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Spriritual head of dargah to boycott Ashraf

Security at the shrine was beefed up on Friday.

Written by Sweta Dutta | Jaipur |
March 9, 2013 12:31:01 am

Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Parvez Ashraf’s scheduled visit to the Ajmer Sharif dargah drew protests Friday from lawyers,political outfits and even the spiritual head,who refused to formally receive the dignitary and assist him in offering prayers. Ashraf is slated to visit the Sufi shrine on Saturday afternoon after a brief ‘working lunch’ with External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid at the Rambagh Palace Hotel.

The visit has drawn the ire of residents and organisations in Ajmer with as many as 250 lawyers threatening to wave black flags at the Pak PM’s convoy. Late on Friday,Zainul Abedin,the dewan of the shrine,issued an official statement announcing that he had “decided to boycott the Pak PM’s visit” owing to the killing of two Indian soldiers and subsequent mutilation of their bodies by the Pakistani army on the Line of Control. The dewan,a descendant of the Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti,traditionally receives nation heads visiting the shrine and also assists them in offering prayers. His boycott of the visit is being viewed as symbolic.

Members of political outfits such as Shiv Sena and Vishwa Hindu Parishad along with the District Bar Association too have threatened to disrupt the visit and show black flags to the visiting PM. District Bar Association president Rajesh Tandon told The Indian Express,“The Pak PM has full right to visit the dargah but if he is treated as a state guest,we will protest against it. This is the same person who mercilessly supported his army and sent back headless body of our soldier. If we support his visit,we will show disrespect to our country and our brave soldiers,who are fighting for our security.”

Security at the shrine was beefed up on Friday. A security team from Pakistan including officials of the Pakistan Embassy reached Ajmer on Friday morning to look into the arrangements and met the district administration to discuss details of the visit.

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