Srinagar: Muslim Wakf board Jammu and Kashmir has hit a new low. The board which is the custodian of major religious places in the Valley has reinstated one of its employee after ruling him guilty in a sexual harassment case.
Surprisingly, the employee who was performing duties of Imam in one of the renowned shrines in Srinagar, has been treated on leave for the period he was put under suspension.
The order issued by the secretary Wakf board vide order number 4 of 2016 dated April 4 2015 said that the inquiry committee has established allegations made by the lady (complainant) against him.
A copy of the order which is in the possession of ‘Kashmir Vision’ reads that as a punishment to the accused, his promotion to the next higher scale of pay for a period of three years shall be withheld.
“Forfeiture of one increment in his present scale of pay, he is banned from performing the duties of Imam and delivering of religious sermons in any Masjid of the Wakf board for all times to come,” reads the order.
However, the same order has reinstated the accused. “He is hereby reinstated. His formal posting will be made separately. The period of suspension will be treated as leave whatever kind due to him.”
Notably, the enquiry committee was set up by the Wakf board after a woman cop had made allegations against the accused. The audio clip of “lewd conversation” had also gone viral on social media in 2015.
The inquiry committee formed by the board was headed by Dr Kamal Farooqui and Nazir Ahmad Sofi, Aijaz Ahmad Mir and Mushtaq Ahmad Thania as its members.
In its report, the committee had said: “The committee found that there is an irrefutable substance in the allegations of the complainant. Respondent, despite his vain bid to wriggle out of allegations, couldn’t defend himself and finally accepted his guilt.”
The committee report reveals that the complainant in her statement recorded before the committee had said that the accused used to use highly objectionable and obscene language.
“He had done (this) with the sole aim of making sexual advances and securing sexual favours from the lady,” it reads.
In its report, the committee said that they have recorded the statements of all persons associated with the episode and also given due opportunity to the accused to defend himself.
“The lewd remarks of the accused are so uncivilized and unbecoming of Imam-i-Jumma of holy shrine that investigation committee shudders and shivers to reproduce them in the text of the report and thus chooses to lay its hands on recorded (audio) clip of the conversation (of the accused with complainant on phone).
Importantly, Dr Kamal Farooqi, chairman of the inquiry told ‘Kashmir Vision’ that he has conducted the investigation during which the accused Moulana confessed his wrong doings. “The Moulana while being questioned before the members of the inquiry team along with other private members including his close aid confessed his wrong doings. He later pleaded before me even touched my feet to forgive him but I didn’t,” he said, adding that the Moulana while seeking forgiveness told him that ‘People will repose trust in me if I am given an opportunity and forgiven’.
“I didn’t recommend anything while submitting the inquiry report. I didn’t recommend suspending or reinstating him. I believe that Moulana Akhzar put political pressure on the Auqaf members following which he has been reinstated and his suspension period was treated as leave,” he said while terming the order as true.
“The Moulana in writing agreed that he wouldn’t perform any religious duty from now onwards,” he informed.
However, the Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Wakf Board, Muhammad Rafi while talking to Kashmir Vision said that he is in Jammu currently and is not able to recall the order issued earlier.
“One thing I can tell you is that Moulana Akhzar is currently performing his duties as Wakf Board member,” he said.
The Wakf Board removed Akhzar Hussain as imam of Syed Sahab Shrine and Mosque at Sonwar in November 2015 after a woman cop complained that the cleric was making obscene telephone calls to her. The Board also ordered an investigation into the incident.
Many caretakers at the shrine said the woman cop, who was posted at the shrine-mosque complex, accompanied by her guardians, approached the Masjid Welfare Committee in November 2015.
The cop had recorded the obscene phone conversations with Hussain and played these before the committee.