Anger mounts among Barelvi Muslims as Dargah-e-Aala Hazrat cleric meets Yogi

By Hasan Akram

New Delhi: The current leadership of Dargah-e-Aala Hazrat, the famous shrine of Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi in Bareilly, UP, is facing backlash from Muslim clerics after Salman Raza, a cleric associated with the shrine, had a ”secret” meeting with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

Salman Raza is the vice president of Jama’at Raza-e-Mustafa (JRM), the largest organisation of Barelvi Muslims that looks after the aforementioned shrine in UP. Apart from that, he is the son-in-law of JRM president Asjad Raza.

Salman met Yogi around 25 days ago. But people recently came to know about it as a photograph of the meeting went viral on social media. He was accompanied by Congress politician Mehadi Hasan and Samajwadi Party politician Ikram at the meeting.

Mannan Raza Khan, a senior leader of Dargah-e-Aala Hazrat and its current president Asjad Raza’s uncle, condemned the meeting. ”He [Mr Salman] had gone to sell the shrine. Who suggested him to go to people who do not want our votes nor like us and have created troubles for Muslims?”

Mualana Shahabuddin, an author who has written a book in Urdu on the history of JRM, called for a boycott of Mr Salman. ”Boycott such people at social, religious and political platforms. No one should go to their programs nor one should call them to their own programs,” he added.

According to media reports, Maulana Shahabuddin’s son was detained by police in Bareilly after he wrote a post about the meeting on social media. He was released several hours later.

Mr Salman rejected allegations labelled against him while speaking to this correspondent on phone. He said he had gone to discuss Muslim issues with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. ”Issues such as the demolition of Barabanki mosque and the insulting remarks made against Prophet Muhammad by Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati were discussed with him. He assured us that he look into these matters,” Salman added.

Responding to the allegations of keeping the meeting ‘secret’, he said, ”I keep speaking to Chief Minister and Prime Minister as well and I don’t find it necessary to disclose it to people.”

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