India: Muslim delegation meets Prime Minister on Muzaffarnagar riots
The Milli Gazette Online
Published Online: Sep 16, 2013
A delegation consisting leaders of all leading Indian Muslim organisations met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh this evening at his residence. The delegation expressed to him its deep concern over the continuing communal violence across the country and deteriorating communal tensions as a result of a certain party’ decision to polarise the society using emotive issues and false propaganda and rumours. The delegation expressed it pain at the ongoing violence in and around Muzaffarnagar in which around one lakh Muslims have been forced to flee their homes and villages taking shelter in over two dozen camps as well as taking refuge in the houses of their relatives in other villages. The delegation demanded proper relief to all the uprooted people including the ones who have taken shelter in their relatives homes, proper documentation and videography of each case as well registering FIRs in all cases so that the culprits may be punished and the victims get justice and fair compensation.
The delegation also raised the issue of the Communal Violence (Prevention) Bill which remains in cold storage since 2005. The delegation urged the Prime Minister to see to it that this Bill is passed in the next session or issued as an ordinance.
The Prime Minister listened to the delegation attentively and assured the Muslim leaders that it will do whatever is possible. He said he will try to arrive at a consensus in the forthcoming National Integration Council meeting on 23 September.
The delegation consisted of Maulana Syed Jalauddin Umari President, Jamaat-e Islami Hind, Maulana Nusrat Ali General Secretary, Jamaat-e Islami Hind, Janab Mohammad Ahmad Secretary, Jamaat-e Islami Hind, Maulana Mahmood Madni General Secretary, Jamiat Ulama-e Hind, Maulana Niyaz Farooqui Member, Working Committee, Jamiat Ulama-e Hind, Janab Shakeel Ahmad Sayed, member, Working Committee, Jamiat Ulama-e Hind, Janab Kamal Faruqi, member, Working Committee, All India Muslim Personal law Board, Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan President, All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat, . Janab Navaid Hamid General Secretary, Movement for the Empowerment of Indian Muslims, Janab Abdul Khaliq, Member Working Committee, All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat, Maulana Ataur Rahman Qasmi, Chairman, Shah Waliullah Institute, Dr Zafar Mahmood President, Zakat Foundation of India, Dr Taslim Rahmani President, Muslim Political Council, Maulana Abdul Wahab Khilji, member, All India Muslim Personal Law Board and Maulana Asghar Ali Imam Mahdi Salafi, General Secretary, Markzai Jamiat Ahl-e Hadees.
The delegation presented to the Prime Minister the following memorandum as well as observations of the Muslim delegations which visited Muzaffarnagar and a brief position paper on the Communal Violence (Prevention) Bill:
C/o D-250, Abul Fazal Enclave, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi-110025 India
Tel.: 011-26946780, 9990366660 Fax: 011-26947346
We, the undersigned, representing major Indian Muslim organisations, wish to draw your kind attention to the wave of communal violence sweeping across a number of states, especially in north India. The most serious in these recent flare-ups is the violence in and around Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh. Many of us have extensively toured the camps of the uprooted and feel that a “mini-Gujarat” has been inflicted upon Muzaffarnagar and its adjoining areas. A very short summary of our observations is appended to this letter.
Though the violence has abated now but stray incidents are still taking place every day. An estimated one lakh people (all Muslims) have been uprooted. Some 65,000 are living in around two dozen camps run in madrasahs, Eidgahs etc or are sheltered in hundreds of houses in other villages. Others have gone to live with their relatives. Even now no proper relief measures have been taken and no serious documentation is being made and no FIRs are filed. It is our request to you to kindly ensure:
a. Proper relief of ration and other necessary needs of life to those living in camps as well as with relatives.
b. Urgent documentation and preparation of lists with all details of names, losses and people responsible for the carnage as per the victims.
c. Filing of FIRs at the earliest so that the legal process could start to punish the guilty.
d. Compensation of all losses suffered by the victims in terms of life, loss of cattle, houses looted and burnt and crops destroyed/looted etc.
e. Construction/repair of burnt/demolished/damaged houses, mosques, madrasahs etc.
f. Construction of houses at other locations for those who do not wish to return to their villages (we found that no one is willing at least now to return to his/her village).
We take this opportunity to impress upon you to ensure that the Communal Violence (Prevention) Bill is urgently passed or, if need be, brought in as an ordinance, in order to rein in and send a strong message to the forces trying to polarise and destabilise the country for political gains.
We are hopeful that through these measures a strong message will be sent to all that your government is really committed to the welfare and safety of all Indians, especially the weak and defenceless.
C/o D-250, Abul Fazal Enclave, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi-110025 India
Tel.: 011-26946780, 9990366660 Fax: 011-26947346
OBSERVATIONS OF MUSLIM DELEGATIONS
visiting camps of the uprooted in and around Munzaffarnagar
in the light of the narrations of the uprooted
1. It was a one-sided attack by pro-BJP Jats, Almost no other Hindu community participated in the carnage.
2. The carnage took place only in villages where Muslims are in a small minority.
3. The carnage was pre-planned. Many meetings and three “mahapanchayats” were held before the carnage started. The so-called “eve-teasing” angle has now been proved false – it all started with a collision of motorcycles which was exploited by people who were waiting for a spark.
4. Police were helping and abetting the rioters before, during and after the carnage. Arms and other defence objects like ballams, gadansas and knives were collected by the police from Muslim homes BEFORE the carnage while arms were brought in from outside and distributed among the rioters.
5. SHO of Phugana (Omvir Sirohi), where it all started, gave the Hindus two hours from 8 am to 10 am on 8 September 2013 to do their job to teach a lesson to the Muslims.
6. Some Muslims, especially the elderly and children, are still trapped in some villages but police is not ready to bring them to safety. Denied of food and water, they may die soon if not already killed by the rioters.
7. Cattle in large numbers have either been looted or are left unattended in many abandoned homes without food and water and according to reports they are dying out of thirst and hunger if not already looted by the rioters.
8. People fled their villages at a notice of just minutes, hence they came out in the clothes they were wearing. They need clothes and bedding most.
9. Govt is supplying inadequate quantities of ration and liquid milk as well as some medical help at places where a bulk of the uprooted people are staying but not where they are staying in small numbers or in homes of villagers or relatives.
10. The uprooted urgently need items which are not provided by the govt like clothes, bedding, soap, dried milk, baby food, durries, chadars, utensils, etc.
11. Relief should be provided to all who have been forced to flee their homes until they are repatriated or a solution is found to resettle them somewhere else.
12. Many of uprooted people have farmlands where crops are ready to be harvested. These will either be stolen or lost if people are not given security to go there and harvest them.
13. Most homes have been burnt down with corpses inside.
14. Young girls have been abducted and there is no attempt by the police to recover them.
15. We did not find a single man or woman ready to return ever to their abandoned villages. Even uprooted people of "higher castes" like Mulla [Muslim] Jats are not ready to return to their villages. They want to start life afresh at other places. They should be encouraged to return to their homes and adequate security in the form of permanent police pickets should be posted there until normalcy returns completely.
16. Muslims of the area have come out honourably to help these uprooted people, thousands are lodged in homes in Muslim-dominated villages, others are housed in madrasahs, mosques and Eidgahs and other places.
17. Hindus too have come forward to prevent the violence and to help the victims as seen in Kandhla town were some 7500 uprooted people are sheltered in the Eidgah. The role of Kandhla S.P. (Harish Chandra Johsi) has been honourable and praiseworthy.
18. A proper documentation of all the uprooted is necessary at the earliest so that compensation and rehabilitation are done without injustice to any.
19. Adequate help should be given to all to rebuild their destroyed/burnt houses or to build new houses at other places of their choice.
20. Adequate compensation should be given to all the affected by the carnage for loss of life, injury, houses looted and burnt, and for cattle and crops lost.
21. FIRs should be filed individually and collectively in all cases of murder, attack, arson, loot, forced eviction, abduction, etc.
22. The police is not allowing any photography of the burnt houses in the affected villages. When it escorted some of the victims back to their homes to retrieve some of their belongings, police did not allow them to photograph the burnt homes some which were still smouldering. Police even collected their mobile phones in advance so that no photograph could be taken. Police in Kandhla were ready to provide some of us escort to go to some affected villages with the condition that we will not take any photographs. We think that the proofs will soon be destroyed. Therefore, documentation should include still and video photography of the looted and burnt homes.
AND REHABILITATION OF VICTIMS) BILL, 2005
The Common Minimum Programme of the UPA Government promised the enactment of a
“Comprehensive law on communal violence.” As at present we have no less that 15 different laws applicable in a riot situation; yet they were all found wanting in situations like Gujarat carnage 2002 and the current Muzaffarnagar violence, mainly because the concerned state authorities lack the political will to effectively enforce them.
Indiahas signed, accepted and ratified the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, 1948. It is under an obligation to enact the necessary legislation to give effect to the provisions of the Convention. The Convention, apart from defining the crime, makes all persons committing genocide, punishable, whether they are “Constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals”. The Union Government has a fundamental duty under Article 51(c) of the Indian Constitution to foster respect for international humanitarian law and treaty obligations. Under article 253, the Parliament has the power to make any law for implementing International Conventions, and decisions made at an international conference, association or other body. Besides, the Union has the Constitutional duty under Article 355 to protect every state which must necessarily include all people within the state, against internal disturbance and to ensure governance in every state is in accordance with the Constitution.
In compliance with the commitment of UPA–I, Bill No. CXV of 2005 “The Communal Violence (Prevention, Control and Rehabilitation of Victims) Bill, 2005-12-07 was presented in Parliament and was later referred to the Standing Committee on Home Affairs. The Committee presented its report on 13.12.2006 which was widely criticised by social activists. Between 2005 and now, civil society groups have repeatedly engaged with the government at all levels, and time and again communicated their serious objections to this Bill. They have written critiques, given alternative formulations, written alternative draft laws, and suggested changes in several specific Chapters and clauses. Civil society groups have met many over the last 7 years – from the Chairperson of the UPA, Prime Minister, two successive Home Ministers, officials in the Home Ministry, members of Parliament. And yet the Bill remains in the cold storage.
The UPA Government introduced an impressive-sounding 59 amendments into the Communal Violence Bill 2009. These have been cleared by Cabinet, and we have been told that the government was planning to introduce it in Parliament. These 59 amendments have merely tinkered with the Bill. They do not make any structural changes and do not incorporate a single suggestion made by Civil Society.
Looking into the urgent need to bring out this legislation and the mood of the nation, the
National Advisory Council was constituted consisting of important NGOs, Human
Rights activists and advocates. The group had detailed deliberations for over two years and gave its representation to the Government. In between, the proposed amendments were also discussed with the then Law Minister Hon’ble Shri V. Moilly on 29.5.2010. Unfortunately, nothing has happened since.
During the last monsoon session of the Parliament, the Government could bring out about 16 important and populist legislations but the Communal Violence bill 2009 was not refereed even once by any important functionary of the Government which shows that the Government has gone back on its own commitment to bring out its committed legislation. The worst once again happened in the shape of Muzaffarnagar violence.