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EDITORIAL: 1-15 May 2000

CLEAN UP YOUR ACT, MR ADVANI

Union home minister Mr LK Advani believes in eating his cake and keeping it too. He said in the Lok Sabha on 26 April that Pakistan ‘which suffered a humiliating defeat in 1971 had called for a jehad against India and now "Indian Muslims" should reply to this call’ (Indian Express, 27 April).

This line of thought is not new. Over the years a case has been made out that there is some relationship between the survival of Indian Muslims and Kashmir. It was perhaps Lal Bahadur Shastri who was the first to say that if Kashmir is lost Indian Muslims will pay the price. This logic was heard last year during an informal meeting between leaders of the Indian Muslim community and BJP and RSS stalwarts last year. A BJP thinker, who later became advisor to the finance minister and fell by the wayside in the BJP power struggle, complained that Indian Muslims have done nothing to serve the Indian cause in Kashmir. The MG editor was the only one to pick up the gauntlet and reply to the BJP thinker that Indian Muslims did not create or mess up the Kashmir issue, then why should they alone be expected to solve it somehow. 

Mr Advani is now repeating that old line from Parliament. Memory is not so short to forget Mr Advani’s rath yatra and the trail of blood he raised in the width and breadth of Bharat whose love he and his ilk monopolize. He is an accused in the Babri demolition case and on technical grounds only wriggled out of the Jain Hawala case though the income tax angle is yet to be probed as the Central Vigilance Commissioner has realized. With this background, it is really a miracle of Indian democracy that Mr Advani heads the country’s most sensitive ministry and harbours the dreams of succeeding Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee as PM. Every single day since he took over his present post, Mr Advani has seen the hands of the ISI in whatever happens in this country as if the army of police, security and intelligence under his direct control has gone on vacation. His long-promised white paper on the ISI activities is nowhere to be seen yet. He may not have said it, but people close to his line of thought have claimed that the thousands of madrasahs dotting India are ISI hotbeds, with no proof whatsoever offered to substantiate this slander to this day. They have used this propaganda to enact a draconian law in U.P. to curtail basic religious rights of Muslims. The new head of the RSS has given a call to ‘indianize’ Islam, whatever that may mean.. Jamia Millia students have been recently brutally attacked by Mr Advani’s police in an unprecedented assault on a university campus in independent India. Minorities, especially Christians, are being targeted day in and day out and our home minister gives the criminals clean chit. A fresh TADA is being readied although the injustices committed under its previous incarnation are well-known and documented. It was used recklessly against Muslims all over the country, especially in Maharashtra and Gujarat. In Kashmir, where 20,000 people were arrested under TADA not a single person has been convicted. BJP’s chief minister in U.P. declares that he will not stop anyone from constructing a Ram mandir as long it is done ‘peacefully’ (!). Surely it will be as peaceful as the mosque’s demolition in the first place when the demolishers were protected by a huge army of policemen and soldiers.

Coming to Kashmir, does Mr Advani know that not a single Indian Muslim leader of any consequence has ever supported the secessionist activity in Kashmir and the militant outfits in J&K hold this against the Indian Muslim community. Indian Muslims in the Valley were not spared by the militants. Most were compelled to leave the Valley. Some were killed including the VC of Kashmir University, Prof. Mushirul Haq, a brilliant son of the Indian Muslim community. The MG editor has also effectively projected our case in the Arab media but at the same time he has also highlighted our excesses in Kashmir because we cannot win a case by unjust means which only alienate the common people. Of late Mr Advani has ‘publicly’ called Hurriyet to talks with the government of India but the fact is that no official invitation has so far been extended! This double-talk and lack of credibility cannot be lost on many who happen to have brains and memory. 

Now coming to Mr Advani’s call to the Indian Muslims. We would like to advise the honourable minister to come shed his RSS khaki and think and act as the home minister of all Indians. Let him treat all Indians, including Muslims, justly and honourably and he will find hordes ready to come forward to help him. He should not expect any help within the atmosphere of hate and fear he has helped to build up over the years and more effectively now by raising the ISI bogey day in and day out. The underlying message of political skullduggery is not lost by the masses. Clean up your act, Mr Advani, and you will find us ready.
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