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COMMUNITY NEWS: 16-31 July 2002

Community: Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 

Moves afoot to register Delhi madrasas 
New Delhi: Amid growing allegations of misuse of madrasas by terrorists, Delhi government is working to register all such religious institutions in the capital and set up a board to run them to help remove the "crisis of credibility".
Under the proposal, once these institutions come under the Madrasa Board, they will get some financial aid from the government and will start imparting formal education to the students along with religious curriculum.
At present about 1,000 madrasas are functioning in the capital and are mostly sustained by donations from devotees and some other institutions. Only one of them -- madrasa Auliya in Fatehpuri -- is run by the Delhi Wakf Board.
"We have asked for details from Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal (where the system is operative for last two years) to know the pattern functioning there," Delhi Food Minister and President of Delhi Wakf Board Haroon Yusuf said in an interview here.
He said the patterns and the rules and regulations applicable in West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh would be studied so that if anything is lacking in these, it could be corrected.
"We want to give the best pattern which could be a model for others to follow," Yusuf said.
VHP on 18 June demanded a ban on madrasas, alleging that lakhs of "fundamentalist students of Taliban variety are churned out" from these institutions. ( PTI, 23 June)

Marriage with difference
Srinagar: It was a marriage with a difference. Forget about the delights of Meri Yaar Ki Shadi, Monsoon Wedding or Hum Aaap Ke Hain Kaun, this real life marriage drama, based on a communal amity, can make a perfect plot for a bollywood mega hit. The marriage of Anil Rayu, a local pandit boy, of Dadi Kadal here was performed by Muslims with all fanfare and glitter. Muslims of the locality performed all the rituals of the pandit lad. From Mendhi to Baraat, Muslims along with few pandits performed all the customs with perfection. Anil's most relatives migrated to Jammu with the onset of militancy in 1990. His family was the only one which decided to stay in Kashmir. Sharing the happiness and grief of Muslim neighborhood, his family decided against the migration. Though they felt lonely at times, but Muslims always supported them.
And when the time came for Anil's marriage, local Muslims joined the ceremony wholeheartedly. Local Muslim women sang and danced much of the delight of few migrant pandits who had come to attend the marriage from Jammu and Delhi.
"We feel great being here. We were not expecting such fanfare on this marriage. The local Muslims have made perfect arrangements and we feel at home. The love and affection that the locals showered on us cannot be put in words", said Karan, a relative of groom, a migrant pandit, who came from New Delhi to attend the marriage. To the delight and surprise of Anil's relatives, Muslim women recited wanwun (Kashmir folk lore recited during marriages). When the groom left for his in-laws house, local Muslim women sang and danced and followed him to a car. Moved by the love and affection, Anil broke down in tears. "I cannot say how I feel", said Anil, as his eyes were brimming with tears. "The people are so good that they did not make me feel that I am alone". Local Muslims seized the occasion to extend invitation to all the pandits to come back. "The pandits are our brothers. Let them come back. They have suffered a lot. We too have suffered a lot. Let them come here and we will share joy and grief and live amicably", said Firdous Ahmad, a local muslim neighbour. (Kashmir Times, 23 June).

Gujarat Riot victims left homeless
Thousands of people in Ahmedabad have nowhere to go as the relief camps set up after the March riots are slowly being shut down. With their homes either burnt down or severely damaged, the Rs 2,500 given to families to repair their homes is hardly enough to cover the costs. Forty-year-old Mohammad Ashfaq and his family were staying at the Jehangir Nagar camp before it was shut down on June 1. They were asked to go back to their house, which was burnt down during the riots and is not in a condition to be lived in. 
There are about 120 families facing a similar situation in Vatva area of Ahmedabad where three of the four relief camps have been shut down. "We have to come to repair our homes. Our Jehangir Nagar camp has been closed down but our house is in such a bad state that we can't stay in it. After whatever little we can repair, we go back to the camp to sleep," says one of the riot victims. 
"We were given 2,500 rupees. But it's impossible to repair our house in that much money. We come and clean the house...sit for sometime and go back to Zia camp," says another person. Ahmedabad had 60 camps where 80,000 people took shelter during April. But now there are 10 camps in the city, which are housing 14,000 people. 
Officials claim they have helped more than 15,000 riot victims to re-settle in the past ten days. The District Collector says all the camps were shut down voluntarily. Camp organisers, however, claim that with the monsoon season expected to begin, they had no option but to shut down the camps. 
"When they used to stay in the camp, then the government would say that we are not letting them go home. So we had to shift them there. Their houses are not yet ready. We had no option but to send them because controlling so many people is a tough job," says Syed Mohammad Reza, a camp organiser. Despite many camps shutting down, there are still a large number of people whose houses are not fit to live in. And there is no letting up in the suffering of the people affected by the Gujarat riots as now they are caught in the crossfire between the camp organisers and the government officials. (The Times of India, 20 June)

India woos Muslim nations
New Delhi: With the Indo-Pakistan stand-off still on, the Vajpayee government indulged in some quite diplomacy away from the spotlights in Almaty. On June 2, the MP’s special envoy, minister of state for coal, Ravi Shankar Prasad was in Ramallah on the West Bank, along with other NAM foreign ministers to express India’s solidarity with PLO chief Yasser Arafat and the Palestine cause. This was a follow-up to a NAM decision taken in April this year in Durban. 
This visit is being considered significant for two reasons: One, it was to correct the impression that since the BJP-led government had started warming up to Israel, India’s traditional ties with the Arab world have taken a backseat. And two, to indirectly build support in the Muslim world for India’s fight against terrorism. Speaking about the visit, Prasad said, ‘We were able to reinforce our commitment to the most important Arab cause. India feels for Palestine and the fact that this visit took place at this point of time (when the Israel-Palestine hostilities are at fever pitch, as is the tension between India and Pakistan) has its own symbolism. This was appreciated by Arafat’. (The Times of India, 6 June 2002)

Gujarat victims left to fend for themselves
Ahmadabad: The riot-affected people of Gujarat who were victims of communal violence do not see any ray of hope even after the passage of four months. These unfortunate people have to spend their lives in relief camps like hell. They have not so far received any help from the government as a result of which they have some times to face starvation also. People living in these camps want to go back to their houses but they have nothing to start a new life after going back to their houses. Some people are very much scared by the very thought of going back to their houses. According to the director of non-governmental voluntary organisation ‘Hazard Centre", A.K. Roy, in this extremely hot summer the relief camps present the scenes of hell. His team had toured the relief camp when the summer was at its peak. Now raining season has started in Gujarat as a result of what conditions in these camps have become even worse because it is very difficult to face the intensity of heat and ferocity of rains in tents. Moreover, even these tents are now in tatters. It may be recalled that communal riot had broken out in Gujarat on 27 February which continued for three months in which, according to unofficial estimates, thousands of people were killed, most of whom were Muslims. Mr Roy, a professor in Jawaharlal Nehru University, had toured these camps along with his wife, Imran Qadir where majority of refugees living in these camps are Muslims. Fear and despair were writ large on their faces. Their condition is such that they are between the devil and the deep sea and don’t know what to do and where to go. If they want to go back to their houses in villages the rioters and villagers have put such conditions which are difficult to accept and if they decide to stay in these camps. Government is compelling them to vacate the camps. Also, it does not give them any thing to eat. Even the political parties are maintaining complete silence on their pitiable conditions, people living in these camps have neither any job, nor food nor drink, nor schools, even there are no arrangements for easing themselves. Toilets that are built there are extremely insufficient for such a large number of people. These are so much stinking that it is difficult to breathe.
People are compelled to live here because they have no where else to go. Their minds are full of bitterness and their anger toward government is increasing day by day, the problem for them is where to go because none of them is willing to go out of Gujarat. They have been living here for generations. According to Mr Roy, even now pamphlets and leaflets containing provocative and abusive languages and slogans are being distributed in Ahmadabad through which people are being incited to teach them a lesson and kill them. These leaflets also contain appeals to socially boycott them but all these have no effect at all on the government. It is blind, deaf and dumb to all these provocations and blackmails.
The riot-hit people have open space over them and hell-like conditions down below in the camps. The pity is that neither the government is in a mood to take any action against the rioters and their spouses nor the political parties, who were busy in making hay while the sun shone, are interested in taking up their causes. Gujarat and riot-hit people are forgotten things for them now. (Rashtriya Sahara, 4 July 2002)

Tablighi Jamaat also under attack
Hardwar: Vishwa Hindu Parshad has not only criticised religious madrasas but Tablighi Jamat also and demanded public discussion on these topics. At the end of two day meeting of VHP’s central Advisory Board at Hardwar, a resolution was passed in which it was stated that the Godhra train fire incident was “Jihadi ideology” attack on Hindu society. The resolution demanded that if incidents like Godhra are to be avoided in future, public discussion should be initiated on madrasas, Tablighi activities and Darul Uloom Deoband’s activities. Harping on their favorite theme of Ayodhya, both Ashok Singhal and Paramhans Ram Chandra of Ram Janambhoomi Nyas, said that if the court verdict goes against VHP, they will not accept it nor they will talk to Muslim leaders because on previous three occasions, Muslim leaders left the meeting in the middle, without anything being decided. VHP also said that if its stand on Ayodhya temple has a negative effect on Vajpayee government, it is not bothered about that.
(Qaumi Awaz, 26 June 2002)

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