Future to Fold – Fault Lines in Kashmir

The people of Kashmir are divided on the basis on caste, peer-ism, Sufism and fundamentalism. It has been seen in the past few years that there has been a shift from one school of faith of Islam to another. The signature of the fundamentalist Islam is clearly visible in many parts of the valley. As a result violence is increasing in the valley, making the Government just a spectator and disabling from interference. Along with that prevailing insurgency in the valley is also a result of this gradual shift of the people’s school of faith. In this article we will discuss on different schools of faith followed in the valley, conflicts between them and how they radicalize the people.

At present, the schools of faith existing in the valley are Salafism / Ahl-e-Hadith, Deobandi, Jammat-e-Islami and Barelvi/Hanafi. In this moment we will focus on the highlight of various issues that are prevalent between the Salafist and the Barelvi/Hanafi community of Muslims. Barelvi is a movement following the Sunni Hanafi School of jurisprundence. The majority of the Muslims in India and Pakistan are Barelvi Muslims. The name Barelvi derives from the north Indian town of Bareilly, the home town of its founder and main leader Ahmed Raza Khan. This is influenced by local culture and accommodates Sufi practices, the followers believe in saints and visit shrines. The Hanafi/Barelvi Islam, the traditionally moderate school followed by the majority in the Kashmir, is being replaced by the radical Ahl-e-Hadith which is also called as the local moniker for the Saudi imported Salafism. The Salafist movement in India is represented by the Ahl-e-Hadith movement; India is home for estimated 22 million Salafist. This Arab funded ideology finds convergence with already established Islamic movements such as Deobandi and Jamat-e-Islami in the valley.

The growing influence of this movement led to the conflict, erosion of Kashmiriyat and weakening of Sufi Islam in valley. The onset of militancy in Kashmir has led to the exodus of almost all Hindus (Kashmiri Pandits) from Kashmir and violence against the remaining community of Hindus and Sikhs which lead to the further erosion of the fabric of the Kashmiriyat. Although the moderate Kashmiris are the custodian of Kashmiriyat, they are incapable in fighting back this movement.

It is not the mosques and literature that influence the valley rather, it is the Internet and social media are used to the influence the youth of the Kashmir by the Ahl-e-Hadith movement. These influences of foreign nations into certain community not only create conflict based on ideology but also create political and social instability in the territory.


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