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Deoband shuns politicians during polls

Lucknow: In an apparent bid to steer clear of electoral politics, Islamic seminary Darul Uloom, Deoband, has decided to close its doors to politicians during the Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh.

According to seminary sources, senior clerics will not meet leaders of any party at the Deoband premises in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur district.

Sources said the decision was taken to avoid ‘unnecessary controversies’ that might be triggered owing to visits by politicians during elections.

‘No electoral politics’
“It has been observed that political leaders often make attempts to gain electoral mileage from their visits to the seminary,” a senior cleric in Deoband said, adding, “We have decided to steer clear of electoral politics… though we cannot stop anyone from visiting the institution, no senior cleric will meet the political visitors.”

During the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, too, the Darul Uloom had shut its doors to politicians.
Though the leading Islamic seminary had never issued a fatwa (religious decree)
in favour or against any political outfit, leaders had tried to use their meetings with the senior clerics to their electoral advantage, claiming that the clerics had endorsed them.

Sources said that such claims of ‘endorsement’ could influence Muslim voters in the state.
Several leaders like former prime minister Indira Gandhi and SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav had visited the seminary and met the clerics before the elections.

–PTI