Hami decries ban on religious conference

Hami decries ban on religious conference
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‘If filmmakers and Yatris are given security, why are we stopped?’


SRINAGAR: Chairman Karwani Islami Jammu and Kashmir, Maulan Ghulam Rasool Hami Saturday slammed the government for disallowing a scheduled Dawatu Sunnah International Conference on the last moment, and termed it as attack on religious freedom of people of Kashmir.
The conference was scheduled to be held in Sher-i-Kashmir Park Lal Chowk on Sunday.
Addressing a press conference after administration disallowed the conference, Hami said.
“We had asked the administration for the permission for this event one month before which was scheduled to be held on Sunday. First there was no reply from the government and after several pleas they finally on Friday said that they will not allow the event citing security issues as the reason,” said Maulana Ghualm Rasool Hami.
“All the infrastructure for the event was already loaded in the trucks and our guest from London, Maulana Saqib Shammi, has already arrived in Delhi, another guest Umar Geelani from Mecca and few other scholars from Egypt and Medina have also left from their respective places,” he said.
Hami said that the organization has held such conferences and events in the past in which scholars and religious personalities participated from all over the world including from Central Asia, Mecca, Medina and Al-Azhar University Egypt, with the message of “peace and humanity”.
According to Hami, the government has said that the park is just for “political gatherings” and “not religious gatherings”, but apart from political parties like National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party, Hami said, that they have also given permission to other religious organisation as well.
“We asked them to provide us alternate venue at SP College or Indoor Stadium or at any other ground but they said that they will not allow the conference at any place in Srinagar,” Hami said. “If they provide space to other organisations why don’t for this event which is of great importance, which could act as a bridge between Kashmir and the rest of the world”.
Terming the ban as “attack on religious freedom”, Hami questioned “those who say that they want peace in Kashmir” and said that government should come clean as on whose “dictates” they are doing so.
“They are snatching our religious freedom from us. What if they say stop praying in the mosques? Should we have to follow those dictates as well? Even their constitution guarantees religious freedom and gatherings,” Hami said. “Even if for some reasons they had to ban the conference, why didn’t they do it earlier in a written reply to our application.”
Accusing the government of “double standards”, Hami said that if security is provided to film crews and other religious activities, why they can’t do the same for the organisation “which is doing so much of relief operations and social work for the people”.
“They are inviting film crews and provide them security cover anywhere in the valley, see the security arrangements for the Yatra, see how the whole administration is on their toes to make the Yatra a success but why we are not treated by the same standards,” Hami said. “We have nothing against them and have always welcomed them, but why are we treated differently”.
Hami said that they have organised such programs in the past which were attended by lakhs of people without any untoward incident ever, and said the security threat was “just an excuse”.