Is Jamiat a Madani family fiefdom?

With the ongoing controversy over the feud between Chacha-Bhateeja ie Mahmood Madani and Arshad Madani over the leadership of Jamiat, the question does arise.

After Maulana Husain Ahmad Madani, Asad Madani headed the organisation and now the fight within the Madani family. Is there no Aalim outside the family who can lead the organisation. Time for the 1900-odd members of the Jamiat all over India to think over it.

After all, the Jamiat lost its credibility due to the blind following of Congress in the past and the acceptance of Rajya Sabha seats have served little purpose because hardly anything is heard from them on the issues concerning Muslims in parliament.

Meanwhile, every day one opens the Urdu newspapers of Lucknow and Delhi and finds the letters to editor columns full of appeals in favour of Arshad Madani and against him.

He was recently elected the president of Jamiat (after Maulana Asad Madani’s demise) and a section has been claiming that it was not a unanimous election. There are big advertisements in the papers on the subject everyday. From small towns and districts, state units of Jamiat, clerics and citizens are publishing their opinions in the papers in the form of ads.

The cries are getting shriller. Both sides (the supporters of Mahmood Madani and Arshad Madani) are not yielding and interestingly you just can’t make out who is right and who is wrong because everybody discussing the election appears to be so knowledgeable and logical. Despite appeals to bury the hatchet, no rapprochement is in sight.

Now the supporters of Mahmood Madani have issued a circular for holding elections again. Unfortunately the leading scholars are washing dirty linen in public at the cost of such a great organisation. Rather that sitting on table and discussing the ways to find an amicable solution, the rift is widening. I am really amazed at the number of ads, articles, letters and the tremendous energy of the participants who are participating in this drama.

Look Who’s Talking

Mir Taqi Mir, disenchanted with the standard of poetry composed during his times complained,

kyaa rahaa hai MushaairoN meN ab
log kuch jam’aa aan hote haiN

What is there in poetry recitations, anymore
Some people gather, and that is it.

The National Conference of Muslims convened by Ahmed Bukhari seems to be another such exercise. Enamoured by the show of strength in the recent anti-Bush protests, all the ‘right-thinking’ Maulanas have decided to exploit the Muslims masses to their advantage, yet again. The Bukharis, lest we forget, after giving their fatwas in favour of every political party under the sun, were so much swayed by the opinion-polls that they decided to support BJP in the 2004 General Elections. It doesn’t take much for a chameleon to change colour, and with a change in the political climate of India, Ahmed Bukhari thinks it is the right time to call for a meeting of the ‘leaders’ of the faithful. In the meeting, they would try to “evolve a joint strategy for social, eduactional and economic upliftment of the minorities”. They would also try to “iron out differences and work towards the common goal of launching a joint movement for minorities’ rights”. They would deliberate upon “compensation for Gujarat riots, Constitutional amendment for restoring minority status of the Aligarh Muslim University and resolution of the Kashmir issue through dialogue”. It is not mentioned in the news release, but I am sure they would also find some time to suggest a strategy to Sourav Ganguly to come back to Indian cricket team as well as the right way to kiss to Emraan Hashmi. If you don’t want to do anything, make sure you have everything to do. Shout some generic words, throw in a couple of complaints, make a lot of loud noises, look sulked and lo-and-behold, you have the ultimate recipe for a one day conference that would herald Indian Muslims out of the darknes. And please, the last thing we need is some loud-mouthed, power-hungry clerics clamoring for the minority status of Aligarh Muslim University. Continue reading Look Who’s Talking

My fatwa beats the hell out of your fatwa

Tis the fatwa season and we Kazis, muftis are charging overtime. Even before the last fatwa goes on the wire and outta the presses, a new one pops up from nowhere. You gotta give them some love, these freshly minted Muslim brothers who keep on egging and prodding the moulvis with leading questions. This one’s brought to you by the good guys (sometimes also referred as pseudos). And since it’s pretty difficult to get photographs of such events I just sketched out one myself.


A ‘fatwa’ against terrorists attacking places of worship

A leading 400-year-old Islamic seminary, the Darul-Ifta Firangai Mahal on Monday issued a ‘fatwa’ against terrorists targeting places of worship and killing innocent people.

The Lucknow based institution issued the fatwa on an application moved by local businessman Sajid Umar, who had sought Firangi Mahal’s verdict on the issue.

According to Firangi Mahal chief Maulana Khalid Rasheed , who was also the Imam of Lucknow’s Idgah, “Sajid Umar wanted to know what Islam had to say about those people who were attacking places of worship and killing innocent people in cold blood.”

The Maulana ruled, “There was absolutely no room for terrorism in Islam and murder of one innocent person amounted to murder of entire humanity.”

…..While emphasising that, “Islam has always laid stress on peace and harmony,” the Maulana’s fatwa added, “If any Muslim causes harm to any place of worship of indulges in killing of innocent people, Islam would regard it as the worst possible crime and the Shariat would consider it absolutely unlawful.”[link]

For a 400 year old leading seminary, I’ve never heard of this place. But as long as it’s anti-anti I am cool.

Elsewhere, Sani Mirza is all set to team up with Israel’s Shahar Peer. I am waiting for some Noor Mohammed from Hyderabad to get all worked up about Islam’s position on the same.
PS: Please welcome your joker in the pack from Austin. The name is Kazi, KamiKazi.

Mahant and Mufti snub politicians in Varanasi

This news has gladdened the hearts of all who want peace and prosperity in our beloved country.

The Mahant of Sankat Mochan Temple Veer Bhadra Mishra came out to welcome the delegation of Muslim leaders led by Mufti-e-Benaras Maulana Abdul Batin who came to the temple to express condemnation of the dastardly attack in Varanasi.

They issued joint statements. And then Mahant Veer Bhadra Mishra, who is also Professor of Water Resources Management at BHU, disallowed Vinay Katiyar to sit on a dharna inside the temple premises.

Pankaj Vohra and Sunita Aron in HT wrote, “The frustration was showing on Katiyar’s face….”

Great news. I sincerely believe that 95% of Hindus and 95% of Muslims love each other and the harmony amongst citizens in this country is a matter of jealousy for other countries including our hostile neighbours and we will nnever allow anyone to cause a rift amongst us.

Subah-e-Benaras Zindabad, Shaame-e-Awadh Zindabad


Politics of Hit and Hate

The cowardly act committed by the terrorists by targeting innocent civilians and Hanuman devotees is reprehensible and evil. My heart goes out to all the victims and their family members. Obviously, no words of sorrow can comfort those who have lost their loved ones in the tragedy. I saw a young girl, almost the age of my sister, too young to even contemplate death, lying in a pool of blood. The death toll is 20 and let us all hope and pray that it does not rises further.

The big blame-game of the Indian politics had begun in earnest and there are already indications of political parties exploiting the situation to their advantage. LK Advani, such an opportunist he is (yes, we all remember Jinnah-is-a-secular-and-I-look-stupid controversy) had already muddied the picture with a handful of scum by linking anti-Bush protests with the blasts. Still dreams of being PM and not happy at being relegated to the periphery of his party, he has announced a national integration rath yatra alongwith Rajnath Singh. A person such as Advani, who has lived all his life subsisting on the politics of hate and polarization, talking about national integration is just as credible as Mayawati lecturing about honesty in governance, Mulayam’s discourse against I-just-want-your-votes minoritiy appeasement, or Lalu’s speech on anti-nepotism.

A climate is being created throughout the country to polarize the polity and to create a climate of distrust. It is surprising that most of these incidents are occurring in UP, the most difficult and politically important state of India which is scheduled to go for polls in the near future. Just yesterday, I was reading a column by Pratap Bhanu Mehta where he says prophetically,

The SP and the BJP do share a lot more than we acknowledge: both have a stake in making politics in U.P communally polarised, and increasing local skirmishes in UP could be the harbinger of worse to come. Instead of finding a smart political strategy to lay the long term foundations for detaching the practice of citizenship from the scourge of identity politics, our political class is managing to only reinforce communal identities.

I view a terrorist as a terrorist because I believe that his religion is hatred. It doesn’t really matters to me if he wears green or saffron or red under-pants. He killed my fellow Indians, and that is that. The political class and media, whose primary aim should have been to try not to let the tensions escalate at such times, are adding fuel to fire by making irresponsible statements and publishing insinuating headlines.

UP govt. claims to have shot down three alleged masterminds of the blasts. As if they were waiting for them to strike, and boom, there we got them. Thank God for Bollywood thrillers about the legendary fake encounters, people are much more circumspective about such claims now. These three men might have been involved in this blast, but that does not absolves the UP govt. of its responsibility of not being able to prevent it at the first place. With a worse-and-worsening law and order situation and communal flare-ups in Faizabad, Mau and Lucknow in the past few months only, attack in Ayodhya and blasts in Varanasi, there is a good chance that by the time of elections, people would either be too scared to go for voting or would vote for someone whom they perceive as their protector. Bijli, Sadak, Pani are all good, but first save my life, mai-baap !

Extremely condemnable incident in Varanasi

The blasts in Varanasi are extremely condemnable and despicable. That the bombs exploded in the holy city including the famous Sankat Mochan temple is really disturbing. It is time for the police and administration to nail the culprits and ensure that they are brought to books for this inhuman act. The onus is now on the common people,who would naturally be angry, to exercise restraint  and maintain peace. Time for all communities to reach out to each other and universally condemn all terrorist attacks and work together to ensure that the aim of the terrorists don’t succeed and harmony remains in the country.

Banerjee Report

The reaction from the political class on the Banerjee report has been relatively subdued. BJP and VHP have debunked the report, as was expected of them. No comment from Lalu or the Congress, yet.

UC Banerjee report politically motiated : Rajnath

Banerjee report politically motivated: VHP

Day after Godhra report, Modi warns probe panel

Meanwhile, Pankaj Vora writes a good piece in Hindustan Times, Uncovering the tracks on the issue.

Gujarat four years later…

Gujarat: Four Years after the Genocide آنکھیں اب بھی نم Û?یں
By Azim A. Khan Sherwani

Last month, during a visit to Ahmedabad I befriended the owner of a tea-stall, a policeman and a businessman. My vendor ‘friend’, a wonderful man, was an innocent victim of systematic saffron propaganda against Muslims. After a few days of our friendship, when I asked him about the carnage of 2002 in Ahmedabad he narrated how people from the posh CG Road looted showrooms belonging to Muslims. To my surprise, the policeman wanted to know if I could help him, through a senior police official friend of mine, to secure a place in the Crime Branch or Anti-Terrorist Squad. Before my Gujarat visit I had assumed that postings in these special cells were considered punishment postings in police circles. I did not know that these agencies had been turned into a new extortion industry. My third ‘friend’, a disciple of Murari Bapu, was very happy because, he said, under Modi’s regime Hindus ‘taught a lesson to Muslims’.

The state-sponsored pogrom in Gujarat was a systematic effort to terrorise Muslims and reduce them to the status of second-class citizens by destroying their lives, livelihood, homes and self-respect. Beginning on 27 February 2002 the spate of violence continued for well over three months. Coach S-6 of the Sabarmati Express train was burnt down at Godhra, taking a toll of 59 persons and leading to violence on an unprecedented scale and magnitude directed against Muslims in Gujarat. The profound human tragedy resulted in more than 2000 Muslims dead, many more grievously injured, orphaned, sexually abused, rendered homeless and without any source of livelihood, and property worth billions burnt or looted. Reports from several independent sources corroborate that the state was actively involved in the massacre of innocent Muslim citizens.

The physical violence ended within six months, but thereafter it was time for violence of another kind. This violence was through a systematic subversion of justice and denial of human rights of an entire community. The entire legal system was subverted to protect the culprits and to work against the interests of the victims, almost all of whom were Muslims. Out of the 4000-odd cases registered, more than 2000 were summarily closed without any trial. In other cases, witnesses were compelled to turn hostile in the face of threats by state-supported criminals who perpetrated the killings. Further victimization and terrorization of the Muslims continued by picking up innocent people, detaining them illegally before being charged under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA). The fascist goal of reducing the Muslims to second-class citizens has thus been accomplished in Gujarat. There is enormous human suffering that still remains to be healed—insecurity, homelessness, ill-health, economic distress, obstacles in securing justice, denial of human rights and state apathy.

Ahmad Husain, a 32 year-old teacher and social worker, is the second eldest son of the late Allah Rakkha who fought the British Raj. Under colonial occupation Allah Rakha was charged for treason but now his son has been charged for the same offence in ‘independent’, ‘secular’ and ‘democratic’ India. His family had no clue until they were told by the officials of the Crime Branch of Ahmedabad that he was detained under POTA. The officials threatened another accused to identify Ahmad or be ready for the detention of his son under POTA. They wanted a confession from Ahmad, and so they took his youngest brother Mohammad Ali into custody. Ahmad was told by the officials that it was in his family’s interest to sign the confession papers prepared by the police, or else, they said, they would detain his younger brother under the same charges. A police officer sarcastically told Ahmad that if his younger brother was also detained her mother would die. In a letter to the magistrate Ahmad wrote, “Whenever, I asked about the reason of severe beating and torture by the crime branch personnel they told me your destiny has brought you in this condition, we know you haven’t done wrong in this life but you are being punished for your sins in your previous life.� He further states, “Policemen used to say, ‘the law is ours and judges are ours, we can book anyone under POTA�.

Khatoon Bibi is the mother of three boys who are detained under POTA for being allegedly involved in the Godhra incident. Her 68 year-old husband Sultan Khan Pathan is suffering from throat cancer. She and her daughter in- law are the sole bread earners in the family. In deep anguish and frustration she continuously requested to be taken to the residence of Gujarat’s chief minister, who played a key role in engineering the anti-Muslim genocide. She says in anguish, “Why doesn’t Modi’s government detain my whole family so at least we will not face suffering and humiliation?� She is unable to understand what her sin was. In fact she is guilty of a ‘crime’—a ‘crime’ not defined in the Indian Penal Code—the ‘crime’ of being a Muslim mother in Modi’s fascist Gujarat.

Another unfortunate mother, who lost her eyesight while crying for her detained son for years, asked me about the draconian anti terrorist law POTA. She says, “My innocent son is languishing in jail and the butchers are roaming freely. What kind of law is it which punishes the innocent and acquits the guilty?� She wanted to know when her son would be released. I, of course, had no answer to her queries because the present regime in Gujarat does not even pretend to be remorseful for the heinous crimes that it perpetrated against the state’s Muslims. The questions raised by these victims of state terrorism are shaking the foundations of rule of law and justice to all as enshrined in the Constitution of India. How can we still claim to be world’s largest ‘democracy’? Theirs is a story of unimaginable sufferings. The voiceless victims are losing their faith in every institution including ‘democracy’. As Mukul Sinha, a prominent social activist from Ahmedabad, says, “I am convinced that Muslims will not get justice in Gujarat under the present regime. The entire legal system has been sabotaged by the fascist government.�

Abdul Rashid Machiswala, father of a detainee under POTA, asks me, “95 Muslims were killed in Naroda Patia alone but no one was booked under POTA for the heinous crime. Yet, all POTA detainees are Muslims. What kind of justice is meted out to the poor Muslims in Gujarat?� One of the detainees narrates his own traumatic experience at the hands of the state authorities thus: “A policeman took us before the Magistrate, Mr Rane, in Ahmedabad. We complained about the torture in police custody. He shouted at policemen and said, ‘How you have prepared them? Take them back and come with good preparation?’ By this he meant using more third degree torture so we should not complain.�

These innocent detainees have been subjected to the worst forms of physical as well as mental torture. One detainee wanted to remove his trousers before Ms Sonia Gandhi when she visited the Sabarmati Central Jail to show what he had suffered in police custody. The Gujarat police are almost completely saffronised. In the name of combating terrorist activities and to please their political masters, the Gujarat police have been cooking up false cases of sedition, illegal arms and criminal conspiracy against young and innocent boys of the Muslim community. Extending illegal detention of poor Muslims by the Anti-Terrorist Squad and Crime Branch is an everyday affair. In Modi’s Gujarat equality before the law and equal protection of the law have no meaning. Courts are proactive in granting bails to Hindu accused and jail to Muslims. The posts of Public Prosecutors are filled with fanatic members of VHP and sympathisers of the BJP. In short, four years after the genocide, justice for Gujarat’s Muslims still remains a far cry.

==================*The writer is a Delhi-based human rights activist.

Jains experience Muslims’ sympathy

Gujarat High Court had removed the ban imposed on the Muslim butchers to open their shops since 1993 on petition filed by a voluntary group ‘Lok Adhikar Sangh’ challenging the municipal order. However, the butchers’ union has voluntarily requested all members to stay shut for the eight days of Paryushan. Details are:

AHMEDABAD, AUGUST 2: They have won the legal battle to keep meat shops open during the eight-day Jain holy period of Paryushan, but for the sake of communal harmony, butchers in the city have decided to down shutters during that period.

‘‘We welcome the high court verdict that it is illegal for the authorities to enforce closure of our shops during Paryushan. But like every year, this year too we will not conduct any business during the period,’’ said Mustaq Syed, who owns the Star Meat Shop and five slaughter-houses.

The Qureshi Jamaat, an organisation of traditional butchers and slaughterers, has appealed to meat shop owners to respect Jain sentiments and keep their shops closed.

‘‘It’s a request, and we hope everyone agrees to it,’’ says Rafiq Qureshi, who is associated with the Jamaat.

Muslim leaders say the 2002 violence has made them realise that much ill-will and misunderstanding is created when people of one religion do not respect the beliefs of others.

‘‘The gap is tremendous. We have to bridge it with trust, respect and love,’’ says Rizwan Ahmed, who heads an informal committee of meat shop owners.

‘‘This is why we have asked all meat dealers to stop business for the eight days when Jains fast and meditate for self-purification.’’

Some 200 meat shops in Ahmedabad will remain closed even if it means losses. Most butchers and meat shop owners are poor or belong to the middle class.

‘‘Our community does not have deep pockets. People spend their earnings the same day,’’ says Ahmed. ‘‘Eight days of keeping shops closed means financial problems. But we are now used to it.’’

On a demand from the Jains, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has since 1993 been ordering slaughter-houses and meat shops to remain closed during Paryushan, observed around the third week of September.

In 1997 it ordered the closure for 18 days and this had caused much hardship to butchers.

But the butchers had never challenged the order in court, partly because there’s a flourishing illegal trade in meat. Ban or not, non-vegetarians are by and large able to get their daily share.

Last month, however, voluntary group Lok Adhikar Sangh filed a petition challenging the municipal order in Gujarat High Court.

It said the order interfered with the people’s right to trade, livelihood and liberty. The court ruled that the order was unconstitutional.

This created a stir in the Jain community. Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Praveen Togadia has been meeting Jain saints to discuss the implications of the order while the community has appealed to the meat shop owners to respect their sentiments.

‘‘It’s against our religion to see animals butchered during those days. We pray and meditate for purifying our thoughts and lifestyle. Non-violence is essential for it,’’ says Sadhvi Rajprabha of the Sthanakvasi Jain community.

Now that many butchers have voluntarily decided to keep their shops closed, the Jains are moving to ensure that the poor among them do not suffer.

‘‘We know they suffer losses and respect their decision to keep shops shut despite the court order,’’ says Trilok Muni of the Jain Sangh. ‘‘We are finding out a way to compensate those who will be put to hardship.’’

Says Rishab Jain of the Jain Mahasangh of Gujarat: ‘‘They should not think this is charity. We aren’t giving anything in charity. The Muslims are respecting our religious sentiments and we in turn want to help them, out of gratitude.’’

Adnan (Posted from