Kashmiri human rights group threatens Grand Mufti with lawsuit

Srinagar A Kashmiri human rights group on Thursday said they would file a case against Kashmir's Grand Mufti for issuing fatwas which project the state in "bad light" internationally.

Pervez Imroze, patron of Jammu and Kashmir coalition for civil society told NDTV, "He (the grand mufti) should be prosecuted but the government will not prosecute him because he is serving their interests. So it's the challenge for the civil society so that in future this nuisance should minimise and stop."

The Grand Mufti had recently issued a fatwa against three minor girls who formed 'Pragaash', the valley's first all-girl rock band.

The Grand Mufti, Mr Imroze says, has even set up his own Supreme Court of Islamic Shariah - a private judicial system in Srinagar. Mufti Bashiruddin claims each year the court deals with over one lakh cases.

"It's illegal," says Mr Imroze, adding "He is protected by the state government and has been trying to establish his own legal system. We have decided to move the court against his right to issue intimidating fatwas"

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has denied Mufti Bashiruddin is a government appointee. But the controversial Mufti continues to be designated to announce the moon sighting on state-run Radio & Television and Grand muftis mouthpiece 'Meer-e-karwan' receives advertisements from the state government.

This in not Mufti Bashiruddin's first run in with civil society activists.

Last year his self-styled 'supreme court' issued a fatwa against Christians in Kashmir after there were reports that some pastors were trying to convert Muslim youth.

In 2007, he had issued a fatwa against then Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad when Mr Azad asked people to follow Gandhian philosophy. The cleric's argument was that Muslims should only follow the philosophy of prophet Mohammad.
Story First Published: February 07, 2013 20:58 IST

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