Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti on Monday tweeted a sharp attack at the Jammu and Kashmir administration, accusing the authorities of pushing a Hindutva agenda in the union territory.
The former chief minister put out a video from a government school in Kulgam district, about 70km from Srinagar, in which the high school students are seen singing ‘Raghupati raghav raja ram’, a hymn considered a favourite of Mahatma Gandhi.
“Jailing religious scholars, shutting down Jama Masjid & directing school kids here to sing Hindu hymns exposes the real hindutva agenda of GOI in Kashmir. Refusing these rabid dictates invites PSA & UAPA. It is the cost that we are paying for this so-called ‘Badalta J&K’,” she said in a post on Twitter
The 105-second video first shows the board of the government high school in South Kashmir’s Kulgam, before showing about two dozen students in school uniform singing the devotional song with folded hands in the presence of a group of teachers.
Rouf Ahmad Lone, tehsildar of Kulgam district’s Damhal Hanji Pora, said he had also seen the video on social media. Lone said they were also looking into the issue but underlined that the department has not received a formal complaint.
The former chief minister’s tweet attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) comes against the backdrop of the Kashmir Police on Friday arresting two prominent clerics, Abdul Rashid Dawoodi and Mushtaq Ahmad Veeri, under the Public Safety Act (PSA). Dawoodi, a Barelvi scholar, is head of ‘Tehreek e Soutul Auliya’ based in south Kashmir’s Anantnag and Veeri, who was also booked under PSA in 2019, is a religious leader of Jamiat Ahle Hadees (JaH) in Anantnag.
Muttahida Majlis-e-Ulema (MMU), an amalgam of several religious organisations in Jammu and Kashmir, condemned the arrest over the weekend.
On Sunday, Jammu and Kashmir additional director general of police (Addl DGP) Vijay Kumar rebutted claims that the religious preachers were innocent. Kumar said the police was prepared to go public with the evidence against the clerics if required and stressed that they had been instigating the youth despite several warnings in the past.
“We had ample evidence and that is why we had called them several times and tried to convince them not to instigate the youth, the people. When they did not stop, they were booked under the PSA,” Kumar told reporters in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Sunday.