Rejoinders / Letters to the Editor


MG MGis the best gazette for the Millat. Dr Abdulhakim Shaikh, Aurangabad (on Facebook)   The real face of Terrorism in India I have read Amaresh Mishra’s ‘The curious case of David Headley’ with keen interest (MG, 16-30 April 2010). When Headley saga began to surface media presented Headley as a Pakistani-American Muslim terrorist having link with certain terrorist organization. Now the cat is out of the bag. Headley is an agent of CIA. Headley saga reminds me about Kenneth, the American citizen, on whose internet protocol a letter relating to terrorism was detected. It is highly probable that he was also a CIA agent and operating in India, while Headley was operating from Pakistan. Therefore, the Kenneth episode should also be thoroughly investigated to expose the real face of terrorism in India as has been in the case of Headley. If this is not done, the current investigation to arrive at the truth behind terrorism in India will remain incomplete. Hasibor Rahman, Garo Hills   Namaz on roads As good Muslims we should appreciate that causing inconvenience to others while offering namaz ba-jama’at particularly on Friday is against the true spirit of Allah’s religion. This is a general problem all over the country. We need to go deeper into the issue and try to find long term solutions. In order to quantify the country wide issue, Zakat Foundation of India appeals to Indian Muslims to let it know by email the names and addresses of the masjids where the problem exists and the number of namazis spilling over the road or others’ property during Friday prayers.Simultaneously, please also suggest practical alternatives. We should honestly identify spaces in the vicinity or in the same locality which remain vacant and an attempt can be made to persuade those who own or control those spaces to allow these to be used for Friday prayers. These may include educational institutions administered by Muslims or big landed properties owned by them. Another such category may include wakf properties including those which are controlled by the Archaeological Survey of India. Sachar Committee has recommended that there should be a permanent coordination mechanism of representatives of Central Wakf Council and ASI officers which should review every quarter the list of wakf properties under the control of ASI in order to decide which of these need to be restored back to the state wakf boards. After receiving useful information from fellow Muslim citizens ZFI hopes to further consider the matter towards a logical conclusion. ZFI also appeals to those Muslims who own or control big spaces to voluntarily offer these, for the sake of pleasing Allah, for Friday congregations. Syed Zafar Mahmood, Chairman, Zakat Foundation, New Delhi   Fatwa for the safety of doctors It has become common to see the doctors thrashed by the attendants of the patients in hospitals if something goes wrong. The doctors on duty have to fear for their life. Last week a suicide bomb blast took place in the city of Quetta in Pakistan killing scores of people. The fatwa was issued against the suicide bombings in hospital or nearby. The reason why I am giving the reference of this Quetta hospital incident is that the some sort of synonymity occurs with our states healthcare system though with a difference. From the last several incidents occurring in our state where the agitated attendants thrash the white uniform people whenever the patient dies by natural cause or by any medical negligence. Agreed that medical negligence occurs in the health system and the patient has to pay the brunt of it but what sense does it make by creating anarchy and putting the whole hospital ransom to the hooliganism of the relatives of the deceased patient due to rush at that time. Let law take its action and the inquiry committee be set up to investigate the matter. Why do the relatives do such disrespectful thing at that time of grief derogating themselves to the level of these terrorist who blow themselves up in hospitals? Have they taken the sanity of hospital for granted or they have faith in the doctors, which ever it would be, it’s an absurd thing to create mayhem in hospitals. Hameed Peerzada, Srinagar II Fatwa every now and then Sunni Ulema Board, a group of religious scholars, has issued a fatwa expressing its disapproval of Sania Mirza and Shoaib Malik mingling freely even before their marriage is solemnized. Their behavior has been termed “haraam” [forbidden according to tenets of Islam] and has described it as bringing disrepute to Islam and Muslim community through their actions. The fatwa also exhorts Muslims to stay away from the April 15 marriage. Another Maulana Madni considers such suo moto fatwa unnecessary. Also he questions the issuance of such a fatwa in the absence of any definite knowledge of how exactly the couple has interacted. This makes it questionable on his part to censure the fatwa in the absence of definite knowledge if such a fatwa was issued suo motu. Again, even if the fatwa issued by Sunni Ulema Board was not suo moto but was issued as response to a request for an opinion on the matter, was it necessary for the Ulema Board to issue it in public domain or without an injunction to the opinion-seeker that it was for his benefit only. Before Shoaib Malik divorced Ayesha Siddiqui, Maulana Nurur Rahman Barkati of Tipu Sultan Masjid, Kolkata issued a fatwa asking Muslims to socially boycott Shoaib if he marries Sania because his nikah with Ayesha on phone was valid. In yet another fatwa issued this month five Muftis of a leading Islamic seminary issued a fatwa against modelling by Muslim ladies as modelling necessitates exhibiting one’s body which is against the Shariat. Now, this fact is known to all Muslims. What prompted this fatwa this month is not known. Generally these well-intentioned fatwas have no effect on the community. In fact at times a fatwa receives violent reaction as it happened in case of a fatwa issued against Ganesh pooja in the house of famed Salim Khan. Fatwa asking for boycott of Sania’s wedding had no effect. Muslims of Hyderabad, all over India and Pakistan flocked to the wedding. Muslim boys and girls are not going stop mingling, married or not, engaged or not. No Muslim girl aspiring to be a model is going to pay heed to this month’s fatwa against modelling although it is from India’s premier seminary. So why are we, as a community, exposing ourselves to ridicule by issuing such edicts in public? Why cannot such exhortations to the community remain buzzword within the walls of our mosques? Dr Mookhi Amir Ali, Santacruz, Mumbai   Indian money league It’s ironic that the Indian Premier League’s most compelling week, cricket-wise, has been overshadowed by events off the field. However, it is perhaps appropriate. In the noise and the din that the IPL has generated, cricket has often felt like a sideshow. From the very beginning, the IPL’s creators have chosen to measure its success on the yardsticks of money, clout and glitz; and the attendant side-effects are now threatening the future of the league. There is no pleasure in saying it, but there has always been inevitability about this. The coming days may tell how deep the malaise runs and how far-reaching its impact will be, but for everyone in a position of power in Indian cricket, this is a moment of truth. That the matter was precipitated by two Twitter-happy protagonists lends it a touch of caricature, but the questions it raises about the governance of cricket by the game’s most powerful and important, organization, go far beyond Lalit Modi. To a great extent the IPL has also been overrun by its eagerness to measure up, in financial terms, to sports leagues that have been around for years and have had the opportunity to grow organically. Its value has been driven up by speculation rather than sound business logic. Everything surrounding it has been marked by excesses. And at many levels its growth has seemed both unreal and unsustainable. Farzana Z Khan,Nagpur   Headley issue is beyond Chidambaram & Krishna India is full of influential people [including in government (bureaucracy and police), politics, media, lower and higher judiciary and legislatives] who claim to know the xyz of criminal law without knowing even the abc of it. Though it is no surprise because the fundamentals of criminal law, which is almost an alternative to religion as far as religion is non-violence (regarding this-worldly-matters of religion especially in the contemporary world), essentially comes only to those people who lead their life and earn their bread and butter without committing crimes and by submitting to rule of law (1)- The recent raping of criminal law by Government of India (GOI) is going on in Headley episode where in the present circumstances instead of demanding the extremely important (for eradicating cross border terrorism) extradition of Headley, GOI is wasting its time or rather trying to divert the attention of Indian people by raising less important issue like terrorism by and from Pakistan. (2)- Normally no exception would have been taken about Home Minister P Chidambaram’s interview to BBC, where he has reportedly said that Pakistan’s “friends” like the US and the UK should persuade it to close terrorist training camps operating there but after Headley’s episode these are not normal times for India. (3)- Any body even with rudimentary knowledge of criminal jurisprudence knows that custodial interrogation and trial of Headley in India (especially in view of Headley’s complicity with State actors of Pakistan) is sine-quo-non for not only delivering justice to the victims of 26/11 and 13/2 but also for the permanent solution to decades old problem of terrorism, which has made the lives of Indians and the efficacy of Indian State in providing security to its people, a big joke.(4)- Any government (worth the name) duty bound to protect its citizens will demand extradition of Headley under international laws and treaties. But USA (out of its policy of “help the ally Pakistan at any cost”) will simply not give Headley to India. Therefore in such eventuality India has no other alternative than to snap the diplomatic ties with USA and which will put even the survival of Indian State on trial as given below. (5)- In order to avoid said diplomatic rupture, USA (not withstanding its declaration during Hillary - Qureshi recent meet in Washington that Kashmir is a bilateral issue) will certainly rake up Kashmir issue (which as per Pakistan is the root cause of terrorism and ‘Headley - jihadi - Pakistan’s state actor’ type of mix-up) and USA will certainly demand permanent solution to Kashmir problem. Hem Raj Jain, Greater NOIDA   Death sentence for adulterators We appreciate the legislator’s recent demand in the UP Assembly for the death sentence for adulterators. If the central government proposed capital punishment for hijackers, why not for adulterators and other perpetrators of heinous crimes. According to newspaper reports there are 108 death row convicts in various jails for the last two decades in UP. But no one has been executed so far. The growing menace of fornication, adultery and other ferocious and horrid crimes and offences may come to an end if deterrent punishment is inflicted. Barring it a healthy and sound society may not come up at any rate Obaidur Rahman Nadwi, Lucknow-7   Maoist violence less ominous than the violence of Sangh There is a lot of concern expressed all over India about Maoist violence. The media has done its bit to reflect that widespread concern and anger. That is quite natural and understandable. From what we see in the newspapers and on TV we gather that the Maoist threat is the most dangerous of all challenges to our internal security. That, incidentally, is also the view of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The consensus in the elite is that it must be crushed with overwhelming force. In fact, that is what is already happening. The state is busy doing that. The state is serious about Maoist violence even though the action has hit far more hungry, famished and innocent tribal than actual Maoists. The Maoists have been struggling (mostly in extralegal, violent ways) to empower the tribal enough to ensure sufficient food, water and other necessities for this impoverished mass of humanity. Over the last few decades Maoists have become part of the landscape of the “Red Corridor” spreading from West Bengal through Orissa, Chhatisgarh and Andhra Pradesh. The relatively small number of insurgents has, in fact, become an excuse for attacking lakhs of tribals already dying of hunger. Another point to remember, it is not just violence or its huge scale that is the focus of the current media discourse or public outrage. The point is, “Who is doing the violence?” The general understanding seems to be like, “How come such hungry, humiliated and crushed tribals have got the temerity to oppose the state that is backed by the prosperous classes?” On the other hand, we have the case of RSS and its numerous offshoots like VHP, Bajrang Dal, Hindu Munani and others that openly espouse a violent ideology and are responsible for thousands of murders of innocent Muslims and Christians in state-managed riots over the last six decades. The society seems not to be particularly perturbed over their violence. The state and the media, too, are not really bothered. Thus, the outrage against Maoists is grossly one-sided and selective. Tanweer Alam   Dr. Ambedkar’s assurance to Muslims The protagonists of Uniform Civil Code have been spreading lie that Dr. Ambedkar intended to impose U.C.C. by force on Muslims. In fact, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, as law Minister, had assured Muslims on all citizens. The citizens, he said, would be required to declare voluntarily that they would be governed by the U.C.C. (Constituent Assembly Debates, Volume VII, and Page 551). Muslim members of the Constituent Assembly were not agreeable to the enactment of U.C.C. They tried to safeguard Muslim Personal Law by getting it exempted from Article 44, a guiding Principle. (Constituent Assembly Debates, Volume VII, Page 722). Enactment of U.C.C. amounts to abrogation of personal laws of religious minorities, which is against democracy, secularism and justice. It is violation of fundamental rights guaranteed in Articles 25, 26, 27, 29 of Indian Constitution. Moreover Article 44 is a guiding principle, which is recommendatory and not enforceable in courts, while fundamental rights are enforceable. Hence fundamental rights get precedence over directive principles. G. Hasnain Kaif, Bhandara (MS) 441904   Bhagalpur riots and justice Bhagalpur was known as silk city before 1989. But in 1989 a pogrom organised by Saffron brigade killed more than 3000 innocent Muslims and Muslims in large number got killed and burried. The then CM Satyandra Narayan Singh wrote “Meri Yadein Meri Bhoolein” book in which he wrote that many Congress colleagues were involved in riots. It was Congress high time the PM Rajiv Gandhi was in Bhagalpur, Muslims were being killed. Before Bhagalpur riot in state assembly Congress were 200 MLA (1985 Assembly Election) then Congress graph declined to 23 in the year 2005-10. For killing more than 3000 innocent Muslims, very few like Kameshwar Yadav got Punishment. Whereas in December 1997, 58 Dalits were killed by Manuwadi Hindus. Is it called Justice or mere a mirage of Justice? S. Haque, Patna   Compulsory voting bill returned to Modi government Gujarat governor has rightly returned ‘Compulsory Voting Bill’ as earlier passed by state-assembly. The bill denied citizens their right for ‘None to Vote’ in case no candidate found deserving by a voter. Instead it is time that Union government may bring a comprehensive bill where a well-publicised option of ‘None to Vote’ may be provided through a button to be compulsory put at bottom of all Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). Voting can and should be encouraged by giving certain incentives for all those going to vote. Government-documents like ration-cards, driving-licence, etc may be provided only on production of voting slips. Special Income-Tax exemption may be given on attaching proof of voting to encourage voting in elite section of society. Or else one-percent rebate in total tax-payable can be provided on production of voting-slips. Madhu Agarwal, Delhi - 6   Indian Politics I had a perception that politics is a dirty game but its stains can be minimised if some honest and educated people come to play it. When Mr. Shashi Tharoor was named for the post of General Secretary of UNO, we hoped to get a world class leader which could raise our voice and make it heard at International level. And when he joined Indian politics we hoped that Indian politics is going to see some positive change. But the recent controversy about the million-dollar scandal regarding the Kotchi IPL shattered my hopes into pieces. One wonders that if a leader of such a stature cannot help him standing in the queue of traditional politician, less talk about others is better. Shafaque Alam, New Delhi   Sharad Pawar calls for Muslim quota in public housing Sharad Pawar, the Union minister for Agriculture and the President of National Congress Party, which is a partner with Indian National Congress ruling coalition in Maharashtra, had called for a Muslim quota in government built housing in Mumbai. Sharad Pawar is not known for any special soft corner for Muslims, in as much he is infamous for being one of the two Congress leaders that were the cause of prolongation of Bombay Riots in the aftermath of Babri demolition. He, as the then Union Defence Minister, stationed at Bombay, had forces under his command to instantly organise a show of force to stop rioters going berserk in the city. He failed in his public duty by playing one-upmanship game with the then Congress Chief Minister. Only this week, under Sharad Pawar’s home minister, R. R. Patel, the state prosecution had failed to properly present its case against a batch of Bombay rioters and the court has set them free. It merely followed an old pattern of being soft on Bombay rioters by deliberately diluting their cases. Sharad Pawar is also widely believed to have been instrumental in ordering direct firing on a grand peaceful Muslim rally taken out to protest against Israeli incursion in Al Aqsa Masjid --- a firing in which 12 Muslim protestors died. It was wanton murder of innocents. On the positive side, he did allot a good sized plot for Muslim community housing, through one of his close Muslim party man, Late Maulana Ziauddin Bukhari, who completed the project of Millat Nagar that houses. Mumbai’s first government approved Masjid is built within the colony. Maulana Ziauddin Bukhari was later gunned down supposedly over being more vocal than politically correct in speaking for Muslims caught in Bombay riots. Sharad Pawar has a knack to court Muslims through co-opting Muslim politicians from other political parties and showing them off as decoration pieces for electoral propaganda exercises. His call for separate quota for Muslims is nothing but an attempt to ingratiate him with Mumbai’s sizable Muslim population, which is about 3 million in the total of 13.5 million and which forms a big percent chunk of Congress/NCP vote bank in the city. Out of 3 million Muslims, about 2 million (20 lakhs) live in slum areas. Still it should be noted that in comparison with Sharad Pawar, the Sonia’s Indian National Congress has never bothered to ‘appease’ Muslims by even justified affirmative actions to give them a fair share in public housing. (75% of Singapore population resides in public housing). An ongoing campaign of demonization of Muslims keeps them in check from demanding any share in public pie, be that education, employment, health, housing, banking finances, trade opportunities. The continuous hauling of innocent Muslims following several bomb blast events gives media a god-sent opportunity to put ninety nine percent of Indian Muslims on the defensive through collective guilt innuendo. Besides, it is anybody’s guess how sincere and bureaucratically feasible is Sharad Pawar’s call to do justice with Muslim population of Mumbai and Maharashtra. Recently, NCP has benefited through overwhelming Muslim votes in its recent electoral successes. Muslims will have to see how Sharad Pawar’s call translates into real term accommodations for Muslims in Mumbai and Maharashtra where NCP has ambitions to take over the government by defeating Indian National Congress, as well as Shiv Sena and BJP. Will Sharad Pawar resort to housing or rioting? Only time will tell. Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai