National

“Rajasthan minorities are 2nd class citizens”

The Joint Action Committee under the aegis of Rajasthan Muslim Forum organised a meet to asses the deteriorating law and order situation in the state. The committee has expressed concern over the government’s inaction and its lackadaisical approach in dealing with the perpetrators of violence at Sawai Madhopor and elsewhere in the state. Despite assurance from the state government after every incident it was observed that violence against minorities continues unabated and Christians and Muslims here are treated as second class citizens. In this regard, Rajasthan Muslim Forum in co-ordination with various social and human rights organisations have written a letter to UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi hoping that she would address the issue by directing the chief minister of Rajasthan to protect the lives and properties of the minorities and at the same time to take stern action against criminals, communal forces and errant officials. The minorities of this state are jittery and in a predicament over their continued support to the Congress in the state for they had expected a lot from the party that claims to be committed to secularism and social justice. Copy of the letter has also been sent to the prime minister and home minister.

Highlighting some of the recent violence and the action taken the letter says, “Media and civil organizations have been voicing their protest against the government by organising rallies and dharnas against communal violence (burning and looting of Christian/Muslim houses, shops, standing crops, religious places and killings). The incidents at Balesar (Jodhpur), Sarada (Udaipur), and Manoharthana, Semli Haat, Maheshpura (Jhalawar), and the recent burning alive of a Muslim police officer on duty at Soorwal village (Sawaimadhopur) are fairly well known. They have been widely reported in national and local dailies and TV channels. Most of these violent incidents occurred in the very presence of insensitive and colluding district officials. As a result, criminals are emboldened and Muslims feel threatened. Political will of the state to curb violence is conspicuously absent due to petty political expediency. This is, regrettably, corroding peoples’ confidence in the secular credentials of the Congress in Rajasthan. A Chronology of violence in the recent past are:

  1. In April 2010, Congress village Sarpanch of Balesar village, Jodhpur District, led a drive for widening of market road in a selective manner, targeting only Muslim houses and their Idgah. Hindu houses/shops, belonging to his community (Malis ‘gardners’) were kept out of the demolition drive. Local Muslims protested against this discrimination. Till today the Eidgah remains un-repaired. What is sad is that the Sarpanch, belonging to the community of the CM Gehlot, led his community to attack Muslims despite warning from the Superintendent of Police.
  2. In May 2010, two criminals–a Muslim and one from Meena tribe–had conflict of interest in liquor and extortion business. The Muslim criminal killed the Meena youth. The culprit was arrested with the help of the local people. Hindutva activists instigated and organized local tribals to attack law abiding innocent Muslim villagers. In the very presence of district SP and Collector, about 80 houses and several shops, workshops, standing crops and live stocks of Muslims were looted, damaged and destroyed. Even the cow of a Muslim was killed to provoke further communal violence on a larger scale. Culprits are still roaming free and threatening the local Muslims.
  3. In September 2010, Hindu activists mainly from the Meena tribe attacked Muslims and destroyed their properties. The violence came to a halt only when the police opened fire. Three people from the Meena tribe were killed in the police firing. Angered by the deaths of rioters in police firing, the Hindu fringe elements attacked innocent Muslim villagers of Semli Haat, Maheshpura and other villages. Almost 50 houses, standing crops, grain stores, farm equipment and cattle were looted, damaged and burnt. Muslims fled. A police station was burnt. Some journalists were also attacked. For almost a month neither the District Magistrate nor the SP visited the affected villages.
  4. The incident of Soorwal village, Sawaimadhopur district where a police circle Inspector Phool Mohammad was burnt alive while on duty is shameful and describes the gory tale of the state and its law and order situation which seems to be at the mercy of hooligans and criminals. The family of late Phool Muhammad and human rights organizations are demanding an inquiry and suspension of police officers and the DM for dereliction of duty. Late Phool Muhammad’s family has so far not been visited by Home Minister or the CM for condolence.

Surprisingly, brave SPs of Jodhpur and Jhalawar who firmly contained violence were ‘punished’ by transferring them. The SPs and Collectors of Udaipur and Sawaimadhopur were either transferred or made APOs, rather than being punished  for their gross dereliction of duty.

 

Qari Mueenuddeen, Convener of Rajasthan Muslim Forum has demanded:

  1. A CBI inquiry into the incident of Soorwal in which three deaths occurred (two murders and one suicide) in a sequence, be initiated and political and criminal dimensions of the incident must be investigated at the earliest. We request you to advise the PM to hasten the process of CBI inquiry so that the guilty are punished.
  2. Responsible district administrative officers-particularly the SP, DM and their junior staff like the Dy. S.P. Mahcndra Singh and Addl. SP along with SDM should be suspended and criminal procedures against them must be initiated for dereliction of duty which led to the death of martyr Phool Mohammad.
  3. All criminals should be apprehended irrespective of their caste and creed. They are protected by some officers and politicians. The nexus must be exposed.
  4. The victims of Jodhpur, Udaipur and Jhalawar Districts still await justice and due compensation for damage to their houses and properties. Rajasthan Government should be instructed to speed up investigation process.

The other signatories of the letter are: Rajasthan Muslim Forum, Sadbhav Manch Rajasthan, Peoples Union For Civil Liberties (PUCL), Jamaaat-E-Islami Hind, All India Milli Council, IRADA Society, Sheikh Jamialul Abbas Rajasthan, Sarvdeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, Association For Protection of Civil Rights (APCR), Bhaichra Foundation, All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, Wahdat-e-Islami Rajasthan, National Muslim Women’s Welfare Society, Popular Front of India, Masihi Shakti Samiti, Dalit Adhikar Kendra, Dalit Muslim Ekta Manch, Maulana Azad Welfare and Relief Foundation, Tahaffuz-E-Auqaf Committee, Human Development Society, Mansoori Panchayat Rajasthan, Muslim Mahasabha, Millat-E-Islamia Khidmatgar Society, Indian Union Muslim League, Shia Conference, Jamiatul Quraish Jaipur, All India Imam Council, Sheikh Banjara Samaj, Students Islamic Organisation of India, Muslim Youth Forum and Lok Sampatti Sanrakshan Samiti.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 May 2011 on page no. 6

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