All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) recently announced the constitution of a legal committee to provide legal aid to the Masjid Intezamia Committee of the Gyanvapi Mosque, Varanasi in Gyanvapi Case. Earlier in November 2019, AIMPLB decided to file a review petition challenging the Supreme Court verdict on Ayodhya Land Dispute. What’s noticeable in both the cases is over enthusiasm and overarching presence of SQR Ilyas, executive member AIMPLB and President, Welfare Party of India. While Maulana Sajjad Nomani is the official spokesperson of AIMPLB, it was SQR Ilyas, who broke these news to the media. Scrutiny of the Twitter account of SQR Ilyas would reveal his continuous anti-government and divisive stance. Ilyas’s fundamentalist outlook and his continuous presence on Social Media promoting divisive agenda prompts us to take a look on the murky past of SQR Ilyas.
A recent report published in Times of India revealed that SQR Ilyas, a member of Gyanvapi legal commission, is being watched with concern by Law Enforcement Agencies in view of his past association with outlawed SIMI. Ilyas started his tenure in SIMI as an Ansar (full time member) and went on to become its president (1983-85). After SIMI was banned, Ilyas moved to Jamaat e Islami Hind- an organisation known for following the ideology of Muslim Brotherhood in India. Ilyas was also responsible for organising anti-CAA protests in many cities of India. He also opposed the government’s move on nullification of article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir. Most of the people sympathising with SQR Ilyas do not know that Ilyas left SIMI not due to ideological difference but due to crossing the age limit of 30- one of the binding rules of SIMI. Even after leaving SIMI, he nurtured a soft corner for the organisation. In 2003, Ilyas defended SIMI when its cadres came out with a poster “Destroy Nationalism and Establish Khilafah”. Those who do not want to delve into history, two SIMI activists were sentenced to five years’ imprisonment under POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act) for possession of these posters. The audacity and radical mind-set of SQR Ilyas can be judged by the fact that while defending the accused, Ilyas said that Nationalism is a form of extremism, fascist in content and Khilafah means establishment of God’s will.
With such extremist views, SQR Ilyas has now been made a member of legal committee on Gyanvapi Mosque case. Its an open fact that while majority of Indian Muslims welcomed the decision of Supreme Court on Ayodhya Land Dispute for maintaining peace and harmony of the nation, a handful of politically motivated individuals like SQR Ilyas opposed it and filed a review petition and vitiated the hard achieved peaceful atmosphere of the nation. Whatever may be the end result of Gyanvapi Case, people like SQR Ilyas are expected to promote hatred, given his past association with SIMI and his ever growing radical mind-set. Muslims of India must be cautious of such leaders.