Iranian Shia Clerics Under Scrutiny in Kashmir For Fiery Speeches

Are Shia clerics in Jammu and Kashmir under the scanner of the Indian intelligence agencies? According to media reports, the Indian Government has red-flagged the visit of Iranian Shia clerics to Jammu and Kashmir amid reports that fiery speeches were delivered at various congregations and mosques. 

The report states that due to the fiery speeches by Iranian clerics,  pictures of former Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani were brazenly displayed at Muharram processions in the Kashmir valley.

Muharram is a month in the Islamic calendar and it is a period of mourning for Shia Muslims. Imran Ansari, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) legislator from Pattan in north Kashmir, said that two men affiliated with the separatist group – Hurriyat Conference flashed the banners of Burhan Wani at the procession.

“This should not have happened. We were mourning Imam Hussain. This is the first time that such a thing happened. Burhan Wani’s posters were deliberately flashed to politicise the mourning. That is not the mandate,” Mr Ansari said.

Ansari also said that though clerics from Iran frequently visited Kashmir Valley and no one has ever delivered a fiery speech during Muharram. Mr Ansari explained that the Iranian clergy had a permanent office in Delhi, Daftar-e-Rahbari, besides having many schools in Jammu and Kashmir.

A senior government official said they were watching the speeches being given by religious leaders including those by Shia leaders. “Since they come here for religious sermons, they are easily given visas. We are checking if they violated visa provisions,” the official said.

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