National Conference on Tuesday lashed out at Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and the PDP-BJP Government for starting an “extensive policy of putting Imams under surveillance” through J&K Police and the CID.Condemning this “new policy”, NC Spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattu said, “this was a direct interference into the religious affairs of Kashmiris and had exposed Mehbooba Mufti and her party.”“Ms Mehbooba Mufti is trying to be more loyal than the King. Her anti-Muslim and anti-Islam statements have fuelled the fire of Islamophobia and given ammunition to the likes of Taslima Nasreen who have not only rejoiced at Mehbooba’s remarks but also congratulated her. Mehbooba Mufti’s move of putting Imams under surveillance comes after her public threat to senior clerics to desist from talking about Article 370. Ironically this is the same party that promised a ‘Battle of Ideas’. Now it’s evident that Mehbooba Mufti has declared an unofficial emergency in the State and is suspending all basic civil rights and liberties,” NC Spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattu added.
The NC Spokesperson said the Government has directed CID officials to keep a close watch on the activities of Imams both inside and outside the Masjids.“Their sermons are being monitored for any political content and the Police have also been directed to keep a record of their political affiliations. Mehbooba is playing with fire. She has no right to intimidate our clerics and religious scholars. Her behaviour is anti-Muslim and violated the basic tenets of the constitution. Clerics have a right to preach what they deem fit. Any government regulation over Friday sermons is unacceptable,” the NC Spokesperson added.“There are also reports in the media that a senior police officer has been put in charge of this extra-legal and extra-constitutional surveillance. This senior police officer has also directed the Police to carry an extensive profiling of clerics in their respective areas and ascertain their affiliations. The police has also been directed the collect photographs of all Imams and keep them on record. Media reports have claimed that official orders have been issued by the CID Department to this effect. This is an extremely alarming development and the Police should also desist from being politicized by the Chief Minister and not transgress their legal and constitutional mandate. Any large scale profiling of religious clerics and Imams is totally and completely unacceptable,” the NC Spokesperson further said.