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Prominent J&K religious leaders call for deradicalisation

The Jammu and Kashmir police had recently arrested five people for pasting threat posters in Seer and Batagund villages of Tral area in Pulwama district of South Kashmir (IANS)

After a promising performance against prominent parties in the recent District Development Council (DDC) elections, the Jammu & Kashmir Nationalist People's Front is marching ahead to contribute more constructively to the state.

The members of the party inspired by 'The Art of Living' founder and spiritual leader, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, organized a confluence of prominent Muftis, Maulvis and Khatibs on Wednesday at the Gujjar Charitable Trust Hall, Channi Himmat Bypass, Jammu.

"We all have the responsibility of bringing peace to every nook and corner of the world," says Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. "Unless every member of our global family is peaceful, our peace is incomplete."

The conference was inaugurated by Lt Governor of J&K, Manoj Sinha, who was also the Chief Guest and the keynote speaker.

"While we have controlled radicalisation with all of your collective efforts, it still needs attention because of the pace at which it is spreading with the help of technology," Manoj Sinha said.

"It will be a mistake to associate it with a community. If we look at it like drug addiction then we can follow the right direction in my opinion."

He said, "This programme has been organised in view of national integrity, to bring collective energies of the citizens together, self-introspect and take citizens in the right direction, and I appreciate this effort."

Sinha underlined the need for messages from prominent figures like Abdul Salam, Maqbool Shervani, Salim Malik, Israr Ahmed to be included in chapters of peace and harmony in school and madrasas curriculum.

He shared the widely acknowledged example of Tamil Nadu, where significant courses on deradicalisation were introduced with a focus on counselling and making children understand the true meaning of Islam.

"The voice for peace has risen from this platform and we want to send this message to all of Kashmir, across the border that in this world we are brothers and will coexist peacefully like this together," said Sheikh Mujjaffar, President, Jammu and Kashmir Nationalist People's Front.

The conference on deradicalisation opened with addresses by Mufti Ajaz Sahib, Mufti Noorani, Mufti Muzafar and Nazir Ahmad Soibug Badgaum.

"A Momin (believer in Allah/Islam) is one who understands the real essence of Islam. Once we have understood what it means to be a true Momin, then we will also know that ours is a religion of peace because our basic Taleem (education) is of Aman (peace)," said Mufti Muzafar.

"(Imaan and Ehsaan) to do good to others and be honest, can also happen only in peace. Momin is one in whose presence everyone feels safe, irrespective of their religion."

The topic of the post lunch session was 'Duties of Muslims towards country as per Quranic verses'. The Shahi Imam of Jammu and Mufti Anayat Ulla Quadmi spoke on the topic, followed by Mufti Lal Udin and Mufti Nazir Quadmi.

Several Kashmiri Pandits also attended the conference. The religious leaders spoke on the unfortunate exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits and the need to move ahead together and bridge the trust deficit.

Youth leaders of Jammu also joined the conference. The discussion included measures to bridge the divide in Jammu region and the Kashmir valley.

Sanjay Kumar, a social activist and programme director (J&K) of Art of Living, also addressed the gathering. The concluding address was by J&K NPF (Jammu and Kashmir Nationalist People's Front).