The Anjuman-e-Haidery, headquartered at the Dargah Shah-e-Mardan in Jorbagh, Delhi, and which claims to be managing “the largest number of Shia Waqf properties in Delhi,” has floated a tender to fly a lakh volunteers to war-torn Iraq and its adjacent countries to protect Shia shrines from Sunni insurgents.
The tender, floated Friday, invites Expression of Interest from aviation and travel business entities “having capacity to carry passengers in bulk at a short notice.”
From India, the destinations could be Iraq, Syria and/or Turkey and the company should have a capacity to carry 1 lakh passengers from August 1 to November 10 this year, states the tender.
“As the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has threatened to demolish the shrines, our volunteers would stand guard outside them,” says Syed Bahadur Abbas Naqvi, group’s general secretary.
“The volunteers would help the displaced in whichever way they can, be it by donating blood or building shelters,” he said.
While the group claims to have enrolled over a lakh volunteers, Abbas says their target is at least 10 lakh through their 50 centres in the country.
On Saturday, as Maulana Kalbe Jawwad and other Shia clerics addressed followers at the shrine of Hazrat Abbas in old Lucknow, hundreds lined up at the registration camp by Anjuman-e-Haidery. Apart from Shias, about a thousand Sunnis and 500 Hindus have also signed up to go to Iraq.
Jawwad, who returned Friday after spending 22 days in Iraq, said “there is no greater religion than martyrdom. This is a conspiracy of Jews and Americans to divide Muslims into Shias and Sunnis. In Iraq, Sunnis are fighting alongside Shias against these terrorists.” As children, men, women and the old listened to him, he urged them to lay their lives for Hazrat Hussain, the first Imam of Shia Islam, whose shrine is at Karbala in Iraq; the ISIL has threatened to bomb the site, among others.
“There is a wall of stone but outside we will make a wall of humans,” Jawwad said. “This is land of Gandhi and we don’t need weapons to fight,” said Wasi Ahmed, another cleric.
Abbas said “the Indian government should interfere as the ISIL has said on its website that its next target is Kashmir.” Doctors and nurses among the volunteers, as well as clerics would be among the first ones to go.
Without a mention of Sunnis or ISIL, the registration form terms their acts as “terror,” saying the “principles of humanity, justice and peaceful co-existence of all are most precious and must be defended” at all costs by “all means legal, just and moral”.