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JeI Crackdown Continues: What Is Jamaat-e-Islami And Why Is It Banned In Jammu & Kashmir?

The latest raids and sealing of offices come as part of the ongoing crackdown on JEI which began soon after Pulwama suicide attack by Jaish-e-Mohammad fidayeen Aadil Dar which left over 40 CRPF soldiers dead.

A Jaish-e-Mohammad militant was killed in an encounter with security forces in Jammu and Kashmirs Anantnag district
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In a latest crackdown on Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) in Jammu and Kashmir, the authorities have sealed the banned socio-religious organisation’s properties in south Kashmir’s Anantnag. The officials said the JeI’s sealed assets on Saturday are worth over Rs 90 crores.

The officials also said that Saturday’s action was a part of plan to “uproot the menace of terror funding to a great extent” in J&K. 

J&K’s State Investigation Agency (SIA), the officials said, has identified assets of JeI worth crores in the UT. The agency has identified nearly 188 JeI properties across J&K which will be notified, the officials said.

Why JeI is banned in J&K

It was in 2019 that crackdown started against JeI. It was soon after the Pulwama suicide militant attack—which left over 40 CRPF soldiers dead, after a Jaish-e-Mohammad fidayeen Aadil Dar rammed an explosive laden vehicle into the forces bus carrying soldiers at Lethpora along J&K National Highway.

Next, the security forces began arresting JeI cadre and its organisation’s who’s and who in Valley, following the Centre’s order.

The Centre had put a ban on JeI. The government reasoned that JeI was “intending to escalate its subversive activities, including attempts to carve out an Islamic state out of the Union of India by destabilizing the government-established law”.

The Centre’s order also said: “The group(JeI) is also expected to escalate secessionist movement, support militancy and incite violence in the country”. 

Was JeI banned in Valley earlier as well?

JeI before 2019 was banned twice in Valley’s history. JeI was banned for the first time in 1975 by then J&K’s PM Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah for two years and subsequently for three years. Later, when another Kashmiri Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was the country’s Home Minister, ban was imposed on JeI again in 1990. 

When was JeI formed?

JeI was founded in J&K in 1942. It has a strong cadre base across J&K. 

It is different and separate from Jamaat-e-Islami Hind. JeI J&K is more inclined towards Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan.

How JeI strengthened its base in J&K?

It was in the subsequent years, particularly post Partition in 1947, the JeI began to strengthen its base in J&K. The JeI became an instant hit among peasant class in Valley, who at that point of time felt being exploited at the hands of landlords and upper castes.

JeI set a formal structure of the organisation in place and began to gain ground in the Valley.

It also started contesting elections. Later, it channelized its resources on social activities. The organisation introduced an education system in the Valley, particularly in rural belt, teaching modern education and Islamic theology to the students.

The schools came to be known as ‘Falah-e-Aam’ schools, meaning for the “welfare of masses”.

JeI also began to conduct congregations or “ijitimas” on weekly, monthly and annual basis. 

JeI through its massive religious congregations known as “ijitimas”, which it used to held annually, monthly and weekly, through which the people were introduced to new socio-political ideas and programmes.

JeI Organisation

The cadre-based party JeI has a powerful Majlis-e-Shoora (advisory council) which takes decisions on important issues through consensus.
The second tier of JeI consists of Rukn-e-Jamaat (pillar of Jamaat), who in turn elect the Majlis-e-Shoora. 

The number of Rukn-e-Jamaat can vary from 100 to 300 but for getting into this elite group, one has to fulfil certain criteria—which can take more than a decade at least.

JeI’s on Kashmir’s separatist politics landscape:

JeI was an influential member of undivided Hurriyat Conference from its inception in 1993 till 2003, when the amalgam suffered a vertical split led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani over alleged proxy participation in 2002 Assembly polls by some leaders of the People's Conference led by Sajad Gani Lone.

JeI election participation in J&K:

It was in 1972 that JeI won five out of 22 Assembly seats that it contested in Valley. Subsequently, in 1977, it won just one seat. In 1983 the JeI failed to open its account, and in 1987,JeI which contested under MUF(Muslim United Front) alleged of mass rigging. 

Late Separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s association with JeI

The late Syed Ali Shah Geelani was associated with JeI for many years, and ardent supporter of Pakistan, Geelani was considered among important pillars of the organisation in Valley.

It was in 2005 that Geelani was suspended from JeI, following which he floated his own Tehreek-e-Hurriyat party. 

However, following an agreement Geelani had entered into an agreement with Jamaat that secured his place in both parties.

What is JeI’s ideology?

JeI has a secessionist stand on J&K. It maintains that J&K is a “disputed territory”, and seeks its resolution through “right to self-determination”.

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JeI’s hand in Kashmir’s militancy:

When militancy emerged on the scene in Valley during 90’s, Hizbul Mujahideen(HM) called itself JeI’s “fauji bazu” (armed wing) owing to large number of militants having affiliation with the organisation, including HM’s first commander Master Ahsan Dar. 

Killings of JeI activists in Valley:

Hundreds of JeI’s activists were allegedly killed by the counter-insurgent force Ikhwan during mid-90’s in the Valley. The Ikhwan was accused of human rights violations, arson and torture. 

When did JeI distanced itself from Kashmir’s militancy map?

It was in 1997 that JeI distanced itself from HM. There have been rumours of JeI's association with the PDP which critics claim helped the party gain majority in the valley.

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