Social & Political Impact of Ban on Jama’at-e-Islami

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Social & Political Impact of Ban on Jama’at-e-IslamiJama’t-e-Islami was founded by Syed Abul A’la Maududi as a a socio-politico-religious organization in 1941 with the objective of making post-colonial India (or a separate Muslim state if the Muslim League got its wish), an Islamic state. Maududi proposed forming a Muslim state based on Islamic law and in which Islam would guide all areas of life. This state would not be theocracy, Maududi held, but a “theodemocracy”, because its rule would be based on the entire Muslim community, not the ulema (Islamic scholars).

Although this would be the result of an “Islamic revolution”, the revolution was to be achieved not through a mass organising or a popular uprising but by what he called “Islamization from above”, by winning over society’s leaders through education and propaganda, and through putting the right people (Jamaat-e-Islami members) in positions of power incrementally and through legal means.

It worked on all platforms and performed well. Jama’at-e-Islami is distinct among contemporary religious movements in that it had strong democratic traditions right from its inception; has a written constitution to govern its organization. It seeks to bring about societal transformation  through appealing to the intellect, organizing communities, and rallying masses around its program—just like any other political party in the East or West. With the partition of Bharat it was bifurcated into Jama’at-e-Islami Hind and Jama’at-e-Islami Pakistan.

Political activities: The political developments from 1952 to 1953 lead to the further division of JI Hind and Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir (JIJK) was born. Initially JIJK distanced itself from active politics. It mainly focused on the spread of its message, Islamic Dawah, through the pulpits and on social work.  For the first time the JIJK participated in the 1971 general elections. It was also a key party in the Muslim United Front (MUF), a polyglot coalition of political and religious parties, fighting against the National Conference (NC) and Congress coalition, to save what was left with special status of J&K.  

In 1987 general elections people voted heavily (around 80%) and MUF was eyeing a big victory but an unfortunate rigging was witnessed all over the valley. Sumantra Bose, a Professor of International and Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics, writes,” strong arm tactics and rigging were used all over the Valley and gangs took over the polling stations forcibly and ballot boxes were pre-stamped in favor of the National Conference.”  This unfortunate rigging disappointed people and motivated youth for armed rebellion to avenge the deceitful approach of central government. Instead of punishing those responsible for the rigging the Government arrested and tortured the MUF activists.  The disaffected youth of the Kashmir Valley started crossing the Line of Control to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) to obtain arms and training and returned under the banner of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF). Many younger supporters of MUF started to support the militant organizations and JIJK could in no way distance itself from its own people in this grim situation. The organization’s stated position on the Kashmir conflict is that Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed territory and the issue must be sorted as per UN resolutions on Kashmir or through tripartite talks between India and Pakistan and the real representatives of Jammu and Kashmir. It has always called for peaceful solution to the dispute of Kashmir through dialogue.

Educational and social contribution: JIJK is among the first non-governmental organizations to work in these sectors. Jama’at runs over 300 schools and hundreds of Madrasas under the trust namely ‘Falahi-Aam Trust’.  These schools provide free education to hundreds of poor and orphan children. Students from economically weak sections get education against low fee charged by these schools compared to other private schools. These schools have produced hundreds of doctors, engineers and other technocrats along with leaders and politicians. These schools provide employment to hundreds of highly qualified teachers. JIJK runs charitable trusts in which hundreds of orphans get free education, boarding and lodging. Yateem Khana Bemina (Srinagar), an orphanage, is an example of such a trust. JIJK helps poor families financially to get their children married especially daughters in order to save them from ailments like dowry and suicide due to lack of funds.  In 2014 floods JIJK swung its all machinery into action to help lakhs of people displaced by the floods while govt. machinery was out if scene. It raised funds to help rehabilitate people and provided basic amenities to the devastated population.  The affiliates of JIJK worked day and night to sanitize the residential house, hospitals, mosques, temples and schools.

Religious activities:  JIJK is basically a religious party running hundreds of Madrasas for boys and girls to impart religious education to the children and uplift the moral values of society.  It is custodian of hundreds of Mosques across the state. 

Curbs: From 1953 till 2019 JIJK has been banned couple of times and the recent ban by Home Ministry was imposed on 01 March, 2019. Curbs put on JIJK till date are seen as an open show of political vengeance. The JIJK was first banned in 1975 during the emergency for opposing the Indira-Abdullah accord that finally brought back the National Conference (NC) founder, Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, into mainstream politics. This infamous accord changed the nomenclature in vogue in JK, from Prime Minister to Chief Minister and Sadri-Riyasat to Governor. JIJK strongly opposed this accord and protested against it.  The organization was again banned by the central government headed by V. P. Singh in 1990. 

Reactions:   People reacted on the ban imposed on JIJK, a wave of disappointment was seen in the general public. It was termed as a curb on freedom of religion. The mainstream political parties like PDP, NC, PC, AIP and others also reacted sharply terming the ban on JIJK unconstitutional and a political stunt. PDP chief Mrs. Mehbooba Mufti reacted in the media: “You cannot imprison an ideology or an idea. There are thousands of Kashmiris in villages and cities associated with the Jamaat. It is s socio-religious organization, and the ban  could have dangerous ramifications.” RTI Movement JK termed the ban as an attack on right to religion. It questioned, how can rightwing communal groups like VHP and Bajrang Dal carry on its activities in J&K while as JIJK is banned? Traders union Kashmir also protested against the ban and called for “Kashmir bandh on March 05. All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) termed the ban as an attempt to gag on sane voices. The senior separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani urged people to show collective move against govt. on Jama’at ban. Various religious groups condemned the move by central government and termed the ban as an interference in the religious matters. Mutahida-Majlis-Ulema (MMU), an amalgam of various religious groups, termed the ban as highly undemocratic, unconstitutional and revengeful.

 

 


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