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COMMUNITY NEWS: 1-15 February 2001

Babri Masjid Memorial Stamp
As a part of state-wide campaign for the construction of Babri Masjid on the same spot in Ayodhya, the Indian National League president, Ebrahim Sulaiman Sait released the memorial stamp designed by the National Development Front (NDF) on 13 January. Former chairman of the Waqf Board, Faisal Pookoya Thangal, received the first copy of the stamp in a meeting held at Calicut. In his inaugural speech, Sait said that the demolition of Babri Masjid was the most tragic incident the Muslim community in the country had to face after the fall of Muslim Khilafath (K Hamza, Calicut).

Make Urdu second official language
Dehradun: Efforts are on to accord the status of second official language to Urdu in the newly formed state Uttaranchal. Urdu is the second official language in UP from where the new state was carved out.
    Dr Nawaz Deobandi, a famous poet, has demand the interim speaker of the state assembly Qazi Muhiuddin to give attention to this need in the formation period of the state itself. He has met the speaker of the assembly and apprised him of the need to have Urdu as the second official language in the newly formed state. 
    He says that Urdu-speakers make a formidable ratio in the state, so it is essential to have it as the second official language. Deobandi has asked the speaker to use his influence in due course for the appointment of Urdu teachers in Primary and middle schools also. 

Administration biased during riots
Moradabad: A delegation of Muslim League's Moradabad unit met the chairman of the National Minority Commission Justice Shameem Ahmed in New Delhi. The delegation informed him of the recent communal flare up in the city and told him of the administration's bias against the minority community.
    The delegation also informed the chairman of the Minority Commission that despite filing cases against the culprits who were involved in aggression during the riots no step has been taken to punish them. On the contrary the administration tried to harass the Muslims for no reason of their own, the delegation said.

Who dunnit? 
Jammu: Jama Masjid of Kishtawad in Doda district was destroyed in a killer fire on 2 January. Following the fire, the district administration imposed a curfew in the town that is still continuing. 
    Following the fire the local people came on to the streets agitating against the eruption of fire in the historical Jama Masjid. The Mosque was lost before the fire tender reached the spot. It is said that late arrival of fire tender infuriated the locals. Police had to be called to disperse the agitating mob. But later the administration imposed curfew in Kishtawad. 

Stop preparations for temple 
Coimbatore: Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnat Kazgam (TMK) has said that repeatedly talking of the construction of the Ram temple at Ayodhya on the site of the Babri Masjid is like warning the Muslims. TMK president Jawaharullah said that the centre should never allow the construction of the temple at the site of the mosque and should hand over the site to Muslims for the construction of the mosque.
    Jawaharullah has asked the government to stop the work of carving stones that are planned to be used in the construction of the temple. He said that the VHP is working in total collision of the national interests.
    He adds that whatever the court decides will be acceptable to them but it should take fast steps in this respect and give its verdict in shortest possible time. 

Protect minorities; apex court issues notice to centre
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on 9th January issued notice to the Union and Assam governments on the Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind's petition seeking protection for a large numbers of people of minority communities who may be deported due to ineffective implementation of the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act 1983.
    Jamiat's president Maulana As’ad Madani and secretary Abdur Rashid said that despite being the central legislation, the Act was not enforced all over the country but was restricted to Assam only. Thus it is discriminatory.
    Petitioner's counsel RK Jain argued that the purpose of the Act was to protect Indian citizens and also detect foreigners. But unfortunately it was never implemented in the letter and spirit. Jain said in the absence of the statutory tribunals to be set up under the Act to determine foreigners living illegally in the country, little has been done to make the legislation functional.

ASI Destroying monuments
Kolkata (Calcutta): The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has irretrievably damaged part of a palace and a mound inside Fatehpur Sikri, the historic fort city built by Akbar in the 1560's according to archaeologist Nadeem Rizvi.
    According to the ASI team which undertook the excavation they were looking for a temple under the mound and a secret cell under the palace courtyard. In doing so the ASI team dug up works of architecture nearly 500 years old.
    Fatehpur Sikri represents Mughal architecture at its very best. I do not know what they stood to gain from unearthing a temple or a cell under the courtyard, but they have irreplaceably damaged a monument of international importance, says Rizvi. 
    Rizvi, a reader at Aligarh Muslim University and some of his colleagues visited Fatehpur Sikri recently and undertook several pictures of the damaged site pretending to be tourists. Rizvi who was in Kolkata to attend the 61st session of the Indian History Congress said that he would present all evidences before the IHC executive committee. 
    The ASI team members who carried out the excavations in the last two years told regional dailies in Agra and Aligarh that certain written historical documents they had found had indicated that Mughal emperor had built the historical fort capital after demolishing a temple and built a secret antechamber under Anoop Talao, the pool inside the main chamber.
    What makes the excavations look even more politically motivated is the discovery of a pre-existing temple under the Bir Chabili mound where servant graves were dug by the ASI team. Officials later said they had found the remains of a Hindu-Jain temple, supposedly demolished by the Mughals. 

Upgrading madrasas
Jaipur: Muslim Waqf Board is planning to take some important steps this year. Under this plan the Board plans to attach the madrasas scattered throughout the state with technical education. The board has reportedly received a grant of Rs 1.86 million from the state government.
    Nasir Ali Naqwi, the president of the Board has said that the Board has constituted a few committees to disburse this amount among different madrasas of the state and has given these committees the responsibility to initiate tasks to attach 619 madrasas with technical education. Teachers of these madrasas will be given special training for 30 days. After completing this training these teachers will be paid per month salary of Rs 1200.
    The Waqf Board has not given any role to the Madrasa Board of the state because it is said that it is a private organization, but has welcomed their voluntary assistance. 
    The Waqf Board plans to disburse books worth Rs 1.85 million in different madrasas of the state. Fifty percent of this amount has been given by the Central Waqf Board. 

Basu to present BABRI tape
Calcutta: Former West Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu has said that he would depose before the Liberhan Commission on January 29 on the Babri Masjid demolition issue and would submit among other things an audio tape containing a statement by the then chief minister of UP made just after the the demolition took place.
    The tape contains the over-joyous statement of the former UP chief minister that while contractors would have one and half month to bring down the Babri structure, dhancha as he called it, the Karsevaks accomplished the job in five hours, Basu reportedly told the media persons. He also added that Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee had told him that it was an accident and not an organized job. 
    Speaking at the inaugural session of 61st Indian History Congress in Kolkata, Basu said that attempts are being made to use history to take us backwards and mould our intellect with obscurantism and fundamentalist values.

250th anniversary of Tipu sultan
New Delhi: 250th anniversary of the legendary Tipu Sultan who gave Britons a run for their money and gave them a tough time in India was remembered with great enthusiasm in the country. Kannadigas celebrated 250th anniversary of Tipu Sultan, the Tiger of Mysore in New Delhi. The programme was organized by Daily Kannadiga, a Kannada daily newspaper. Its editor MB Samga while speaking on the occasion said that the decision of the Tipu not to bow before the Britishers has a lesson for every Indian. He also said that Tipu made some brilliant changes in the administrative set-up that benefited all his people in the long run.

Writ petition dismissed
Kerala High Court has dismissed a petition against the Union Government's decision to grant subsidy to Haj pilgrims. The petitioner, a rationalist, had contended that the decision was illegal, as it is violative of Article 14 and 15(i) of the Constitution. In his petition, he further stated that the Govt's largesse to the Muslim community by granting subsidy amounting Rs. 150 crores was discriminatory.
    The Court drew the attention of the petitioner to the Article 226 of the Constitution. The Court viewed the fact that the Preamble of the Constitution refers to the secular nature of the State does not mean that India is an anti-religious State.
    The judges also observed that the pilgrims for Haj are given assistance and several departments of the State are extending its assistance to the majority community, Hindus, in their pilgrimage to Sabarimala Temple in Kerala. In the case of minorities the Constitution itself has made provision for protection for professing their religion. The Court is not to interfere in such matters (K Hamza, Calicut).

Dukhtaran goes against cease-fire in the Valley
Srinagar: Adding its voice to the increasingly vocal fundamentalist fringe in the Valley, the all-women group, the pro-Pakistan Dukhtaran-e-Millat has warned the moderate Hurriyat leader Abdul Ghani Lone of dire consequences in case he did not rein in his tongue against foreign militants and Islam.
    In a rare public appearance (below), her first in over a year, the Dukhtaran chief, Asia Andarabi, also accused Hizbul Mujahideen commander Abdul Majid Dar-the man who announced the cease fire-of being in league with the government of India. 
    And in a strident defence of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, she said that 'the Kashmir movement didn't belong only to Kashmiris but to foreign militants as well who are laying down their lives.' Andarabi attacked Lone for his statement against the foreign mercenaries. She has even contested Lone's religious beliefs by saying that he floated 'the No God Federation' in Kashmir. Andarabi had recently said that Muslim men should go for polygamy in view of the 'genocide unleashed by India' adding that she wished to set a precedent by allowing her husband to marry more women specially those who have lost their spouses. 
    The unexpected press-conference on 4 January took the media by surprise when Dukhtaran cadres huddled reporters into waiting vehicles at the press enclave and guided them to a downtown neighborhood in Srinagar. Photographers jostled to get a shot of the chief and her colleagues all in purdah.

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