SOS Call From Minorities In India
Published On:Friday, June 7, 2013
by Ali Sukhanver
( June 7, 2013, Islamabad, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Muslim community in India constitutes about 13.4% of the total Indian population but the people belonging to this community are leading a miserable life even worse than the Dalits. The Muslims are the real Untouchables. Last year in July, a very renowned and esteemed news paper of India, The Hindu sent an investigative team of its reporters to different residential areas of the Capital Delhi and assigned to it the task of finding a flat for a Muslim family. The team went to different property agents but everywhere it got the same response, “The landlords want only Indians, not Muslims.” The reporting team contacted Radha of Gulshan properties in New Friends Colony, New Delhi also. A few days back the Gulshan properties had advertised for a flat to be rented on but the reporting team got the same response there. The agent said, “Another Muslim wanted to take the same flat on rent but he was also
refused by the owners though the flat has been vacant for a long time but they will not give it to a Muslim.” The Hindu latter on published the findings of its reporting team with the title, ‘Muslims: The Untouchables of India’. Particularly after the Mumbai Blasts, the situation for the Muslims in India has become more painful. Everywhere they are eyed upon as criminals and terrorists. Even the very popular film stars like Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Amir Khan and Sanjay Dutt are also facing the same insulting and degrading treatment only because they belong to the Muslim community. Moreover it is not only the Muslim community which is facing this ordeal of partiality and discrimination; almost all minorities are being deprived of the basic human rights in India. The Hindu extremists seem unwilling to allow any minority to survive and flourish in the Indian society.
The minorities in India are continuously facing targeted killings as well as the denial of justice to them by the Indian state. They are brutally suppressed and crushed by the state authorities for the sin of practicing their faith. Unfortunately such type of exploitation is nothing new; the tale of brutalities against the minorities has been going on for the last many decades. At the beck and call of the Hindu extremists, the fundamentalist Hindu political parties like the BJP seem always eager to make life a hell for the minorities in India. The accounts of arson, murder and crimes against women belonging to the minorities always sound dreadfully familiar but the treatment with the Muslims as well as with the Christians is worst of all. Each detail, each gruesome fact seems taken out of a script enacted before. The Evangelical Fellowship of India published their in yearly Persecution Watch Report in January 2013. The report reveals that incidents of
violence towards Indian Christians in 2012 were more than 131. In 2011 the number of such incidents was around 140. Incidents range from accusations of ‘forcible conversion’ to desecration of churches and violent attacks against individuals. In most instances, Hindutva activists led mobs disrupted Christian worship services and manhandled physically and verbally abused the congregation, including women and children. The EFI Director Richard Howells said, “The Evangelical Fellowship of India is deeply concerned at the uninterrupted and increasing hostility against the minority communities in India.”
A few days back Shafiqur Rahman Barq, a BSP member from Sambhal in Uttar Pradesh walked out of the lower house as Vande Mataram was being played. The speaker of the house Meira Kumar got angry and said in a very bitter tone, “One honourable member walked out when Vande Mataram was being played. I take very serious view of this. I would want to know why this was done. This should never happen again." After the incident the Hindu majority media started accusing Shafiqur Rahman Barq of insulting the national anthem. The Hindu extremist groups staged demonstrations protesting against Shafiqur Rahman Barq and demanded serious action against him. But Shafiqur Rahman Barq said talking to the CNN and IBN that he did not insult the national anthem; Vande Mataram is an ode to motherland not the National Anthem. He said, “Muslims like me bend only before Allah, not before any other gods.” According to the reports, Shafiqur Rahman Barq is still receiving
serious threats from the Hindu extremist groups who are demanding him to leave the country.
The recent brutal murder of Khalid Mujahid is the worst example of extra-judicial killing of Muslims in India. He died in mysterious circumstances under police custody while he was returning to Lucknow Jail after hearing of his case in Faizabad District Court. He was arrested in year 2007 on charges of serial blasts the same year. Unfortunately the Indian media which played havoc at the killing of Sarabjeet Singh at Lahore remained criminally silent over the murder of Khalid Mujahid. More pathetic is the fact that even our own Human Rights groups also joined hands with the Indian media in observing this criminal silence. It is their moral responsibility to raise their voice against these atrocities.
Gujarat's Muslims most backward: Mohammed Fazlurrahim
Melvyn Reggie Thomas, TNN May 13, 2013, 02.35AM IST
SURAT: "Muslims don't enjoy much social status in Gujarat. At least 50 per cent of Muslim population is backward and live below poverty line (BPL) in the state. Here Muslims are denied pre-matric scholarships which is their right," said Strive for Eminence and Empowerment (SEE) chairman Maulana Mohammed Fazlurrahim Mujaddidi at the first-ever national conference to discuss the '21st century's socio-economic challenges' before the community on Sunday.
Maulana Mujaddidi, a cleric and member of the steering committee of Planning Commission, was addressing a mammoth gathering of Muslims from Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra at the Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Indoor Stadium here. He asked community members to become educated and adopt positive thinking so as to catch up with members of other communities in the growth chart.
He said the Central Government has accepted the Sachar Committee's report on social, economical and educational status of Indian Muslims. The 12th Plan has documented the socio-economic backwardness of the community, he added.
Coming down heavily on the Narendra Modi government, Mujaddidi said, "If he (Modi) talks about six crore Gujaratis then why is it that he ignores Muslim community? Every state provides pre-matric scholarships to Muslims, except Gujarat. Implementation of welfare schemes in Gujarat, compared to other states is very poor. If Gujarat has to become a vibrant state, it has to focus on inclusive growth and include Muslims too in its plan. Muslims in Gujarat still dream about 'roti, kapda aur makaan'."
The 12th Plan document envisions one residential school similar to Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya and Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya in minority concentration blocks of cities and towns. At least 50 per cent student intake in these schools would be that of children belonging to the minority communities, he said.
External affairs minister Salman Khurshid said, "Only education has the power to bring about change in the socio-economic status of the community. Reservation should be given on the basis of backwardness and not religion. People should come here and see what jihad means. It is a jihad for education and for our social status."
British Indian Muslims back demand to release Muslims booked for terror in UP
Ashish Tripathi, TNN Jun 4, 2013, 01.16PM IST
LUCKNOW: British Indian Muslims have expressed solidarity with the RihaiManch which is staging an indefinite demonstration demanding action against police officers responsible for implicating innocent Muslim youths in false terror charges and release of Nimesh Commission report which found discrepancies in arrest of two terror accused Tariq Qasmi and Khalid Mujahid.
The Council of Indian Muslims (UK) has issued a statement in support of the Rihai Manch. It has also written a letter stating: "We salute the brave and honest souls like Magsaysay Award winning social activist Sandeep Pandey, former Director General of Police SR Darapuri and Advocate Randheer Suman, the shining stars of Indian secularism, who have led this campaign and have been exposing the ugly faces of a bunch of fascists bent upon destroying the spirit of peaceful co-existence and pluralism, an ingrained and deep rooted virtue of Indian society".
It also said: "We support the demands of Rihai Manch and express solidarity with these selfless soldiers fighting to establish rule of law and justice in India."
Further, the letter stated: "We condemn the killing of Khalid Mujahid and unjustified detentions of Muslim youths. Unfortunately even after 65 years of independence Indian police is behaving like the soldiers of British colonialists and Muslims as rebels.
"We urge the UP government to restore community's shaken confidence, improve its badly damaged image and accept demands of Rihai Manch," it added.
Rihai Manch is an outfit formed by civil society members for the release of innocent Muslim youth. Qasmi and Mujahid were arrested by the special task force of the Uttar Pradesh (UP) police in November 2007. The duo were held responsible for 2007 serial blasts in Lucknow, Varanasi, Faizabad and Gorakhpur.
However, following hue and cry by social organisations and families of the accused, the then Mayawati government formed Nimesh Commission, which in its report submitted in August 2012 found anomalies in the arrest. Since then Rihai Manch has been demanding release of the report and justice for terror accused.
In the meantime, the Samajwadi Party government filed a plea in the court to withdraw cases against Qasmi and Mujahid. However, it was rejected. Soon after on May 18, 2013, Mujahid died on way back to Lucknow jail from Faizabad court, where he was taken for a trial. Mujahid's family filed an FIR accusing 42 cops, including two senior officers, of implicating Mujahid and holding them responsible for his death. Several organisations in the country and abroad have supported Rihai Manch.
Demographic Dividend and Indian Muslims - i
The Milli Gazette
Published Online: May 25, 2013
Print Issue: 1-15 May 2013
By Aariz Mohammed
Director, Center for Social Justice, Hyderabad
Introduction: We have discussed the Muslim backwardness since ages and post-Sachar, the passion is continuing. Some of us contributed to get policies drafted to address this situation and some are working on their implementation. Yet, the challenge remains standstill as the share of the young Muslim population continues to grow in the overall demographic dividend of India with all its positive and negative results.
The objective here is to drive the community to face the challenges and prepare to capitalize on the dividend. It will be a dividend if we accelerate our preparation, else it will be a curse. A multi-dimensional approach with sustainable efforts at various levels is needed to address the challenge.
The available studies on the ‘Indian demographic dividend’ are not much qualitative as the space for R&D in our policies is non-cognizable. This limitation expands to all ‘Social-Identities’ and the ‘Indian Muslim’ identity is not an exception. Human development indications with SRC variables are also not available as no such exercise is undertaken even though the statutory bodies were demanding it for some time.
College Beard Ban Angers India Muslims
OnIslam & Newspapers
Friday, 24 May 2013 00:00
CAIRO – A decision by a Bangalore university to deny a Muslim student a place over his refusal to shave his beard is sparking a storm of fury among Muslims in India.
"The actual problem started last year itself. I have completed my first year St Germain PU College (PUC) in commerce from this particular college and I was asked to remove my beard since then," 18-year-old M Zeeshan Ali told Bangalore Mirror on Friday, May 24.
"But I had refused that time too and, somehow, the one year was completed.”
Islamic Ruling on Growing Beard
The controversy started over a year ago when Ali was in the first year in PUC.
At that time, he was told by the college authorities that he could not attend classes sporting a beard.
Though he completed last year, the college reopened to the issue this year, refusing to allow him for the second year without shaving his beard.
"As a precautionary measure I along with my father went and met principal Kanchana on Monday –the day college reopened after holidays,” said Zeeshan.
“My father requested the principal to allow me to retain my beard, but she asked me to trim it and return. Despite repeated requests she didn’t allow me and told me to come on Wednesday. She assured she would consult college head Fr Jayanathan."
The young student said he tried to explain to the college vice-principal that the Sikh community keeps their turbans as it is their custom and on the same ground Muslims too should be allowed to sport a beard.
The vice-principal refused to relent, stating that it will hamper its secular credentials.
“As the principal had assured I didn’t go to college on Tuesday. I went alone on Wednesday and met her. Once again I requested her to allow me to attend the classes but she told me to come to college clean-shaven or take a transfer certificate,” he said.
Muslims account for 160 million of India's 1.1 billion people, the world's third-largest Muslim population after those of Indonesia and Pakistan.
Wearing a beard is a Sunnah in Islam.
College officials rejected the bearded student’s request to be allowed to attend classes, arguing that the rules apply to all citizens.
"This is a rule of the Archdiocesan Board of Education and it is followed in all the institutions. The rule is not for any one particular community,” said Rev Msgr S Jayanathan, who heads the college management.
"This has been done keeping in mind the interests of students and it has already been communicated to all students.
"We have justified the rule and it is being followed since 2005. We are not discriminating against any particular community and every student has to follow the rule."
Yet, angry Muslims decided to hold parleys with the management of PUC college.
If the talks fail, their next step would be a demonstration against the college authorities.
“Zeeshan has been studying in the college for the past year with a beard and now suddenly the management is asking him to shave it off,” Tipu Sultan United Front’s president Sardar Qureshi said.
“We, along with some community leaders, will meet the principal on Friday and ask her to allow Zeeshan to attend class.
"We won’t tolerate the discriminatory attitude of the college.”
India’s First Glass Mosque Opens
OnIslam & Newspapers
Saturday, 20 October 2012 00:00
CAIRO – India has opened its first glass mosque and the biggest in the northeast Meghalaya state that is expected to draw hundreds of tourists to the marvelous worshipping house.
“The mosque will mark the unity of all religions,” Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs Vincent H Pala told The Times of India.
Pala also highlighted the “uniqueness” of the mosque and its “spirit”.Built in Shillong city, the capital of Meghalaya state, Madina Masjid is the first glass mosque in India.
The four-storey building - 120 feet high and 61 feet wide — stands inside an Idgah Complex in the city’s Lahan area and is close to the garrison grounds along the Umshyrpi River.
At night, the mosque’s glasswork glows and glitters.
Being the biggest mosque in the area, the 120-feet Medina Mosque will allow women to offer prayers and also house an orphanage.
It also includes a new theological institute that would host Islamic teachings and a library that would have books on comparative religious studies.
Attending the inauguration event, legislator Syeedullah Nongrong, who is also president of the Shillong Muslim Union, praised the new mosque role in attracting new tourists to the city.
“The mosque will also be a tourist attraction,” Nongrong said.
Muslims account for 160 million of India's 1.1 billion people, the world's third-largest Muslim population after those of Indonesia and Pakistan.
Indian Muslims have long suffered decades of social and economic neglect and oppression.
They are under-represented in public sector jobs, register lower educational levels and hit by higher unemployment rates.
Assam violence reverberates across India
Ethnic riots in country's northeast follow the same pattern as violence against Muslim Rohingya in neighbouring Myanmar.
Subir Bhaumik Last Modified: 16 Aug 2012 04:36
In Pictures: Violence erupts in Assam
Rioting in the northeastern Indian state has caused dozens of deaths and forced thousands to flee.
Biju Boro Last Modified: 15 Aug 2012 13:12
Misleading rhetoric post-violence in Assam
MAITRAYEE DEKA 13 August 2012
The recent killings between two ethno-religious communities in Assam, the Bodos and Muslims bring to the forefront many unanswered and awkward questions. The outburst of violence has been thoroughly debated amongst many sections of the mainstream public in Assam largely through the notion of a continuum. The minorities in this regard, the Muslims, have been regarded as the infiltrator. There is a further distinction being drawn along the same lines between the Muslims who have been a part of Assam for generations and assimilated to the culture and those who are apparently new migrants from Bangladesh.
It is interesting to examine the ways in which the popular rhetoric has taken hold, relying on the idea of a bounded state and the notion of the original people of the homeland. The dual threat of losing a homeland and losing all track of the original inhabitants removes all objective considerations from the debate in one fell swoop.
Such rhetoric following on from violence can be read as narrative fables used both in their early and current configurations to redefine locations and the idea of a homogenous culture within them. The notion of the infiltrator in a newly independent nation has to be read through the idea of a geographical area as a statist construction to begin with. What is today understood as Bangladesh was part of India till 1947, which only goes to show the arbitrary nature of the idea of citizen and outsider in this context.
If we move away from the argument of spatiality to that of people and see the threat of infiltration as a threat to outnumber Assamese people, the same fear has to be interpreted through practical concerns for jobs as much as through discomforting questions of authenticity and appropriate culture. In fact in many of the debates amongst people and in some sections of the media too the invasion of physical space and culture have both been dissolved into one threat. This is a very faulty and dangerous dissolve since it gives a profoundly biased view of the situation.
Assam has never been a region in which a single community can lay claim to be its original inhabitant. Although the name itself can easily lead to many misconceptions of Assam being the land of the Assamese people, it has always been a multiethnic state. In struggles for self rule within the state or land acquisition drives, for example, the multiethnic and power relations prevalent amongst various groups within the state have been highlighted. At various points in time, different groups have struggled against each other, showing the need to rethink the idea of how people live together in Assam and the relative expectations of each constituent part.
During times of communal violence, in the popular rhetoric, the fact that minorities are from another country with a different religion and are in large numbers is seen to be a major problem. In the context of Assam this becomes a supposed threat. Assam shares its boundary with the developing country of Bangladesh and there has been continuous temporary and permanent migration from there. The changing cultural geography of Assam as certain areas become dominated by the Muslim population has been viewed as a gradual conquest. Muslims with a long beard who go to Mosques and sing the Azaan in a distinct tone are regarded as untrustworthy outsiders.
Such an attitude does not arise from difference per se, however. It arises from the fact that these differences are not soon erased through total assimilation. Assamese Muslims who can speak Assamese and dress like they do are not regarded as strangers but as ‘one of us’. But the politics of this process of assimilation is concealed and increasingly, homogeneity is understood as natural and as authentic.
In the light of this whole debate, it becomes increasingly important to not confuse the sense of threat with impending danger. While population increase, unemployment and land scarcity are real issues, we are not properly resolving these challenges by premature and facile hypotheses which invoke the idea of an enemy or an infiltrator. No matter how idealist it might sound in the political narrative today to talk about borderless existence and stateless rule, there are in actuality a lot more movements of people than ever before.
As long as people are on the move there will always be adaptation and there should be simultaneous acknowledgement of difference. It is probably because in the case of Assam there has been less interexchange of migrants between India and Bangladesh, that this has been seen largely as a cause of concern for one party. In order to have a sane and humane discussion, political and civic leaders from both countries should think of ways to make their regions attractive to migrants by increasing employment opportunities. Seeing difference as dangerous and the notion of the authentic Assamese people as the solution is a shameful, lazy and cowardly way of avoiding difficult decisions and the hard work it will take to build a congenial environment for the state as a whole to survive.