|Council of Indian Muslims (UK)
Jack Straw Promises to Raise Muslims’ Concerns With the Indian Government
London, 31 January, 2003: British Indian Muslims have urged the British Government to declare the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narandra Modi person non grata and refuse him and his gang entry in the UK.
This demand was raised in a meeting with the British Foreign Secretary Mr Jack Straw by a four-member delegation of British Muslims consisting of the Chairman of Council of Indian Muslims – UK (CIM), Mr Munaf Zeena, CIM member Mr M. G. Khan, Mr Ibrahim Master of Lancashire Council of Mosques and Mr of Indian Muslim Association Leicester.
In more than half hour meeting Mr Straw was reminded that the red carpet reception to the charge sheeted Indian Deputy Prime Minster L. K. Advani and reception to the charge sheeted Sports Minister Ms Uma Bharti by the British Government was in contradiction of its own report on Gujarat genocide conducted by the British High Commission in Delhi last year.
Mr Straw was also handed a memorandum, along with the two volumes of Concerned Citizens’ Tribunal Report on the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat which holds the BJP led state and central governments guilty of carrying anti-Muslim pogroms in the state.
“First of all we wish to express our gratitude for the concern shown, almost one year ago, by you and the British government for the protection of lives of Muslims in Gujarat, by conducting an inquiry, through British High Commission in Delhi, and informing the world of the horrible and sinister nature of the crimes committed against innocent human beings.” Reads the memorandum.
The memorandum adds, “While the unofficial leak of the British High Commission's report testified the participation of the Gujarat Government in crimes against humanity, several other reports within India, especially by Concern Citizens' Tribunal, gave harrowing details of these pogroms. The tribunal, led by a retired Supreme Court Judge, V. R. Krishna Iyer, also gave, in its two volume report, a list of recommendations including urging the “International Community to use all the influence at its command with the government of India and the Gujarat government to ensure the speedy carriage of justice”. (page 170) We are submitting both volumes of the report as background information. We are also attaching another report “The Foreign Exchange of Hate: IDRF and the American Funding”, produced by The South Asia Citizens Web, France, which gives the details of how Sangh Parivar organisations, outside India, raise funds for their anti-minorities programmes.”
Reminding the British government of its moral obligation the memorandum
says, “In view of these facts and as well as because there is no hope for the victims to get justice under a fascist regime, we were expecting the British Government to take a lead and put pressure on the BJP led government to safeguard the constitutional and human rights of Muslims and other minorities in India.”
“Contrary to this” it goes on, “we were saddened to see the main culprits of the demolition of the historic Babari Mosque in Ayodhya and the charge-sheeted Deputy Prime Minister L. K. Advani being welcomed in the UK with full official protocol.”
“Only a few days later another charge-sheeted member of the BJP gang, Sports Minister Ms. Uma Bharti was also warmly received. She too had been charge-sheeted by the CBI for inciting Hindu crowds in Ayodhya on 6 December 1992 by saying in her speech "ek dhakka aur do Babri Masjid ko tor do".
(Give another push to the Babri Mosque and pull it down).”
The memorandum reads, “Unfortunately this seeming inaction of the British government, on its own report, has given much encouragement to the chief culprit and the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi that, according to some reports, he is now planning to visit the UK and tour other European countries. A "moderate" like Prime Minister Vajpayee, on the other hand, was so much puffed up that displaying extreme lack of sense of responsibility and violating all norms of Prime Ministerial Office he accused Indian Muslims of not condemning the Godhra incident.”
“While the culprits roam free in India, even after murdering more than two thousand men and women, mass raping of women and bayoneting children, their fund providers in the UK are engaged in arousing anti-Muslim sentiments in this country as well. In addition to various other press reports, the two exclusive reports on Channel 4 have shown how the VHP and the Sewa International have been involved in providing funds to their mentors in India.”
Highlighting the hardened criminal mindset of the Sangh Parivar the memorandum says, “While they deny sending money to extremist organisations in India, they do not feel any embarrassment in denouncing their leaders like Prime Minister Vajpayee and the charge-sheeted Deputy Prime Minister for showing a little displeasure at the Gujarat genocide.”
The memorandum contain five specific demands: “1) Use all the influence at its command with the government of India and the Gujarat government to ensure the speedy carriage of justice. 2) Declare the Chief Minister of Gujarat Persona non grata and refuse him, and all the accused named by the Concerned Citizens’ Tribunal, entry in the UK; 3 Proscribe VHP UK, Sewa International and HSS and other branches of the Sangh Parivar operating in the UK and freeze their funds; 4) Ask the Indian Government and encourage NGOs to work for the empowerment of Muslims and other minorities in India., 5) Provide funds for Muslim and secular organizations fighting for the human rights of victims of the crimes committed by Hindutva forces in Gujarat.”
Mr Straw assured the delegation that he would raise their concerns with the Indian Government. He said that he knew India and Gujarat well. He also said that that just by coincidence when two major tragedies like the demolition of the Babri Mosque in 1992 and only few hours before the unfortunate incident of Godhra occurred he happened to be in India.
Mr Straw emphasised that he was fully aware of BJP and its ideology. He, however, pointed out that communication and mutual meetings played important role in removing misunderstandings. Reminding the delegation of L. K. Advani’s visit to UK last year he said that Advani had told him that he was impressed by the patriotism of British Indian Muslims.
In a separate statement Mr Ibrahim Mster said, “ Although Mr Straw is preoccupied in dealing with the situation in the Gulf, the fact he has given us more than half an hour shows how seriously he and the British Government is taking Gujarat.”
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