GoI would hit Hurriyat Conference after Jamaat as there seems to be a well-carved out plan to ensure smooth elections in the trouble-ravaged J&K. Some call it as a “Doval doctrine”, a plan framed by the national security advisor of India, Ajit Doval, for ensuring the hassle free crucial Lok Sabha and Assembly polls due for the State any time this year.

At least 100 Jamaat activists and leaders including its chief Dr Hameed Fayaz has been arrested while properties of scores of old and new Jamaat leaders sealed by the police on the directions of deputy commissioners of various districts of Kashmir in the wake of Centre’s  ban order.

“Jamaat ban is second of its nature. This time it has been imposed by BJP led regime in the Centre and in the past, it was announced by the then chief minister of J&K, Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah,” said Muhammad Sultan, a JeI worker told Kashmir Indepth. “We were telling people not to participate in polls may be that is the reason why we were banned for five long years. Otherwise, our activities are purely social and religious in nature and there seems to be no other reason for the ban.”

Gossip lounges across Kashmir are rife with the rumours that whether the next step of GoI would be to be ban Hurriyat—both Hurriyat led by Syed Ali Geelani and the Hurriyat led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. “For the electoral gains, the GoI can resort to anything. From raiding the residences of Hurriyat leaders, seizing their electronic gadgets to mobile phones, banning Hurriyats seems to be no exception,” said a Hurriyat leader, wishing not to be banned.

Sources in the MHA told Kashmir Indepth that the Ministry of Home Affairs was weighing options for ensuring smooth Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in Kashmir. “If there is a consensus on banning the Hurriyat in the Cabinet Committee on Security, the MHA would announce the decision without waiting for a moment,” a top source in the MHA said. What remains to be seen is that whether Election Commission of India (ECI) would announce that Lok Sabha and Assembly polls would be held jointly or they would first go ahead with Parliamentary polls only. The full team of ECI is arriving on a two-day visit to J&K from March 4 to gauge the mood and to get fresh feedback from security officials, administration and the heads of political parties.


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