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Unending Campaign of Calumny

Sangh-inspired mediamen (and women) have unearthed no evidence or even a single chargesheet against a madrasah but the rumour mills are busy overtime, says Md. Zeyaul Haque

Lal Singh, Inchauli police station in-charge 
in Meerut:  “No Pakistani flag was hoisted, 
no anti-India slogan was raised..”

The last few years have witnessed a relentless campaign of calumny against Muslims and Islam in India, orchestrated by Sangh’s hate mongers. Power in several states and the leadership of the ruling coalition at Centre has not made them more responsible or liberal.

There is a concerted attack on the life, honour and property of Muslims, on their history and culture, on their monuments and places of worships. As Hindutva foot soldiers abuse and slander, beat and brutalise Muslims (and, of late, Christians), a more subtle attack is underway on an ideological plane.

The most visible signs of Muslim faith and worship - mosques - and that of the teaching of Islam -madrasahs - are under heaviest attack by the Sangh and its hired hatchetmen (and women) in the media. Nothing concrete is available with the government at the Centre to enable it to indict madrasahs, but a campaign against "some madrasahs" goes on for allegedly harbouring anti-nationals.

When you ask exactly which madrasah is the government talking about, you don’t get any concrete reply. Over the last few years, all madrasahs and all mosques have been brought under a cloud of suspicion. In that period major madrasahs like Darul Uloom Deoband in Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh, and Nadwatul Ulema in Lucknow have been raided by the police without any concrete evidence coming out of the raid. Madrasahs as far away as in Bhatkal in Karnataka, Kishanganj in Bihar, bordering Bangladesh and Chandanbara in East Champaran district of Bihar, on Nepal border have been falsely accused by motivated Sanghis, without a shred of evidence.

We have gone from one end of the country to another looking for evidence against madrasahs thus accused by the Sangh and its media hatchetmen and not found even a single chargesheet against anyone of them. Still the media rumour mill is busy overtime churning out cock and bull stories.

As there is no substance in such stories, the clever Sanghi reporter invariably attributes it to "intelligence sources". Now, how many of us have access to these mysterious intelligence sources to really verify the report. However, when we go out and talk to local people, the local police and higher police officials in district and state headquarters, it invariably turns out that the intelligence sources the reporter is talking about are the figment of his or her own feverish imagination.

A recent example was a scary report in The Pioneer about ISI and madrasa (the two are synonymous for the Sanghi scribe) activity in Manipur. The report also talked about a lot of money coming in from abroad to a certain association of Moulvis (teachers of madrasahs). When we investigated the case we did not find any association of that description in entire Manipur. There was no such association in the past either. All the details of the story turned out to be false and manufactured by the reporter himself. The Inspector General of Police said the story was false and had nothing to do with reality. We carried the true story in one of our recent issues.

The trend does not seem to end. Last year India Today carried a big story menacingly titled "Corridor of Doubt". It was about districts of Eastern Uttar Pradesh adjoining Nepal border. With its suggestive pictures, innuendo-laden captions and journalistic sleight of hand it tried to create the impression that there were too many Muslims, mosques and madrasahs on the border. Hence there must be some ISI activity and Islamic subversion afoot. This was the impression that the story created, but if one read the text, it was all gas. There was nothing to substantiate the mischievous insinuation.

When we carried an analysis of this bogus story, India Today was incensed. We got a long letter from senior staffer Farzand Ahmad who had ostensibly "written" the story. Of course, we did reply to their reply. The irony of it is that Farzand Ahmad himself comes from a similar area described as the "Corridor of Doubt" in the India Today story.

The latest example of false, anti-madrasah, anti-Muslim writing was regarding a madrasah in a village called Bisola in Meerut district that appeared in The Times of India of August 17 and The Pinoeer of August 19 in their New Delhi editions. When we investigated this story it came out to be untrue. We carry the story on page 3.

All this leaves us with the questions: For how long will India’s press go on spreading canards against Muslims on orders from the Sangh? Will it ever stop? What does it take to stop it? Is there any way out of this vicious cycle in which sections of the media have been caught? We have no answers at present. Kindly let us know if you have any.

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