Kausar Bi: Killed And Burnt By The Police

Last week came out the startling news about the fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh that led to the arrest of the top police officials of Gujarat. Now the Gujarat government has admitted in the Supreme Court that his wife, Kausar Bi, who has been missing since then, was infact killed and burnt within two days of his husband being killed.

Kausar BiThe Gujarat government on Monday admitted in Supreme Court that wife of fake encounter victim Sohrabuddin Sheikh, Kausar Bi was killed within two days of her husband being gunned down and her body was burnt.

The state government told the apex court that the revelations came after the interrogation of he three IPS officials arrested in connection with the case and a search was on for Kauser Bai’s remains.

Sohrabuddin was killed on November 26, 2005 after he was suspected of being an operative of terror outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba.

The Gujarat government confession confirms what was long being suspected. Earlier, a CBI probe said the couple was taken to a private farmhouse, Disha, in Jamiatpura village on November 24.

After Sheikh was killed on November 26, his wife was taken to a farmhouse in Gandhinagar and was killed on the night of November 28 in a house in the Aham Bungalows on the Koba-Adalaj Road. [IBN Live]

Police in India has repeatedly used fake encounters to ‘bump off’ people, however even by their lowly standards, this case stands out. While it is difficult to believe that such encounters are carried off without the knowledge (or sometimes even connivance) of the top police officials, the blame, if any, used to be laid at the shoulders of the lower ranked officers. The arrest of the IPS officers in this case is a step in the right direction and it will send a message to all those involved in such killings that they can’t always get away with it. As it has been argued at this blog and elsewhere, the overwhelming imbalance of the police force in favor of a particular religious community, makes it easier for them to perpetuate such inhuman acts on the very citizens it is supposed to protect.

The revelations and the arrests come at a bad time for the BJP as Uttar Pradesh is going through polls and Gujarat to follow soon after.

Standing Alone In Mecca – Review By Sadia Dehlvi

Sadia Dehlvi recently reviewed the captioned book for the weekly Outlook. The author of this book is Asra Nomani whose life story is quite fascinating.

In a charming personal narrative, Nomani navigates through a crisis of faith brought upon by the murder of close friend Daniel pearl by Islamic militants and an affair with a Pakistani man in Karachi that leads to a child out of wedlock. Wrecked with guilt and seeking to hold her son without shame, the young Indian born American Muslim back straps the infant and along with supportive parents embarks on a pilgrimage toMecca wrestling with contradictions of feminism and Islam.

The adventures of this tremendous unification in faith could interest non Muslim readers as the roads to
Mecca and Madina clearly read “Muslims only” but the detailing of the motions of ablutions, prayer and the pilgrimage can be skipped by those who have been there and done that.

The geographical journey to the holy cities provides glimpses of the repression and countless hypocrisies that describe Saudia Arabia ‘s social and political life but what is engaging is Nomanis spiritual search through Islamic history that questions and instructs about the rights of women in Islam. Nomani exposes the roots of the purantical Wahabbi Islam funded by the Saudis through their outreach programs which emerged to curb Sufism and pushed women to the second rank.

In the deserts of Mecca, Nomani finds strength in the forgotten legacy of women in Islam including the prophets mother, wife and daughters. What is particularly endearing is Nomani’s tale of soul bonding with Hagar, Prophet Abrahams second wife whom he married to have a child since Sarah was infertile.(In the old testament Hagar is an Egyptian slave hired as a surrogate mother) Prophet Ishmael was born of this union and in a test of faith, Abraham went off with a jealous Sarah leaving Hagar alone near the Kaaba in the custody of God. Four thousand years ago, Hagar stood alone in

Mecca and in a desperate search for water to quench the crying baby’s thirst , ran seven times between the two hills of Safa and Marwah appealing to God for mercy. Hagar passed the trial of isolation and water sprang from where the baby kicked. The ritual of running between the hills in the tradition of Hagar is an important ritual in the pilgrimage and the water that sprang from the ground is the holy water of “zam zam” carried back home by pilgrims.

Nomani is surprised to find liberation in Islam and discovers prophet Mohammad as a social reformer who built a community on ideals of justice, equity and tolerance that honoured women. The inspired pilgrim comes home to challenge the norms of local mosques in America urging them to allow women to pray alongside men as they did in early Islam and continue to do so at the Kaaba and the mosques at Madina. The writer makes a strong plea for “ijtehad” or judicial scholarly reasoning used to mediate question of Islamic law to resolve issues of the modern world.

The book affectively argues that Muslim societies that punish women for alleged crimes of the body contradict the fundamental principles of forgiveness, privacy and motherhood in Islam. Without being insulting, Nomani confronts her faith over sex, sin and female sexuality emerging as powerful leading voice for change, plurality of expression and egalitarianism in the Muslim world..

Standing Alone in Mecca
A Pilgrimage into the heart of Islam
Author Asra Q Nomani
Pages 413
Published by Harper Collins
Price: Rs.395

Strategy for Indian Muslims

Saiyid Hamid, chancellor of Jamia Hamdard and former VC of AMU, in the editorial of April issue of Nation and the World writes:

The strategy for Muslims, therefore, ought to be twofold; first, continue watching the implementation and demanding corection of deviations. Second; depend on measures of self-reliance for sloughing off the the shameful backwardness so graphically and authentically brought out by the Sachar Committee report. Modest arrangements should be made in each twon to collect and disseminate the valuable information contained in the Sachar report but also about the new Fifteen Point Programme.

It will be seen that of the twin strategy outlined above, it is the latter part that is more important. Muslims can progress only if they jettison decisively and determinedly their traditional banes like disunity, inability to work together, incapacity to run institution, ignorance, illiteracy, lack of a sense of proportion, and a persistently superficial interpretation of their faith. Our best bet is to rely on our own effort. If we do that we shall be better able to secure and utilize government assistance. We should realize that nothing short of a Titanic effort can help transform us into a progressive and forward looking group.

He makes a very important point, if community is not strong enough, no matter what assistance government offers, we will not be able to benefit from it. In many cases people are not even aware of different government programmes that are available. We need to find out about these programmes and there need to be organizations, groups on local level to disseminate information about these benefits.

Muslim women who know the Quran and can teach their children to check RSS feeds

The changes in the curriculum of Madrasas was long due. The recent events have forced women to come out of their hiding and take charge of things. The ulemas of India have kept the women behind veils for long based on fears that were justified then. Things have changed now and women empowerment is the present day mantra. 


I promise to write details about women and madarsaas shortly 🙂


Supreme court: The reason why we should trust the judiciary


The HT reports

THREE SENIOR officials of the Indian Police Service (IPS) were arrested by the Gujarat Police on Tuesday on the charge of murder for their alleged role in the killing of a man described as a Lashkar-e-Tayyeba cadre in a fake encounter here in 2005.

Those arrested are Inspector General (border range) D.G. Vanzara, Superintendent of Police Rajkumar Pandayan of the state intelligence wing, and M.N. Dinesh, the SP of Rajasthan’s Alwar district.

The arrests were made by CID (Crime) in connection with the death of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, a Madhya Pradesh-based criminal allegedly killed in a gun battle on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on November 26, 2005 during a joint operation by Gujarat’s Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) and Rajasthan Police.

“The three have been arrested on murder charges,� Additional Director General of Police (Intelligence) Sudhir Sinha said.

Tum bilkul hum jaisey nikley – Fahmida Riaz

Guest Post by Raza Rumi

After reading some of the recent posts and comments on the communal politics and the [ab]use of religion, I recalled an interesting article (published in the Hindustan Times November 2005) by Khushwant Singh entitled Voice of Sanity.

The highlight of that piece was a translation of a poem by the Pakistani poet Fahmida Riaz.

The inimitable Fahmida Riaz, who is a favourite of mine, was disappointed during her stay in India (during the 1980s) with the growing trends of exclusion – an anathema to the plurality of India. Fahmida is an outstanding poet and is now a leading literati, activist and prose writer in Pakistan.

Here is a poem that is rather well written and terse.

Naya Bharat (New India)

Tum bilkul hum jaisey nikley
Voh moorkhta, voh ghaamarpan
Aakhir pahunchi dwaar tumhaarey

You turned out to be just like us;
Similarly stupid, wallowing in the past,
You’ve reached the same doorstep at last.

Preyt dharma ka naach rahaa hai
Saarey ultey karya karogay
Tum bhee baithey karogey sochaa
Kaun hai Hindu, kaun naheen hai
Ek jaap saa kartey jao
Kitna veer mahaan tha Bharat

Your demon [of] religion dances like a clown,
Whatever you do will be upside down.
You too will sit deep in thought,
Who is Hindu, who is not.
Keep repeating the mantra like a parrot,
Bharat was like the land of the brave

(translated by Khushwant Singh)

For more poems, biographical information on her please visit this link.

Quality education for muslims: a distant dream?

The fact that Muslims need reforms in each and every sphere of life is an open truth. Education being the most important one. When it comes to education, I need not give any stats to prove one simple fact that Muslims have a long way to go. Still, education for Muslims is the most politicized one. We have seen enough of drama about the minority status of the most revered educational institution for Muslims in India, i.e. the Aligarh Muslim University. In no time, questions were raised about the seat reservation in Jamia because it offers a 50% reservation for Muslims. What I fail to understand is, why only Muslim institutions?

In a country like India, where we have educational institutes run by different religious organizations like the DAV society, which is a chain of schools and colleges run by RSS, the Khalsa schools and colleges and numerous convent educational institutions. Convent schools and colleges too have a 50% reservation for Christian students. Some Convent schools in Delhi offer a seat to a non-Christian student if the family of the student agrees to bear the expenses of a Catholic child for a year. Whereas colleges under the Khalsa board give a preference to Punjabi students. Even those Punjabi students who are lagging behind academically make it to their desired courses in Khalsa. There’s virtually nothing wrong with these institutes if they give preference to students from their own community, the reason as to why only those institutes that prefer Muslims are put to test is hard to understand.
Can we have the same yard sticks please?

Time and again this issue is raised dramatically, soon acid support is gathered from all nooks and corners of India without even thinking about the rest of the minority institutions that enjoy the same status as AMU and Jamia. What’s wrong with the rationale and the conscience of those who think that everything that’s Muslim is going to prove fatal? The secular identity that India brags appears to be a distant dream when such issues are raised.

Kya inka irada ‘pak’ hai?

BJP media cell incharge Prabhat Jha said ads were released after considering all pros and cons. Senior BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi also dismissed the objections and insisted that the ad campaign was not communal and was only projecting the danger of ISI and SIMI. “We are ready for an open debate, even as the elections are on, whether opposing ISI and SIMI in this country amounted to communalism,” Naqvi said.

Picture and News source- HT (subscription required)

Well, well, well if the words of Mr. Naqvi and the picture above are taken into consideration then there are 2 possibilities-

1. The BJP knows the locality where ISI and SIMI activists reside, that’s where they got the picture above, isn’t it? So that means they are attempting to hint the police indirectly about the hideouts.

2. The BJP considers any Muslim locality as dens of ISI and SIMI activists. So that indirectly implies that a national party considers 18.00000000000001% of population of this country as suspects.

Kalyan ke andar Musalmaano ka eek baar kalyan ho chuka hai aur ab agar kamal par button daba to eek baar phir kalyan hoga…

I have just question to BJP, kya aapke irade neek hai ?


IM Blog welcomes Syed Shahid Abbas as a new contributor. Originally from Patna, he studied for an MBBS degree at AMU and is currently enrolled in MPH program at Johns Hopkins University.

CNN-IBN correspondent Seemi Pasha, recently reported on the significance of Muslim identity in the student politics at AMU in their story ‘At AMU, They Are Muslims First‘. I have prepared a short response to their story that will hopefully be posted on their website as well.

It is amusing and at the same time frustrating to read some of the comments posted in response to the excellent piece carried out by CNN-IBN on the political identity of AMU. Instead of trading age-old accusations, shouldn’t we try to look at the factors that influence the concept of identity in the Muslim University of Aligarh? One such possible factor might be that AMU is situated in the politically volatile region of western UP. And because of the tacit policy followed by the University officials, bulk of its students of AMU come from a relatively limited geographical and cultural landscape.

Given such a set up, it is difficult for the typical Aligarh graduate to look beyond the casteist and communal political environment of UP & Bihar and take a more progressive role. A history of communal politics and limited opportunities have made it difficult for them to assume a more rational outlook. And incidents like Gujarat do not help in encouraging a more open attitude.

However, to be fair to them, the students of Aligarh have always had more gumption than they have been given credit for. Along with a penchant for engaging in political discussions, students at AMU also have a reputation for irreverence and a disdain for politicians. To the extent that the popular politics of AMU has often differed from the prevailing sentiments of the students there.

With the opening up of the economy and increased emphasis on private entrepreneurial efforts, it has never been so easy for Muslim graduates to excel than now. And graduates from the University have been proving their capabilities in multiple fields.

I commend Seemi Pasha and CNN-IBN for their sensitive and factual portrayal of the student politics of AMU. However, there is a parallel body of students that is diametrically opposite in ideology to the students showed in the story and I hope that subsequent reportage of the University students will take into account their reactions as well.