Explained: why Kashmir’s Ahle Hadees are divided over former chief’s killing

Slain Ahle Hadees Chief Showkat Ahmad Shah’s son Shuaib Showkat Shah protests with members of the group in Barbarshah locality on Tuesday, Nov 7, 2017. (Kashmir Dispatch)

An open rebellion within an influential religious group in Jammu and Kashmir escalated on Tuesday as the son of the Muslim organisation’s former head accused the incumbent chief of killing his father in an market bombing in 2001.

Shuaib Showkat Shah, the son of former Jamait e Ahle Hadees Showkat Ahmad Shah, who died after an Improvised Explosive Device exploded outside a Mosque in the Maisum locality of summer capital Srinagar, led a protest outside the organisation’s headquarters in Barbarshah locality against the inclusion of Abdul Majid Dar Almadni in the group.

Scores of Ahle Hadees members patiently listened to Shuaib as he blamed Al-Madani for the murder of his father.  “This protest is against the killers of my father and the conspirators of his murder,” he said as his supporters shouted slogans against Al-Madani.

SHOWKAT SHAH’S MURDER AND PROBE

In a first, Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba admitted that militants killed Ahle Hadees chief Showkat Ahmad Shah in an IED blast outside his mosque at Maisuma Bazaar on April 8 in 2011.

LeT seemingly endorsed the J&K police investigation into the case noting two Tahreek-ul-Mujhadeen (TM) militants, Javid Ahmad Munshi alias Bill Papa and Nisar Ahmad alias Ishaq, arrested, were the ones who killed the cleric.

However Lashkar remained tight-lipped on other arrested men including Abdul Gani Dar alias Abdullah Gazali, a former militant and a leader of Sout-ul-Haq, a religious-political outfit and Abdul Majid Dar Al-Madani, an Imam of Batamaloo mosque.

This followed the All Parties Investigation team formed by Ahle Hadees to independently enquire into the assassination. The team comprised chairmen of both factions of Hurriyat, JKLF chairman Yasin Malik and other dissent and religious leaders.

Ahle Hadees then held a meeting and discussed the reports received from Lashkar and TM which were also involved in the investigation process to unravel the conspiracy. It was decided to release the Lashkar report to media to clear the air.

“When Moulana was killed we (Lashkar) initially thought it was the handiwork of the Indian agencies to weaken our movement. It was not in the wildest of dreams that men in our ranks would be responsible for the assassination of Moulana,” said Ghulam Rasool Malik, who followed Showkat Shah as president of Ahle Hadees, quoting the Lashkar report.

Police said members of Sout ul Haq, breakaway faction of Jamait, were believed to be behind the conspiracy because some of its members were also the members of Ahle Hadees and wanted to dislodge Showkat Shah.

Police said Javid Ahmad Munshi alias Bill Papa, the recycled militant of TM, prepared the IED using the galantine sticks and other material. Nissar Ahmad Khan alias Ishaq, a local trained militant of TM detonated the IED by a remote control.

Lashkar operational commander in his report submitted to Ahle Hadees however absolved the then top field commander in Kashmir Abdullah Uni from the crime. Police also said that Munshi was a double agent since he was also involved in tipping off army about the movement and hideouts of the militants.

The slain cleric’s son said: “My father was killed and an all party probe committee headed by Ahle Hadees was formed which after thorough investigations issued a joint report identifying his killers.”

“Police arrested the killers which included Majeed Dar, against whom documentary and video evidence of being involved in that heinous crime are available. These killers are now on bail, facing the charges in court of law but ironically the present regime heading Ahle Hadees gave him a clean chit and inducted him into the group,” Shuaib said.

“The person who was killed was not only my father but he was president of Ahle Hadees and his killing accounted to the killing of whole group,” he said.

India’s current home minister offers condolences to Showkat Shah’s family at the latter’s home in Lal Bazar locality of Srinagar in April 2011. (File Picture).

 

 

Shuaib also submitted a memorandum to Ahle Hadees leadership

Memorandum

Greetings

We are present here today to protest the fact that the administration of Jamiat e Ahle Hadees has again provided space and stage to Abdul Majid Dar Almadni of Budgam in Jamiat despite the fact that he was involved in the murder of Moulana Showkat Ahmad Shah who had been the president of Jamiat for Nine years and was the president at the time of the assassination.

This step of Jamiat has hurt the sentiments of millions of Muslim brothers and sisters. Even Though we don’t have any expectations from the current administrative setup of the Jamiat, but it is shocking to know about this particular decision of the Jamiat. How have the murderers of the previous president of the same organisation been provided a platform again? Will this not lead to new opportunities for these fringe elements to conspire against the ummah? The policy of the current administrators of the Jamiat has always worked to disregard the martyrdom of Moulana Showkat Ahmad Shah. The policies and the projects that he initiated have always been given a negative thought. The supporters of Moulana Showkat have been distanced from the Jamiat and the space for their opinions and voices to be heard has been censored and shrunk.

Despite these facts we have never spoken against the Jamiat or shown resentments towards their behaviour towards us. In fact we have worked tirelessly to support and strengthen the organisation, and we continue to wholeheartedly work for the advancement of Jamiat e Ahle Hadees.

Last year as well a similar conspiracy was hatched to include Abdul Majeed Dar Almadni into the Jamiat. However, after public uproar and resentment this decision was revoked at that time. Was it because Jamiat elections were around the corner at that time and the administrators did not want to take a risk and disappoint the people? But as soon as they were re-elected into power they according to their commitment to these criminals have included him back into the organisation.

We have tried to seek answers from the administration in this regard. Several members have personally approached the current president and other key position holders of the Jamiat to seek explanation about this inclusion, but they have been dodging the answers. They are saying that Mr Majid Dar has given in writing that he is not involved in the Murder of Moulana Showkat Shah and that is the reason of his re-inclusion in the Jamiat. We want to know, then why wasn’t Abdul Majid Dar allowed to join the Jamiat for seven years if he is innocent. What are the reasons now that he is again been invited to Jamiat? Abdul Majid Dar has been saying that he was not involved in the murder, does his claim make him innocent. According to this logic if Javed Munshi a.ka. Billa Papa and company will claim to be innocent and give it in writing, then will they also be invited to join the Jamiat? It is also being said that the independent all-parties investigation committee has not included Adbul Majeed Dar in their report. Then we want to ask why did he run away to Delhi on the day of Moulana Showkat’s assassination? Shouldn’t he have joined the millions of people in protest? Was his name dropped because He was in Delhi?

Also, it is important to point out that and all-party investigation committee was formed to identify the individuals directly involved in the bomb blast, as it would be foolish to expect an independent body to investigate the matter entirely and expose the masterminds behind the brutal murder of Moulana Showkat Ahamad Shah. The report published by the joint committee was just the report given by Lashkar e Toiba and Tehreek ul Mujahideen and did not publish their own independent findings. We also want to ask they why Abdul Majid Dar was arrested and was in Jail for two years, why he has been facing a trial in the court of law, and why is he still considered as a primary accused in the Shaheed Showkat Shah’s murder case. Even today he is out just on bail and has not been acquitted of the charges. Also, it is known that Abdul Majid Dar was not the only person who used to oppose Showkat Ahmad Shah. For those who say that he was accused because of his differences, then by that logic everyone who had differences with Showkat Shah should have been accused and jailed.

The matter of the fact, is that Abdul Majid Dar was and still is very close to the murderers of Showkat Ahmad, especially close to Javid Munshi a.k.a Billa papa who was proven to be guilty of the Murder and was the one who lead the assassination, and there are several video evidences in which Abdul Majid Dar is seen talking about the Murder of Showkat Ahmad Shah in presence of Billa Papa and is calling Billa Papa his student.

We have no doubt that Abdul Majid Dar is involved in the murder of Shaheed Showkat Shah. He was arrested because merely one or two weeks prior to the murder of Shaheed Showkat Ahmad Shah Abdul Majid Dar accompanied by Javed Munshi a.ka. Billa Papa was travelling from village to village in order to conspire the assassination of Showkat Ahmad Shah, this is well documented in video evidences. Majid Dar is a close accomplice of the murderers even today, and a student-teacher relationship is still there between them. Then why is it said that Majid Dar has nothing to do with the assassination of Shaheed Showkat Ahmad Shah? According to us he is in fact that the Mastermind behind the assassination of Shaheed Showkat Ahmad Shah. Whether or not he is proven guilty in any court but in the court of Almighty Allah he will be answerable.

From this protest today, we want to appeal to the current administration of the Jamiat to respect the past decisions of the Jamiat and the all-party investigation committee which was formed under the leadership of Jamiat e Ahl E Hadees. We want accountability and explanation of the decision to re-induct Majid Dar. We want the all-party committee to come and seek answers as to why their decisions are being overridden. And why are they silent on giving a pious platform to murderers. Unless and until you do not break your silence and show accountability on this dangerous decision, our protest shall continue.