Waqf Board Ends Dastaar Bandi Practice In Jammu & Kashmir

Dastar bandi of Ghulam Nabi Azad at Hazratbal Shrine 

‘Shrines, Khanqahs Can Only Be Used To Promote Religious Activities, Not Appease Influential People, Particularly Politicians’

Srinagar- Putting an end to age-old practice prevalent in major shrines and mosques across Jammu and Kashmir, Waqf Board on Monday ordered complete ban on Dastaar Bandi (turban-tying) ceremonies of people, especially the political leaders at all the religious places managed by the board.

The whip was cracked by Waqf Chairperson Dr Darakhshan Andrabi on the basis of complaints about unethical use of platform of Ziyarats to appease influential people, particularly the political leaders through turban-tying (Dastaar Bandi) ceremony at ziyarats / khankahs

“The leaders continue to be invited to the shrines and their Dastaar Bandi is carried out on the basis of party affiliations to promote political agenda at sacred religious places,” reads an order issued here on Monday by Executive Magistrate, Ishtiyaq Mohiuddin (JKAS).

The Waqf Chief, the order says has taken a serious view of the matter, and the board is of the view that religious places like, Ziyarats, Khanqahs, Masjids and Darul Ulooms, can only be used to promote religious activities, and Dastaar Bandi at such places can only be carried out to felicitate people for their achievements in the religious field.

“Now therefore, Dastaar Bandi of people at all religious places, governed by the provisions of the Waqf Act, 1995, is hereby completely banned. However, Dastaar Bandi of people for religious achievements shall be allowed with prior permission of the Central Office Waqf Board,” the order reads.

The Executive Magistrate directs all the administrators and Executive Officers to ensure strict implementation of this order, and any violation shall immediately be brought to the notice of the Central Office for legal action in the matter.

Chairperson Waqf Board Dr Darakhshan Andrabi told Kashmir Observer that the government wants to run the religious places without the interference of political parties.

“Religious places are not meant for political parties. You go to these places for worship,” Andrabi said, adding that “Waqf had to save these religious places”

Hailing the move, public circles have said that it had become a custom now to tie Dastaar on every Tom, Dick and Harry visiting the shrines. “Now politicians from all hues would visit shrines and custodians there would be ready with a turban cloth without any consideration whether that person merited the honour”, said Muhammad Farooq Ashai, a civil society activist.

The turban order comes on the heels of another unprecedented move by the J&K Waqf Board to remove the donation boxes installed at the Sufi shrines. All shrines and Khanqah’s had numerous donation boxes installed with custodians appointing people to man these collection points with little or no accountability.

Meanwhile, National Conference General Secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar criticized the move and said that the tradition of tying the ‘Dastaar ‘ has been practiced for centuries and it was meant to give respect to the visitors and political leaders.

While calling the order ‘laughable’, Sagar said when Amir-e-Kabir Mir Syed Ali Hamdani came to Kashmir to preach and propagate Islam, he was welcomed by people with ‘Dastaar Bandi’.

Sagar alleged that “It was yet another attempt to play with the identity of Kashmir”.


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Auqib Javeed

Auqib Javeed is special correspondent with Kashmir Observer and tweets @AuqibJaveed

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