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COMMUNITY NEWS: 16-30 April 2001

Muslim women in Old Delhi grieving for Imam Husain
Former Azad Kashmir PM Sardar Abdul Qayyum speaking to an Indian delegation

Seeing is believing
Kanpur: No one is exception in the eyes of the police when it comes with sympathizing with the beleaguered Muslim community in this riot prone city. Akshaya Mukul a journalist working with the Times of India had some of the first hand experience of what happens when one tries to get the real picture from very close.
Akshaya Mukul who was in Kanpur in the wake of the riots was amazed to see police storming his hotel room where he was meeting with a few Muslim leaders. Muhammad Sulaiman, principal of Faiz-e-Aam Inter College and a member of Muslim Personal Law Board [see p. 24] and Muhammad Tariq Faizi a local journalist were arrested from his hotel room. Police accused Sulaiman of being behind everything wrong that took place during those couple of days after riots in the city. Mukul was threatened not to write anything about this episode. You better not say or write any thing, he was told. Aren’t you in Kanpur till 4:40? Policemen threatened him.

Stop vandalism
Jaipur: A Muslim delegation consisting of several representatives of Muslim Organizations went to the Rajasthan Governor Anshu Man Singh to attract his attention towards the spate of incidents of Qur’an burning in the country. They also handed over a memorandum to him to be presented to the President.
The memorandum showed its displeasure over incidents of burning of the Holy Qur’an and demanded that stern actions be taken against the communal organizations instigating the masses.
The memorandum also showed its annoyance over distorting the image of Muslims in newspapers and magazines in recent times. It said that there was an effort on the part of some vested interests to create animosity against Muslims. It demanded to ban such publications immediately.
The delegation included Jamaat-e-Islami’s Engineer Muhammad Salimuddin, Muhammad Nazimuddin, president of Progressive Muslim Front Muhammad Mahir Azad (MLA), Jamia Hidayat’s Maulana Ziaur Rahman, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Foundation’s Habib Khan and SIO’s Syed Nasir Hasan.

Trigger-happy cops
Srinagar: A seventeen-year old youth was killed and another wounded in Kashmir’s north western town of Baramulla on 23 March when the police opened fire to quell a student’s procession protesting against the latest burning of the Holy Qur’an by activists of a hard line Hindu group in Amritsar and Patiala recently. In Baramulla, around fifty-five kilometres from Srinagar angry students attacked passing vehicles with stones to force a bandh. As the riot police came their way, the town’s streets saw brick batting for which the police made attempts to disperse the protesting students by chasing them in lanes and bylanes of the city.
Soon a contingent of CRPF joined local police to quell the surging mobs. Later on a student Merajuddin Sheikh died when the policemen twice opened fire at protesters at Uri Bus Stand just outside the town.

Agra’s historical Masjid in danger
Agra: The historical Shahi Jama Masjid of Agra was initially built by Shah Jehan in the middle of seventeenth century but after the death of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, his, daughter Jehan Ara, with the permission of her father, got it built and completed under her supervision after five years in 1648 AD (1058 AH). Inside the mosque, marbles are inlaid in the arches and walls up to a height of around six-and-half feet from the floor. There are imposing gates in the north and south of the mosque. The main gate in the front was blown up by the English forces in the mutiny of 1857 who, after occupying the mosque, had demolished half of its veranda and built the Railway station of Agra Fort and a road in its place. Rest of the mosque was open for the army but barred for offering prayers for 8 years. An effort was initiated in Aug. 1857 to have the mosque reopened. The trustee of the mosque, Maulana Qamarul Islam wrote several letters, starting from the magistrate to the commissioner, Governor, Governor General, Lord John Lawrence, and finally the mosque was reopened after eight years.
But today this historic mosque is in a very bad shape because of indifferent and sometimes inimical attitude of the concerned authorities and departments and also the insensitivity of Muslims themselves. All the doors of the original building of the mosque especially the main gate in the centre are getting detached from the walls and there is a gap of at least an inch right from the ceiling up to the floor between the original building and the gate. The door has got dislocated by at least six inches from its original place and huge stones laid inside the walls have developed cracks. The mosque is built of red stones but marbles and black stones have also been used for beauty. Mortars between the huge stones for cementing them have became ineffective and are falling down, as a result they have become very loose and may fall down with even a slight jerk. The minaret and turret on the right side at the back of the mosque have become hollow from inside. In case this turret falls, almost half of the mosque may collapse repair and reconstruction of which will become impossible. Wide cracks have developed in the ceiling, minarets and turrets of the mosque. Thick layers of moss and grass on the walls and ceilings and tonnes of rubbles being collected for years have weakened the walls and ceiling and created cracks as result of which rain water seeps in the walls and ceiling thereby further weakening them. The very foundations of the mosque have become week. Besides, a market has illegally been built nearby, due to which the mosque’s existence is in danger.

Police Terror Continues
Muzaffar Nagar: Police arrested a leading Muslim leader of the city Haji Azeezu Rahman on the pretext of his alleged relations with a local mafia don. Haji is a well known and respected leader and social activist. Nobody is ready to believe the police version that he was hand in gloves with the mafia don Nafees Ansari.
Local leaders including his relatives were not informed of Haji’s whereabouts. Even the local MP Ameer Alam Khan was unable to know as to where Haji has been kept. Later it was told that he has been taken to Meerut where he is under interrogation. People are accusing the police that it is dancing to the tunes of saffron outfits and want to communalize the city by implicating minority leaders in false cases.

Shaz to go to Press Council
Hyderabad: Senior journalist and social activist Baqar Husain Shaz who was detained by local police on 9 March for allegedly inciting the local youths has asked the government to hold a judicial inquiry of his arrest and eleven-day-long detention.
Baqar said while talking to the correspondent after his release that the Andhra Pradesh Government has adopted a policy of suppressing the press. He alleged that the state government is suppressing the freedom given by the Constitution. Baqar said that the police arrested him on 9 March blaming him for throwing stones on the people of other community and communally inciting the people of a community. Baqar added that the police has registered these cases against him only because he had published the news of Qur’an burning in Delhi in bold headings.
Baqar has said that he will go to the Press Council of India and National Commission for Human Rights.

Murder remains unsolved
Aligarh: Syed Suhail Ahmed an Aligarh-based Bahujan Smajwadi leader was shot dead and his friend injured when three unidentified assailants who were in auto rikshaw opened fire at their Maruti Gypsy at the Asharam Chowk crossing in New Delhi.
The incident took place at around 9 in the morning when Suhail, in his mid-thirties who fought the last assembly election as a BSP candidate in Aligarh, and his friend Daler Khan were going to Tis Hazari Court. As they stopped at Ashram Chowk redlight one of the three unidentified men shot three bullets at Ahmad hitting him on his chest. Ahmad later succumbed to his injuries in AIIMS.

Choudhary will affect WB polls
Kolkata: Saifuddin Choudhary, a former MP and CPM rebel who floated his own political party recently was being laughed at by the CPM till recently. But things have started changing for everyone as Chowdhary’s charisma seems to be attracting a large number of people.
The party bigwigs attending the politburo meeting in New Delhi held recently made admission that expelled party leader Saifuddin Chowdharys’ presence in the elections would ensure a meaningful triangular contest in the forthcoming assembly elections in the state. Though the Congress has been severely shaken by a wave of defections from its ranks to the Trinamul its poll tie up with Chowdhary’s fledgeling party has kept alive the chances of the third front disrupting a straight fight between the Left and Mamat Banerjee.
In the meantime Chowdhary has announced his party’s contestants’ list for the forthcoming assembly elections. He has said that a tie up with the Congress is not possible due to its impending tie up with the Trinamul because of its affiliation with the NDA. But it is understood that if Congress does not opt for electoral alliance with the Trinamul Congress the chances of a tie up with Chowdhary’s party is still possible.

Jamia recovering its lands
New Delhi: Jamia Millia Islamia is gearing up to recover its landed properties worth crores of rupees from the land sharks. But with the unfolding of each case some stark realities have surfaced, leaving the authorities high and dry. Some of the Jamia family members are alleged to be involved in the murky land deals clinched with the land sharks from time to time.
Lt. General Zaki started the land recovery operation during his tenure as Jamia VC. Unlike his predecessor he mustered the courage to take on the land sharks. But before he could see his operations concluded General Zaki retired. Now Major General NS Katoch is up in arms against the land grabbers. He is officer on special duty (OSD) in charge of the estate. Around fifty bighas of land in Jasola Village was recovered from encroachers during Zaki’s tenure. It took the University 66 years to recover this land. Over ten bighas of land adjacent to Okhla was recovered recently. Now the University is proposing to construct a boundary wall to check any further encroachment. Behind the engineering college a patch of land around 37 bighas was under encroachment out of which 21 bighas have been recovered and efforts are on for the rest of land.

Protest over renaming of Allahabad
Lucknow: UP Chief Minister Rajnath Singh’s announcement that Allahabd would be renamed as Tirth Raj Prayag has triggered a major controversy.
Muslims have reacted sharply on the announcement of the chief minister in a program organized by some sadhus in the UP capital. The All India Muslim Forum president Nihaluddin faxed a letter to the president KR Narayanan protesting against Singh’s move. Nihaluddin has written that Singh’s arbitrary announcement without consulting the state assembly shows that he has no faith in the law of the country. He has urged the president to thwart the BJP’s move to rewrite the history. A similar view was expressed by the vice president of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board Kalbe Sadiq. The Muslim community will oppose tooth and nail Rajnath Singh who with an eye on his election made the announcement to appease seers and upper caste voters in his constituency, the Maulana said.

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