New Delhi, Mar 15: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday met representatives from the Ajmer Sharif Dargah, the revered Sufi shrine in Rajasthan.
Syed Naseruddin Chishty, chairman of the All India Sufi Sajjadanashin Council, said the delegation discussed the revival of Sufi culture in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Kashmiris used to follow Sufism, but gradually the extremists stopped the people and the youth. Kashmir has a rich tradition of revered Sufi dargahs [shrines], such as the famous Hazratbal Dargah in Srinagar. We are working to revive and promote Sufism in Kashmir,” he said.
He said the Home Minister appreciated their efforts and promised them full cooperation.
“Kashmir has nearly 60-70 Sufi shrines that are 500 years old. Many shrines were desecrated. We are in touch with the clerics there, and the government has promised [us] that a policy will be announced soon,” he said.
On July 1 last year, taking part in a discussion in the Rajya Sabha on extending President’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir, Mr. Shah had raised the disappearance of Sufi culture from the region. “Jammu and Kashmir used to be the epicentre of Sufi culture. Where did the Sufis disappear? Who forced them out. Why didn’t anyone raise a voice…. Weren’t they part of Kashmiriyat? Sufis were attacked, they were targeted…. They were the ones who spoke about Hindu-Muslim unity, about India,” he had said.
Chishty said they would soon start a door-to-door campaign in Kashmir to promote Sufism. He said the issue of employment for Jammu and Kashmir youth was also discussed.