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Published in the 16-31 March 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Tussle within Lucknow Shia leadership

By Masood Hasan

The Milli Gazette Online 

Lucknow: Charges and counter charges are being levelled since the sectarian clash erupted in the old city of Lucknow on 10 Moharram in which three (Sunni) persons were killed and several injured. Shia clerics are sharply divided. While denying the charges and terming them baseless and figment of imagination, president of the All-India Shia Husaini Council Maulana Agha Roohi Abaqati has attacked a renowned Shia cleric (Maulana Kalbe Jawwad) without naming him and demanded an independent inquiry into the clash in order to expose the real culprit behind it. He advised not to mix religion with politics and challenged those Shia religious leaders who allege that the riot was the result of sermons preached by Maulana Roohi during majlis. He said that those who hold him responsible for the clash could listen to the CDs and cassettes of his sermons now available in the market. 

Maulana Kalbe Jawwad had alleged that the sectarian clash was triggered by the moulvis who are close to the BJP in Uttar Pradesh and had also campaigned for the BJP during the Lok Sabha elections last year. 

Maulana Roohi has made it clear that he is a senior member of the BJP. He is also against the agreement reached between Shia and Suunni leaders for taking out alam and tazia processions in 1999 and wanted that the agreement be reviewed. He has rebuffed claims that the BJP hand was evident in the clash and described the charge as a figment of imagination. He has also demanded that inquiry panel should cover the aspects of the sermons preached by Sunni religious leaders at the Shaukat Ali Hata in Lucknow during the month of Moharram because Sunni ulama while addressing the gathering had assailed and attacked Shia faith which hurt the sentiments of the Shias in Lucknow. The Government had announced a magisterial inquiry into the Shia-Sunni clashes that occurred over the tazia procession in Lucknow. 

The sectarian clash has shocked Shia and Sunni ulama here. Maulana Kalbe Jawwad has said that a conspiracy was hatched to shatter the peaceful atmosphere of Lucknow. The Naib Imam of Lucknow Eidgah Maulana Khalid Rasheed of Firangi Mahal also sees a conspiracy behind the clash. He said that the Shias were violating the tripartite agreement reached between Shia and Sunni leaders in 1999. He said that Shia religious leaders had given their consent in writing that the processions would be taken in accordance with the agreement reached between the leaders but they are violating the agreement.

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