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Minorities Commission must be reconstituted

MG: Wonderful discovery
Amazing! MG is a wonderful discovery for us. It is more than ‘something is better than nothing’. Its subject matter, presentation, analyses, particularly Middle East reporting are unique in its style. Make it a world-class and high standard.
Please don’t indulge in maslaki or any such narrow lines of ugly confrontation, But make it as a true journal of Islam and ummah. We wholeheartedly support your pure concept and view about Islam and Muslims. We will be obliged if you publish (nagative or position totality) developments of Muslim countries from Indonesia to Morocco.
Be bold, be just, be liberal and progressive journalist like a simple Muslim. We will be always with you.
Rehana Noor, Principal, Girls Islamic College, Udupi.

Vajpayee on Babri
On behalf of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Promod Mahajan’s pat denial in Rajya Sabha, of charge that former BJP MP, D. B. Ray had levied against Vajpayee being fully privy to the information of the plot to demolish Babri Masjid on Dec. 5, 1992, while having attended a meeting in former UP Chief Minister Kalyan Singh’s residence with LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and others, is not the last word on the grave subject. The matter cannot be allowed to rest in such a routine manner. If D. B. Ray has made a false and untrue allegation of being part of criminal conspiracy against the Prime Minister of India, the matter cannot be ignored as being a minor political vendetta for denial of party ticket. The grave charge should be investigated by the Liberhan Commission and both D. B. Ray as well as Atal Bihari Vajpayee should be asked to depose before it, so that if his name is wrongly mentioned, the Prime Minister of India should be seen as above all suspicions of the charge; if not the charges should be investigated and the law should take its course. No person of even alleged to be involved in any remotely possible criminal conspiracy against the constitution, can do justice to the high office of the Prime Minister of the land without compromising the nation and its business of governance itself.
Ghulam Muhammad, Mumbai

Apropos of Prof Tahir Mahmood’s law-explaining article on Salaat may I mention for the Gujrati readers of MG that there is a very judicious article in a pocket-book Halaahal Jher Kumwaanu (The fatal poison of communalism) priced only ar Rs.1 and published by Mr Ghinubhai Shah (C-14, Raman Kalaa, Ahmedabad-13, Gujarat)
S Akhtar, Khanpur Deh-392150

‘Syed Shahabuddin’
Apropos of Mr. Afzal Usmani's letter on the subject "Syed Shahabuddin" (MG, 16-31 July, p. 23) permit me to correct the factual inaccuracies in his letter while leaving him free to nurse his opinion.
The Coordination Committee was born in December 1986 and the Action Committee, after a split two years later. I have been the Convener of the Coordination Committee from its inception and never been the Convener of the Action Committee.
I am not 'back in AMU'. Ever since 1978, I have been involved, in one way or the other, with the AMU, to save it and defend it from folly, mismanagement and hostility.
Not only I but 60-odd other Muslim MPs were also there, majority of them belonging to the ruling party in December, 1992, some of them being ministers and hence directly responsible for the Demolition. I first requested them all to resign, in stages, to exert pressure on the PM, first the Muslim ministers, to be followed by other Muslim MPs of Congress and then other Muslim MPs. None did. If I had, then no one would have been left in Lok Sabha to exert pressure on and expose the Government's duplicity.
Insaf Party was not launched in Aligarh. It was a protest against Shri VP Singh's behind-the-scene deal with the BJP. As soon as VP Singh Government fell in 1990, the Insaf Party was dissolved.
I do not know which dinner he is writing about!
As for the Qur'an-burning incident in Delhi and the police action in Kanpur, obviously he is not well-informed.
Syed Shahabuddin
Editor, Muslim India Monthly
N-44 Abul Fazal Enclave, New Delhi- 25

Purdah dictat
The recent dictat by Lashkar-e-Jabbar that Kashmiri women should compulsorily cover themselves with the veil is one of the most condemnable threat to Kashmiri women. Earlier Dukhtaran-e-Millat had also played
havoc by playing similar role. It should be noted here that in the wake of this dictat some acid attacks have also taken place on girls. Kashmiri women traditionally don't wear Burqua and this dictat of the less known terrorist group has been condemned and opposed by different Muslim organizations and prominent individuals.
The fundamentalist groups generally target women in the attempt to control the ethos of society and controlling dictating their dress code is on top of their list. We have seen such dictats in action earlier in Khoemini's Iran and currently in Taliban controlled Afghanistan. Even various groups basing themselves on Hindu Fundamentalist tendency have also on occasion dictated the dress code for women, they should put on bindi, they should not wear jeans etc. Coming from whichever fundamentalist groups, such fatwas and dictates have to be condemned and opposed in no uncertain terms. Kashmiri women more than even the Kashmiri men have been the worst victim of the present impasse where the cross border terrorism, violation of Human rights by state forces and the actions of local militant groups have compounded the situation. It is long overdue that a serious attempt to resolve the issue is made in all the seriousness. It is long overdue that the alienation of Kashmiri people is recognized and steps taken to ensure that their democratic aspirations are taken care of more than any other consideration in 'solving' the Kashmir imbroglio.
Ram Puniyani (EKTA) et. al. Mumbai

Musalman kal, aaj aur kal
This Sunday I had an opportunity to watch the subject programme on Jain T.V. I congratulate you for expressing the views of Muslim very forcefully.
M Naushad Ansari, Bangalore

Clear Vision
The saffronites are bent upon saffronising the entire educational system and the minorities educational institutions. They intend to forcibly impose their communal and casteist ideology on minorities and Dalits. They want to deprive them of their distincts religious and cultural identities which is guaranteed in our secular & democratic constitution made by Dr. Babhasaheb Ambhedkar, Pandit Nehru, Maulana Azad etc.
Minorities educational institutions particularly Islamic madrasas (religious School) are greatest hurdles in their way of cultural nationalism and Hindutva. Hence they started a systematic propaganda against madrasas. They blame Madrasas of sympathising with Taliban of Afghanistan and active supporters of anti indian acitivities of Pakistan's I.S.I.
As a matter of fact Madrasas have nothing to do with Taliban or ISI. The madrasas impart Islamic education and contribute to national literacy campaign. The aims and objectives of madrasas are to provide education about holy Qur'an,the Hadith (Teachings and traditions of prophet Mohammed PBUH) and building Islamic character of students.The madrasas make students true God-fearing muslims & peaceful & loyal citizens of the motherland. The madrasas are rendering yeomen service to the muslim community and humanity at large & thus contributing to communal harmony and national unity.
Clear Vision

Advani’s amnesty
One wonders what Advaniji has drawn except a bitter criticism by his baffling announcement to grant a general amnesty (which of course means pardoning) of armed men’s excesses while fighting mad militants, be the madness real or out of conviction amounting to madness as is the case with even some women in warring groups like LTTE!
S Akhtar, Khanpur Deh-392150

Out, out!
I am surprised to see that despite living in India you have not molded yourselves as Indians. If you crib about the status you have you should remember that in Islamic countries, minorities don't even count. If you don't like it here get out
- received by email, 26 Aug
Editor: This is a very mild sample of email messages we receive everyday. All these brave sons of Bharat disguise themselves behind unusual names or abbreviations and sometimes send their messages in the names of Muslim organisations like SIMI and SIO. Very recently we have started receiving this filth in the name of CIA! These emails abuse our religion, our Prophet, his wives, Arabs, Muslims and even secular Hindus. The portals/websites through which these messages are sent include the Hindu and Times of India which have turned deaf to our pleas to help us identify the cyber criminals.

Indian Muslims at Durban
Indian Muslim Federation (UK) delegation arrived in Durban, is presenting two reports at the Conference:
1. Intolerance & Discrimination Against Muslims as A Religious Minority in India
2. Prevention of Terrorism or Religious Intolerance: Stories of Terror and Torture as told by the victims.
Shamsuddin Agha, President, IMF, London

Shiv Sena culture
The senseless mayhem unleashed by Shiv Sena rowdies on the death of their Thane leader, Anand Dighe, due to natural causes, point to deeper malaise in a political organisation, which while enjoying the full protection and legitimacy of a democratic and secular constitution, indulges in mindless violence as a show of its macho. This time around, there was no bogey of Muslims threatening Hindus, that Bala Saheb usually and conveniently uses to push his political agenda. This time around, even no immediate political gains were expected from the wide-spread rioting, resulting in destruction of hundreds of cars, ambulances, expensive and highly specialised hospital equipment, even a vintage Dakota belonging to Vijaypat Singhania.
One shudders to think, how the Sainiks will react, if something natural will eventually happen to the ageing Supremo himself. The city will have to brace itself with proper precedents for all time to come, in case of such lawlessness and anarchy.
Nobody should be allowed to challenge the rule of law, however high he/she may be, the law is ever higher than all. If Chhagan Bhujbal is in a compromising position, due to his personal equation with Bal Thackerey and Shiv Sena, he must resign and hand over charge to others, who can do impartial justice to the cause of giving Mumbai, a fearless and secure society.
Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai

Minorities Commission must be reconstituted
The All India Christian Council congratulates the Chairman of the National Commission for Human Rights, former Chief Justice of India Mr. JS Verma, for courageously setting standards of probity and behaviour expected of National Commissions created under Acts of Parliament for the protection and welfare of India’s many marginalised groups who suffer violence and terror at the hands of feudal, communal and fundamentalist elements. He has also set out the parameters of Constitutional propriety by refusing to accept nomination to the committee set up by the Government of India to participate in the World Conference Against Racism, Racial discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Forms of Discriminations (WCAR) which is going to be held in Durban next week. Justice Verma said the NHRC had not mortgaged its independence, and was not bound by the opinion of the government of India (which has spent much money and energy fighting Indian NGOs who want a global discussion on descent and occupation based discrimination as takes place against Dalits in India and some other countries.) Significantly the NHRC also announced it would go to court if government gave a blanket amnesty to security forces indicted for human rights violations in Punjab.
In contrast, the record of the National Commission for Minorities is pathetic since it was reconstituted by the BJP government with former Justice Shamim as chairman and Mr. John Joseph as the Christian member, among others. From the day it was formed, both the chairman and Mr. Joseph have been subserving the political agenda of the BJP and the Sangh Parivar, and following the dictates of the Central government, particularly the Ministry of Home affairs. The Commission has acted as an instrument of political blackmail, implementing the Sangh agenda.
Repeatedly they have offered a clean chit to the extremists and violent fundamentalists of the Sangh Parivar who have been accused by their victims of attempted murder, grievous assault, coercion and physical threats. Despite appeals and applications, the commission has not bothered to act. In the one instance where it did make a superficial enquiry in Uttar Pradesh, it immediately exonerated the Sangh Parivar which had intimidated the entire Agra-Mathura region in Uttar Pradesh during 1999-2000.
The Commission, and particularly Mr. Joseph, maintained a convenient silence when the Government brought in Budget provisions that severely affected the funding of future educational and medical institutions. It maintained a loud silence when government threatened to drastically alter the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act to choke off funds to inconvenient institutions of the minority communities, particularly of the Christians, Muslims and Buddhists. It was deaf to the cry of the minorities when they sought protection from the unceasing political attacks of senior BJP members. It was a mute spectator to the rewriting of history and the saffronisation of education which had particularly targetted the minority communities
The Commission, and Mr. John Joseph did not speak when the Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, in his speech to RSS cadres made libelous statements against Christian missionaries and their centuries old record of service to this country, a charge repeated again by the Home Minister Mr. Lal Krishna Advani. A small community was left to fend for itself, to defend itself against mighty and powerful political forces and Fascist ideologies.
Instead of representing the Minority communities to the Government, seeking enlightened laws and nurturing legislation, Mr. John Joseph has sought to meddle in the internal affairs of various denominations with a view to breaking the unity which had been achieved in the blood of the martyrs and the tears of the victims and rape and assault.
Though he has been rebuffed and rejected by the Christian community repeatedly, Mr. John Joseph has abused his official position, and his official perquisites, to coerce and mislead various groups saying they will be assured peace only they compromise with the Sangh Parivar. There have been many cases where Christian groups, victims of the country’s iniquitous visa and other regulations, have been pressurized into compromising themselves. The Commission and Mr. Joseph have so far not worked towards telling the government to withdraw its communal regulations.
Mr. Joseph has actively campaigned for the ruling group in political elections both in Andhra Pradesh and in Kerala, violating the official politically neutral status of the commission.
The actions and activities of the National Commission for Minorities, and specially Mr. Joseph, pose a distinct threat to the security and well being of the minorities, specially of the Christian community.
With full gravity, the All India Christian Council demands the immediate reconstitution of the National Commission for Minorities, putting on it men and women committed to the secular ethos of the Constitution and the Plural heritage of this great country.
Dr Joseph D’ Souza (president), John Dayal (Secretary Gen.), All India Christian Council 


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