The recent verdict of the High Court calling for implementing the ban on the sale of beef has taken the State back to the Mirwaiz Qazi Nisar moment of 1985.
Nisar had defied Governor Jagmohan Malhotra’s imposition of ban on the slaughter of livestock on Janmashtmi. It paved a way for the creation of Ummat-e-Islamia, which in turn cleared the decks for the formation of Muslim United Front (MUF).
And MUF’s participation in the 1987 ‘rigged’ polls culminated in the outbreak of militancy.
David Devadas, the author of ‘In Search of a Future: The Story of Kashmir’ said the ban on the slaughter of livestock on Janmashtami had set the stage for the creation of MUF, then their participation in 1987 polls and finally the outbreak of militancy.
He said at the international level, the decade of 80s was a time of tremendous Islamism for the first time since the end of Caliphate in Turkey in the 1920s.
“After the Islamic revolution in Iran, there was a tremendous sentiment in Kashmir,” he said. “Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Hosseini Khamenei and the Imam of Kabba visited Srinagar on the same day and as a mark of Shia-Sunni unity, La Sharqiya La Garbiya, Islamia, Islamia (No East, No West; Only Islamic, Only Islamic) slogans were raised,” he said.
Drawing parallels with what was happening in Kashmir in 1985 and today, Devadas said there was resentment among the youngsters then and there is resentment among the young Kashmiris today too. “It led to the trajectories toward militancy of young men like Nayeem Khan and Shahid-ul-Islam by the late 1980s,” he said.
Drawing a third parallel, he said that, then too, people were deeply resentful of the Government of India.
“First the Congress government at the Centre brought down Farooq Abdullah's government in 1984, installed G M Shah and then imposed Governor's rule," he said.
Devdas also posted on his Facebook page, “Jagmohan's Janmashthami slaughter ban had helped set the stage for MUF. Ranbir Singh reinvented Hindu religiosity in the 1870s: Trikuta Devi became Vaishno Devi, Sanatan ways replaced the cult of Narasimha, and the `pure veg' Khir Bhawani displaced Sharika Devi and Zaishta Devi. SK Sinha banned meat offerings to Zaishta Devi. Each of the three earnest gentlemen damaged `integration' and harmony (sic).”
In another post, he wrote, “I wonder how opposition parties have received the court's directions. Do any of them have a beef with it? or is any of them beefing up its support base? Do they see it as a meaty electoral issue? Will it help them out-flank the PDP - chop it to size, flay it perhaps, even make mincemeat of it? Have any of them ribbed the government on this (sic)?”
The recent decision of the High Court calling for implementing the ban on the sale of beef has evoked a widespread criticism in Kashmir where people are voracious meat eaters.
The decision evoked strong protests particularly in the summer capital, Srinagar, where there is even aversion to consumption of beef and people usually take mutton.
The court direction came in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by a Jammu resident.
The slaughter of cows and other bovine animals was banned by the erstwhile Dogra rulers, a practice continued after 1947.
Qazi Yasir, the son of Qazir Nisar and the incumbent Mirwaiz of south Kashmir, said, “Nobody should decide what I am going to have as my food unless I do not force others to have the same.”
Yasir was arrested on Thursday with the government fearing he could trigger a similar kind of situation in south Kashmir that his father did three decades ago.
“India has perhaps forgotten that in 1985, our Chairman, Dr. Qazi Nisar defied their barbarism,” he said.
The HC’s diktat to strictly impose ban on the sale of beef has brought separatist leaders and religious leaders in Kashmir together and they have termed it as an attempt of interference in religion by the rightwing Hindutva forces.
The separatists have already called for protests and a shutdown on Saturday.
On Thursday, Asiya Andrabi, the chairperson of Duktaran-e-Milat (Daughters of Nation), defied the High Court’s decision by slaughtering a cow and Shabir Ahmad Shah followed suit on Friday.
Even the mainstream politician, Engineer Abdul Rashid Sheikh’s Awami Ittehad Party (AIP) also organized the slaughter of two cows on Saturday.