The Jammu and Kashmir government on Sunday said that schools, mosques and orphanages affiliated to Jamaat-e-Islami have been kept outside the purview of the ban on the organisation. The Department of Information and Public Relations of Jammu and Kashmir issued a clarification from the government’s spokesperson.

On February 27, the Centre declared the Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir group an “unlawful association” for a period of five years for activities “prejudicial to internal security and public order”. In a notification, the Ministry of Home Affairs said the group has the potential to disrupt the unity and integrity of the country. The government claimed the Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir is in close touch with militant outfits and supports extremism and militancy.

Jamaat-e-Islami is a socio-religious political organisation active in Jammu and Kashmir. The Kashmir branch broke away from Jamaat-e-Islami Hind and was founded in 1953. This is the third time in its history that Jamaat-e-Islami has been banned. In 1990, after militancy broke spread, the organisation was banned for the second time for allegedly encouraging “unlawful activities”.

The ban was imposed days after the Jammu and Kashmir Police launched a massive crackdown on the leaders of Jamaat by arresting close to 400 of its members.

Many Peoples Democratic Party leaders and activists took out a protest march against the ban in Srinagar on Saturday. Kashmiri authorities sealed properties of Jamaat-e-Islami and residences of some activists.

Three Jamaat leaders arrested

The police on Sunday said three prominent leaders of the banned outfit were arrested and a dozen assets sealed during searches across six districts, PTI reported. The searches were conducted in Doda, Kishtwar, Poonch, Ramban, Rajouri and Jammu districts on Saturday.

Mohammad Majeed Sheikh, Mohammad Iqbal Naik and Ghulam Qadir Bhat were arrested from Kishtwar district, PTI reported. Ghulam Nabi Gundana, another Jamaat leader, was put under house arrest. Two other activists of the organisation were detained in Doda and released later after questioning.

Many incriminating documents were seized and at least six bank accounts linked to the group have been ordered to be frozen, a police officer said. Schools run by the Jammat in the six districts were also searched on Saturday.

Centre should review ban on schools, says Omar Abdullah

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Saturday said the Centre should reconsider its decision of banning the organisation. “The politico-religious role of the Jamaat [JeI] is one aspect but there is also the social aspect,” Abdullah said on Twitter. “The recent ban is having a major social impact which isn’t being taken in to consideration. People are being turned away from mosques where they usually congregate for prayers. Schools with 10’s of 1000’s of students, employing 1000s of teachers are being sealed.”

He said sealing schools would risk forcing many children to be out on the streets rather than studying. “While the government may take some time to review the need to ban the JeI there is a need to urgently review the ban on schools & the sealing of mosques.” he said.

The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry has also opposed the ban. The ban is part of a provocative and motivated crusade against a particular community, the chamber said.

“The onus is on the government to start explaining to the public the compulsions justifying targeting of religious institutions belonging to a particular community,” the KCCI spokesperson said. “Sealing of residential houses and schools violates the basic principles of humanity and demonstrates the desperation of people after global rejection of their politics of hate, communalism and pernicious designed propaganda.”