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Top Kashmiri scholar Maulana Rehmatullah Qasmi interrogated by NIA in alleged ‘funding case’

Maulana Rehmatullah Mir Qasmi

by Muslim Mirror Staff

On Wednesday, June 7, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) interrogated Maulana Rehmatullah Mir Qasmi, a well-known Islamic scholar from north Kashmir, in relation to a case involving the “funding of terrorist activities”.

Maulana Rehmatullah, who is a founding member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board and head of Darul Uloom Raheemiah, the largest Islamic seminary in Bandipora district of Kashmir, was questioned for approximately six hours at the NIA’s office in Srinagar.

Maulana Qasmi, who completed his graduation from Uttar Pradesh’s Darul Uloom Deoband in 1978, was interrogated in relation to a case registered by the NIA on September 3, 2022 (RC-07/2022/NIA/JMU). The case pertains to the Al Huda Educational Trust (AHET), a non-governmental organization based in Jammu and Kashmir. The AHET has been accused of allegedly “radicalizing the youth” in the region.

Darul Uloom Raheemiya, Bandipora.

The case against the Trust was filed under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 153A (promoting enmity between different groups) of Indian Penal Code and sections 10 (act resulting in the death of any person), 13 (commission of unlawful activity) and 22C (punishment for offences by companies, societies or trusts) of Unlawful Act (Prevention) Act 1967.

According to the allegations made by the NIA, the Al Huda Educational Trust (AHET) was established by Jamaat-e-Islami, a socio-politico-religious organization in Jammu and Kashmir. The NIA claims that the trust was created as a means to bypass the ban imposed on Jamaat-e-Islami in 2019. The Indian government had declared several organizations as unlawful associations under anti-terror laws at that time.

Furthermore, the agency alleges that AHET was formed by Jamaat-e-Islami with the objective of mobilizing funds to advance its anti-India agenda. These allegations come in the aftermath of the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status in August 2019, which led to the reorganization of the region into two union territories. The NIA suspects that AHET was involved in activities that aimed to further the anti-India narrative following these developments.

“It appears that you are acquainted with the facts of this case. You are hereby directed to report at NIA camp office Church Lane Sonwar Srinagar for the purpose of answering certain questions related to the case,” the summons, which was served to Maulana Qasmi on Monday, read.

The interrogation of Maulana Qasmi has stirred anger among religious scholars in Kashmir. Muttahida Majlis-e-Ulama Jammu and Kashmir (MMU), a prominent conglomerate of religious bodies, has voiced its “serious concern” regarding the summoning of Maulana Qasmi. They view this development as “extremely sad.”

“Maulana Rehmatullah is not only a renowned Islamic scholar but also a sincere preacher of Islam who has dedicated himself to religious, educational and reformative services towards our society,” MMU said in a statement.

In October of the previous year, Maulana Qasmi, who is regarded as an expert in Sharia law in Kashmir, expressed his disapproval of an official order that mandated schools to include the singing of the all-faith prayer “Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram” during morning assemblies. Maulana Qasmi deemed this requirement as “unacceptable.”

A week after Maulana Qasmi voiced his objection to the mandatory singing of the all-faith prayer, the NIA conducted a raid on his residence in Bandipora. During the raid, the NIA seized his mobile phone and some land documents, as reported by an individual familiar with the operation. It is worth noting that Maulana Qasmi has previously expressed opposition to the government’s takeover of religious institutions in Jammu and Kashmir.

Who is Maulana Rehmatullah Mir Qasmi?

Maulana Rahmatullah Mir Qasmi, born on July 22, 1957, completed his graduation from Darul Uloom Deoband in 1978. He is recognized as an authorized disciple of Mahmood Hasan Gangohi in Tasawwuf (Islamic mysticism).

In 1979, he founded Darul Uloom Raheemiyyah, which has become one of the largest Islamic madrasas in Kashmir. The seminary follows the educational methodology and principles of Darul Uloom Deoband.

Maulana Qasmi holds the position of a founding member in the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, a significant organization concerning matters of Muslim personal law in India.

Additionally, he serves as a senior member of the managing committee of Darul Uloom Deoband, a prestigious Islamic seminary in Uttar Pradesh. He is also a member of the working committee of Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind, an influential organization representing the interests of Muslim scholars in India.

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