The BJP-run J&K Waqf Board has decided to centralise and regiment the appointment of imams (preachers), khateebs (Quranic reciters) and muezzins (who call for prayers) in the Union Territory (UT). It has laid down fresh criteria to replace “those too advanced in age” to carry out the duties.

“The board is facing a shortage of well-qualified imams, khateebs and muezzins. Some are too advanced in age to carry out their duties effectively. Representations received from the general public also highlight the demand for the appointment of well-qualified imaams, khateebs and muezzins,” Ishtiyaq Mohi-ud-Din, the board’s executive magistrate tahsildar, said, in an order.

The board, headed by BJP leader Darakhshan Andrabi, has laid down eligibility criteria for their appointment. It said the candidates should have at least Class 10 education, with a Molvi-Faazi course certificate from a Sunni Hanfi institute. “They should use the teachings of the Sufiyah-e-Kiraam as a reference for their preaching and practice, should have broad knowledge of past and current uloom (religious sciences) as well as modern subjects and relevant fields, should abstain from sectarian matters and promote a message of peace and harmony in the community,” it reads.

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