A fatwa and support by official priest Mufti Bashir-ud-Din in favour of hardline separatist leader Sayed Ali Shah Geelani has embarrassed the state government.
Bashir-ud-Din, who, besides presiding over official functions, announces Eid crescent on behalf of the government every year, supported All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman Geelani protest call and rally towards the UN office in Srinagar against “growing rise of human rights abuses in the state”.
He also had urged people to make Geelani’s protest programme a success.
“I support Geelani’s programme as it is against the human rights abuses and killing of innocent Kashmiris. Hundreds of youth have disappeared in custody, people irrespective of age and sex are being killed by the troopers and thousands of youth are languishing in jail. It is our responsibility to protest against such acts,” Grand Mufti was quoted by a local newspaper.
Geelani welcomed Bashir-ud-Din’s "change of heart". “Daer aaya doorust aayae (It’s never later),” the aged separatist told the Hindustan Times.
Geelani said if he (Bashir-ud-Din) now thinks we are on the right path he is welcome. “We welcome all those who support our cause,” he added.
Bashir-ud-Din had also threatened to launch a civil disobedience movement against the government and its policies “if it fails to end human rights violations in the state”.
The official priest raked a controversy recently when he at a New Delhi function declared stone pelting un-Islamic. He later retracted the statement in Srinagar.