Qasmi’s presence in Team Anna was largely symbolichttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/qasmis-presence-in-team-anna-was-largely-symbolic/

Qasmi’s presence in Team Anna was largely symbolic

Former All India Imams’ Organisation general secretary,champion of Pulse Polio cause in Bijnore and now a former member of the India Against Corruption core committee

Former All India Imams’ Organisation general secretary,champion of Pulse Polio cause in Bijnore and now a former member of the India Against Corruption core committee,Mufti Shamoon Qasmi is a somewhat divisive figure in his own community,often accused of being an “RSS stooge”.

Maulana Umer Ilyasi,president of AIIO,confirmed Qasmi’s association with his organisation till some time back but chose not to dwell on its discontinuation.

Qasmi’s induction into “Team Anna” last year — two months after the Ramlila Maidan fast in August when the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari had urged Muslims to stay away from the movement saying it was against the basic tenets of Islam — happened with much fanfare. Soon after that,Qasmi,a student of Darul Uloom Deoband,had said it was high time Muslims stopped being led by the Shahi Imam.

He was first said to have come in touch with Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia in the aftermath of the Commonwealth Games scam,but his presence was mostly in the fringes of the Lokpal movement.

Despite attending core committee meetings regularly,Qasmi’s presence was largely believed to be symbolic as he hardly ever addressed the media,though he did address a few public gatherings in the run-up to the Assembly elections.

Soon after leaving Deoband in the early 1990s,he had a brief stint with the Jamaat-i-Islami and was among those arrested for the October 1990 Bijnore riots. After getting out of prison,he became a vocal advocate of communal harmony and has shared the stage with Ramdev several times.

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He is the president of Rashtriya Sarvadhram Ekta Parishad and is also vice-president of New Delhi-based Foundation for Religious Harmony and Universal Peace. In Bijnore,he is a member of Polio Task Force,a district-level organisation formed by WHO to include religious leaders in the Pulse Polio drive.