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Jammu and Kashmir: Detained cleric solemnises nikah

A senior leader of the Peoples Conference, Shia cleric Imran Reza Ansari is among those being detained at the Centaur.

Written by Adil Akhzer | Srinagar |
Updated: August 29, 2019 7:19:20 am
With PCO services back in Srinagar, people await their turn to make a call outside a shop in Jawahar Nagar. (Express photo by Naveed Iqbal)

Among the visitors, Wednesday at the Centaur, a hotel on the banks of the Dal lake that currently serves as a detention centre for mainstream political leaders in J&K, were Bilal Ahmad and Ghulam Hussain.

The two were part of a group that had travelled over 30 km from Sonawari in Bandipore to reach the Centaur. But unlike many others, they weren’t here to visit detained relatives. They had come to bring some cheer — and solemnise a nikah.

The couple getting married, Barkat and Irfana, didn’t come but insisted that their relatives, including Ahmad and Hussain, get the nikah solemnised by Shia cleric Imran Reza Ansari. A senior leader of the Peoples Conference, Ansari is among those being detained at the Centaur.

“Barkat and Irfana were represented by their attorneys. But relatives from both sides were present as the nikah was solemnised by Maulana sahib,” said a relative outside the SKICC, which is connected to the Centaur.

Hussain, the bride’s relative, said the ceremony was scheduled for August 24 and 25, but had to be cancelled due to the clampdown in J&K. “Everything was ready at both the homes. But since we couldn’t meet Maulana sahib, we had to cancel,” he said.

Ahmad, who is also a relative, said the group had met police officers and the District Magistrate to obtain permission to meet Ansari. “Initially, we tried to meet the District Magistrate but he wasn’t present in his office. Then, we submitted an application yesterday and were allowed to meet him (Ansari) today. Alhamdulillah, the nikah has been solemnised,” he said.

“For us, Maulana sahib is a religious figure and a political leader. He is everything to us,” Ahmad said.

Irshad Ahmad Rather, who was part of the group, said they had never expected the nikah to take place at all, given the situation. “We are thankful to the Almighty that it finally happened,” he said.

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