Special Reports

Government’s incompetence, misguided policies responsible for water scarcity, drought: JIH

New Delhi: Expressing anguish at the scarcity of water and drought in various parts of the country, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind blamed the government's incompetence and the misguided policies for this woeful situation. Talking to mediapersons on 7 May, the Secretary General of JIH, Muhammad Salim Engineer, said that the incompetence and the misguided policies of the government are largely to be blamed for the drought and acute scarcity of water. He asked the government to immediately ban those industries that are causing water scarcity and water pollution.

The Vice President of the Jamaat, Nusrat Ali, applauding individuals and organisations which are providing water to the needy, said, "The common man is experiencing great difficulty in getting drinking water and the farmers are tormented by the lack of water required for irrigation. The JIH cadre has been busy providing water to the needy and drought-affected. In the Latur district of Maharashtra, JIH has been providing five water tankers daily to 10 affected localities. One water tanker holds 6000 litres of water; thus providing each household about 150 liters of water daily. In the Udgir district of Maharashtra, JIH has been providing five water tankers daily to six affected localities. In the urban parts of Latur and Udgir, Jamaat plans to dig deep borewells. Besides this, JIH cadres have been active in providing water to the needy and affected in a number of other areas. This will continue till the advent of monsoon. "Jamaat has appealed to the masses and its cadre to avoid wastage of water and spread this awareness in others," he said.

In a reply to question about the arrests of Muslim youth on charges of terrorism, the JIH Vice President expressed his great apprehension at these indiscriminate arrests. He said that it is now coming to light through various reports that security agencies are faking evidences about explosive materials claimed to have been found in the possession of arrested Muslim youth. Hence a large number of the Muslim youth accused of terror charges are later acquitted by the courts. JIH is working on two fronts regarding this issue: one it is offering legal aid to the accused and the other is supporting the families of those wrongfully incarcerated.

 The JIH Secretary General also spoke about the ban on alcohol, the ongoing assembly polls and the situation in Syria. He said that JIH believes that alcohol consumption has many harmful effects on society, economy, morality and health. JIH categorically rejects the excuse given by various state governments that banning alcohol would seriously compromise the revenue they earn by way of taxing the alcohol industry. JIH feels that the cost that the government has to bear in terms of trying to prevent crimes committed under the influence of alcohol, the various medical and health expenses that are caused by various diseases due to alcoholism, the breakdown of the family system and the abundance of court cases and litigation because of alcohol, is far greater than the income accrued by the government through taxes. In the larger public interest, JIH has selected 50 villages where the consumption of alcohol will be totally eliminated and these will be developed as ideal villages. Public awareness will be created for the same and government authorities at all levels would be apprised of this initiative.

 Regarding the assembly elections, Salim Engineer said that JIH has always maintained its own policy regarding support and backing of candidates in elections. JIH supports secular candidates with strong moral character who possess a zeal for serving the country and who offer a strong candidature against communal candidates. According to this policy, JIH has supported 116 candidates in West Bengal of which 50 are from the TMC, 28 from the Left Front, eight from Congress, six from SDPI, one independent and 23 from the Welfare Party of India. In Kerala and Tamil Nadu, too, JIH will announce its support to candidates based on their performance and character.   

On the ongoing conflict in Syria, the JIH Secretary General expressed great anguish at the steadily deteriorating situation there and condemned the entirely terrorist-style military strategy being unleashed in the name of putting an end to terrorism. He said that hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives, of which a great number are innocent children, women and aged. Millions of people have been forced to migrate to other countries leaving their homes, wealth and belongings. Schools, hospitals and other civic amenities had to bear the brunt of these attacks. It is very surprising that these attacks are being made by the custodians of democracy claiming to work for the restoration of peace and stability in Syria. Equally perplexing is the criminal silence adopted by organisations and nations committed to the protection of peace and human rights such as the UN and especially the counties of the Middle East. JIH believes that the interference of the US and Russia in Syria is wrong and demands that the UN should play a positive role in restoring peace and removing all foreign forces out of Syria.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 May 2016 on page no. 13

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