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Kashmir: Shi'a Leader Walks out From Meeting Over Muharram Arrangements After ‘Humiliation’

Anees Zargar |
Imran Reza Ansari later questioned the role of some bureaucrats who, he said, were treating the people of Kashmir as “second class citizens”.
Kashmir: Shi'a Leader Walks out From Meeting Over Muharram Arrangements After ‘Humiliation’

Influential Shia leader Imran Ansari. Image Courtesy: Twitter/@imranrezaansari

Srinagar: A senior politician and prominent Shia leader Imran Reza Ansari on Monday said he was forced to walk out of a meeting with senior officials of the Jammu and Kashmir administration in protest following an argument over Muharram arrangements in the region.

The meeting was convened by Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha which was attended by senior officials of the administration and members and representatives of several Shi’a bodies, including Anjuman e Sharie Shian and All J&K Shia Association (AJKSA), of which Ansari is the president.

During the meeting, Ansari is said to have expressed concern that the administration had not made sufficient arrangements for the ongoing Muharram events. According to sources privy to the exchange, Ansari reportedly argued that the LG made several visits to oversee arrangements for the ongoing Amarnath Yatra but did not make similar visits to any of the Shia localities to supervise Muharram arrangements.

“While he was talking, the Chief Secretary intervened and accused Ansari of talking in a sectarian tone following which the LG asked Ansari to allow others to put forth their point of view as he tried to intervene. Ansari asked the CS not to put words in his mouth and walked out of the meeting in protest,” sources told NewsClick.

“It pains me to see this daily dose of humiliation for Kashmiris. I don’t understand whether these are politicians or bureaucrats. I challenge them to talk in this tone to any person in public life in the rest of the country,” Ansari was quoted as saying. 

 Ansari questioned the role of bureaucrats who, he added, were treating the people of Kashmir as “second class citizens”.

 “The LG is a politician who has been selected by the Central government. He is not elected. I hope he keeps this in mind. And I would love to see whether he would appreciate similar behaviour by a bureaucrat in his home state of Uttar Pradesh,” Ansari reportedly said.

 Later, the J&K Peoples Conference issued a statement condemning the administration towards Ansari, who is also the party’s secretary general.

"We express deep concern over this dangerous precedent being set by the administration. It started the humiliation of political leaders, and now they are moving on into the domain of humiliating religious leaders,” PC’s spokesperson Adnan Mir said.

In the statement, Mir added that J&K was administered in a “new hybrid model”, in which some bureaucrats have donned the hats of politicians’ and these politico-bureaucrat “rogue variant” of the bureaucracy feel that it is their divine duty to “humiliate” the political class.

“We would like to remind those bureaucrats that they are mere tools in this operation humiliation. It is the Central leadership that has imposed a selected group on the masses of J&K. And, we are having to face the brunt,” he added.

Mir also slammed the LG as the head of the state administration for allegedly presiding over and facilitating the “humiliation of a religious leader, who incidentally had been very cordially invited”.

Members of the Shia community have been urging the administration to allow key processions on the traditional routes which have been barred by the authorities in the region for more than three decades.

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