The Working Committee of the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM), the umbrella body of the Indian Muslim organisations, met in New Delhi on April 12 and deliberated on a set of organisational, national and international issues. The meeting, headed by AIMMM President Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan, took strong exception of the current scare-mongering against the Muslim community in the name of fighting terrorism.
Condemning the current sudden spate of arrests of alleged SIMI elements, the AIMMM said that “Communal and fascist forces are trying to polarise the society using these high-profile arrests trying to repeat ‘Gujarat’ in one way or another.”
The AIMMM warned the governments at the Centre and states involved in this scare-mongering that the cup of the Muslim community is almost full now. “They must realise that pushed to corner, Muslim youths will be forced to react in a way the fascist forces would like them to do so that they can attack, kill, loot and burn Muslims at will using government machinery.”
The AIMMM went on to say that “The Muslim community has tried to warn the central and state governments of this futile policy of criminalising the whole community and has held conferences, meetings and sit-ins at various places, including one at Deoband, in order to warn that Islam does not teach terrorism and that attempts to accuse the peaceful and law-abiding Muslim community of committing terrorism or harbouring terrorists are futile and dangerous.” It added that “This message should not be missed, otherwise the biggest loser will be the party ruling at the centre at present whose actions on the ground belie its words.”
The AIMMM lashed at the “mainstream” media which, it said, “laps up these tall stories will almost no scrutiny and scepticism which is the hallmark and duty of the press.” AIMMM also condemned the attempts by communal lawyers to deny fair trial to police victims by pressuring lawyers not to accept their cases as seen in Uttar Pradesh and now in Madhya Pradesh. “This is denial and abortion of justice which is seemingly tolerated by courts and the central government,” the apex Indian Muslim body said.
The Mushawarat’s Working Committee resolution on the arrests of Muslim youths in the name of SIMI said: “The MMA looks with grave concern at the current spate of arrests, especially in Madhya Pradesh, of Muslim youths in the name of fighting “SIMI” which remains banned since 2001. The Muslim community is unaware of any particular activity by this banned outfit and firmly believes that the sudden flurry of arrests, raids and investigations involving former SIMI cadres and Muslim youths, in general, has political connotations as local and national elections draw close…. MMA also notes with dismay that the Madhya Pradesh police prevented the reporter of a Delhi-based newspaper from probing SIMI arrests and after a brief detention deported him from the area.
“In the light of the recent manufactured scare in Bangalore, MMA feels that there is an attempt to implicate even educated Muslim youths in fictitious “terrorism” cases in order to influence large corporates not to employ them.
“The MMA calls upon civil society and human rights groups to form fact-finding committees to probe the recent spate of arrests and claims in order to unearth the facts. Fact-finding missions should also probe the umpteen cases where RSS and VHP workers have been caught red-handed planting or exploding bombs like in Tenkasi, Nanded etc.”
Another resolution on Gujarat riots cases says: “MMA observes that victims of the 2002 Gujarat pogroms are yet to get justice. Tens of thousands of these victims still remain refugees in their own state as they are not allowed to return to their villages and localities. The MMA welcomes the initiative of the Supreme Court of India to form a special investigation team to probe into 14 riot cases with a view to transfer them to a court outside the state of Gujarat as justice seems unattainable in Gujarat courts.”
On Jamiat split a resolution says: “MMA is saddened by the recent split in the ranks of the Jamiat Ulama-e Hind (JUH). It calls upon both factions to quickly arrive at an amicable settlement in accordance with the constitution of JUH, and unite the old organisation which is a strong component of the Indian Muslim political and religious leadership.”
On spate of riots at various places “The MMA notes with concern that once again anti-Muslim riots are taking place in a number of states, especially in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Riots at Sarangpur town of Madhya Pradesh on 26-27 March, where Muslim houses and shops were demolished after midnight using municipality bulldozers, and the intermittent riots at Chittorgarh in Rajasthan since the last week of March are bad omen for our polity. Christians too are facing violence at various places, especially in Orissa, in recent weeks. All this points to a plan by fascist forces to keep the communal pot boiling, in order to reap political benefits.”
A separate resolution on the revival of regionalism in Maharashtra says: “MMA condemns the attempts of chauvinist forces to revive regionalism in Maharashtra by attacking and expelling non-Maharashtrians from the state, apparently with the tacit support of the Congress-led government. This is a re-enaction of an old game plan which has harmed the country in the past and will do the same again if it is not checked in time and nipped in the bud.”
In another resolution “MMA notes with satisfaction that the blasphemous writer Taslima Nasrin has finally left the Indian shores. Any attempt to bring her back through the back door will be opposed by the Muslim community. MMA at the same time fails to understand why the central government and the liberal forces in India have failed to stand by the artist MF Husain who has been hounded out of his country by fascist forces and is forced to live like a refugee abroad.”
Another resolution “notes with deep regret the identification of nearly one thousand unknown graves in Kashmir, according to a survey by the Association of the Parents of the Disappeared Persons which represents around ten thousand people who disappeared since the eruption of the militancy in the state in late 1980s. MMA demands a free and fair probe into this episode in order to expose and punish those responsible for these crimes. For this, a judicial commission must be appointed immediately with a time-bound mandate to probe this matter.”
A separate resolution on Islamic banking demands a policy decision and suitable amendments in banking laws to allow interest-free banking in India: “The Muslim community has been demanding that banks working on Islamic non-interest principles should be allowed to open and function in India, now that such banks are allowed to function all over the world and very large international banks have introduced “Islamic windows” for such operations and services in many parts of the world. Even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had indicated his willingness to allow such banks to open and function in India but somehow his words were not translated into a policy till now. A policy-decision should be taken soon in order to allow Indian Muslims to invest their savings in a way that respects their religious beliefs and feelings. To achieve this, suitable amendments should be made in the banking laws.”
A resolution on Budget 2008-09 says: “MMA expresses its dismay at the meagre allocations for the Muslim community in the new budget. Though budgets of the Minority Ministry and Maulana Azad Foundation have seen small rise, the UPA government is yet to put its money where its mouth is. If it is sincere at all, it must introduce a sub-plan for the Muslim community at par with the SC/ST sub-plan, taking into account the share of the minorities in the Indian population.”
On corporatisation of media Mushawarat resolution says: “MMA notes with dismay the increasing speed with which corporates are taking over print and electronic media organisations turning them into money-making machines, thereby depriving the fourth estate of its mission and duty to keep tabs on the various players in our society and to expose those who take undue advantage of their power, money or position. With the corporatisation of media, the forth estate is becoming a partner of those very forces which it was supposed to watch and expose. Time has come for individuals and cooperatives to enter this field in order to keep a free and neutral media alive.”
On the 44th Extension of Liberhan Commission “MMA looks with dismay at the yet another extension given to Liberhan Commission which at the time of its appointment in December 1992 was supposed to present its report within three months. MMA wishes to register its displeasure over the unreasonable delay which only serves the culprits, and urges the commission to complete and present its report at the earliest as it has already wasted years of our precious time allowing Hindutva forces to benefit from their crime in more ways than one.”
A resolution registers Mushawarat’s “displeasure at the anti-conversion laws passed by various northern states recently in the name of protecting religious freedom. This is a fascist ploy to deprive marginalised sections of society of their freedom of choice and to keep them by force within the Hindu fold. Attacks on Christians and new converts to Islam are aimed at this very end. As a secular state, it is not the business of the Indian state or any part of it to deprive people of their choice of faith. MMA holds that our secular polity does not allow the State to act as the conscience-keeper of the people.”
Mushawarat has also welcomed the Supreme Court verdict upholding the reservation for OBCs in central institutions of learning but excluding minority institutions.
In view of the growing mismanagement of Haj travel by Air India, the MMA has demanded the arrangement of Haj flights by floating international tenders to obtain least expensive rates with a view to gradually do away with the Haj subsidy.
A resolution on Gaza siege says: “MMA looks with grave concern at the continuing siege and daily bombardment of Gaza Strip by the Israeli occupation forces since January 2006 elections which went against Israel’s expectations. Gaza’s economy has been ruined as a staggering 80 percent people are now jobless, factories and most workshops have closed as raw materials are not allowed into Gaza Strip and exports are not permitted even of food stuffs and fruits. Gaza is allowed to imports only about ten percent of its essential needs. Gaza is already a living example of human tragedy which has been likened as Nazi crimes by a UN observer. International community in general and India in particular should intervene forcefully, and without delay, to avert the unfolding tragedy in Gaza.”
On the emergence of Kosovo as a new Muslim state Mushawarat says: “MMA welcomes the emergence of a new Muslim state in eastern Europe in the shape of Kosovo. MMA warns countries not to misbehave with their religious, cultural and ethnic minorities, otherwise they will face the fate of former communist regimes in Eastern Europe.”