ALL INDIA MUSLIM MAJLIS-E-MUSHAWARAT
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New Delhi, 12 January 2008: The Markazi Majlis (Central Council) of the All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat (AIMMM) held its first meeting today in the central office here under the new President Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan and passed the following resolutions:
The Markazi Majlis-e-Mushawarat (MMA) of the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) expresses its profound grief at the demise of Senior RJD leader and Rajya Sabha member MOTIUR RAHMAN, who died of cardiac arrest on 18 December at his Motihari residence in Bihar; MAQBOOL AHMAD SIDDIQI, founder and Principal of Khair College, Basti, died on 9 December at his home town in Basti district (UP); PROF MOHAMMAD SHAFI, a prominent geographer and former Head and Professor Emeritus of Department of Geography in the AMU, died on 9 December at Aligarh; Prof. Syed Naqi Husain Jafri of the deptt of English, Jamia Millia Islamia who died on 9 December; Mufti MAULANA SYED SHAH ABDUL ALEEM QADIRI founder of the seminary Darul Uloom Qadiria in Mumbai died on 21 November in Mumbai; the former Dean of Calicut University, Professor Malik Mohammad and his wife Khadeejah Beevi were found dead in their house at Vasant Vihar in Nagarcoil, Chennai. We pray for their maghfirah.
2. Gujarat Elections:
Narendra Modi and his BJP have once again secured a majority in Gujarat elections. The MMM respects the results while hoping that Modi and his ilk will have learnt their lessons and mend their ways in order to serve all segments of Gujarati society. MMM also realises that Modi’s win is mainly due to the manufactured environment of fear for the victims and security and impunity for the criminal elements. MMM cannot help but express our dismay over the way the Congress Party fought the elections in Gujarat, adopting soft Hindutva as a policy, embracing people who were until yesterday legislators of the BJP and some were even accused in the 2002 pogroms, and balked from taking/initiating action even when many criminals openly bragged about their roles during those pogroms in the Tehelka sting exposé and even when Modi himself during the electoral campaign openly admitted to have ordered the extra-judicial killing of Sohrabuddin, his wife and friend. MMM also notes that other secular parties only made the victory of secular candidates difficult by putting up candidates in various constituencies who in turn split the secular vote and ensured the victory of Hindutva candidates. MMM notes that the BJP looks at the Gujarat results as a vindication of its hate policies, and a chance to play again its divisive card on the national level. The Congress and other parties have to take note and mend their ways in order to block the return of the Hindutva forces to the corridors of power at the centre once again.
3. Liberhan Panel’s 43rd Extension
MMM expresses its shock and anguish over the procrastination shown by the Liberhan Commission which on 31st December 2007 was granted its 43rd extension, its sixth extension during 2007. At the time of its appointment in December 1992 shortly after the demolition of the Babri Masjid it was asked to present its report within three months. It is looking into the major events leading to the demolition of the mosque and the leading individuals and organizations responsible for the same. Last August the government had assured Parliament that the panel will not be given any further extension. MMM wishes to register its displeasure over the unreasonable delay and urges the commission to complete and present its report at the earliest as it has already wasted over a decade of precious time allowing Hindutva forces to benefit from their crime in more ways than one.
4. Attack on Christians in Orissa
The MMM has noted with great concern the anti-Christian violence which erupted in various parts of Orissa, especially in the district of Kandhamal, in the morning of 24th December, and continued unabated for about two weeks, leaving behind six persons dead, 70 churches/institutions attacked, broken/torched; 600 Christian houses damaged and torched and over 5000 persons affected beside other material losses to properties and vehicles. According to reports, hundreds of Christians have fled their villages, taking shelter in safer places. These attacks were well-planned in which Hindutva militants killed and terrorised a peaceful community while the state government paid lip service and failed to control the violence despite the presence of security forces in the area. MMM deplores the attitude of the state government of Orissa and its inaction and tacit support to the killers and arsonists armed with sticks, knives and lethal weapons like guns. MMM demands enquiry by CBI into the anti-Christian violence in Orissa including the role of the state government and its law and order machinery. MMM also notes with concern that the central government chose to remain a mere spectator while Orissa burnt. In such situations the central government must quickly deploy central forces in the affected areas in order to prevent a repetition of Gujarat 2002 while Hindutva forces threaten to repeat “Gujarat experiment” all over the country.
5. Sachar & Mishra Reports
MMM notes with concern the inactive stand on the implementation of Sachar Report. Apart from some cosmetic announcements, no concrete steps have been taken to tackle the problem areas like education and economic status identified by the Sachar Committee. MMM also notes that to date the government has not bothered to place the Mishra Report in Parliament. MMM urges the government to take the initiative with tangible steps before the country gets into election mode.
6. Sub-plan for Muslims
The MMM notes with dismay that the omission of Muslim sub-plan in the 11th Five Year Plan adopted by the National Development Council amid BJP's objection to 15% allocation for minorities in some development scheme in the Prime Minister's 15-Point Programme for Minorities. Without such a sub-plan there is no hope that the promised funds will ever reach the minorities in general and Muslims in particular. At the same time MMM takes note of the identification by the government of 90 districts where 34 percent of the country’s Muslims live as well as 338 towns across the country where civic amenities are to be improved. MMM believes that even this small gesture will be meaningless unless there is an implementation as well as monitoring mechanism in place to make sure that the plan is implemented and funds allocated are in fact spent.
7. Maharashtra Muslim Welfare Portfolio:
MMM notes with satisfaction that the Maharashtra state government has decided to establish a cabinet portfolio for Muslim welfare in the state government. This is in the framework of implementing Sachar Committee recommendations in the state. The MMM also welcomes Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh’s announcement that the state government would also consider if Muslims could be given reservation in housing societies and residential premises built by the state housing corporation, that the state government would consider to provide jobs to Muslims. MMM believes that such cabinet portfolios should be created in each state government and should be sufficiently empowered to discharge their duties in the implementation of various government schemes for the minorities.
8. Leadership Development of Minority Women
MMM notes that central government is putting the final touches to a scheme to impart leadership training and skills-development to women belonging to minorities as a part of the Prime Minister’s new 15-Point Programme. According to reports, the plan will be launched in five states and will reach at least 35,000 women who will be given training, inputs and information to enable them to interact with government agencies. According to government figures, the female work participation is 14 per cent among Muslim females compared to 27.5 per cent among Hindu females. MMM welcomes this move and would like the scheme to be extended to all districts of the country. Moreover, for it to succeed, enough funds, implementation and monitoring mechanisms must be put in place. If not, this scheme too will be like the rural poverty alleviations schemes which are more on paper than on the ground as reports say that between 10 to 15 percent only have so far benefited from these schemes.
9. Arbitrary “Fatwas”:
MMM observes that a lot of individual “fatwas” are being issued by scholars and madrasas in various parts of the country, at times in haste and without any real need. These fatwas are only personal opinions of some scholars. MMM requests eminent scholars of Islam and established madrasas and religious organisations to form a joint committee to coordinate this activity so that only established muftis and well-known madrasas and darul iftas issue fatwas while taking account of the fatwas issued by fatwa authorities in the World of Islam, in particular the Islamic Fiqh Councils of the Organisation of Islamic Conference and the Muslim World League.
10. Taslima Nasrin:
MMM notes with satisfaction that the Union Information & Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Das Munshi has said that Taslima Nasrin should apologise to Muslims with folded hands and that she does not have the licence to insult the religious feelings of any community. The MMM believes that the central government should not be under any obligation to renew her visa when it expires next month. Taslima is not a hapless refugee, she is a Swedish national holding Sweden’s passport which allows her the freedom to live anywhere in the west. Moreover, the government is setting a wrong precedent by spending huge sums of public money on protecting a non-official foreign visitor who does not enjoy the fundamental rights under our Constitution’s Article 19.
MMM notes that the process of dialogue started with various Kashmiri parties and outfits, especially the Hurriyat Conference, has stopped. With the drop in infilitration and militancy, it is time the government stepped up its efforts to find a political solution acceptable to the majority of Kashmiris. It is feared that lack of movement on this front will be exploited by internal and external forces which do not want peace and stability in Kashmir.
12. Stand on RSS:
MMM deplores Himachal Pradesh government’s decision to allow government employees to take part in RSS activities as well as allowing RSS drills to be held in public places. On 5 January 08 the HP state government lifted the ban on holding of RSS shakahs in public places revoking a ban imposed by the previous government. MMM requests the Union government to formulate a single policy on such a sensitive issue applicable to all parts of the country. The central government’s existing instructions in this respect should be firmly conveyed to all state governments. This is doubly needed as RSS and its offshoots preach hatred and impart arms training to their cadres, thereby threatening communal harmony and peace.
MMM calls upon the government to recognise all established languages with more than 10 million speakers declaring them as their mother tongue. Such languages, which at present are included under “Hindi”, should be included in Schedule 8.
MMM reiterates its stand that terrorism should be condemned and terrorists fought but it cannot help but observe that under the guise of fighting terrorism Muslim youth are harassed in many parts of the country. Reports from various areas suggest that Muslim youths are arbitrarily picked; days and weeks later they are shown to be arrested from somewhere else with arms and bombs while records show that they were arrested from their houses or localities and FIRs were promptly lodged with the local police. It is now normal that widest media coverage is given by the unquestioning media, the detainees are tortured to force them to sign on prepared statements or blank papers and in most cases within months they are released without any fanfare. MMM also notes that the ban on SIMI continues since September 2001while there is no hard evidence that the outfit or its cadres were involved in any specific terrorist acts despite “disclosures” published by some media organisations on the basis of information leaked by unknown “security” and intelligence sources. MMM also notes that courts have thrown out individual cases against SIMI members and supporters. Yet after every blast former SIMI members are routinely picked up amid claims of their involvement in terrorist crimes. MMM is of the view that terrorists must be punished for their misdeeds but at the same time it registers that Muslim youths and localities should not be harassed in the name of fighting terrorism on the basis of unfounded rumours and manufactured information propagated by vested interests in the Sangh Parivar, media, security forces and the bureaucracy. Unless the government comes up with any substantial proof of SIMI’s involvement in terrorism, the ban should not be renewed and its former members should be left to lead their peaceful lives. MMM also registers its displeasure over the UP bar council’s decision not to defend “Muslim” terror-accused, which is illegal and against the principles of justice as every accused has a constitutional right to try to defend himself and put across his case in front of courts and this is done with the help of lawyers. MMM also appeals to Muslim lawyers to come forward to take up cases of such accused who are unjustly denied services of lawyers.
MMM notes with dismay the chaos in Haj operations seen again this year, especially in flights to and from Jeddah. MMM believes that one way to bring down the cost of travel and to streamline the Haj flights is to allow the Haj Committee to float international tenders to charter aircraft to transport pilgrims to and from Jeddah.
16. Gaza siege:
MMM looks with grave concern at the continued siege of Gaza Strip by the Israeli occupation forces since January 2006 elections which went against Israel’s expectations. Gaza’s economy has grinded to a halt, a staggering 70 percent people are jobless, all factories and most workshops have closed as raw materials are not allowed into Gaza Strip and exports are not permitted even of food stuffs and fruits. Imports of even very essential items like flour and sugar are squeezed to ten percent of the normal requirement. People are dying due to lack of medical supplies. A human tragedy is already visiting the wretched strip which is home to 1.5 million peoples, with 75% being refugees who were driven out by the Israeli armed bands in 1948. International community should intervene without any delay to avert a human tragedy of unmatched proportions in times of peace.
17. Benazir’s assassination:
MMM condemns the assassination of the former prime minister and leader of Pakistan People's Party of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto and considers this particular shocking incident as well as the general lawlessness in the neighbouring country as a threat to its own as well as the region’s stability and peace. The proliferation of militias of various colours and free availability of arms in that country is a matter of grave concern. It is time Pakistan forcefully steps in, in order to delegitimise and uproot the cult of violence and terrorism flourishing on political, religious and tribal planes. If it fails to tackle this phenomenon its survival as a functional state will be at stake. MMM also takes note of the US threats to have a physical presence in Pakistan in the wake of political instability, ostensibly to guard nuclear assets and to fight terrorism more effectively. This will amount to occupation and reduce Pakistan to the level of states like Afghanistan. Moreover, this will cast shadows on the security and stability of our country.