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Published in the 1-15 Jan 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

REJOINDERS

Manitha Neethi Pasarai

This has reference to the news item that appeared in the Milli Gazette dated 16-31 December 2004 about Manitha Needhi Pasarai. The News item was a highly motivated publication as it appears two months after the incident. What is the fun in publishing a police story against those who embrace Islam after two months. The conversions made news here on 29th Oct 2004.

The TamilNadu Police have now become the watchdog of conversions and the new rule here in Tamilnadu is, NSA for those who involve themselves in effective Islamic propagation.

The said news item was a concoction by police which was duly refuted by me by a Press Meet held within few hours of the publication of the news. I have enclosed a copy of the rejoinders published in the news papers here for your perusal.

The said police story appeared in the news papers here on 29.10.2004. which has no truth behind it. What happened then was this: On 26.10.2004, there was a small altercation between Muslims over the marriage of a converted Muslim girl. The matter was settled within hours. But the police entered the scene and made a big news about it, and claimed that it has busted a fundamentalist outfit called Manitha Needhi Pasarai.

The observation that MNP recently came into existence is also false. MNP really came into existence in 2001, April through a Public function in which Advocate Zafriyab Jeelani, the Master of Babari Masjid cases spoke, along with Mukundan C. Menon, (an occasional columnist in MG) and a human rights activist. The other speakers in the meeting were Mr. Esra Sargunam a Christian priest and the then state minority’s commission chairman and T.M. Mani a Dalit Leader. In this function a small amount was handed over to Zaferyab Jeelani Sahib to meet the expenses of the cases. In Cuddalore itself we have conducted a public meeting one year back with police permission. Similarly we have conducted hundreds of public meetings throughout the State of Tamilnadu.

As regards the three women they are innocent. They did not do any mistake other then running a smooth home. One of the three, is a converted woman.
They were taken to custody on 26.10.2004 itself. But were shown as arrested on 29.10.2004 only. In the intervening period they were taken to an unknown place tortured and were forced to give statements against their husbands and MNP. Their husbands have no connection with MNP other than that one of them is a local distributor of MNP’s monthly Vidiyal Velli (It is the largest circulated Muslim monthly with a circulation of 23,000 copies). 

MNP on hearing the News that three innocent women were taken away by the police, gave telegrams to the CM, Chief Justice of India and Tamil Nadu and all other human rights organizations, on 26.10.2004 itself. On 28.10.2004 MNP filed a Habeas Corpus Petition at the High Court of Madras. After all these only the police recorded their arrest and came out with a shocking story.

MNP is a human rights organization looking after the human rights violation of minorities especially of Muslims. So far it has filed 21 cases against the Tamil Nadu Police. In two cases two policemen were ordered to pay compensation to two Muslim youths. MNP also fought the cases of the three women who were taken away by the police. Due to MNP’s consistent efforts the three women were released on bail on 7.10.2004.

In few cases filed by MNP against the police, the police negotiated compromise and were compromised; many cases were pending against police. This is one reason why the police went berserk against MNP. MNP worked against BJP in the last Lok Saba elections and was implicated in nearly 25 election related cases, which were later withdrawn at the behest of the Election Commission. This is another reason why the state police targeted MNP. MNP can not be subdued by high handed media distortions.
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