Kashmir May Soon Have Islamic Banking System

Srinagar, Aug 17: The Indian administered Kashmir may soon have the Islamic Banking system, which is prevalent in most of the Muslim countries.

Mushtaq Ahmad, Chairman of Kashmir’s leading Bank – Jammu and Kashmir Bank- said there was scope for Islamic banking in Kashmir but the bank need permission from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in this regard.

“RBI has authority to give permission for Islamic banking. But we have not approached them yet,” he said.

He, however, said implementing Islamic banking in Jammu and Kashmir was completely different from the Middle East. “We have to take permission from the RBI first,” he said.

Mushtaq said the issue has been deliberated from time to time. “It is in the domain of the regulator and the Government of India. We can initiate the process for Islamic banking once there is a nod from them and relevant regulations governing the subject are in place,” he said.

The moderate Kashmiri separatist leader and cleric Mirwaiz Umar Farooq had recently called for abolition of ‘interest-based’ banking, and pitched for introduction of Islamic banking in the state.

He had asked the state-owned J&K Bank to take steps in this regard.

Meanwhile, the Minister for PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control Taj Mohi-ud-Din supported the idea of Islamic banking in the state.

“If guidelines of RBI permit it, state government has no objection,” he said.

The opposition PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said people should have a choice in deciding it. “Islamic banking should be available and it should be left to people to decide what they want. Islamic banking is gaining popularity in West also. We aren’t supporting it because Kashmir is a Muslim majority state but it is a positive development,” she said.

Another pro-Indian leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Beig said that a group of citizens should approach the RBI with a plea to start Islamic banking in the state. “Then only it can be permitted,” he said.