Terming the locking of Bada and Chhota Imambaras in Lucknow as un-Islamic as it restricts Muslims from offering prayers, All India Shia Personal Law Board (AISPLB) has decided to call an emergency meeting to discuss the matter.
“It is unIslamic to lock religious places like Bada and Chhota Imambaras. With Ramzan commencing, it will lead to a criticial situation. We have sent urgent messages to board members for an emergency meeting. Due to Ramzan, the date is yet to be finalised but the board will meet very soon. The situation is turning for the worse,” Maulana Yasoob Abbas, AISPLB general secretary said.
He added that if the board decides, Shias will come forward to unlock the Imambaras, which have been locked by protestors demanding the removal of Syed Waseem Rizvi as the chairman of Shia Central Board of Waqfs.
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“Both the Imambaras have a functional mosque. During Ramzan, members offer Namaz there. Now, even namaz has been stopped. While we demand that we should be allowed to offer namaz in other mosques, we ourselves are locking our mosques,” Abbas said.
On the ongoing agitation by Maulana Kalbe Jawwad, Abbas said the tussle was between two individuals. “They are demanding the removal of Syed Waseem Rizvi from the chairmanship of Shia Central Board of Waqfs. Waseem is a friend-turned-foe of Jawwad. Why is the whole community being dragged in the agitation?” he said.
Jawwad has claimed that nearly 80 Anjumans (groups of Shias) in Lucknow had met on Wednesday and announced that the Imambaras will be kept under lock and key. He added that to maintain the sanctity of Ramzan, there will be no protest on roads.
Meanwhile, the district administration has decided to cancel its tradition of providing free Iftar and food to nearly 2,000 people for 30 days during Ramzan since the kitchen is in the Chhota Imambara. “As per tradition, Iftar is sent to 13 mosques by Hussainabad and Allied Trust. We also provide food to nearly 600 people daily. There is a big arrangement for at least 2,000 people every day. We have made all the arrangements but it cannot be done as Chhota Imambara is locked,” said H P Shahi, Additional District Magistrate of Lucknow and secretary of the trust.
“Poor people are dependent on Iftar and food distributed from Chhota Imambara. It is sad that the tradition will be broken due to the lockout. We condemn such behaviour,” Abbas said.
Jawwad, however, claimed: “The main gate of the Imambara is locked, but a small gate is open. People are offering namaz regularly. Even for the kitchen, the administration can use the back gate that is wide enough for a tractor trolley to pass. They all are making excuses.”