The Central Working Committee of the All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat (AIMMM), the umbrella body of Indian Muslim organizations recently met and reviewed the situation in the country. It has come out with its observations that are significant from Muslims point of view and need to be highlighted to feel the pulse of the community.
The AIMMM holds the view that both central and state governments are directly responsible for targeting innocent Muslim youth for tackling the menace of terrorism. The modus-oprendi is to first implicate some Muslim youth on fabricated terror charges and then detain them. Such detainees are forced to make false confessions through third degree methods. This pattern has emerged out in the acquittal of several Muslim youth who have spend long years in jails as under trial.
The AIMMM cites example of the Nimesh Commission that probed into the arrest of Muslim youth in UP. The committee appointed by former Chief Minister Mayawati indicted the state government for making arrests on fabricated charges. The AIMMM demands that the UP government to release all such Muslim youth languishing in UP jails and appeals to other governments to follow suit.
The AIMMM demands that the governments responsible for such false arrest should pay adequate compensation to the acquitted "terror" victims. Their lost years, destroyed careers and defamation should be taken into account deciding the compensation. The AIMMM also demands that officers’ falsely implicating Muslim youth should be punished and summarily dismissed from service and all its benefits forfeited.
AIMMM also demands the repealing of the terrorist law POTA. AIMMM opposes new amendments to POTA that has extended the duration of a banned organization from two to five years. AIMMM also objects to another amendment that treats economic offences as "terrorism." AIMMM believes that the existing laws in the country are enough to deal with the scourge of terrorism.
The Sachar commission report on Muslim backwardness had prompted the government to announce a slew of schemes to up lift the community. These schemes are meant to be implemented in the so-called Muslim-dominated districts but so far only few schemes are executed. Even the educational scholarships scheme is not properly implemented. Sixty percent of budget of this scheme was returned unutilized last year. The AIMMM demands that the government should honor its commitment towards minority welfare schemes.
The AIMMM likes to remind the Union government for the implementation of the Mishra Commission report that has recommended reservation for the Muslims. It also wants to know why the government has not yet given its reply to the Supreme Court on including the Muslim and Christian Dalits in the SC / ST reservation list. The AIMMM feels that the exclusion of Muslim and Christian Dalits from the SC / ST quota is a fraud on the Constitution of India.
The AIMMM takes serious note of the dangerous trend of the construction of illegal Hindu religious structure near Muslim shrine, Masjid, Qabristan, or monuments.
The modus oprendi is to place an idol, a picture, or a piece of stone near a Muslim structure. This is followed by Hindu rituals and puja and then the place is declared as a Hindu place of worship.
The AIMMM appeals to the Union government to wake up to such realities and handle them with the firmness it deserves. It is of the view that such development is taking place through out the country and if allowed to flourish may tar the secular credentials of India.
The AIMMM cites the recent attempt to build a full-fledged Hindu temple on the north-eastern corner of Charminar in Hyderabad. It all began with a corner milestone being placed by the municipality to save the monument from traffic damages. Some Hindu zealots painted vermillion marks on this milestone, then placed a small idol near it and quietly built a platform. Finally the structure was declared as "Bhagyalakshmi temple.”
In Karnataka, the shrine of “Baba Budhan,” is another example. Here adjacent to the Muslim shrine, a Hindu worship spot was created and was expanded, slowly the entire site was taken over.
Even in Delhi there are many cases of Hindu shrines being built next to the walls of Masjids or Muslim monuments. Such practice is common even near the protected monuments under the control of the Archaeological Survey of India. Even though the laws do not permit any construction within 100 meters of such protected monuments, today temples occupy the outer walls of Purana Quila and Qutb Minar, a Sikh temple exists next to the Puran Qila.
The AIMMM appeals to the Union Government to look into all such cases and deal them according to the law of the land. It also appeals to the secular NGO’s to keep an eye on such developments and file a complaint with the authorities to take necessary action. It also appeals to the press to report such development in an unbiased manner.
Saffron Goons growing Intimidation
AIMMM takes note of the growing trend of saffron goons’ intimidation against certain section of the Muslim community traditionally engaged in the meat trade. Opening of new abattoirs and meat shops are resisted, old ones are closed down, and trucks transporting cattle are being hijacked. AIMMM looks at the creation of such hurdles an economic assault on a section of the community. It calls upon the state governments to punish the saffron goons, communal elements in the government that includes police.
Further, the AIMMM opposes the new cow protection bill passed by the BJP led government in Karnataka. The bill enlarges the definition of "cow" and enhances punishments for those in meat trade. The bill is clearly against all those whose source of income is cattle other than cows. AIMMM appeals to Government of India to reject this bill out rightly.
Building Peace in J & K
AIMMM feels that stage managed peace in Jammu and Kashmir is based on oppression. Thousands of youths are in jails on frivolous charges. Every now and then undeclared curfew is clamped in various areas of the state. Friday prayers on various occasions were not allowed in the Jama Masjid Srinagar. Muharram processions were also not allowed in the capital city. AFSPA remains in force, more than 150 persons are in jails under the draconian Public Safety Act, and 840 political prisoners remain incarcerated. AIMMM feels that the current stage managed peace is no solution to the vexed problem and urges the Union government to start the dialogue process with the separatist for establishing permanent peace.
AIMMM shares the anxieties of the Kashmiri brothers over the increasing activities and infrastructure development by the Amarnath Trust in J&K. Such activity to cater to the ever-growing number of pilgrims to Amarnath, from a few thousand in pre-1990 days to around 6.5 lakh yatris this year, is having disastrous impact on the area’s fragile ecology. AIMM urges the state government not to allot any land to Amarnath Trust. It should also stop construction of any permanent infrastructure en route to the shrine. Further it should limit the visitors only to the ecologically permissible limit. The AIMMM also feels that Kashmiri Pandits should be appointed in the Amarnath trust.
The AIMMM urges the government to hurry with the Waqf bill through the Parliament. It has to take into account the suggestions made by the Muslim organizations. One of the suggestions was to have the Waqf bill on the lines of Gurdwara Act of 1925. It will lead to the creation of a Waqf Committee that would manage the Waqf properties in the country. The committee can manage various educational institutions, hospitals and charitable organizations from the revenue earned from the Waqf properties. Its no secret that there is huge amount of Waqf properties scattered across the country that are in utter neglect, encroached upon and illegally being sold. AIMMM feels that many of the Muslim problems could be solved if Waqf properties are put into good use.
The unjust demolition of the Babri Masjid, has created a long list of litigation and the current appeals are pending with the Supreme Court. AIMMM reiterates that the judgment of the Apex court will only be acceptable to the Muslim community. It rejects any such efforts to resolve the Babri Masjid through out of court settlement.
The views of the Muslim community as expressed by AIMMM are worthy of consideration. Their exclusive narrative vouches for an inclusive growth. This is the silver lining in the wonder that is India.
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org