Stone pelting is un-Islamic: Kashmiri cleric

March 10th, 2010 - 7:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, March 10 (IANS) Terming stone pelting as a form of protest un-Islamic, the Grand Mufti of Jammu and Kashmir, Maulana Bashir-ud-Din, Wednesday said such violent practices were against the basic tenets of the religion whose essence is “peace and brotherhood”.
“Islam strongly prohibits any means of violence. The stone pelting practice is surely un-Islamic. It causes inconvenience to people and propels more violence,” the Grand Mufti told IANS here.

Bashir-ud-Din heads the Sharia court of Jammu and Kashmir and is also the president of the state Personal Law Board.

He is authorised to make decisions on Islamic law and issue fatwas - religious edicts.

Asked if he had issued a fatwa against stone pelting, which some separatists justify as a form of resistance, the mufti said: “What I am saying is not my personal opinion. I, as a Grand Mufti, am making it clear. When Islam doesn’t advocate or justify any violence, how can you justify stone pelting? I am saying this in the light of Hadith (sayings of the Prophet) and the holy Quran.

“Islam is the religion of peace and brotherhood,” he added, strongly condemning the practice which over the past two years has become a norm in the troubled state, especially on Fridays.

After the weekly Friday prayers, streets of downtown in Srinagar and parts of Lal Chowk surge with masked youths, mostly in their teens.

They throw stones at police and paramilitary personnel, triggering clashes. Security forces, in return, use tear gas and sometimes even open fire at the protestors.

Recently, a young boy in Old Srinagar was killed when he was hit by a tear gas shell. In another incident, a 10-day-old ailing baby died when a vehicle carrying him and his parents to a hospital was stopped by stone throwers in Kashmir’s Baramulla district Feb 21.

The mufti said the stone pelting had taken a form of alternative employment in Jammu and Kashmir and the government needed to “nip the evil in the bud”.

“They (stone throwers) are paid for what they are doing. What do you do about that? Give Kashmiri youth jobs so that they don’t look for unlawful ways of earning,” he said.

The mufti was in the national capital to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Home Minister P. Chidambaram.

“I will meet them to urge for a dialogue process with every shades of opinion in the state to solve the (Kashmir) issue,” he said.

The mufti also condemned the killing of teenage Zahid Farooq, allegedly shot dead by Border Security Forces personnel last month. An official of the border guards has been arrested for the killing.

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