The Ahmaddiyas, a sect of Islam that has been declared non-Muslim in Pakistan, have called off their 126th Jalsa Salana (the annual congregations) at sect headquarters of Qadian in district Gurdaspur in India following widespread protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Community spokesperson K Tariq said the decision “to postpone” annual congregation was taken “because things were not stable and circumstances were not good for travel of members of the community”. The three-day Jalsa Salana was scheduled to be held from December 27 to 29. The annual congregation of the Ahmadiyya community was started by their founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad at Qadian.
“We have visitors from South, West, Kashmir and Kanyakumari and from several countries. But safety is most important to us. It is not safe for the pilgrims to travel on trains,” said Tariq, adding that new new dates for the congregation would be announced shortly.
He added that 1,500 to 2,000 people had attended the event last year from around 45 countries. Tariq said the event is held annually for three days in the last week of December beginning Friday.
“The event is held for spiritual upliftment to recognise God. The event is held in the last week of December,” said Tariq.
He added that the Jalsa Salana, which was started in 1891, had been called off or postponed rarely, except a couple of occasions like when there was plague in late 19th century and in 2008 following the Mumbai terror attacks.
A US-based Ahmadiyya Muslim, Nasir Mahmood, said he planned to attend Jalsa Salana but had to shelve his plans after learning about cancellation of the event on the scheduled dates.
“I had planned to attend the event and return in January. But after learning that the event has been cancelled, I will have to alter my schedule,” said Nasir.