27 July, 2006, IndianMuslims.info
Mumbai serial blasts have once again put Indian Muslims in the dock as the mainstream print and electronic media as well as the police was swift to name Muslim outfits – Lashkar-e-Taiba and SIMI (Students Islamic Movement of India) – for their alleged hands in this ghastly crime and cast aspersions on the loyalty, patriotism and peace-lovingness of common Muslims in the country. And the police, which has been more-often-than-not dubbed communal, biased and having hand in glove with Hindu extremists during communal flare-ups, started detaining Muslim youth without any proof or justification whatsoever soon after seven serial blasts rip a Mumbai suburb train on the Terrible Tuesday, July 11.
The entire Urdu vernacular press all through the week covered the ferocity of the blasts, editorially condemned and demanded stringent action against the perpetrators and planners of the crime, carried statements by Muslim organisations, and articles and letters, all condemning it in one voice and calling upon the Government to stop indiscriminate detention of Muslims in Maharashtra and some other places like Hyderabad before any investigation as there might be Hindu fascists belonging to the Sangh Parivar behind the blasts.
The Inquilab of July 13 reported that the Mumbai police was after two Lashkar activists Zebuddin Ansari and Zulfiqqar alias Fayyaz, but on July 15 the paper added the name of one SIMI activist Raheel to this list, for their alleged hands in the blasts.
The Siasat and the Munsif of July 19 reported that the Government of Andhra Pradesh categorically denied the involvement of any person in the state in the Mumbai incident.
In an edit-page article “Bomb Blasts do not Prove Muslims Terrorists” (the Rashtriya Sahara, July 18), journalist Zafar Agha has come down heavily on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for strangulating the voice of reason raised by Union Ministers Arjun Singh and A.R. Antulay. Citing Indian Express of July 13, he reveals that in a Cabinet meeting discussing Mumbai blasts these Ministers held the Hindu extremists, who want to defame Muslims, responsible for these blasts. The HRD Minister Arjun Singh based his argument on a report on the so-called attack on RSS headquarters submitted by a retired judge of Mumbai High Court who had come to the conclusion that the Sangh Parivar itself was behind this ‘attack’. While A.R. Antulay cited another report which showed Hindu extremists disguised as Muslims (to defame them) making bombs in Nanded in April.
Mr. Agha has questioned Prime Minister’s displeasure at this revelation and advised the Manmohan administration to initiate deep probe into the incident; for Hindu extremist organisations are most likely to be found involved therein.
“U.C. Bannerji Report has proved that Muslims had not set ablaze the Sabarmati Express at Godhra but Narendra Modi rather the entire Sangh Parivar not only blamed the Muslims for the fire but perpetrated genocide of Muslims in the whole Gujarat as well. With this case at hand, if Abdur Rahman Antulay and Arjun Singh pointed their accusing fingers towards the Sangh (for its involvement in Mumbai blasts), what sin was it after all?” writes the seasoned journalist.
The same issue of the Sahara editorially questions the temerity of the BJP to demand expulsion of Arjun Singh and A.R. Antulay from their posts in respective ministries for making “very irresponsible statements about Mumbai bomb blasts.” The paper says the party has left out one more name viz. that of Union Minister for Water Resources Saifuddin Soz; in fact these three Ministers had expressed the possibility of Hindu fascist organisations behind the blasts, in the said Cabinet meeting.
“The question is: what was the need to make such haste without any investigation and deep probe? How far is it proper and justified to declare without any investigation and probe that bomb blasts were exploded by Muslims? Was it not the duty of those who make utmost haste in holding Muslims responsible for everything bad and dreadful, to take notice of the news item published in The Telegraph and some other newspapers, in which it was reported that when the Bharat Suraksha Yatra of Shri L.K. Advani entered Maharashtra (on April 6, 2006), some young activists of Bajrang Dal were caught making bombs the same day, and meanwhile explosion of a bomb ripped apart the body of a BD activist Himanshu. This was the activist from whose house the police later seized the clothes (pathan suits) usually worn by Muslims, skull caps and many kinds of counterfeit beards. This they did with the idea to stage-manage bomb blasts and their Muslim-looking attire and make-up would lead the needle of suspicion to Muslims and they would eventually get only them (Muslims) arrested. It is very necessary to deal with the Nanded incident in its right perspective, and it is also necessary to know why the Mumbai blasts occurred only three months after it,” runs the Sahara editorial.
The Qaumi Awaz (July 18), in its editorial entitled “Need for Strict Measures” writes: “In extraordinary circumstances extraordinary measures have to be taken. This is the time the Government at the Centre crushed with an iron hand all those elements that are trying to break political unity and social cohesion. The stability and freedom of the country is at stake. In these circumstances it is necessary to take strict measures against the enemies within.”
The Sahara and the Hindustan Express covered Shahi Imam Jama Masjid Delhi Maulana Syed Ahmed Bukhari’s special address after Asr prayers on July 17. Maulana Bukhari said: “We severely condemn Mumbai blasts but the bid to accuse Muslims is unbearable.” Calling the naming of Lashkar and SIMI soon after the blasts “fantastic,” he pointed his accusing fingers towards Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal, BJP and RSS. He further said that equating terrorism with Islam and Muslims is utter injustice.
“Today an environment is being created in which every Muslim sporting beard is looked at with doubt and suspicion,” he lamented.
The Express (July 18) front-paged a 5-column human interest story telling the readers the ordeal Rehan Ahmed Sheikh, his wife and two children had to face for 15 long hours at Mumbai airport. An accountant in the Moscow branch of an Andheri-based medical company, Rehan had rushed from Moscow to attend the funeral ceremony of his elder brother Ejaz, who was one of the victims of Mumbai blasts. He had been grilled for hours together about what look he had adopted, why he sported beard, which organisation he belonged to and what his activities were, etc.
In a letter to the editor of the Sahara (July 18), Muhammad Tariq Iqbal of Khanquah Faridiya, Kako, Bihar writes: “This is a deep conspiracy; efforts are being made to divert our attention somewhere else…. There seems to be involvement of some white-listed organisations behind this incident.”
The question is whether the Manmohan administration will gather courage and guts to order a crackdown on the Hindu fascist organisations if some really deep probe proves their hands in this heinous crime against humanity. Let’s wait and watch to know the answer.