COUNCIL of INDIAN MUSLIMS (UK)
British Indian Muslims Urge Manmohan Singh to Work for a Factual ‘Shining India’
Ask Vajpayee to Resign From the BJP
London, 21 May, 2004:
British Indian Muslims have congratulated Mr Manmohan Singh on becoming India’s 15th, and first Prime Minister Prime Minister from a minority community. In his congratulatory letter sent today the Chairman of Council of Indian Muslims — UK (CIM), Mr Munaf Zeena also urged the new Prime Minister to "work for a factual ‘shining India’ in which each Indian citizen feels safe and secure, physically, mentally, culturally, religiously and linguistically.
"After the anti-Sikh riots in 1984," reads the letter "Khushwant Singh had written in the Sunday magazine that for the first time he had realised how the Muslims would have felt in Moradabad during the anti-Muslim riots of 1982. Unfortunately Moradabad was not the last to witness the cruelty being meted out on Muslims. It was followed by Meerut and Bhagalpur. However, the savagery and ferocity displayed in Gujarat surpassed all the barbarism that had happened in the past. We are sure that as a member of a minority community like Khushwant Singh you too understand the difficulties being faced by Indian Muslims.
"In other states where Muslims did not have to go through the tragedy of the scale which they faced in Gujarat, the story however is not much different. During the last more than 50 years they have undergone the trauma of having to witness their loved ones killed in cold blood, roasted alive, raped, being made homeless and jobless, detained under POTA, harassed by the law enforcement agencies, defamed by the media and children in schools forced to perform saraswati vandana.
The letter stresses, "There is a long list of the injustices meted out on Muslims in the name of integrity and security of the country. These injustices and systematic discrimination are rooted in the hatred being spread, since the very first days of independent India, through school text books. The BJP merely intensified this campaign which has invariably being followed since 1947 by all the successive governments. The present communal tension is nothing but the eruption of the volcano created by all of the previous Indian governments regardless of their party alliances and ideologies."
Complaining about anti-Muslim contents in school text books it says, "By reviling Muslims and projecting them as villains, who according to the propaganda, during their hundreds years of rule, gave nothing to the country except destruction of temples, rape of non-Muslim women and at the end the partition of the country, wittingly or unwittingly greatest damage has been done to the inter-communal relationship that Indians had been enjoying for hundreds of years. While on the one hand such a poisonous fiction is creating hatred in the minds of Hindu children about their Muslim compatriots, on the other hand it is depriving Muslim children of a real sense of belonging.
"The fact is that despite all the negative propaganda and notwithstanding deliberate discrimination against them wherever Muslims were giving the chance they established their worth by an outstanding performance in their respective fields. In the army they became Brig Usman and Havaldar Abdul Hameed, in Science they became Abul Kalam, in sports they became Manssor Ali Khan Patodi, Saleem Durrani, Mohamad Kaif and Irfan Pathan. Yet, in spite of their services to the country they remain lowest on the ladder of employment and opportunities. Their representation in parliament continues to become thinner and thinner by the passage of every count."
The letter makes four point demands urging Mr Singh to: "1) Make sure that justice is not denied to the victims of Gujarat genocide and the perpetrators of crimes against humanity do not go unpunished; 2) Take measures to give Muslims their due representation in government, private sector, armed forces, parliament and the police; 3) Detoxify the poison spread by communal forces and teach children in schools healthy lessons from the history like, for example, that Babar had asked his son not to slaughter cow and to respect the feelings of Hindu brothers; that Muslims played a major role in country’s freedom struggle and sacrificed their lives for this great country.; 4) Look at the causes of communal hatred and treat the virus that is debilitating the foundations of the country."
In a separate open letter sent to the former Prime Minister Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee Mr Zeena said, "On May 13 we were highly impressed by your dignified speech after your party’s defeat in the 14th Lok Sabha elections in which you sounded to be speaking from a very high moral ground."
Referring to Mr Vajpayee’s farewell speech in which he said , "My party and alliance may have lost, but India has won" Zeena said that it had increased Mr Vajpayee’s "stature not only in India but on the world stage as well. Had your party not stooped so low as campaigning against an elected person becoming the Prime Minister of the country, and had you not maintained a seemingly meaningful silence at this jingoistic behaviour, your speech would have been a source of great strength and dignity for every self-respecting Indian.
However, Zeena said that by its "…utmost undemocratic, racist and dangerous style of politics your party has done its best to defeat Indian democracy. Not only as a party leader but, probably, being the most senior leader, it was your duty to stop and control your members. But, unfortunately you have failed and failed miserably. If your party had a little respect left in the world, by this behaviour they have lost it too.
" ‘One can change friends but not neighbours’" was your theory on which you established friendly relations with Pakistan. But Vajpayee Jee, can we remind you the old saying ‘Charity begins at home’. The importance of neighbourly relations should have also been taught to the members of the Sangh Parivar, especially to Advani & Co, who will be remembered in history as someone who partitioned Indian cities and towns into Hindu and Muslim parts.
"However, you have always talked about values and morals." The letter goes on, "If you were honest in your claims, then you should immediately resign from the BJP categorically condemning its bullish tactics and asking the right thinking members of the BJP to follow you and work for bringing the communities together as you have been claiming in your election speeches.
COUNCIL of INDIAN MUSLIMS (UK)
66c Cazenove Road, Stoke Newington, London N16 6AA UK Tel: 020 8806 1147 Fax: 020 8806 6859,
www.coim.org.uk , Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information please contact Munaf Zeena on 07956335384 q