Waqf chairperson Darakhshan Andrabi visits released cleric’s home in Kashmir

PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti hit out at the BJP for allegedly felicitating the religious leader, after having jailed him under the stringent Public Safety Act

September 22, 2023 04:15 am | Updated 04:15 am IST - SRINAGAR

Jammu and Kashmir Waqf Board Chairperson Darakhshan Andrabi at a public event.

Jammu and Kashmir Waqf Board Chairperson Darakhshan Andrabi at a public event. | Photo Credit: PTI

Senior BJP leader and J&K Waqf Board chairperson Darakhshan Andrabi threw a surprise by visiting the recently-released Jamiat Ahle-Hadith preacher Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat alias Mushtaq Veeri, whom the police accused of “instigating youth in Kashmir”.

Describing Mr. Veeri “an Islamic Scholar and eminent preacher,” Ms. Andrabi said she visited the preacher’s residence “to congratulate him personally”.

“Our religious scholars are very precious for the society. Wished him good luck. I am overwhelmed by his affection and prayers for me,” Ms. Andrabi, in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

Mr. Veeri was arrested multiple times since the Centre revoked J&K’s special constitutional position in 2019. He was released earlier this month by the court. Several popular preachers were booked for “instigating youth despite being warned several times”, the police said in September last year at the time of Mr. Veeri’s detention under the Public Safety Act (PSA), which allows revolving-door detention of a person without a court trial.

Mr. Veeri was arrested along with Moulana Abdul Rasheed Dawoodi, patron of the Tehreek-e-Soutul Awliya last year. Ms. Andrabi also phoned Mr. Dawoodi on his release and congratulated the followers of the preacher from Kabamarg, Anantnag.

Reacting to the move of the Waqf chairperson, former J&K Chief Minister and Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti said, “Religious leaders now released and felicitated by BJP after being slapped with PSA were earlier accused of being a security threat by the ruling party”.

Ms. Mufti said while they (the BJP) engage in dirty political games wonder what it will take to free other preachers accused of the same crime? like Ishfaq Bukhari, Abdul Majid Dar, Manzoor Misbahi and Fayaz Shah, who continue to languish in jail.

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