By Kashif-ul-Huda, TwoCircles.net
Contrary to popular belief, Muslim leadership does exist in India. They make their presence known by street protests, writing articles in newspapers and lobbying ministers and government officials for local or national issues concerning the Muslims of India.
Nandigram, where a number of Muslims that were killed raped, and their houses destroyed, has become the latest rallying cry of Muslim leadership of India. Everyone in India, from Mumbai to Jammu to Indian Muslims of the US has shown outrage on how Muslims can be killed with the collusion of party in power and local administration. The most shocking part for a community that has seen all this before was that it happened in a state ruled by secular parties.
The Left Front government of West Bengal is made up of various communist parties. Muslims enjoyed peace in West Bengal since the Left Front government took over in 1977. Communists or secular parties should have been religion blind and should have ensured social and economic development of all citizens. But alas, Muslims have not only not gained, but have slipped further down the steps of the social and economic ladder under the Left Front rule.
Muslims who form 25% of the state population should have protested for the lack of their presence in state jobs, about their low literacy level and a host of other issues. Killing of Muslims in Nandigram made the Muslims angry that the state government cannot ensure the only thing they expected from the government. In fact, it seems that the government and the ruling parties have done their best to inflict maximum damage to Muslims of Nandigram, resulting in the loss of life and property.
Muslim organizations in West Bengal got their act together and formed Milli Ittehad Parishad to pressure the government to take action benefitting Muslims of the state. Their recent demonstrations have been impressive with about sixty thousand to one lakh Muslims coming out in the streets of Kolkata on the15th November to peacefully protest the violence that had taken place in Nandigram.
Five days later, another protest of a few thousand demonstrators held by an unknown group called Ã¢â‚¬Å“All India Minority ForumÃ¢â‚¬? turns violent. This is probably the first time that the Army was deployed in a city in a matter of hours. The violence was mainly between the police and the protestors. Later though, police and the Rapid Action Force was unable to contain it and the local administration had to call the Army to control the violence, so we are told.
The All India Minority Forum (AIMF), called their demonstration to protest the Nandigram violence and also to protest Tasleema NasrinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s stay in India. While the protest over Nandigram and Kolkata being the state capital is justified, it doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t seem right to combine the Tasleema visa issue with it. These two issues are completely separate; one is a law and order issue of the state and the second is a policy issue of the central government.
By combining the two separate issues, AIMF have successfully diluted and confused the two. They have sabotaged and robbed other movements of the Nandigram issues and the media will now be fixated on the Kolkata violence rather than Nandigram violence.
This gives an opening to the Left Front which so far was under pressure from all sides by all parties and organizations. Having resorted to violence, now AIMF will be considered as a legitimate voice of the Muslims by the government. Since LF is not in the mood to compromise on Nandigram, they will easily take up the second issue raised by AIMF which is TaslimaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s stay in India so as to appear to be listening to MuslimsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ demands.
Biman Bose, Chairman of the Left Front has already made a statement that Tasleema Nasrin should leave Kolkata. Thus by moving Taslima out of Kolkata at least temporarily, LF will appear to care about Muslim demands. AIMF can claim victory and yet again the legitimate demands of Muslims will be thrown in the dustbin and a movement of Indian Muslims will be killed before it can demand fair share for the community.