Asiya Andrabi : A religious fanatic or a leader of choice?


Kashmir valley, the paradise on Earth, which has offered solace to thousands of people across the world for centuries, which found its mention in the ancient manuscripts that tell tales of its sagacious vista, is now limited to the saddening news stories since the early 90s that witnessed the rise of insurgency and Islamist fundamentalism. Even today, the ever so tranquil state of Kashmir is in turmoil as it suffers bouts of mass uprising incited by fanatic elements and self-proclaimed advocates of the sentiment of Kashmiris.


One of the many is, Asiya Andrabi. Infamous for spitting venom against India and lauding efforts of Hafiz Saeed, by making television appearances wearing the stereotypical burka and professing anti-state ideology has tagged Asiya as an Islamic extremist and separatist. Her supporters call her the Iron lady. She has remained active since the early 1980s in Kashmir politics and relentlessly propelled pro-Pakistan Islamist activism and separatism. She is believed to be one of the masterminds of the 2010 protests along with Masarat Alam Bhat, leader of the pro-Pakistan Muslim League, and they spearheaded the “Quit Jammu and Kashmir” campaign. Married to Ashiq Hussain Faktoo, top ranking commander of Hizbul Mujahideen who has been incarcerated since 1993, Asiya is the founder of Dukhtaran-e-Millat (Daughters of Nation), an Islamic group part of the separatist All Parties Hurriyat Conference in the Kashmir valley. DeM played a key role in closing down a flourishing liquor business, cinema halls and video libraries in Kashmir in 1988-89. The main aim of the organization is to work for separation of Kashmir from India.


“I was an ambitious girl. I was shocked by this objection on my wish to study outside. But in that disappointed state Mael Khairabadi book “Khawateen ki Baatein” came to my rescue,” said Asiya in an interview to pkkh. She added, “I thought we were Muslims only by name. I began to read Quran with tafseer (meaning). I would not sleep during nights. Sometimes, I slept of on my prayer mat. This was the aim of my life now. We mobilized to bring Islam in our society.”


Although the activities she has been constantly involved in have been perceived as violent and deliberate in nature. She has been accused of mobilizing people against India and criticized for inciting the Kashmiri youth to Jihad and “freedom fight” against India. Her efforts have its intentions to change the traditional liberal culture of the Kashmir valley into an extremist Islamist culture.



Cow slaughtering video

In September 2015, Asiya slaughtered a cow and released a video in a bid to defy the Court’s order to ban on the sale of beef in the Indian Occupied Kashmir. In the video, she openly stated that her faith enables her to kill the cow, irrespective of the new law enforced by the administration. In a blatant disrespect of Court’s order and amid ongoing debate to discourage cow slaughtering, Asiya’s video is a farce on the effective rule of the present ruling government in the state and the centre.


Pak flag unfurled

She was arrested on September 17, 2015 in connection with a couple cases registered against her. The DeM chief celebrated Pakistan’s Independence Day on August 14 at her residence by singing that country’s national anthem and unfurling the flag of the neighboring country on the outskirts of the city, reported Indian express. Hours after that, Andrabi had stoked another controversy by addressing via phone a rally in Pakistan which was organized by Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ud Dawa (JuD). Andrabi had earlier also celebrated Pakistan’s National Day on March 23, 2015 and hoisted the flag of the country and sung its national anthem, following which the police registered a case against her under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. In another video, she openly professes her agenda on her envisioned future of Kashmir and extends gratitude to Pakistan.


Asiya’s nephews arrested in Pak for alleged terror links

In an unprecedented move, Pakistan conducted raids against terror links in Islamabad in which three nephews of the Dukhtaran-e-Millat founder-chairperson Syed Asiya Andrabi were arrested on September 7, 2013 reported hindu. She said, “I told them if some arms and ammunition have been really seized from our relatives’ house, how could these be used against the country (Pakistan) we had given our sweat and blood for.”


Asiya Andrabi found her religious beliefs on the teachings of the neo-fundamentalist Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith. Although her ideology has met with harsh criticism as her organisation DeM has frequently tried to intimidate the common Kashmiri to follow the “true Islamic way of life” with a motive to institutionalize the Kashmiri Islam which has been traditionally liberal in outlook and synertic in practice. She has been criticised for inciting the Kashmiri youth to Jihad and “freedom fight” against India, while her own son is pursuing higher studies in Malaysia on an Indian passport.


It is ironical that the Indian administration and media is bent on nit picking on the issue of ‘National/Anti-national’ while certain elements in Kashmir abhor Indian Constitution and sentiment, intimidate Kashmiris and fearlessly cultivate hate in the region to achieve their ulterior motive. So far, these are only closely observed but not stopped. The Kashmiri youth gripped by the violence and persistent Islamic fundamentalism have faltered, while their conscience is torn apart, the life of precarity they lead is insufferable. The Kashmiri youth must recognize and decide instead of relying on external faux ideology which has repeatedly failed them. God helps those who help themselves.


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