//Politicisation of Muslim harassment,

Politicisation of Muslim harassment,

Urdu press roundup
By IndianMuslims.info Staff

As Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Punjab expected early next year are coming nigh, political parties have busied themselves in dishing out their poll planks, keeping eyes on the Muslim vote bank. Many political parties, including the Hindu ultranationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have now started politicising the ongoing harassment of Indian Muslims at home and abroad. Adding a not-so-new issue to Muslims’ woes, the BJP-ruled States of Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan have issued circulars to all educational institutions, including madrasas to ensure compulsory singing of Vande Mataram on September 7 to mark the centenary celebrations of this controversial song.

Urdu Press widely covered the details of mid-air detention of 12 Indian Muslims aboard an NWA flight, which was escorted back to Amsterdam for security checking, as well as the reaction of the Government of India to the extent of sending for the Dutch ambassador in New Delhi to lodge protest against the Dutch government’s action against 12 Indians. The victims – Suhail Abdul Aziz Nizami, Ayyoob Qadeer, Sajid Qadeer, Haji Yusuf Ghaffar Memon, Noor Muhammad Batliwala, Shakeel Osman Chotani, Ayyoob Khan, Ihsan Farooqui, Ghulam Mustafa, Muhammad Imran, Muhammad Yusuf, and Muhammad Iqbal Batliwala – all from Mumbai or its adjoining areas were kept in inhuman conditions for over two days before they were released on August 25. Four of them were sporting beard and wearing Muslim-looking clothes.

In its editorial entitled “Terrorism and Muslims” the Awam of August 26 wondered whether the war on terror can be won by disenchanting Muslims or by taking them into confidence.

Most ironically, the BJP – the party that lives on Muslim bashing – reacted positively on the incident. In a box item the Sahara of August 26 front-paged a report entitled Har dadhiwala Osama ki factory ka samaan nahin (Every bearded person is not the product of Osama’s factory). Strongly criticising the detention of 12 Indian Muslims at Amsterdam, the party’s vice president and Rajya Sabha member Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said Western countries should not take every person sporting beard and donning a cap as ‘the product of Osama’s factory’. He added that it is not a healthy sign as it would encourage only those who want to destroy peace and harmony.
Devil quotes the scripture, so goes the saying, isn’t it? The purblind BJP leader did condemn the Dutch authorities in so many words but did not spell even a single word on the ground situation back at home.

Another political leader who tried to exploit the ongoing Muslim harassment is Samajwadi Party General Secretary Amar Singh. In a front-page report in the Sahara of August 25, Mr. Singh shed crocodile tears on the harassment of Muslims in Mumbai. He said despite the assurances given by Prime Minister and Union Home Minister Muslims in Mumbai are paying the price of their being Muslim. This is ‘shameful’. Mr. Singh also called upon the PM and Home Minister to intervene in the matter to do justice to the victims.

Vande Mataram

Another issue which has made headlines in Urdu dailies is compulsory singing of Vande Mataram. Following an HRD Ministry circular to Chief Ministers to sing Vande Mataram in educational institutions on September 7 as part of its centenary celebrations, two BJP-ruled governments of Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan have issued circulars to all educational institutions, including madrasas to ensure compulsory singing of this song on September 7.

Union Human Resource Minister Arjun Singh had to face demands from BJP members to quit from his office for his statement that the singing of this song is optional and compulsory.

Muslim Ulema and leaders like Shahi Imam Jama Masjid Delhi Syed Ahmad Bukhari as well as Muslim organisations, including Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Muslim Convention UP, All India Council for Imams of Mosques, Rashtriya Alpsankhayak Vikas Morcha, and Tanzeem Abna-e-Ashrafiya of Ahle Sunnat wal Jamaat have condemned the government’s move to raise this controversial issue once again as in their view the singing of Vande Mataram involves polytheism.

Some of the Muslim leaders have advised the community members not to send their wards to educational institutions on September 7. Some others fear this move on the part of BJP might cause communal tension in the country.

In a Sahara (August 31) report entitled Musalman Gujarat se sabaq sikhen Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Ashok Singhal made a provocative statement when he said refusing to sing Vande Mataram amounts to a rebellion against the nation, and called upon the Government to take serious action against those who refuse to sing this song.

Ongoing Harassment
A close study of the Urdu Press this past week also brings into light the fact that despite the assurances given by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Indian Muslims that they would not be allowed to be harassed any more; there are instances of detaining innocent Muslims at least in Maharashtra.

The Hindustan Express of August 29 reports the arrest of Maudood Madani, son of freedom fighter Maulana Asad Madani and younger brother of Jamiatul Ulema General Secretary Maulana Mahmood Madani, on his way to Dadar after landing at Mumbai domestic airport, at 10 a.m. on August 28, for no fault of his own except his sporting beard, donning a cap and wearing Muslim-looking clothes.

He was kept at Dadar police station and released only after 10 hours of undue detention followed by a written apology by the D.C.P. of Dadar Police.

The Rashtriya Sahara covered the incident only the next day. In a front-page report under banner headline, the Express charged Mumbai police of practising Muslim phobia as it has been detaining almost every Muslim reaching the business capital of the country by air. It also sees Israeli secret agency Mossad-like treatment in Mumbai police’s dealing with Muslims in the State.

“The way even dignitaries are being subjected to police excesses shows that the objective of Mumbai police’s action has now become only the undue harassment and persecution of Muslims and nothing else. Reports have confirmed that Mumbai police, like Israeli secret agency Mossad, is busy in racial profiling of Muslims. They also say that it has become the daily routine of Mumbai police to gather information about Muslims from the list of passengers on Mumbai-bound flights and on its basis target Muslims,” the paper maintains.

In an open letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh published in the Express of August 27, General Secretary All India Milli Council Dr. Muhammad Manzoor Alam writes, “Drawing your attention, through this letter, towards the recent cases of harassment and persecution of Muslims in Mumbai at the hands of government agencies, I want to state that despite your assurances and public statements it is still going on….”

“For the last few years and particularly in the post-Mumbai blasts days, the method of secret agencies and special task forces coming to light resembles that of the secret agencies of Israel… In a democratic country like India where all the communities have been living together with their natural, historical and legal rights, this resemblance of administrative machinery is incomprehensible and precarious….”

Dr. Alam also urged the Prime Minister to initiate legal and departmental proceedings against the secret agencies, special squads or the police officers who have been involved in taking irresponsible measures (against Muslims), and to ensure entry in the proceeding books of each of the innocents detained and later released that ‘he was found innocent’ so that they may not be subjected to harassment again in future an
d his record may not be soiled.

August 30, 2006, IndianMuslims.INFO