Jobs @ MG
Widespread protests against Qur’an-burning
By S Ubaidur Rahman
|Muslims all over the country and abroad
reacted very strongly to the sacrilege of burning of the Holy Qur'an by
the Parivar hooligans in the capital on 5 March, a fact which is still
remains 'alleged' to our government and the so-called national press.
Muslims have demanded that the culprits, who set the Holy Qur'an on fire
under heavy security bandobust in the capital, be brought to book and
Riots broke out in a number of places following nationwide demonstrations
that brought a large number of people on to the streets against the
sacrilege. A number of people have been killed in these riots so far.. On
the other hand, the protests and pressures managed to force the government
to arrest two of the perpetrators of the crime for one day, after which
they were released on parole.
Kanpur has been worst hit by the riots that erupted when a peaceful
demonstration was fired upon by the police (see pp. 10, 19). Demonstrators
demanding for an inquiry into the Qur’an burning incident had assembled
at Parade Chauraha on 16 March. Police opened fire on the mob killing five
persons on the spot including an additional district magistrate. Around
twenty people have been killed since the violence erupted. Curfew was
clamped on various sensitive areas of Kanpur and day-time curfew was
lifted only on 22 March. Around 100 persons have been arrested in Kanpur.
A number of processions were taken out in the width and breadth of
Maharashtra including Pune and the communally-sensitive city of Aurangabad.
In Pune police fought the demonstrators who started throwing stones on the
police when it resorted to lathi-charge. A large number of people,
including twenty-five policemen, were injured during the scuffles. A
general strike was staged in J&K to protest against this sacrilege on
16 March. There was a total strike in Bahraich on 19 March. Bandhs were
observed in other places as well, like Vadodra and Dewas. A big rally,
attended by over 20,000 people, was organized in Mumbai Central. Large
rallies were also held in Ahmedabad, Saharanpur and Mumbra, Mumbai suburb.
A general strike was observed in Pakistan on 16 March but it was blacked
out by Pakistan TV. Demonstrations were organized in Dhaka, Kualalumpur
and Jeddah. The Makkah-based Muslim World League condemned it in strongest
In Aurangabad people came to the streets to register their anger after the
Friday prayers. Police fired in the air to disperse the demonstrators. A
number of youths were arrested by the local police following the
procession. In Nanded, Maharashtra, too people staged demonstrations.
Hyderabad also witnessed a number of demonstrations
all over the city. People came out on to the streets in order to show
their anger. Police arrested a large number of people including the editor
of Saz-e-Deccan, Mr Baqar Husain Shaz who was released only on 20 March.
It is reported that the police also arrested the editor of another
Hyderabad newspaper, Daily Insaf, for publishing the photograph of the
A number of people arrested following the protests are still behind bars.
Following is an incomplete list of arrests made in various parts of the
country: Dewas: 300; Pune: 161; Aurangabad: 115; Parbhani, Maharashtra:
over 200; Jalna: 137; Nanded: 210; Mumbai: 25; Hyderabad: 7; Belapur (New
Mumbai): 114 etc. The majority have since been released.
The worst case is that of Kanpur where not only around two dozen Muslim
youths were killed, a large number of youths are still missing. It is
being alleged that the infamous PAC is attacking Muslim areas alongwith
the miscreants and killing youths and ransacking houses. A number of
publications and TV channels, including a few Internet news sites, have
claimed that the PAC is indiscriminately killing and terrorizing Muslims
in this industrial city. Efforts are continuing in Kanpur and the national
capital to defuse tension. Muslim leaders have worked overtime to save the
embattled Muslims of the city. A delegation of Muslim leaders met the
union home minister LK Advani in New Delhi to take stock of the prevailing
condition in Kanpur. Meanwhile, Prime Minister AB Vajpayee has condemned
the Qur’an-burning incidents, terming them as ‘isolated and aberrant
in nature,’and has asked the state governments to take stern and swift
action against their perpetrators. q