A day after all religious leaders in the Valley rallied behind Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and called for a shutdown to protest against the National Investigating Agency’s (NIA) summons to him in a case of alleged terror funding, the shutdown call was withdrawn on Wednesday on the request of Mirwaiz.
The Mirwaiz-led Hurriyat Conference also convened an emergency meeting in Srinagar to discuss the issue. Hurriyat has said that a “hostile environment is being wilfully generated to cause harassment”.
On Wednesday, the Mutahida Ulema Council — an amalgam of religious leaders across the Shia-Sunni and Salafi-Sufi divide — withdrew the shutdown call after a request from Mirwaiz. “Express my deep gratitude to Mutahida Ulema council J&K the traders’ fraternity and the civil society members for their concern and support. I, however, request Mutahida Ulema council to take back the hartal call for 16th March in this regard,” Mirwaiz tweeted.
Following the meeting on Wednesday, Hurriyat said the NIA is creating a “hostile atmosphere” in the Valley. “Mirwaiz… has made it absolutely clear that he is willing to cooperate with any investigation but what is upsetting is that a hostile environment is being wilfully generated to cause harassment,” said Professor Abdul Gani Bhat, who led the meeting in the absence of Mirwaiz. “He represents an office which is so sacred that interference in any form or at any level with his position is extremely likely to inflict a wound deep into the collective political consciousness of Kashmir.”