The Milli Gazette


A major organization of Indian Muslims expresses its views on logistics of travel for Haj, rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pundits, treatment of Muslim prisoners, terrorism, rehabilitation of Muslims in Gujarat  and other issues.


New Delhi: The Working Committee of the All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat held its meeting on July 7, 2012.


The meeting discussed a wide range of organisational, community, national and international issues. Particular attention was paid to the issue of random arrests to Muslim youths in the name of fighting terrorism. It was resolved to face this issue head on — on political and legal levels. The meeting okayed the preparation of a white paper on terrorism in order to put things in perspective and present a documented dossier to the authorities, media and human rights organisations at home and abroad about how Muslim youths are implicated and defamed in the name of fighting terror.


The meeting paid tributes important personalities of the community who passed away recently and passed the following resolutions:


Haj arrangements: The AIMMM recalls recent attempts to import ideas for Haj management, and notes that though Haj arrangements in India need massive improvement, course-correction and transparency, it will not be a good idea to privatise these arrangements since past experience has shown how fly-by-night operators have played havoc with the sentiments and resources of Indian Muslims in the name of Shariah-compliant schemes. The AIMMM feels that the Haj arrangements should remain in government hands with appropriate oversight and participation of Muslim community organisations. Moreover, allocation of Haj seats should be according to the Muslim population in each state.


Haj Subsidy: The AIMMM reiterates its previous stand that the Muslim community did not ask for Haj subsidy and would instead prefer more equitable Haj arrangements under which the pilgrims pay the normal airfare instead of the highly inflated fares charged by Air India and Saudi Airlines at present. Haj Committee should float international tenders to obtain realistic airfares for the pilgrims in accordance with IATA rules.


Resettlement of Pandits in J&K: While wholeheartedly supporting the idea of the return of the Kashmiri Pandits to their homeland, the AIMMM shares the apprehensions of a section of J&K leadership that resettling Kashmiri Pandits in segregated colonies will pose problems for the state in future. The displaced Pandits should be rehabilitated within their own historical habitats and within the general population of the state. Given the relations of some of Kashmiri Pandit organisations with extremist saffron outfits, it is justified to fear that secluded colonies will become hotbeds of saffron militancy and terror and a permanent source of friction in the state.


Militancy in J&K: J&K police chief Kuldip Khada said, while relinquishing his duties last month, that only 200 militants are active in J&K now. He said that out of them, 170 are active in the Valley and 30 are active in the Jammu region. He added that militant incidents too have come down drastically from thousands a year to a few hundreds in recent years and that the expected number of incidents for this year is under a hundred. In this situation, the AIMMM feels that there is no justification for keeping 700,000 soldiers in the Valley and maintaining the draconian APSPA law which is anti-democratic and anti-people. The AIMMM reiterates its demand that the army should be removed forthwith from all inhabited areas of J&K and relocated either to army camps or posted on the borders.


Muslims in jails: The AIMMM is alarmed at the survey report published by the Tata Institue of Social Sciences, conducted at the behest of the Maharashtra Minorities Commission, which exposed that 36% of jail inmates in Maharashtra are Muslims while the Muslim population in that state is only 10.6%. The AIMMM recalls that Sachar Committee too had gathered similar reports about the Muslim ratio in jail populations across the country but decided not to include these figures in its report on account of their sensitivity. AIMMM believes that such figures should be published and more research should be conducted/commissioned by the central and state minority commissions about this phenomenon which, prima facie, offers yet another clear proof of the bias and discrimination suffered by Muslims of India at the hands of state agencies, which is similar to what blacks are subjected to in the U.S.


Terrorism: The AIMMM believes that certain communal-minded elements in the Union Home Ministry, IB and ATS teams are implicating Indian Muslim boys in fake terror cases with a view to maintain pressure on the Muslim community and to marginalise it. At the same time, AIMMM is aghast to note that the investigations started in 2008 by late Hemant Karkare, the then Maharashtra ATS chief, have slackened, some leading persons of saffron outfits named by him in the Malegaon and Ajmer blasts chargesheets have not been interrogated and some of those arrested are being released on flimsy and technical grounds, that Sanatan Sanstha, recommended to be banned by Karkare, continues to function as usual and that arms training venues like Bhonsla Minlitary schools and Akanksha Resort have not been touched. Saffron militant organisations like Bajrang Dal, involved in a number of bomb blasts, are so emboldened now that they are holding open arms training camps. One such camp was held in the national capital in the middle of June this year. These facts smack of an anti-Muslim agenda at the highest levels. Parliament and secular political parties should pay an urgent attention to these dangerous indicators.


Muslims of Gujarat: The AIMMM takes note of Janvikas report which says that out of the 200,000 Muslims displaced during the 2002 pogroms, 16,000 are still languishing in 83 refugee camps across the state. This is a matter of shame for the state of Gujarat and Central government. The AIMMM sincerely believes that the scars of 2002 will never be healed unless and until the state government and its head show remorse, apologise for their acts of omission and commission, make good the losses suffered by Muslims during those pogroms and make it possible for them to move back to their homes, lands and businesses in dignity. Unless and until this takes place, any talk of Modi becoming prime minister of India is a cruel joke which will lower the status and dignity of India in the eyes of the international community.


Communal Riots: Communal riots, though never stopped in reality, are back again with their previous ferocity and one-sided murder, burning of victims alive, rape, destruction and torching of properties with Police inactivity and tacit support or at times even with active participation of men in uniform as seen in Gopalgarh and Rudrapur. Recent riots at Kosi Kalan and Pratapgarh show pre-planned attacks on Muslim localities with active encouragement of local politicians and passive approach of the police. It is a matter of shame for our secular polity that such barbaric attacks still take place six decades after Independence. AIMMM calls upon the state and central authorities to take due note of the assembling clouds ahead of the 2014 elections as these acts of criminal violence aim at the old game of communal polarisation ahead of elections.


4.5% fiasco, Mishra and Article 341: The AIMMM notes that the central government was never serious about its 4.5% reservation scheme for minority OBCs out of the OBC general quota. The hasty action was struck down by the A.P. High Court because the central government failed to defend it vigorously and the same scenario is now staring at us in the Supreme Court. The Central government should come out of its slumber and adopt the recommendations of the Mishra Commission in order to end this vexed issue once and for all. The AIMMM notes that the intention of the central government is not trustworthy is clear from its reluctance to file its reply to the Supreme Court’s query regarding the exclusion of Muslims and Christians of SC origin from the SC list by an executive order since 1950. The AIMMM calls upon the central government to file its reply at the earliest in order to show its commitment to the secular bases of our constitution and polity and end this shameful illegal discrimination for ever.


Egypt: The AIMMM welcomes the election of Prof. Muhammad Mursi as the first elected President of Egypt and felicitate him for the trust deposed in him by the Egyptian peole. The AIMMM also wishes Egypt to march on the road of freedom, self-reliance and real democracy. The AIMMM wishes Egypt to re-emerge as the leader of the Arab and Muslim world, a position it lost after the Camp David agreements with Israel.


(Published Online: July 7, 2012; abridged)

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