Shave Your Beard, Else Face Consequences !

Shave Beard, Cop !A policeman who has served the department for 34 years was told that he ought to shave his beard, which he has been keeping for the last 29 years and to which no one ever objected.

Ehasanullah Haq Ghazi Sheikh, 54, posted at Dadar police station, had taken permission for keeping beard in 1977 and ever since there was no problem. Neither his colleagues nor superiors objected.

Surprisingly, Deputy Commission RK Mor issued a memo to him asking him to shave his beard or face disciplinary action. Sheikh was asked to comply within three days of the issuance of the letter. After 29 years the sudden objection surprised the Assistant Sub-Inspector who has now approached superiors.

Interestingly, the rules vary from one state to another about Muslim policemen keeping beard. In some states there is no such law prohibiting Muslims while in other states you have to take permission. However, the High Court had recently ruled that any Muslim policeman couldn’t be stopped from keeping the beard. This should have cleared the air. But it has not. Does keeping ebard makes a man fundamentalist or what? Earlier, the Army jawan Haidar Ali of Assam Rifles who was dismissed from service over the same issue was reinstated by Supreme Court.

Adnan (

VHP, Bajrang Dal Links Of Blast Accused At 2 Places In Maharashtra

Two cities, two blasts: Accused having links with VHP and Bajrang Dal.

“In police FIR the accused have been clearly mentioned as VHP activists but no serious probe was undertaken, had the accused been Muslims the entire families would have been behind bars”, said Maulana Arshad Madani of Jamiat Ulama in Mumbai on Thursday, demanding CBI inquiry in both cases.

On May 2, blast in Ghatkopar chawl killed one person. The house was reduced to rubble. One, Manoj Singh, was arrested. The Anti-Terrorist Squad traced the links to Lucknow. A woman was arrested in Aliganj. During interrogation the accused said that they were packing explosives when the bomb went off. One Sushil Rai has recruited them.

On April 6, bomb explosion led to killing of two persons in Nanded (Maharashtra). State Home Minister RR Patil has ordered ATS inquiry into this blast as well.As usual soon after both blasts, local press in the state pointed fingers at growing ‘Jehadi activities’ in state but as the arrests were made and RSS links surfaced, the ‘investigative reports’ just stopped getting published. Press got restrained and the word ‘terrorists’ no longer seen anywhere.

Adnan (

Of Encroachments And Such, Nothing Much

In the beginning there was a tree. A big piipal tree that housed hundreds (yes, really) of birds. I loved that tree, it had a very reassuring presence in the fast and unpredictable urban life. Then somebody decided to tie a thread along its trunk. Sometime later, somebody put a couple of small idols at the base. Some more time passed and there were bigger idols and consequently more devotees. Then the space around the was cleaned. More devotees. Then one fine day, somebody decided to construct a concrete platform. It is now a full-fledged temple with a lot of devotees.

All this happened while I was growing up, very near to my house, alongwith a tremendously busy road. Down the road, there was a smaller temple and there was a public toilet adjacent to it. Now, there is no toilet and the temple is much bigger than its original size with a priest to boot for.

Just in case you are starting to get some ideas, look at the following picture that was carried out by many newspapers recently, notably by Outlook.

Vadodara Riots

The green structure (dargah) is clearly encroaching into the street. Now, the important question is whether the structure came up first or was the street constructed earlier. I have seen many such structures in my hometown as well. I have seen small (but popular) temples and dargahs dotting state-highways as well. If you are going to Faridabad from Delhi then near Badarpur, you would notice a large crowd gathered in the middle of the highway, blocking traffic and posing safety hazard to themselves and the commuters on at least one day of the week.

Why do religious structures come up at the most unusual locations, mostly near bus-stops, train stations, highways, busy roads and market places? I don’t know. May be we believe that these ‘holy’ structures would protect us during our travels and help us with our business. Sometimes, it is driven by monetary considerations.

In Aligarh, if you have even seen a movie at Tasveer Mahal, you would remeber a small, shabbily written slide during the intermission. ‘kripyaa seat par paer na rakheN, saamne mazaar hai’ (do not keep your feet on the seat, there is a grave in front). That mazaar is actually alonwith the road, in front of a popular dhaba nearby, whose owner uses the space surrounding the mazaar to seat his customers. These road-side temples and dargahs are a source of income to many people who act as caretakers and collect donations from the devout and sometimes, superstitious followers.
So, what does that tells us about to the dargah over which Indians were shot dead, Indians were stabbed, Indians were burnt and Indians got injured, the dargah of Rashiduddin Chishti. Nothing. While some people claimed that the dargah was two hundred years old and others claimed it wasn’t, nobody asked anything about Rashiduddin Chishti himself. Why is he venerated, what is his history, when did he live and most importantly, when did he die? As his name suggests, he belongs to the Chishti order of the sufis. If so, his sufi-lineage can be easily traced and his life period easily determined. Any sufi saint worth his salt would have a teacher and many disciples. In sufi orders, these things are very important and well documented. No Indian journalist spent any time to find out the real facts. In Gujarat and in discussions related with Gujarat, various sides are so much polalized now that nobody cares about the facts anymore. People are driven too much by the rhetoric, too little by the facts. So, we were led to believe that Muslims are anti-development (being against the construction of the road), anti-peace (for protesting against the demolition) and anti-Gujarat (for well, being Muslims). The Gujarat government is what it is. Isn’t it is too tempting to take sides and isn’t it too easy?

From what I have seen in India, many religious structures are illegal. Most of them encroach upon the public land. Our population is increasing everyday and consequently the need for infrastructure. This may not be a stand-alone case and issues such as these would continue to crop up in the future. There is a need of a long term, non-parochial policy to deal with such matters. That is, unfortunately, no where in sight.

Related: Vadodara – Some Thoughts by Confused Gatha and Anatomy of the Vadodara Riots by Cynical Nerd.

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Hashimpura Massacre: Charges Framed Against 17 Policemen

Nineteen years after the Hashimpura killings that had shocked the nation, charges have been framed against 17 police personnel of the UP’s Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) for ‘rioting, murder, attempt to murder, criminal conspiracy et al’.

It was on May 22 1987 (exactly 19 years ago) that on the day of Alwida during Ramzan, PAC truck stopped in Hashimpura village (Meerut). At gunpoint the 43 persons were taken away but they never came back except the two fortunate persons who miraculously survived.

The PAC personnel had taken these 43 Muslims to the canal where they were shot in cold blood and bodies thrown in the canal. Two persons who hadn’t died and were left by PAC men as dead, survived this ghastly massacre.

Those were the days much before the electronic media age. It took a long time before the story heard from the injured villagers was picked up by the journalists but once it was known, the killings became a major issue.

Those were the turbulent days when militancy was at its peak in Punjab and also Kashmir besides the nation was witnessing communal frenzy. The magnitude of the mass killings shocked the nation but still the fact that India was in the midst of political crises is a reason that not many people recount this ghastly mass murder.

It was the period India was getting disenchanted from Rajiv and VP Singh’s anti-corruption stand struck chord with people. The role of PAC was no better in the past. But Maliana killings was the final nail in the coffin.

The case has dragged on for years. In 2002 the Hashimpur Advisory Committee had approached the Supreme Court and pleaded for transfer of case from Ghaziabad to Delhi because the senior PAC officials were keeping pressure on the kin of victims and the case was going at a slow pace. After the case was shifted to Tis Hazari court, the proceedings gathered momentum and the court finally ordered that charges be framed against the 17 PAC men.

Muslim Party In UP

Mulayam Singh Yadav’s government appointed 1800 police men of which 1000 are Yadavas and just 30 Muslims, said Kalbe Jawad while disclosing the launch of a Muslim political alliance.

Shahi Imam is with him. Seven political parties have come together. Surely the grievance is genuine. But whether this alliance will be able to make any difference or it will end up doing damage to Muslims can only be a matter of speculation right now.

However, the enthusiasm is misplaced, I feel. If AUDF, the recently-floated party in Assam managed to win ten seats then it can’t be replicated in UP. Also, UP is a complex state where percentage of Muslims now stand at 19%.

(It was 17.33 in undivided UP in 1991 but after Uttaranchal was carved oiut and the latest census shows it is around 19% and not 23% or 25% that many in a habit of exaggeration, often claim).

In Assam Muslim percent is over 30. So both states can’t be equated and there is genuine fear that a Muslim party in UP could be seen as a threat to Hindus and in turn polarising the electorate on communal lines.

Agreed that Muslims were not given jobs in police or administration and other jobs. But are they prepared, are they given training and how many are interested in joining police. In the past it has happened that very few Muslims applied.

Wouldn’t it have been better if the Ulema work with a missionary zeal for spreading awareness towards education and social reforms rather than getting into politics. I don’t think Ulema should enter politics. This will corrupt the So clergy also. They have named it as PDF but it will be pereived a Muslim party. So I have my reservations on this party.

Muslims MLAs Who Won In Assembly Polls In Assam, Kerala, TN

A good number of Muslim MLAs made it to the assemblies of Kerala, West Bengal and Assam in the recently held polls.

In Assam 25 Muslims have made it to the Assembly including eight of the Badruddin Ajmal’s AUDF, eight of Congress, five indpendents, three belonging to AGP and one of another small party. In a house of 126, it is quite a good figure considering that Assam has the highest Muslim concentration in India after Kashmir. Assam has over 30% Muslims.

In Tamil Nadu, the state with 5% Muslims, 5 MLAs have been elected. In Kerala, the figure is over 25. I couldn’t decipher all names because often religion of names like M Kutty who could be Mohammad Kutty can’t be ascertained. These include seven each of CPM and Muslim Leage, 3 of LDF (IND) and one each of INL and RSP. Two INC MLAs also got elected. Kerala has 24% Muslims.

In West Bengal that has 25% Muslim population 45 Muslims were elected in a house of 294. As many as 24 Muslims got elected on CPM ticket while seven Congress MLAs won. Four MLAs of RSP, three each of Forward Block and Trinamul Congress andone eachof WBSB, RJD and CBI have also won. IN Pondicherry also a couple of Muslims have won.

Thank You Mr. Subroto Roy ‘Sahara’

With the quick launch of Roznama Rashtriya Sahara’s two editions within a month, the daily has brought a revolution in the stagnant Urdu journalism in this country.

After Mumbai and Kolkata, announcement has been made that the Patna edition would be launched soon. Who had imagined till a few years back that North India would see such complete newspapers of Urdu.

Particularly, after the Qaumi Awaz (Lucknow) ceased publication, Urdu press was gasping for breath. Now we have 12 page coloured newspaper from the Sahara group that has helped in increasing readership.

Sahara is visible everywhere in North India including such rural areas where I had never even seen the sensational tabloids like Nai Dunia. Of course, Sahara group must be seeing profit in these ventures but the fact that they decided to go ahead with the launch of successive editions when most had lost hopes about Urdu paers was truly a great step. (The other day another daily Hindustan Express was launched in Delhi)

Urdu press had a glorious role in the freedom movement but delay in accepting latest technology and lack of enthusiasm in improving the layout and failure of publishers to put in adequate money led to the situation where these papers neither looked attractive nor remained up-to-date.

However, the arrival of Sahara has changed all. Many people have got jobs and the void has been filled because Urdu papers that are not only newspapers but also views-papers serve the need of Urdu-speakers who are not in a majority anywhere but spread all over India.

Also, we are hearing about a Hyderabad edition soon. Those who were sceptical of the success of a new Urdu paper and the feasibility have been proved wrong. The circulation is also going up in many cities though on paper it looks to have gone down because many papers cited inflated figures.

In my individual capacity I salute Subrata Roy for supporting the Urdu press when it needed the oxygen. The fact that the group is quite supportive of Muslims is also a reson for me to praise him.

Adnan (

‘Encroachment’ In Vadodara, Firing And A Cop’s Tone

The officials of Vadodara municipal corporation and the policemen are shouting from the rooftops that the dargaah was an encroachment and even the media did not bother to check the facts.

Whenever there is a road beside a dargaah and the road has to be widened from single lane to double lane, the widening is conducted in such a manner that structure comes in the middle so that traffic could pass from either side.

But the trouble comes when the road has to be further widened from double lane to four lane or six lane. Naturally the structure has to be accomodated in a traffic island. This particular dargaah is a 200-year-old structure but everyone keeps on saying that it is illegal. How come such an old structure be an encroachment.

Now look at the tone of the Commissioner of police who on Aajtak says taht ‘Whoever will come in way of development will have to face consquences’. Can you believe that it is the voice of a supposedly-responsible officer of a democratic state.

So his force shoots people, Indian citizens, in the head. And he is justifying that. Does he understands the trauma of those whose kin were killed and is he not aware of the rules about ordering fire and that it should not be targeted in the chest or head? The cops were clearly seen aiming at the heads of protesting people.

Clearly, they are care two hoots in Modi’s Gujarat. They show that Muslims are anti-development, protest everything and are to be appeased all the time. But they don’t say that the other dargaah was also demolished peacefully because it was an encroachment and that this dargah was NOT UNAUTHORISED.

Provoke Muslims, spread falsehoods about them, label a structure as unauthorised and when they protest you kill them. That’s a solution exactly from the Hitler’s book.

Look what media projects–20 temples were shifted but when it came to the dargaah the Muslims are up in arms, they are after all troublemakers, aren’t they?. The road was illegally widened and it was a conscious decision to use force to demolish the shrine and hurt the sentiments of Muslims.

The section of lumpened middle-class Hindu hates Muslims that is a well-known fact so all this would boost the morale of the Pride Gujarati and thus the government and the BJP would get mileage. The message is clear ‘It is Gujarat, Hindu state and we will do whatever we want’. But what one expects from this state where people are so communalised. Where this hate will take the Gujarat and the Gujaratis?

Adnan (

The Monstrous Act Of Taliban

The children of Suryanarayan were holding placards that read ‘Taliban uncle kindly release our father’. The paper was lying in front of me and just then I saw the news on the channel that he had been killed.

Monsters. That was the word that came to my mind. Intense hate and a feeling of revulsion engulfed me. What kind of people they are? They are unable to take revenge on their real enemies and execute these soft targets. A hapless man is caught and killed and the reason given is that he tried to flee.

Adnan (