Kashmir’s Muslim identity being undermined by government, says Valley Muslim groups amalgam

Singing bhajans and doing surya namaskar un-Islamic, says the collective

September 24, 2022 09:02 pm | Updated 09:39 pm IST - SRINAGAR:

A lavender field in Sirhama area of South Kashmir, Srinagar. Image for representation.

A lavender field in Sirhama area of South Kashmir, Srinagar. Image for representation. | Photo Credit: Nissar Ahmad

The Muttahida Majlis-e-Ulema (MMU), an amalgam of religious and social groups in the Kashmir Valley, on Saturday said attempts were underway “to undermine the Muslim identity of Kashmir”.

The MMU organised a meeting in Srinagar’s Jama Masjid to discuss the recent alleged measures to start singing Hindu hymns and Surya Namaskar in educational institutes of the Valley.

“The diktats related to Hindu hymns and Surya Namaskar hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims and create anguish in them. Unfortunate attempts are being made to undermine the Muslim identity of Kashmir by asking Muslim students in schools and educational institutions to sing them,” an MMU spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said the MMU passed a joint resolution “to express deep and serious concern over attempts being made to weaken the Muslim identity of this ‘Valley of Saints’”.

“The MMU strongly regrets activities being implemented through schools and educational institutions aimed at furthering the Hindutva agenda in Kashmir. In the name of yoga and morning prayers, Muslim students are made to chant bhajans and at times asked to perform Surya Namaskar. This is against the fundamentals of our religious practices,” the MMU resolution reads.

“It is to inform the government and education department that such activities will not be tolerated by the Muslims in Kashmir as it is a direct challenge to their religious and Islamic beliefs”.

The MMU appealed to the government to immediately withdraw its orders and stop these practices.

“Parents, if your children are forced to participate in un-Islamic activities in government schools, you should withdraw your children. We urge Muslim teachers to avoid promoting such un-Islamic activities and give preference to their faith,” it said.

The MMU also demanded the release of Valley’s chief cleric Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who remains under house arrest since August 5, 2019.

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