Muharram arrangements : Shia leader walks out from meeting chaired by LG

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Senior Shia leader Imran Ansari on Monday staged a walk out from a meeting chaired by J&K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha after the Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Mehta reportedly accused him of being sectarian.

The meeting was called to review Muharram arrangements but the administration faced uncomfortable questions from the Shia leader.

Ansari’s party J&K Peoples Conference strongly condemned the behaviour displayed by the state administration towards him.

Ansari said during the Muharam meeting, he pointed out that J&K administration was focused on Amarnath Yatra and they do not bother to visit Shia areas during the Muharram days to look for arrangements.

“(Lt) Governor sahib is occupying the highest post in J&K, and other senior officials, visited Amarnath shrine multiple times but failed to visit Shia area. The visit would have sent a positive message to the community as well as to the administration,” Ansari told reporters.

He said Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Mehta intervened and accused him of “giving a sectarian angle” to the meeting.

Ansari said he objected to the remark by CS Mehta.

“After the sectarian remark, I walked out of the meeting,” he said.

Peoples Conference expressed deep concern over this “dangerous precedent being set by the administration.”

“It started the humiliation of political leaders, and now they are moving on into the domain of humiliating religious leaders, said the PC spokesperson in a statement issued here.

He said that J&K is administered in a new “hybrid model, in which some bureaucrats have donned the hats of politicians’ and these politico-bureaucrat “rogue variant” of the bureaucracy feel that it is their divine duty to humiliate the political class. “

“We would like to remind those bureaucrats that they are mere tools in this operation humiliation. It is the central leadership that has imposed a selected group on the masses of J & K. And we are having to face the brunt. We challenge them to dare to do it in any other part of the country. This too will pass.

But these hybrid entities will be held up in odium and contempt and will go down in history as molesters of the sacred institution of bureaucracy”, the spokesperson added.

He further asserted that it certainly does not behove the head of the state administration, even if he is regrettably selected and not elected, to preside over and voluntarily facilitate the humiliation of a religious leader, who incidentally had been very cordially invited.

J&K government is mulling lifting the ban on major Muharram processions in Kashmir for the first time in over three decades.

LG Manoj Sinha today interacted with heads of religious organisations, eminent members of Shia Community, Officials of Civil & Police administration to review Muharram arrangements.

“This is the occasion of religious importance for all of us. The UT administration and GoI is working with sensitivity and commitment to ensure that all arrangements are made for smooth, safe and hassle- free conduct of Muharram,” the office of LG said in a tweet.

The LG directed DCs to ensure improved connectivity to Imambaras, power supply, availability of extra ration, water & basic amenities, regular market inspection, cleanliness, traffic management and best possible medical facilities to the people.

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