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Archive Issue No : 21
Draft Minutes of Markazi Majlis-e-Amla, 13 August, 2005
The 8th meeting of the Markazi Majlis-e-Amla (MMA) was held at 11.00 AM on 13 August, 2005 in the Central Office, with the President in Chair.
The meeting was attended by:
1. Mr. Syed Shahabuddin, President
2. Maulana Mohd. Shafi Moonis, Vice-President
3. Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan, General Secretary
4. Maulana Ejaz Ahmad Aslam, General Secretary
5. Prof. Shakeel Ahmad
6. Dr. Niyaz Rasool Siddiqui
7. Mr. Amanullah Khan
8. Dr. Syed Farooq
9. Mr. Syed M.Y. Nadeem
10. Maulana Syed Rahat Husain Hashmi - Invitee
The meeting which commenced with recitation from the Holy Quran considered the Agenda as circulated on 14 July, 2005.
Item 2: The Meeting confirmed draft minutes of the 7th Meeting held on 9 April, 2005.
Item 3 and 4: The Meeting considered Action Taken Report presented by the President in the light of the proceedings of the intervening 4th Meeting of the Markazi Majlis-e-Mushawarat held on 11 June, 2005. The salient decisions were as follow:
i) The progress Statement of Account for April-July, 2005 was noted by the MMA.
ii) The draft final Statement of Account for the sale of land and purchase of building, as circulated showed a balance of about Rs. 4 lakhs, after payment of all liabilities. The MMA proposed, subject to approval by the MMM, that this balance be kept as a reserve and serve as the core of the corpus of the Mushawarat Trust, whose income should be available for its working.
iii) The Central Office continues to suffer from paucity of staff.
iv) There has been no improvement in the financial situation during the current financial year and every effort is being made to collect the arrears of membership fee as well as to persuade the Friends of the Mushawarat to fulfill their commitment.
v) Action on deregistration of the fake Mushawarat and registration of the Mushawarat as Society as well as a Trust is in progress.
Item 5: The political situation in Bihar was discussed. The situation in Assam, Kerala and West Bengal were also touched. It was felt that the MMM should play its usual role in persuading secular parties to form a front or come to understanding to give a united fight to anti-secular forces. The MMM should also work to develop a consensus among all Muslim organizations, which are active in the field on candidates to be supported, specially in Muslim concentration constituencies.
Item 6: The MMM considered the draft Statement on National and International Situation presented by the President and was authorized to finalize the Statements on :
1) Situation in Assam
2) Anti-Sikh Massacre, 1984
3) Reservation for Women in Legislature
4) Status of Taj Mahal
5) Restoration of Wakf Status of Jama Masjid, Delhi
6) Terrorist Attack on Ayodhya
7) Comprehensive Legislation on Communal Violence
8) Premature Fatwa on Imrana Case
9) International Situation.
[The text of the Statement may be seen at the appropriate place in the Bulletin - Editor].
Item 7: The meeting closed with thanks and Doa.
New Delhi (SYED SHAHABUDDIN)
16 August, 2005 President
Members of the Markazi Majlis-e-Mushawarat (2004-2007)
MEMBER JAMAATS AND THEIR REPRESENTATIVES:
I. ALL INDIA SHIA CONFERENCE
1. Mr. Syed Shamim Kazim, President, New Delhi
2. Mr. S.M. Hasnain Abidi, General Secretary, Lucknow
II. INDIAN NATIONAL LEAGUE
3. Mr. Mohammad Sulaiman, President, Kanpur.
4. 4. to be nominated
III. JAMAAT-E-ISLAMI HIND
5. Dr. Abdul Haque Ansari, Amir, New Delhi.
6. Maulana Mohd. Shafi Moonis, Naib Amir, New Delhi.
IV. J&K NATIONAL CONFERENCE
7. Mr. Omar Abdullah, MP, New Delhi
8. Mr. Abdul Rashid Shaheen, MP, New Delhi
V. MARKAZI JAMIAT AHL-E-HADEES HIND
9. Hafiz Mohammad Yahya, President, Delhi
10. M’lna Asghar Imam Mahdi Salafi, Gen. Secy., Delhi
VI. MOVEMENT FOR EMPOWERMENT OF MUSLIM INDIANS
11. MR. MOOSA RAZA, President, Noida
12. to be nominated
VIII. UNITED MINORITIES FORUM (ASSAM STATE)
13. Hafiz Rashid Ahmad Choudhary, President, Guwahati
14. Mr. Imamuddin Ahmad, Guwahati
VIII. U.P. RABITA COMMITTEE (UP STATE)
15. Dr. Obaid Iqbal Asim, Aligarh
16. Mr. Syed Murtaza Husain Bilgrami, Aligarh
17. Dr. Abdul Karim Mohammed Naik, Mumbai
18. Mr. Abdul Khalique, Delhi
19. Maulana Mohd. Abdul Qayyum, Jalna
20. Maulana Abdul Rasheed Usmani, Malegaon
21. **Dr. K. Abdul Sattar, Secretary, Muslim Educational Foundation, Chennai
22. Mr. Abdus Samad Siddiqui, Ex-MP, Raichur
23. Mr. Abu Asim Azmi, MP, New Delhi
24. Dr. Abusaleh Shariff, Economist, New Delhi
25. Dr. Adam Usman Shaikh, IAS (Retd.), Mumbai
26. Mr. M. Afzal, Ex-MP, New Delhi
27. Mr. Ahmad Rashid Shervani, Member, National Commission for Minorities, New Delhi
28. Mr. Akbar H. Jung, IAS (Retd.), Noida
29. Prof. Alauddin Ahmad, Ex-VC, Jamia Hamdard, Patna
30. Mr. Amanullah Khan, General Secretary, UP Rabita Committee, Aligarh
31. Mr. Anwar Karim, IAS (Retd.), Patna
32. Mr. Anwarul Huda, IAS (Retd.), Noida
33. Maulana Aquilul Gharvi, Delhi .
34. Mr. K.M. Arifuddin, Secretary, Madina Education and Welfare Society, Hyderabad
35. Mr. Mohammad Asif Khan, Lucknow
36. *Mr. Justice Mufti Bahauddin Farooqi, Srinagar
37. Mr. Bashiruddin Babukhan, Secretary, Khan Bahadur Babukhan Foundation, Hyderabad
38. Maulana Ejaz Ahmad Aslam, Secretary, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, New Delhi
39. Mr. Ejaz Maqbool, Advocate, Noida
40. Mr. Khaja Fareeduddin A. Ansari, IAS (Retd), Hyderabad
41. Dr. Syed Farooq, Industrialist, New Delhi
42. Dr. Mohd. Farooq, Surgeon, New Delhi
43. *Maulana Mohd. Fazlur Rahim Mujaddedi, Jaipur
44. Mr. A.F. Golam Osmani, MP, New Delhi
45. Maulana Habib Rehan Khan Nadvi Azhari, Darul Tasneef-wat-Tarjuma, Bhopal
46. Mr. Mohd. Hamid Ansari, Ex-VC, AMU, Delhi
47. Mr. Saiyid Hamid, Chancellor, Jamia Hamdard, N. Delhi
48. Mr. Haris Shaheed Kidwai, New Delhi
49. **Dr. M.M. Hasan, Engineer, Bhagalpur
50. Dr. M. Hashim Kidwai, Ex-MP, Delhi
51. Prof. Humayun Murad, Retd. Prof., AMU, Aligarh
52. Mr. Mohd. Ibrahim Ansari, Industrialist, Bhiwandi
53. *Mr. Ibrahim Sheikh, Social Worker, Ahmedabad
54. Dr. S.Q.R. Ilyas, Editor, Akfar-e-Milli, New Delhi
55. Mr. T.P. Imbichammad, General Secretary, All India Education Society, Chennai
56. Mr. P.A. Inamdar, President, Maharashtra Cosmopolitan Education Society, Pune
57. Mr. Iqbal Beg Ramzan Beg Mirza, Social Worker, Ahmedabad
58. Mr. Irfan Khan, Journalist, Mumbai
59. Hakim Mohd. Irfan Al Husaini, Unani Physician, Kolkata
60. Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umari, Vice President, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, New Delhi
61. Dr. Syed Khaleefathullah, Unani Physician, Chennai
62. **Mr. Syed Khalil Ahmed, Retd. Ch. Engineer, N. Delhi
63. Ch. Khurshid Ahmed, Ex-MP, Faridabad
64. Mr. Khurshid Alam Khan, Ex-Governor of Karnataka, New Delhi
65. Mr. Syed Mahmood Ali, Former Joint Secretary to the Govt. of India, New Delhi
66. Mr. Mahmood Bin Muhammad, IPS (Retd.) Hyderabad
67. Dr. Majeed Alam, Former Professor of Surgery, Ranchi
68. Dr. Mumtaz A. Owaisy, Executive Director, M.M. Health Centre, Delhi
69. Mr. S.M.Y. Nadeem, Former Joint Secretary to the Govt. of India, New Delhi
70. Prof. Nafees Ahmad, Prof. in Ophthalmic-Biochemistry, AMU, Aligarh
71. Dr. Mohd. Naim Hamid, Physician, Kanpur
72. Mr. Mohammad Naim Khan, Former ED Coordination, IOC, Delhi
73. Mr. S.M. Naseem, IPS (Retd.), Lucknow
74. Mr. Navaid Hamid, Secretary, MOEMIN, Delhi
75. Maulana Nizamuddin Islahi, Azamgarh (UP).
76. Maulana Syed Nizamuddin, General Secretary, All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Patna
77. Mrs. Nusrat Shervani, Educationist, Gurgaon.
78. Dr. Phiroz A. Poonawalla, Industrialist, President, Turnaround Management Foundation, Pune
79. Mr. Qamarul Islam, Ex-Minister for Labour, Government of Karnataka, Bangalore
80. Maulana S. Rahat Husain Hashmi, Retired Public Servant, New Delhi
81. Dr. N. Rasul Siddiqui, Ex-Addl. Industrial Adviser to Govt. of India, New Delhi
82. Prof. Ahmad Sajjad, Chairman, Markaz-e-Adab-o-Science, Ranchi
83. Maulana Salman Husaini Nadwi, Lucknow
84. Mr. Salman Khurshid, Senior Advocate, New Delhi
85. Mr. Justice Mohd. Sardar Ali Khan, Jurist, Hyderabad
86. Shahzada Shabbir Bhai Nuruddin, Mumbai
87. Mr. Syed Shahabuddin, Ex-MP, Delhi
88. Mr. Shamim Hashmi, Ex-MP, New Delhi
89. Mr. Justice P.K. Shamsuddin, Ex-Judge, Cochin
90. Ch. Shabbir Ahmed Salaria, Ex-MP, Jammu
91. Prof. Shakeel Ahmad, Ex-VC, Bihar Univ., New Delhi
92. Mr. S. Shariful Hasan Naqvi, Delhi
93. Maulana Mohd. Sirajul Hasan, Ex.Amir, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Raichur
94. Mr. Waris Rasheed Kidwai, New Delhi
95. Dr. S.N.A. Rizvi, Delhi
96. Prof. Umar Hayat Khan Ghouri, Retd. Prof. of Urdu Literaturer, Bhopal
97. Maj. Gen. Waseem Mallick Khairwi, Patna
98. Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan, Editor, Milli Gazette, N. Delhi
99. Mr. Syed Zahoor Qasim, Vice-Chairman, Society for Indian Ocean Studies, New Delhi
100. Maulana Zeeshan Hedayati, President, Majlis-e-Fikr-o-Amal, Delhi
* Dropped on 22 August, 2005
** Enrolled in September, 2005
Formation of Adhoc MMM, Tamil Nadu
Letter to Dr Abdul Sattar, 19 August, 2005
I thank you for your kind letter of 1 August 2005 introducing me to Prof. H.A. Samad. As I explained to you on the phone, for the present I am thinking in terms of an Ad hoc MMM Tamil Nadu which the Central Office will nominate. Prof Samad appears too be a suitable person to be appointed as a General Secretary with a public figure as the President.
Incidentally, I shall request you to speak to Mr M.A. K. Tayab whom I knew and who may remember me and request him to join the MMM. He shall then be an ex-officio Member of the MMM Tamil Nadu and I shall be happy to nominate him as President, if Dr. Kalifatullah refuses my offer.
Initially the primary responsibility of the MMM Tamil Nadu is to monitore the situation of the Muslim community in Tamil Nadu and to draw the attention of the State authorities, the political parties, the mass media and Muslim organizations for remedial measures and to review the situation at the General Body of the Working Committee level every two or three months. After one year, in the course of which more Members may be admitted, the Ad hoc MMM may be reconstituted and regular office bearers may be elected by the Members.
As for the dissident group, my only point of objection is, as I explained to you, their registration of their organization in the name of original organization, AIMMM & this causing public confusion. However, we are prepared to admit all former members of 1990 MMM list so that they may participate on equal terms in the forthcoming elections in December 2005. However, we cannot make any amendment in any provision of the Dastoor to create any new posts to accommodate anyone. If the dissident group has any alternative suggestion, we would be happy to consider it on hearing from them and enter into a dialogue for reunification, if that appears to be feasible.
II - Letter to Dr Abdul Sattar, 14 Sept., 2005
I welcome you to the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat and thank you for your letter of 29.8.2005 which we discussed. Subsequently we spoke on phone.
As proposed, a meeting of all those mentioned in the list I gave you, plus others, may be convened. You may also like to speak to them personally.
For convening the meeting, I authorise the formation of a Committee for Reorganising the Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (MMM), Tamil Nadu, with Mr. H. Abdus Samad as Convener. The other members will be Janab A. Raquib, Amir, JIH, Tamil Nadu, Mr. Moosa Raza, Mr. T.P. Imbichimmad and yourself. After your contacts/meeting, you may advise me on the other names to be added immediately for formal notification of the Adhoc MMM, Tamil Nadu. I am sending a copy of this letter to Principal H. Abdus Samad with the request that he may kindly accept nomination.
The Adhoc Committee may enroll new members in accordance with the Dastoor and subsequently elect its office-bearers when it has about 21 paid members. Until then Mr. A. Samad shall continue to be the Convener.
Even before the Adhoc Committee is formed, I hope the organization shall begin its work of monitoring and responding to Muslim situation in Tamil Nadu at the earliest, under the leadership of Principal A. Samad.
Reconstitution of Adhoc MMM– UP (East)
Notification, 22 September, 2005
The Adhoc Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, UP (East) shall have the following composition.
I. Representatives of Markazi Jamaats:
All India Shia Conference
1. Mr. Syed Mohd. Hasnain Abidi, Retd. Scientist, Din Dayal Road, Ashrafabad, Lucknow. Ph: 0522-226 2341.
2. Mr. Riazul Abbas, Advocate, High Court, Golaganj, Lucknow. Ph: 0522-201 0338
3. Mr. Mohd. Ahmad, Amir Halqa, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Molvi Ganj, Lucknow. Mob: 94155 43906.
4. Mr. Mohd. Khalid, Member, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Molvi Tandan Market, 8 Lal Bagh, Lucknow - 226 001.
II. Representatives of State Organizations:
III. Eminent Individuals:
1. Mr. Mohd. Rafi Siddiqui, ex-MLA, Manager, Sunni Inter College, Din Dayal Road, Ashrafabad, Lucknow. Ph: 0522-226 9450
2. Mr. Munnawar Sultan, Advocate, Din Dayal Road, Ashrafabad, Lucknow. Ph: 0522-226 1554.
3. Mr. Aminuddin Shujauddin, Editor, Tameer-e-Hayat, Nadwatul Ulama, Daliganj, Lucknow.
4. Mr. Irfan Ahmad,Social Activist, 229/85-A, Sohbatiya Bagh,Raja Bazar, Lucknow. Ph: 0522-226 003, Mob: 93359 26252
5. Dr. Ali Mustafa, Taluqedar,Badi Sarkar,Zaipur, Barabanki.
6. Mr. Niyaz Ahmad, Session Judge, Lucknow, B-3, Ali Shah Nagar, Janki Puram, Sector-I, Lucknow. Ph: 273 3064 Mob: 94151 64021
IV. Members of Markazi Majlis-e-Mushawarat (Ex-Officio):
1. Mr. Mohd. Sulaiman, President, Indian National League, Kanpur – 208 001. Ph: 254 5474
2. Mr. Mohd. Naim Hamid, Kanpur
3. Maulana Salman Hasni Nadwi, Lucknow
4. Mr. S.M. Naseem, IPS (Retd.), Lucknow
5. Mr. Mohd. Asif Khan, Lucknow
Mr. S.M.H. Abidi is nominated as the Convener. He is requested to suggest other nams of persons of State eminence in consultation with other members upto 31 December, 2005. Thereafter, he may convene a meeting to elect State Office-bearers in accordance with the Constitution of the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, under intimation to undersigned.
False Claims and Propaganda by Fake Mushawarat
Letter to The Milli Gazette, 15 September, 2005
Apropos the response of the dissident group in your issue of 1-16 September, 2005, I find it indeed amazing that Mr. S.M. Anwarul Islam, styling himself as the Organising Secretary of the dissident group which continues to use the name of the parent body, accuses the vast majority of the members who did not join them as ‘defectors’! This accusation speaks for itself, exposes the illegal, immoral and undemocratic stand adopted by the dissidents and shows the world of make-believe which they inhabit.
No constitution lays down the procedural modalities for elections. So the new modalities appear to constitute a culture shock for those who were used to one shot ‘Majlisi Intekhab’, when the then General Secretary, in the light of the consensus built up in the Majlis-e-Mushawarat after many discussions, formal and informal, in favour of formalization of the election procedure, sent a circular on 3 April, 2000 to all Constituent Members and office-bearers on the proposed procedure for the coming election of office-bearers. No one recorded any objection.
On 2 May, 2000, the General Secretary sent a reminder to elicit views . No one recorded any objection.
On 12 May, 2000, the Central Office published the list of 93 Members of the Markazi Majlis-e-Mushawarat who were to constitute electoral college for the election. No one registered any objection.
On 20 May 2000, in consultation with the President and other Members of the Markazi Majlis-e-Amla (MMA), the General Secretary appointed Mr. A.R. Shervani as the Returning Officer. There was no objection.
On 23 May 2000, the Returning Officer published the Programme for Election and informed all members of the MMM that nomination shall begin on 29 May and the electoral process shall be completed at the meeting of the MMM on 18 June, 2000. There was no objection.
On 29 May 2000 nominations began.
On 31 May 2000, the President informed the General Secretary that 4 members had requisitioned an emergency meeting of the MMA on 16 June. Although it was signed by only 4 members and not 5, as required under the Dastoor, on 1 June 2000, the General Secretary issued the Notice for the Meeting of the MMA on 16 June, 2000 as directed by the President.
On 4 June 2000, the President directed him to cancel the Election Meeting of the MMM scheduled for 18 June, 2000.
On 5 June 2000, the G.S. issued a notice of cancellation, as directed by the President.
On 7 June 2000, 10 members of the MMM submitted a memorandum to the President/General Secretary for restoring the 18 June meeting, since the electoral process had begun. The President did not respond.
The G.S. sought instruction from the President, the President did not reply.
On 8 June 2000, the President himself convened a meeting of the MMA on 17 June for fixing another date and place for the Election Meeting of the MMM for holding an election in the traditional manner. This was totally illegal because the requisition by 10 members of the MMA was still pending.
On 10 June, the GS reminded the President and set the deadline of 48 hours for his instruction. Since no reply was received from the President, on 12 June the GS informed all members of the MMM that the meeting of the MMA convened by him on 16 June was cancelled and Election Meeting of the MMM on 18 June was restored. On 14 June, the GS personally contacted the President. There was no response. On 15 June, the GS personally explained the position in detail to the President. There was no response.
On 17 June, the President held a meeting of the MMA as convened by him. It was attended by only 9 members, including 2 who were not included in the reconstituted MMM and decided to float a parallel AIMMM, nullify the reconstituted MMM and form a new MMM and convene its meeting on 8 July, 2000 to elect office-bearers.
On 18 June, the Election Meeting of the MMM was held, the R.O. presented his formal Report which was endorsed. The new office-bearers, including the undersigned, assumed charge for the term 2000-2003.
On 8 July, the dissident body reportedly met and elected former President as President. Names of the participants were not disclosed.
This is the complete chronology of how the dissident group floated a parallel body. It has never declared the names of members of its General Body, even of its Working Committee.
On 29 July, 2000, the MMA disaffiliated 3 member Jamaats and struck off the membership of their 10 representatives and of 7 other individual members from the MMM, 17 out of 93! Yet Mr. Islam has the audacity to call us ‘defectors’.
Names of the ‘Objectors’
Mr. Islam names 10 ‘prominent members’ who had objected. Out of them 3 namely Mr. Samiullah, Mr. Alam Badi Azmi and Mr. Khalid Sabir do not figure in the list of MMM for 2000-2003. Mr. Junaid Ahmad Banarsi, the former Treasurer attended the Election Meeting of 18 June and endorsed the election results. Late Maulana Syed Ahmad Hashmi had participated in the election process and indeed nominated me for Presidentship. Thus his list goes down to half! It is known that Maulana Hashmi and 3 other dissidents had signed the requisition of 30 May for emergency meeting of the MMA. But Mr. Islam does not state how and when the others recorded their objection.
The questions which remain unanswered until today are:
1. Why didn’t the former President or any of the dissidents ever object to the ‘non-traditional’ election procedure between 3 April and 29 May, 2000?
2. Why didn’t any dissident file his nomination?
3. Why didn’t the President respond to the Requisition of 7 June by 10 Members or give his instruction to the then GS despite repeated requests?
4. How can 7 members of the MMM who met on 17 June decide the fate of the AIMMM?
It was their democratic right to resign from the AIMMM, form a new organization, but how can they hijack and use the original name of the parent body? By what moral authority? Both banks refused to recognize them. Even in the application of registration in August 2000 the new body has not claimed its descent from the original AIMMM but registered itself as a new organization with a new constitution without giving the names of the members of their General Body or the date of the election of their present office bearers or their executive. In the application for registration, the applicants have mentioned only 11 names of which 8 are known dissidents! Of the three others, one has already dissociated himself and in fact joined the AIMMM. So how do they go on claiming to be what they know they are not? Except to exploit the prestige of the real AIMMM and misguide the public.
Real Reason behind the Dissidence
Maulana Ahmad Ali Qasmi, General Secretary during 1991-1995, had unauthorisedly diverted, with the collusion of the then Treasurer Mr. Qamar Kazmi, Rs.6,79,347 from the fixed deposits of the AIMMM and utilized it for running the Central Office out of which 1,50,000 was misappropriated by Mr. Kazmi. The balance of Rs. 5,29,347 plus the current income of the Mushawarat from membership fees etc. was spent by the then GS to run the office. Despite repeated requests, the President did not exert any pressure on Mr. Kazmi to return the amount nor did he ask the former GS to render account of the money diverted from Fixed Deposit. It is matter of record that during 1995-2000 Maulana Shafi Moonis, who became the GS, did not use a paisa from the fixed deposits for the office. This tradition has been maintained since June 2000. This explains why Maulana A.A. Qasmi was indeed very anxious to become the GS again in May 2000 to cover up the unaudited expenditure for the period 1991-95 when he was the GS. So was Mr. Kazmi anxious to ensure that the old regime continued! Do we need to say more and what was behind the stratagem to break the Mushawarat?
I may add that the new regime decided to close the matter because litigation would have consumed energy, money and time and washed dirty linen in public.
To support my statement that the President (1995-2000) had little time for the Mushawarat, I would like to give some statistics. Between 1995-2000, the MMM met only 4 times. Since 2000, it is regularly meeting every 4 months. The MMA met 9 times over 4-1/2 years, once every 6 months. Now it meets every 2 months. More meetings could not be convened by the then GS because the President was not available or he cancelled the meeting after having fixed a date! He invariably came late and left after a couple of hours. Even the bank account could not be operated. This is why the MMA decided to open a new account with the Central Bank of India to be operated by the General Secretary, the Treasurer and Mr. Arshad Kidwai who were all living in Delhi.
I shall not go into the happenings in Lucknow in 1995 because those who lost and accepted the results did not break the organization and continued to cooperate fully with the new team. However, I would like to mention that I would have been with my right to object to the nomination of Maulana Salim Qasmi on the ground of absence as my nomination in 1991 was rejected on the same ground. But I did not.
|ALIGARH MUSLIM UNIVERSITY
‘Guest’ Lecturers in AMU
I - Letter to VC, AMU, 25 July, 2005
I am told that a large number of posts of Lecturers have remained vacant (because the Selection Committees have either not been constituted or not convened) and the AMU is appointing some Lecturers, on a fixed salary, to fill up the gap.
If so, I would be grateful to know the terms and conditions of such temporary adhoc appointments.
I would also like to understand why the Selection Committee procedure does not seem to work and what the possible alternative is and whether the statutes can be suitably changed.
II - Letter to VC, AMU, 19 August, 2005
I thank you for your kind letter of 8 August, 2005 regarding the appointment of Guest Lecturers.
First of all, I am relieved to know that the General Selection Committee (GSC) procedure is progressing well and that nearly 450 University/school teachers were appointed during 2004 and meetings of the Committee for 2005 may begin soon. I would be grateful for the number of current vacancies of University teachers, grade-wise, slated to be filled during 2005.
I thank you for the AMU Guidelines for the engagement of Guest Faculty. I request you to consider that Section 29 of the AMU Statute may be suitably amended so that vacancies of Professors and Readers to be filled by Guest Lecturers under the Scheme on a purely temporary basis, for the period that the posts remains vacant.
Student’s Complaint against Provost
Letter to VC, AMU, 13 September, 2005
May I draw your attention to the letter by some Aquil Durrani, a resident of Allama Iqbal Hall in the AMU, in the Qaumi Awaz of 13.9.2005?
He makes very serious allegations against the former Provost Mr. Syed Ahsan. I feel that the University should urgently look into the allegations and issue a release on its findings. I also suggest that if the allegations are found to be well-founded, suitable action should be taken against Mr. Ahsan. And in case the allegations are found to be baseless, Mr. Durrani should face severe disciplinary action.
On Situation in Assam
Statement of MMA, 13 August, 2005
The Markazi Majlis-e-Amla
· Considers that the Supreme Court judgment striking down the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act, 1983 has generated a deep sense of fear and apprehension in the mind of Bengali speaking minority in Assam and requests the Union Government to amend the Foreigners Act 1946, Foreigners Tribunal Order, 1964 and the Citizenship Act, 1955 urgently, if possible initially by means of Ordinances, in order to bring detection of illegal migrants within the judicial orbit, to bar the reopening of cases decided under the IMDT Act, to repeal the Expulsion Act, 1950, with a view to restore the confidence of the Bengali-speaking Muslim minority of Assam in the rule of law.
· Also requests the Government of Assam to direct the district officials to take all possible measures to reassure the minority that their human and legal rights shall be defended against any harassment by the politically motivated elements and extortion by the lower administration.
Harassment of Bengali-Speaking Persons
Statement, 13 July, 2005
“The AIMMM has taken note of the Order of the Supreme Court striking down the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act, 1983 and transferring the pending cases to be tried by Tribunals to be set up under the Foreigners’ Act.
The AIMMM would like to point out that the basic provision of the Foreigners’ Act, 1948 violates the principle of natural justice as a citizen accused of being a foreign national is required to prove that he is not a foreign national but a citizen.
The AIMMM apprehends that all Bengali-speaking people in Assam, particularly those professing Islam or who are Muslims by name or appearance shall be massively subjected to physical and legal harassment as obtained in the early 1980s and that the question of their citizenship shall be reopened at the behest of hostile groups and organizations.
The AIMMM calls upon the State Government to maintain law and order and to ensure through suitable executive instructions that those who have been enrolled as voters and those who are citizens by birth are not disturbed and protected from harassment.
The AIMMM also requests the Union Government to take all possible measures to protect the Bengali-speaking citizens in Assam and consider all possible alternatives like enactment of a law free of any constitutional vice pointed out by the Supreme Court in the IMDT Act, 1983 and further amendment of the Foreigners’ Act to bring it in line with the principle of natural justice.”
Real Rate of Growth of Muslims in Assam
Letter to The Milli Gazette, 31 August, 2005
Please refer to Mr. M.H. Rahman’s letter on Assam Population in your issue.
I have myself been working at the decadal as well as cumulative rates of growth of the total, Hindu and Muslim populations since 1951 to 2001 and I have come to the tentative finding that the Census operation in Assam, particularly after 1971 shows many inexplicable rises and falls e.g. in respect of both Hindu and Muslim population in 1991 and in 2001. Hindu population was obviously under-enumerated and perhaps the Muslims are also over-enumerated, in the political environment generated by the Anti-Foreigners Movement.
However, it is not possible to quantify the extent of under-enumeration of the Hindus or the over-enumeration of the Muslims on the basis of the available data. So this exercise does not support the conclusion that there was no illegal immigration from Bangladesh. My hunch is that since 1971, Hindu immigration level is higher than Muslims.
What is needed is a mid-term Census of the border districts by neutral enumerators, say, on 1.1.2006 followed by the issue of Residence Cards to those physically counted (without any reflection on their citizenship status), strict maintenance of records of birth and deaths and a quarterly check of the population by the local police in all villages/habitation within a 10 km. zone of the international border.
At the time of Census 2011, teams of Muslim volunteers should move with the enumerators to ensure accurate enumeration without any addition or omission.
Respect of Human and Constitutional Rights of Illegal Migrants
Letter to Lt. Governor of Delhi, 31 August, 2005
You may kindly recall my representation to you regarding the inhuman practices of the Delhi Police in detecting, detaining and deporting Bengali speaking persons, who are suspected to be illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. As you are aware, they have to meet the target of 1,500 deportees every month as set by the Delhi High court. This is indeed amazing that instead of ensuring that the process at every stage is in accordance with the law, the Hon’ble High Court has set an arbitrary target! I am not aware whether the persons who are apprehended by the Delhi Police are produced before the competent Court or Tribunal, which may examine, the police case, and give a chance to the accused to present his case. Nor is it clear how after branding a person or a family as illegal immigrant how the Delhi Police maintains them before they are taken to the border and ‘deported’. Thirdly, it is not clear whether they are simply ‘pushed back’ into Bangladesh or formally handed over to Bangladeshi authorities as deportees.
I request you to kindly direct the Counsel concerned to seek a review of the arbitrary target set by the High Court and, at the same to review the procedure for identification as illegal immigrants, their detention, custody and then deportation both from human rights angle and the demands of the international laws.
Pakistani Illegally Overstaying in India
Letter to MOS Home Affairs, 19 August, 2005
This has reference to your reply in Rajya Sabha on 3rd August 2005 regarding over-staying Pakistani nationals. These Pakistanis entered India legally, that there is no record of their exit and they are untraceable at the address mentioned in their visa applications. But it is possible that some of them have died while in India. Some may even have I therefore, suggest that the list be reviewed in the light of their age on the date of arrival.
On Terrorist Attack on Ayodhya Site
Statement of MMA, 13 August, 2005
The Markazi Majlis-e-Amla
* Condemns the terrorist attack on the acquired area in Ayodhya and calls upon the authorities to undertake urgent investigation and expose the culprits and prosecute them.
* Calls upon Sangh Parivar, particularly the VHP and the BJP to stop their agitation on the Ayodhya question and to commit itself, as the Muslim community has done, to accept the final judicial verdict whatever it be, and cooperate in the implementation of the road map drawn by the Supreme Court in October 1999.
* Takes this opportunity to request the district and local authorities in Ayodhya not to obstruct repair and maintenance of Masjid, Dargahs and Maqbaras in Ayodhya by the community and the fencing of the Qabristans.
Terrorist Attack in Ayodhya Site
AIMMM and BMMCC Statement, 6 July, 2005
“The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) and the Babari Masjid Movement Coordination Committee (BMMCC) totally and unequivocally condemn the attack on the disputed site in Ayodhya by the terrorists, whatever be their religion or nationality.
The AIMMM and the BMMCC appeal to the Sangh Parivar, particularly the BJP, not to exploit the attack for political purposes.
The AIMMM and the BMMCC feel that while the security personnel rose to the occasion, there was apparently some failure of intelligence and communication gap between the Union and State Governments and violation of security procedure. They feel that the security of the entire acquired area, within which the disputed area lies, needs to be tightened.
The AIMMM and the BMMCC reiterate their commitment peacefully to wait for the final judicial verdict on the dispute and accept it, whatever it may be, and request all parties concerned also to cooperate in expediting the judicial process and implementing the final verdict in accordance with the directive of the Supreme Court.”
Harassment of Muslims in Ayodhya
Letter to HM Shivraj Patil, 19 August, 2005
The Muslim community of Ayodhya is disturbed by the rumour that those living close to the Acquired Area may be forced to move out of their present habitations. They also feel that after the recent terrorist attack on the Acquired Area, every one of them is under a cloud. I request that the position regarding further enlargement of the Acquired Area may be clarified and the local administration be advised to reassure the small Muslim community living in Ayodhya of consideration & protect them from harassment.
Allahabad HC to Restore Trial of L.K. Advani
AIMMM & BMMCC Statement, 7 July, 2005
“The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) and the Babari Masjid Movement Coordination Committee (BMMCC) welcome the decision of the Allahabad High Court to set aside the Order of Special Court, Rae Bareli, dropping criminal charges against Shri L.K. Advani in connection with the Demolition of the Babari Masjid on 6 December, 1992.
The AIMMM and the BMMCC urge the Government of Uttar Pradesh to take immediate steps to issue a revised Notification, as earlier suggested by the Allahabad High Court, so that the trial of all accused under both FIR’s relating to the Demolition, covered by the comprehensive chargesheet of the CBI, may be resumed by the Special Court, Lucknow.
The AIMMM and the BMMCC appeal to the leaders of the BJP and the VHP to refrain from raising technical obstacles to the course of the law with a view to slow down or subvert the trial.”
Commit BJP to Accept Final Judicial Verdict
AIMMM & BMMCC Statement, 29 July, 2005
“All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) and Babari Masjid Movement Coordination Committee (BMMCC) have taken note the statement of Shri L.K. Advani on ways to fulfill the standing commitment of the BJP (and the Sangh Parivar) to build a Ram Temple on the site of the Babari Masjid.
Shri Advani has suggested three approaches to this target:
1) Cabinet Resolution on the pattern of the one adopted for the reconstruction of the Somnath Mandir;
2) Voluntary Surrender by the Muslim community of its rights over the Babari Masjid site; and
3) Judicial Verdict in favour of the Hindu community.
The Somnath parallel, Shri Advani knows, does not apply as there was no dispute about history of the site; there was no Muslim claim; there was no litigation.
The second option is out of question because the standing Masjid was unlawfully demolished and the object of negotiations was always to coerce Muslims to surrender their rights over the site and not to seek a compromise.
The third option is adjudication on which both sides converge. But Shri L.K. Advani has cleverly omitted to commit himself to wait for and to accept the final judicial verdict in consonance with his oath of loyalty to the Constitution. Shri Advani’s difficulties with his ideological and political masters – the RSS are understandable. But a national leader of his stature in a democracy cannot ignore the Rule of Law.
The AIMMM/BMMCC take this opportunity to reiterate the commitment to accept and abide by the final judicial verdict and to reaffirm their faith in the judiciary and appeal to Shri L.K. Advani to commit his party to accept the final judicial verdict, whatever it may be.
Narasimha Rao’s Role in Demolition and
I - Letter to Impact International, 3 June, 2005
Ghazali Khan’s obituary of P.V. Narasimha Rao , who was the Prime Minister of India during 1991-96 and thus presided over the Demolition of the Babari Masjid in 1992, quotes Shahid Siddiqui at length. This version is largely imaginary. I must set the record straight.
All Muslim leaders who had gathered at Mr. Ebrahim Sulaiman Sait’s residence in the evening of 6 December, 1992 knew that the Babari Masjid had been completely demolished. We saw the President and the Prime Minister in quick succession. The President had indeed broken a convention by issuing a Statement, an expression of his deep anguish, which was critical of his government’s failure to protect the Masjid.
At the Prime Minister’s residence, Narasimha Rao came in after a few minutes and sat on my right. He had the mask of sorrow and anguish on his face and kept on muttering ‘I was deceived’. Then he turned to me suddenly and asked me ‘Ab kya kiya jaye’! I told him that if indeed he was sorry for what had happened, he should immediately announce that he would rebuild the Babari Masjid. He said yes and then asked when he should make the announcement. I said ‘as soon as possible’. He said that the State Government had been dismissed and placed under President’s Rule, his broadcast to the nation was being drafted and he would include this announcement. This he did. Subsequently in an interview to the BBC he repeated this assurance. Home Minister Chavan reiterated it on the floor of the Parliament on 18 December.
Of course, Narasimha Rao was at his deceptive best. While he spoke and during the period immediately following the Demolition, a new reality was being created at demolition site. The rubble was levelled, a platform was built, the idols of Rama and Lakshman that had been removed were re-installed under a canopy and a make-shift Mandir was built, under the President’s Rule within 24 hours, exactly on the spot that the Vishwa Hindu Parishad marked out as the sanctum sanctorum of the proposed Ram Mandir. The Commandant of the CRPF on duty asked for permission to throw out the Karsevaks but this was refused. By the evening of 7 December or early hours of 8 December, a Mandir stood where the Masjid was! This was given legal existence by the Ordinance to acquire the disputed area in Ayodhya, by freezing the post-demolition situation as on 17 December.
Subsequently his Home Minister argued in the Lok Sabha on 18 December, 1992 that Narasimha Rao had only agreed to build a Masjid nearby but not to rebuild the Babari Masjid on the original site. As the main spokesman of the Babari Masjid Movement, I crossed swords with him and later wrote to Narasimha Rao that Muslim India regarded him as much, if not more responsible for the Demolition than the Sangh Parivar. The fact is that he deliberately refused to impose President’s Rule despite advice from intelligence sources and senior political advisors because he had assured the Sangh Parivar of his benign neglect. Indeed he did not lift a finger when the Demolition began and while it went on. He could have imposed President’s Rule any time after 12 noon and Central forces could have entered Ayodhya and saved the Masjid from complete demolition. He did not because perhaps he thought that the demolition would ‘solve’ the problem.
Instead, he lost power and position in the party. The Muslims hated him. The Congressmen also felt that he had deliberately handed over UP to the BJP. For the rest of his life he remained a political pariah and lived the life of a recluse.
Reply from Impact International, 3 June, 2005
Many thanks for setting the record straight.
|WAKF - JAMA MASJID
Restoration of Jama Masjid, Delhi, by Delhi High Court to Wakf Board
I- Statement of MMA, 13 August, 2005
The Markazi Majlis-e-Amla
* Takes note of the order of the Delhi High Court which upholds the legal authority of the Delhi Waqf Board and instructs the DDA and MCD to remove all unauthorized constructions outside and within Jama Masjid and the Imam of the Jama Masjid to render account to the Board for the income which accrued to the Masjid since 1975.
* Urges the Delhi Waqf Board also to take its responsibility as custodian of the Jama Masjid seriously and appoint a Managing Committee consisting of representative Muslim personalities of national eminence, in order to protect Jama Masjid from occupation or misuse by the vested interest.
* Takes this opportunity to reiterate its opposition to the declaration of the Jama Masjid as a protected monument under the ASI and requests the Union Government to allocate special funds for its urgent repair and conservation to be undertaken by the Delhi Waqf Board under the technical supervision of ASI.
No ‘Special’ Status for Imam
Letter to Delhi Wakf Board, 15 July, 2005
Mr. Ahmad Bukhari’s advocate demanded a special disparate for him as a ‘Special Imam’. There is nothing like a ‘Special Imam’ in Islam. All Masjids are equal (with the exception of the three Holy Mosques at Mecca, Madina and Jerusalem) and all Imams are equal as functionaries employed by the Mutawallis of the Masjids to lead the congregational prayer.
The word ‘Imam’ is not to be used in the sense that Imam Abu Hanifa or Imam Shafei or Imam Malik or Imam Ibn Hambal or Imam Jafar Sadiq were Imams, but simply as ‘Khatib’, the one who gives the Friday Khutba in a Masjid and leads congregational prayers.
Further, normally the Imam ‘Khatib’ should have a religious qualification. To the best of knowledge, neither Mr. Ahmad Bukhari nor his father Mr. Abdullah Bukhari had any religious qualifications from any known Madrasa or Darul Uloom.
It has, however, not been correctly stated by Mr. Waziri that Ahmad Bukhari is only Naib Imam. In fact he was appointed as Imam by his father in a coronation ceremony attended by the then Chairman of the Delhi Wakf Board. I had protested then on the procedure because the post of Imam of Masjid is not hereditary.
Finally, Mr. Bukhari should render the account of all receipts by him/his father since his father declared his ‘independence’ in 1975, by way of gifts and donations, fees, rents etc.
The Income Tax Department should also look into the assets of the family which have sky-rocketted since 1975. To the best of public knowledge, neither the father nor the son has any other ostensible means of income.
No BJP’s Intervention in Jama Masjid Case
Statement, 21 July, 2005
“The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) condemns the intervention of the BJP, through the former Minister Shri Shahnawaz Husain, in support of continuing the present management of the Jama Masjid, Delhi and of the so-called Jama Masjid Foundation Trust. His accusation against the Delhi Wakf Board of many acts of omission and commission in respect of other Wakf properties has no relevance to the case of the Jama Masjid.
Incidentally, Mr. Husain began his political career with nomination by the then BJP-Government of Delhi to the Wakf Board. He now sheds tears at the inefficiency and corruption in the Wakf Board and its failure to perform its statutory duty of having unlawful occupation of Wakf properties vacated and managing and protecting the Wakf properties in its hands to the best advantage of the Community. Mr. Husain should inform the Delhi Muslims of what he did, as a member of the Wakf Board and subsequently as a Minister in the NDA Government to improve the situation.
More importantly, Shri Husain grants a certificate to the Trust for having well-managed the Jama Masjid. This is a natural extension of his statement that the Muslim community has ‘full confidence in the Trust and the leadership of Mr. Ahmed Bukhari’. He is obviously repaying the debt he and his party owe to Mr. Ahmed Bukhari for his political support in the General Election, 2004! When Mr. Husain himself and his party do not enjoy the slightest confidence of the Muslim community, his certificate will not do Mr. Bukhari much good.
The question of the statutory duty and responsibility of the Delhi Wakf Board and its status in relation to the Jama Masjid is presently subjudice and shall be determined judicially in accordance with the provisions of the Wakf Act, 1995.
The High Court may also, inter alia, decide the status of the Trust through which the Bukharis tried to highjack the Jama Masjid, collect gifts and donations in its name and keep the Wakf Board out. The AIMMM requests that the Delhi Wakf Board should question the legality of the Trust and call upon the Trustees to close their shop and render account of the collections made since 1995.
No Negotiation between DWB and Bukharis
Letter to Chairman, DWB, 19 August, 2005
The advocate for the Imam of Jama Masjid is reported to have informed the Delhi High Court on 3rd August 2005 as follows:-
“The Imam had three meetings with the Wakf Board Chairman in the past three days and the later had told him that he was going to constitute a committee to look after the affairs of the historic mosque and that he should submit his accounts to the Committee.”
We are not in principle against the establishment of a Managing Committee for the Jama Masjid by the Delhi Wakf Board but its membership should comprise of Muslim citizens of national eminence, preferably those residing in Delhi, in view of the national and international importance of the Jama Masjid. The Committee should include the protem Imam of the Jama Masjid appointed by the Wakf Board but he should not have the privilege to nominate any additional members. In any case, the Committee should not include any member of the ‘Jama Masjid Foundation Trust’ floated by him, which is an illegal body.
We request you not to hold any private negotiations with Mr. Ahmad Bukhari on this public question or any other aspect of the management of the Masjid. Technically, the Wakf Board does not even recognize Mr. Ahmad Bukhari as the Imam of the Masjid and, in any case, his status is that of an employee who has unlawfully occupied the property and has not rendered any account of the income derived from it for the last 30 years.
If the Wakf Board is under political pressure it is your duty to expose it. In any case, you should not succumb to it in the larger interest of the Jama Masjid.
I am sending a copy of this letter to the Lt Governor, the Chief Minister and the Union Minister in charge of Wakf, for their information.
Vacation of Illegal Occupation of 4 Masjids
Letter to Central Wakf Council, 5 July, 2005
Please refer to the continued adverse occupation by non-Muslims of 4 Masjids, including Masjid Gumbadwali in Rajpura, Patiala, and one Idgah. The Muslims of Patiala have filed a petition before the Punjab High Court, after they failed to have them vacated through the Government of Punjab and the Punjab Wakf Board.
I request that the Central Wakf Council may find out the exact position from the Punjab Wakf Board and take up the case with the Government of Punjab.
Claim of MSWB on Bibi ka Maqbara
Letter to Maharashtra State Wakf Board, 21 Aug., 05
It has been reported that the Maharashtra State Wakf Board (MSWB) has claimed control and superintendence of the Bibi ka Maqbara in Aurangabad and issued a notice to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in this regard. We would like to know the historic and religious grounds on which the Wakf Board has based the claim and whether the Bibi ka Maqbara or any other property within its campus is registered with the Wakf Board as a wakf property.
Possible Demolition of Masjids in W. Bengal
Letter to CM, West Bengal, 7 September, 2005
The UNI has reported that district administration has demolished 15 temples in North 24 Parganas for the widening of the B.T. Road and the idols have been transferred to a pandal, till they are installed elsewhere.
It occurs to us that the Government of West Bengal may similarly consider demolition of Masjids which may lie along roads and highways in the State.
We would like to caution you that the temple and the mosque cannot be treated on par because a temple is the abode of an idol and can be rebuilt when the idol is removed. In the case of a Masjid, the site reserved for Namaz, is sacrosanct. This is the key issue in the Babari Masjid Case.
We hope that your Government does not plan to demolish Masjids and we suggest that the alignment of proposed widening of roads be planned to avoid any damage to the prayer area of any Masjid.
Revision of Dargah Khwaja Saheb Act
Letter to M/Social Justice,7 Sept., 2005
The Dargah Khwaja Saheb Act needs to be extensively revised, indeed re-enacted, in the light of the past experience and present requirements.
During my brief tenure as Chairman in the early 90’s I had done a lot of work. Subsequently under the NDA regime, a Joint Parliamentary Committee had made its recommendations after consultation with all intents. I had deposed before it.
I have no idea where the matter stands. But I suggest that you may kindly instruct the Ministry to put the pieces together and start working on a draft law. You may then like to consult the Central Wakf Council in this regard.
Demolition of Masjid in Danapur Cantonment
I - Letter to Minister of Defence, 7 September, 2005
During my recent visit to Patna, on 3 September, 2005 I visited Danapur Cantonment. I could not go to the site of the Masjid as, it being a Sunday, no senior officer was available. But I visited the area, the neighbouring Dargah and the Cantonment Bazar where I spoke with local Muslims who had witnessed its demolition and had protested.
There is no doubt at all that an old dilapidated Masjid stood on the site and its standing structure was demolished by the authorities on or about 12 May, 2005.
The demolition was done to clear the surrounding open area for the construction of a Hockey Stadium and a Widows’ House.
Building material, stone, chips etc. have been stocked there but the construction has not started.
Location of the Masjid: The Masjid lies in the Cantonment area but falls in the outer Sector. It is outside the Bihar Regimental Centre, in the area assigned to the Rashtriya Rifles, lying between two main gates. It lies at a distance of about 50-100 yards from the main road of the Cantonment which is a public thoroughfare, open to all vehicles plying between Danapur and Patna.
Administrative Inquiry: The Muslim community and the Urdu media had taken up the matter through the Imarat-e-Sharia and the State Minorities Commission with the Cantonment authorities and the Governor of Bihar. I am informed that on two occasions, the Cantonment authorities had admitted the existence of the Masjid and the fact of its demolition. Perhaps at the latter’s instance, the Home Secretary of the State Government had asked the DM, Patna, to make an on-the-spot inquiry. I have not seen the Report but I was advised that the Report supports the claim that a Masjid existed.
Religious Sensitivities: Some years ago, an Idgah within the Regimental Centre was sought to be taken over. The local community took up the matter and the then Defence Minister George Fernandes restored the status quo ante. Thus, it recalls and contrasts with surprise why under the UPA regime the Masjid, instead of being repaired and restored, was demolished. I feel that this incident is going to figure in the coming Assembly election.
I strongly recommend:
a) All construction works near the Masjid be stopped and the construction plans be revised to exclude the Masjid site.
b) The Masjid site (not its compound but its plinth) be identified and protected, with a cement floor, a boundary wall and a passage to the main road.
c) The Muslims may be permitted to offer Friday prayer on the site under a Shamiana.
d) If the need for a Masjid in the Cantonment is established in terms of the Muslim personnel and residents this Masjid may be fully restored.
I urge you to take urgent action.
II - Letter to Minister of Defence, 20 Sept., 2005
I have just received your D.O. No. 19(60)/2005/D(Q&C)/9950-F/RM dated 15 September, 2005 regarding the ancient Masjid in the Bihar Regimental Centre, Danapur Cantt.
It appears to me that my letter of 7 September, 2005, written after a personal visit, has not been seen by you. I enclose a copy for ready reference.
I request you to go through my letter, because I feel that the local authorities have tried to suppress facts and mislead you. I request you to appoint a Commission of Inquiry and, for the present, ask the Commanding Officer to maintain the status quo i.e. not to make any construction on the site.
Let me add, as a matter of explanation, that a Masjid is the piece of land permanently dedicated (Wakf) for Namaz. The structure is NOT the Masjid. Therefore, the state of structure does not matter.
The Masjid existed since 1835 and was in use since right upto 1947. Then it fell into disuse and was abandoned or used for storage. So perhaps no structure existed in May, 2005 to be demolished. Yet the Masjid did exist. Since the site exist, the Masjid continues to exist. This is exactly the same situation as the Babari Masjid in Ayodhya.
Adverse Occupation of Masjid in Sasaram
Letter to Mansoor Ahmad, 20 September, 2005
It has been reported that the Union Minister Mrs. Meira Kumar laid the foundation stone of a private school on the land of an old Masjid and Qabristan in Mohalla Bolia of Sasaram on 10.4.2005 and announced a donation of Rs.5 lakhs from the MPLADS fund.
I would request you to contact the Masjid/Qabristan Committee to find out the facts and inform me so that I may take it up with Mrs. Kumar.
A letter may be addressed by the President of the Qabristan Committee/Masjid Mutawalli to Mrs. Kumar and a copy sent to me, giving the particulars of the usurped land, the name of the school and the name of the Manager of the school.
Status of Inquiry in Wakf Scams in W. Bengal
Letter to CWC, 22 September, 2005
You may recall that on 9 July, 1996 the Government of West Bengal appointed a Commission of Inquiry under Justice G.R. Bhattacharya to look into Wakf mismanagement and scams. The Commission submitted its Report on 31 December, 2001 in 4 volumes running into 1455 pages. It examined 159 cases of alienation of Wakf properties between 1947 and 1977.
The Report was submitted to the Assembly on 1 July, 2002. However, the Report fell victim to inter-party maneouvres and nothing can out of it, except a few criminal cases which were filed and have now been forgotten.
I would like to know whether the CWC at any time took cognizance of the Report and then demanded that there should be a CBI inquiry in the Wakf Scams. You may ask for Report from the State Wakf Board on progress in the investigation and prosecution, if any.
|VILIFICATION OF ISLAM
Misinformation about Islam
Letter to The Organiser, 22 September, 2005
Apropos Shri M.S.N. Menon’s article “Were Arabs Against Idols?” in your recent issue.
The question does not make sense. Everyone known that pre-Islamic Arabs worshipped idols while Islam preaches strict monotheism and considers idol-worship a grave sin. So there is no question of Arab not being against idols after they embraced Islam.
Mr. Menon’s article itself is full of misinformation and inaccuracies. I do not have the time to dissect the entire article, word by word. But I give you a few examples.
Firstly, ‘Allah was not the tribal god of any Arab tribe’. Nor did the Holy Prophet ‘instal any idol of Allah in the Kaaba’ after clearing it of the idols of various tribes that had been placed therein since it was built by Prophet Abraham.
Secondly, the most fantastic of all his assertions is simply a figment of his imagination. The Holy Prophet did not ‘allow’ anyone to make ‘idols of Allah’. Nor are any such idols found in any part of the Muslim world.
Thirdly, the ‘Black Stone’ embedded in a corner of the Kaaba was never the main object of Arab worship and is not, repeat not, worshipped by any Muslim. No divinity or spiritual power is attributed to this stone, even by an illiterate, common Muslim.
Islam conceives of Allah as eternal, formless and almighty. Yet the Quran projects Allah in human terms so that his powers and purposes can be understood by human beings.
Islam, no doubt, permitted many rites and customs to continue in all cultures it encountered, if they were not contrary or contradictory to its doctrine of monotheism. But there is a world of difference between show of respect to the Black Stone and the worship of Shiv Linga which Shri Menon, so graciously, suggests to the Muslims! Any Muslim would only say: Thank you, we worship no one but Allah!
Fourthly, neither the Quran nor compilations of Hadith, nor the tombs of saints are worshipped by Muslims.
I request you to publish this letter so that your readers are not misled by the article.
Ban by PRD, Bihar on Urdu Advertisements
Letter to Governor of Bihar, 6 July, 2005
I am surprised to learn that the present Commissioner, PRD, Government of Bihar has stopped all government advertisements to the Urdu Press.
Urdu is the Mother Tongue of 15% of the people of Bihar and the Second Official Language of the State. In this view of the matter, this decision is absolutely unfair and inequitable.
I, therefore, request you urgently to restore government advertisement for the Urdu press of Bihar as obtained earlier.
Grand-in-Aid by Maulana Azad Edu. Foundation
Letter to G.G. Parikh, 19 August, 2005
I thank you for your letter of 6 July, 2005 regarding the Urdu medium High School in Apta, received only a few days back.
I have spoken to the Secretary of the Azad Foundation. I was advised that no grant had been sanctioned so far because the inspection of this School as proscribed could not be undertaken. The new Vice-Chairman Mr. P.A. Inamdar, who has just taken charge is from Pune. The Secretary has requested him that the School be inspected by him or his nominee as soon as possible. Only after the inspection, the ball will start rolling. I shall keep an eye on it.
Urdu Signboards in Railway Stations
Letter to Minister for Railways, 9 September, 2005
Normally, the signboards of Railway Stations and nameplates of railway officers are in English and Hindi/Official Language of the State. Even in States which have declared Urdu as their Second Official Language, there are hardly any Urdu signboards.
We suggest that instead of States, districts should be treated as the unit and all railway stations, big and small, lying in a district should have signboards in Hindi, English, Official Language of the State (if other than Hindi or English) and the Language of the biggest linguistic minority in the district. Thus railway signboard and name plates would become intelligible to a vast majority of the travelling public and serve their purpose more fully.
If this principle is followed, it will cover practically all districts of Urdu-concentration in the country.
We had made this suggestion to several of your predecessors. Some agreed in principle but it still remains to be implemented.
We also suggest that Urdu names be painted properly by trained calligraphists so that the Urdu-knowing public can read it.
Muslims, Urdu and Educational System
I - Letter to Salman Khurshid, 31 August, 2005
Thank you for your letter and for forwarding Rohit’s email.
I have gone through the Rohit paper. I think it leads us nowhere. He confuses Urdu education with Muslim education and then tries to give it a secular twist by compounding it with minority education. But the Urdu, Muslims and Minorities cannot be treated as one.
There is no possibility of enacting a law on Minorities (Muslim) Education.
There is no possibility of Urdu being recognized as accepted as the ‘national’ language. It is a major language but scattered throughout the country without any base. It is the second language in many States, districts, sub-districts and villages and another minority language in many others. Its best bet is to secure honest implementation of constitutional provisions for minority languages, with some clarification and some flexibility, also as optional/additional Second or Third Language for non-Urdu students and as ‘official language’ at all levels of governance where the % of Urdu-speaking population exceeds 10%.
Muslims, as a community, have to be included and persuaded to accept the government educational system, with all its flaws and limitations. Muslims cannot afford a parallel Article 30 system for educating their children.
Madrasas are modernizing their curriculum and syllabi to attract better material and better employment opportunities as well as enrollment in universities. At the lower end several experiments are going on to offer Islamic instructions, simultaneously with normal education for the age group 5-10, or sequentially, with ‘Islamic instruction plus’ as preparatory to normal education (for 6 plus).
In any case it does not absolve the secular and liberal forces from their duty to protect all minority language at every level.
II - Letter to Rohit Tripathi, 13 September, 2005
Thanks for your email of 12 September, 2005.
I just do not have the time to respond in detail to you. I appreciate your love for Urdu and your desire to bring Urdu-speaking children within the orbit of modern education. Though duly 50% of Muslim Indians have Urdu as their Mother Tongue, it is important to undo the denial of Urdu to such Urdu-speaking children. But religious instruction is deemed essential by Muslim parents for all their children more than learning Urdu. That is why the Kerala model appeals to me. Separate the 2 channels, with government having no role in religious instruction. But you seem to be more anxious to ‘secularize’ religious instruction. I do not understand what is at the back of your mind. After all less than 5% of Muslim children go into Madrasas beyond Maktabs. I am not worried about 5%, I am worried about the other 95%.
The problem about legislation on minority (Urdu/Muslim) education is how to weave it into the legislation on the anvil for free and compulsory schooling for all. Apart from universal territorial coverage, the question essentially is of content, specially the medium of instruction at various levels and the language component through school.
The problem of linguistic deprivation is faced by all linguistic groups including the Hindi-speaking. This is a pan-Indian problem. So perhaps a possible approach would be to have a legislation on implementation of Articles 347 and 350A. Beyond this I would suggest you concretize your ideas in the form of a draft Bill. Both Salman and I can then go over it.
Deputation of Urdu Teachers to Kathmandu
Letter to Minister of HRD, 13 September, 2005
May I draw your attention to the report (The Indian Express, 13 September, 2005) on the closure of the Department of Urdu in the Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, because of Pakistan stopping the deputation of Urdu Professor for its degree course in Urdu.
The University, it is reported, has now contacted Indian Embassy in Kathmandu for getting Urdu teachers.
I request you to authorize the Embassy to respond positively and offer one or two teachers, perhaps one Lecturer and one Reader, and finalise the modalities.
You may nominate the National Council for the Promotion of Urdu Language as the implementing agency on our side.
Elimination of Urdu from Administrative Language
Letter to CM, Haryana, 24 Sept., 2005
I have just read the Tribune report on the move by the Haryana Police to eliminate Urdu words and replace them by Hindi words, while Urdu is the Second Official Language of Haryana.
This is a retrograde step and against the spirit of the Constituent Assembly’s decision to make Hindi and not Hindustani as the Official Language of the Union. Indeed it is impossible to separate Urdu and Hindi words which are currently in use, except on the basis of their historic origin.
The test of Official Language is public comprehension which is based on common usage. Substitution of common phrases and words on account of origin will only distance the administration from the people and make it more difficult for them to participate in the process.
Also a language prosper only by keeping its doors open and not by throwing the ‘others’ out. English has absorbed thousands of words from other languages and continues to do so all the time.
I, therefore, request you to review this decision of the Haryana Police.
Urdu in Kashmir
Letter to The Greater Kashmir, 30 March, 2005
As a person whose Mother Tongue Urdu stands largely deprived of the basic right of serving as the medium of instruction at the primary level for children whose Mother Tongue is Urdu, I can feel the anguish of Asma Shah (G.K., 23 March, 2004). The only way to revive Kashmiri language is immediately to introduce it as the medium of instruction at the primary level and also as the First Language at the secondary level for all Kashmiri speaking children in all schools all over the state without any numerical conditions.
The State Government should also sanction adequate number of Kashmiri-speaking teachers according to prescribed norms and appoint University graduates who have offered Kashmiri as a compulsory subject at B.A. level, as school teachers.
The superstructure of Postgraduate courses and doctorates in Kashmiri Language and literature can stand only if the foundation is strong.
On Terrorist Attack on London
Statement, 8 July, 2005
“The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) strongly condemns the terrorist attack on London in which many innocent persons have been killed and injured. It is particularly deplorable because it took place at a time when the leading economic powers of the world had gathered on the British soil to plan for the elimination of global poverty and rising indebtedness of the developing countries from the face of planet.
We offer our deep condolences to the next-of-kin of those killed and sympathy to those who have been injured.
We reiterate our absolute and unconditional rejection of such violent acts committed in the name of Islam.”
Question of Islamic Terrorism
I - Letter to Chairman, NCM, 28 July, 2005
I thank you for inviting me to the discussion on the question of ‘Islamic Terrorism’ held by the Commission on 27 July, 2005.
The main grievances of Muslim Indians which emerged during the discussion were:
a) The current nomenclature generally adopted by the mass media, the political class and the governments concerned attributes terrorism to Islam and fails to identify and deal with the political roots of terrorism by Muslim groups.
b) Any untoward incident in the Muslim Indian community is massively and deliberately projected to malign Islam and the community.
c) Deliberate propaganda against Islam and the community and its institutions is conducted day in and day out by anti-Islamic forces within the country without any let or hindrance.
d) Many instances of state and majoritarian terrorism against the Muslim Indian community and the failure to bring the culprits to book are ignored and forgotten, violating the linkage between peace and justice.
e) Thus a social environment and a mindset are created in other communities which link Indian Muslims with terrorist acts anywhere in the world, in the mind of their co-citizens.
The Commission should, in my view, treat these five as serious problems faced by the Muslim community today, formulate remedial measures and place its considered recommendations before the Government and pursue them diligently for necessary action.
In good faith some participants felt that such interactions, as held yesterday, should not be limited to the Muslims but include the non-Muslim intelligentsia. Inter-community dialogue is being conducted at various levels and it is not necessary for the Commission to provide an additional forum. However, if the Commission proposes to provide a forum for inter community dialogue, it should be very circumspect and selective in its approach. I would particularly caution it against treating the Sangh Parivar as the sole representative of the Hindu community. Instead it should choose Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and Christian participants from the widest possible spectrum of ideology, expertise and influence.
The object of the exercise should be not only to reduce mutual misunderstanding and build confidence and trust but also to call upon the Central Government to step in forcefully, when necessary, as the maintenance of communal harmony and social peace are governmental functions.
I do not know how the list of participants for yesterday’s meeting was prepared. The National Commission has a national stature and the participants should be limited to personalities of national eminence in their chosen field or representatives of organizations or institutions of national eminence who can be regarded as opinion-makers. Incidentally, I find that out of 23 Muslim participants in the meeting held by the Commission on 15 July, 2002 no more than 4 or 5 had any public standing, whatsoever.
II - Letter to Mr. A.R. Shervani, 19 August, 2005
I thank you for your kind letter of 3rd August 2005. First to reply to your question, I used the term ‘Islamic Terrorism’ because our entire discussion that afternoon was on that subject.
It is indeed a sad commentary on the status of the Commission that its annual reports for years have not been tabled in the Parliament and its recommendations on many important national issues have not received the attention they deserved. This has been going on for years. Surely, the present Commission could have exerted pressure on the Government of the day particularly on the Government which appointed it. Forgive me for saying that a threat of mass resignation would have worked!
What politicians and leaders do is their business. But the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, as you know, is doing all it can to raise concerns of the Muslim Indians with the Government, the political parties and the mass media. We keep the Commission informed of our initiatives and we wish the Commission would take Muslim organizations along and keep them informed of what it does for them.
As for the proposed dialogue it should also be subject-specific and the names of the participants should be communicated to all invitees along with brief notes on the subjects on the agenda.
On Anti-Sikh Massacre, 1984
Statement of MMA, 13 August, 2005
The Markazi Majlis-e-Amla
· Expresses its disappointment with the Action Taken Report submitted to the Parliament by the Central Government on the report of Nanawati Commission of Inquiry on the 1984 Massacre and demands that all police officials, including DCPs Incharge of various affected areas, should be prosecuted for negligence, inefficiency and collision with mobs, apart from the political figures named by the Commission.
Formal Inquiry in Chittisinghpora Massacre
Letter to PM Dr. Manmohan Singh, 19 Aug., 2005
As you are aware, there was a massacre of the Sikh community in Chittisinghpora village followed by the execution of some innocent persons by the security forces arbitrarily selected and taken from their homes. I visited the area. The Sikh community had its suspicion but there was no formal inquiry.
Chittisinghpora massacre is one of the most sordid events in the history of insurgency and counter insurgency in Jammu & Kashmir & is enveloped by doubts & suspicions. We request you to advise the State Government to set up a Commission of Inquiry under a serving High Court Judge to inquire into and report on the massacre as well as its sequel.
Equal Compensation for Custodial Killings
Letter to Iqbal A. Ansari, 9 September, 2005
On 11 November, 2004, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) awarded Rs. 2,50,000/- each as compensation to the next-of-kin of 109 people who were found to be “admittedly in the custody of the Punjab police at the time of their death”. The 109 were taken out of the 2,097 cases of alleged cremation of unidentified bodies disclosed by the CBI inquiry ordered by the Supreme Court.
The Committee for Information and Initiative on Punjab (CIIP) and the Committee for Coordination on Disappearances in Punjab (CCDP) have pleaded with the NHRC to go into the question of civil liability.
As you are aware, the NHRC had closed the chapter on Hashimpura Massacre Case by referring to criminal prosecution of some culprits by the UP Government. We know the snail’s pace with while it is proceeding. I wonder if we cannot go back to the NHRC and ask them to award an equal compensation to the next-of-kind of Hashimpura victims, who were killed in police custody as admitted by the Government of UP.
If you think there is some possibility of pursuing this line, we may get together and plan an effective course of action.
Killing of Innocent Youth in J&K
Statement, 25 July, 2005
“The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) is shocked at the killing of three and critical injury to two other teenagers in Kupwara on 24 July, 2005. It has been reported that the Army patrol mistook them to be militants. It is also alleged that the army patrol took them to their village and shot them in cold blood.
However, the Army has admitted the killing to be an appalling mistake and both the State Government and the Army have ordered inquiry.
The AIMMM has also taken note of the killing of another youth by the Rashtriya Rifles while irrigating his field at night.
The AMMM offers its sympathy to the bereaved families and demands reasonable compensation to the next-of-kin and a review of the policy of imposing curfew over vast areas and also a directive to the Armed Forces not to shoot at sight but detain the violators and interrogate them.”
Hostile Discrimination in Housing
Letter to A.R. Mookhi, 11 February, 2005
Your email of 10 February, 2005. Choice of a tenant is voluntary and even law can be circumvented e.g. by demanding a much higher rent from a prospective tenant if one does not like the shape of his nose, his community or his food habits. There is no remedy against phobias, prejudice and bias. But what is more important is why shouldn’t Muslims get due share in government subsidized in public housing. Some have suggested exclusive public housing for Muslims only. Apart from being unconstitutional, this would only add to ghettoization.
You may tell Mr. Bapat that Chaglas, Kalams, Shareifs will not knock at his door and that he should cure himself of his Islamophobia.
All you can do is to wipe Hinduphobia from the Muslim mind. All Hindus are not killers, rapists and arsonists because of what some did in Gujarat or elsewhere.
Exchange of Population, 50 Years Later!
Letter to Bharatiya Pragna, 6 September, 2005
I find the article “How many were Uprooted in Partition Holocaust?” in your issue of August, 2005 extremely enlightening on the estimated number of persons and families, decimated and uprooted in the Partition on both sides of the dividing line.
However, there is no indication in the article whether the Congress and the League had taken any formal stand on the exchange of population or had entered into any prior agreement or subsequently the Governments of India and Pakistan had even negotiated any such agreement. If there are any documents on this point, they may please be indicated.
Protection of Minorities’ Identity as
Essence of Secularism
Letter to Sachin Pilot, MP, 13 September, 2005
I appreciate your article in the Indian Express today and your stress on Justice and Equality which, in the domain of inter-religious relations, are concretized in the philosophy of Secularism. In a country like ours, Democracy becomes meaningless without Secularism and Social Justice. Both these concepts imply recognition of group identities – whether based on religion or caste or language. The essential problem, as I see it, is that all these identities are sought to be assimilated in the name of Nationalism which thus takes a majoritarian colour. At every level, in every sphere of development, we have to ensure that all self-conscious identities are respected and all distinct social groups at all levels of governance get a due share of the pie. That is the only way of mobilizing the energies of the what nation for the common task.
I knew your father well. Indeed I first met you at his funeral. Since then I have been following your career. I am indeed glad to see how deeply you have imbibed his secular outlook. May God bless you!
|RELIGIOUS MINORITIES IN SOUTH ASIA
Declaration Adopted by the Workshop on Condition of Minorities in SAARC Countries
New Delhi, 16-18 September, 2005
Reaffirming our commitment to secure the right to life, freedom, dignity and equality for all human beings under law and in reality,
Recognizing that within each country there are minorities based on religion, language, ethnicity and nationality who are disadvantaged and vulnerable because of their inadequate share in power and decision making,
Realizing that owing to majoritarian character of states and polities and denial of right to equality to minorities in the common national domain and right to preserve their distinct identity, minorities have generally faced varying degrees of threat to their existence, and to their language, religion and culture everywhere,
Noting that such situations of discrimination, exclusion and assimilation have been a source of violent conflicts, secession and insurgencies and even wars,
Realizing that there is a worldwide concern for equal rights of minorities as individual citizens and collective rights as identity based groups, which require adequate constitutional safeguards and machinery of implementation and redressal, and which also require promotion of understanding between communities and governments and mechanism of preservation and resolution of conflicts,
1. We the delegates to the three-day Workshop took stock of the situation of minorities in the countries of the region under law and in reality, wherein we noted that
a. Minorities based on religion, sect, language, ethnicity and nationality in each of the countries of the region faced varying degrees of discrimination, exclusion assimilation and on occasions threat to life, property, dignity and freedom by organized majoritarian groups with one agenda of exclusion and hate with the complicity of the States.
b. The success of such a state of things lies in the following:
i. Inadequate protection of the rights of minorities under constitution, laws and machinery of implementation of existing provisions.
ii. In some countries constitutional provisions are discriminatory.
iii. In some others, there is no constitutional safeguards for rights of minorities.
iv. In countries where constitutional provisions on right to equality and to preservation of language and culture and freedom of religion appear to be adequate, in practice denial of these rights is rampant.
v. Poor state of rule of law and non-observance of human rights where the law-enforcement system is partisan and justice system has given rise to pervasive impunity.
vi. Even in democracies where periodic elections are held under multi-party system, the electoral systems are unfriendly to minorities making them unable to secure their due share in legislatures and other elected bodies.
vii. Minorities are grossly under-represented in all spheres of national life and especially in institutions of governance, e.g. the police, armed and para-military forces, the judiciary and the civil services.
viii. The culture, history and religion of minorities do not get appropriate representation in educational materials and in the media; on the contrary they are marginalized, excluded are distorted and negatively stereotyped.
2. In view of the above, we recommend the following measures to be adopted by the Governments of each country in the SAARC:
Adequate protection of the rights of minorities to equality, non-discrimination, non-exclusion and non-assimilation under Constitution, law, policies and programmes,
2.1 Institutions to ensure enjoyment of these rights by minorities in reality, providing accessible mechanism of prompt redressal.
2.2 Polities to conform to the norms of inclusive democracy, ensuring due share to minorities in legislatures and governance.
2.3 Affirmative action programmes for equalization of opportunities for minorities, ensuring there due share in public employment and in socio-economic development.
2.4 Giving adequate representation to minority language, history, culture and religion in the educational material and in media, while enabling the minority to acquire knowledge of the language, history and culture of the national life as a whole.
3. Protection and promotion of pluralism and multi-culturalism
4. Promotion of prevention and resolution of intercommunity and minority versus State conflicts and disputes, providing peaceful and just solutions.
5. Collectively adopting under a SAARC Human Rights Convention based on international human rights norms and accommodating regional particularities, instruments on the protection of minorities and institutional mechanism for monitoring and redressal of grievances.
5.1 Under these instruments adopting multilateral/bilateral treaties on the treatment of non-citizens like members of divided families, migrant workers, refugees, asylum seekers, prisoners and stateless persons.
6. We recommend the following measures to be adopted by the civil society
a. Undertake active promotion of these norms and principles, especially of pluralism and multiculturalism and rule of law.
b. Undertake advocacy of their adoption by the government
c. Promote inter-community tolerance, mutual respect and accommodation
d. Organise effective intervention in situations of denial of rights to minorities and their oppression.
7. We appeal to the security forces of the States and armed opposition to strictly adhere to the ethical groups legal norms on the conduct of hostilities as codified in the Geneva Convention, 1949 which require protection of life, dignity and freedom of non-combatant civilians, especially women, children, old and disabled persons and worshippers.
7.1 We also appeal to religious leaders of all communities in the region to evolve and endorse such ethical norms on the protection of innocent civilians uninvolved in conflicts including communal and sectarian conflicts.
8. We the delegates to the Workshop do hereby resolve to constitute a South Asia Council for Minorities (SACM), whose aims and objectives will be the following:
a. Promoting equal human rights of all minorities in South Asian countries.
b. Promoting adequate protection of rights of minorities to equality and non-discrimination and to their distinct religions, cultural and linguistic or national identities under constitution, law, policy and programs of each country.
c. Promoting norms of gender-justice in areas of cultural autonomy of minorities including communitybased family laws.
d. Promoting adoption of SAARC Human Rights Convention and SAARC Convention and Commission on Rights of Minorities and NonCitizens.
e. Promoting inter-community understanding, tolerance and conciliation through dialogue and peaceful resolution of disputes
f. Promoting strict observance of humanitarian norms.
8.1 The Council shall have chapters in all the SAARC countries
8.2 Initially each chapter will have a Convener and Coconveners and ad hoc Committees.
8.3 Besides country-wise chapters, the SACM will have a Delhi-based Convener and Co-conveners and a Committee consisting of founder members from all countries.
|RESERVATION FOR WOMEN IN LEGISLATURES
Sub-Quota for Muslim Women in Legislatures
I - Statement of MMA, 13 August, 2005
The Markazi Majlis-e-Amla
· Rejects the proposal for enlarging the legislatures, because the size of the legislature is irrelevant to the objections raised, apart from creating problems of infrastructure and fresh delimitation.
· Strongly feels that in any scheme for reservation for women, there should be due representation of OBCs and Muslims within the women quota.
· Is conscious of the fact that Muslims are universally under-represented in the legislatures and further reservation will reduce the Muslim representation from present 5-6% to 3-4% and, therefore, reiterates its demand for reservation for Muslims in the legislatures, with a sub-quota of 1/3 for Muslim women, in proportion to Muslim population and for rotation of seats reserved for SC and ST from one constituency to another in every election.
II - Letter to Subhashini Ali of CPI(M), 19 Aug., 05
I have seen your reply to Mr. Sherwani on the question of reservation for Muslim women within the Women’s quota. You have raised a valid point that since there is no reservation generally for OBCs or religious minorities, it may not be possible to have such reservation only within the women’s quota. But, we are of the view that considering the persistent under-representation of at least one religious minority, the Muslims, in the Legislatures, the progressive forces should take up the cause of improving their representation either by introducing Proportional Representation System or Reservation based on Joint Electorate.
Since even the Left is not in a position to take up the legitimate concern of the under-represented groups, my personal view is that for the present the Gill Formula be applied, instead of Reservation, for raising the representation of women in the Legislatures by amending the Representation of the People Act to mandate all contesting political parties to have at least one third women in their list of candidates for any election.
III - Letter to Minister of Law, 21 August, 2005
The Press has reported that the Women’s Reservation Bill is under active consideration.
The AIMMM is of the considered view that under-represented as the Muslims are in all legislatures of the country, the reservation for women as proposed, shall further aggravate their under-representation. That is why, the AIMMM considers that there should be a sub-quota of 4.5 per cent for Muslims within the 33% women’s quota. Alternatively, the AIMMM would request the Government and the authorities to give due consideration to the Gill Formula for amending the Representation of the People Act to provide for mandatory inclusion of women by the political parties in their list of candidates for any elections, to the extent of one third.
I may add that the AIMMM considers the proposal of expanding the legislatures and then reserving one third of their revised strength for women not only as impracticable but also suffering from the same flaws and limitations as the original proposal.
The AIMMM appreciates the demand for the OBCs for a separate quota and extends its full support to their demand.
IV - Letter to Smt. Brinda Karat, 26 August, 2005
I felicitate you on your membership of the Rajya Sabha which I am certain will much benefit from your knowledge and experience particularly on question relating to women. I have noticed this statement by you that CPI(M) is totally opposed to the Gill Formula mandating by simple legislation all recognized political parties to have at least one third women among its candidates for any election. The press has not quoted your reasons for this stand. I would be grateful of you kindly let me know why you Summarily reject this reasonable and practical suggestion.
SC/ST Sub-Quotas within Women’s Quota
Letter to HM Shivraj Patil, 7 September, 2005
You must have noticed the Dalit Panther’s demand that SC and ST women be provided with reservation within the reservation for women.
In the original Women’s Reservation Bill, the sub-quotas for SC/ST women were to be carved out of the existing SC/ST reserved quota as prescribed in the Constitution. Then the balance of the women’s quota would have been reserved for the General category.
The Dalit Panther’s demand will, mean additional reservation for SC/ST and take the total beyond that provided in the Constitution.
Already the OBC’s and the Muslims have demanded sub-quotas within the quota for their women. However, if the Muslims are provided with a community quota, according to the population (as in the case of SC/ST), they would not object to 1/3 being reserved for Muslim women in the Muslim quota, to be counted against their share in women’s quota.
It would be in public interest that any misapprehension on the part of the SC/ST be removed.
Reservation for Muslims in Public Employment
Letter to CM, UP, 19 August, 2005
The All India Markazi Majlis e Mushawarat has noted that the representation of Muslims in public employment under the State Government even at non-gazetted levels is much below their population level, e.g. in posts of Police Constables, Asst. Sub-Inspectors, Sub-Inspectors in the Police Force or as Typists, Clerks and Assistants in the State Government and district offices or as Teachers in Government Primary, Upper Primary and High Schools.
We have also noted that the Muslims have not received due representation even in the appointments made during your regime in any of these three categories.
We are particularly concerned about the continuance of Police atrocities and harassment. If a Police Station is head by a Muslim or OBC or SC the level of such harassment and of social violence will go down and the weaker sections shall enjoy a sense of security.
We therefore request you to ensure that the officer in charge of every Police Station or his second-in-command belongs to the community which commands the highest or the next higher proportion in the population of its jurisdiction and that there is adequate representation of all weaker sections in the Police force.
This cannot be achieved unless the Police Force has adequate representation of OBCs, Muslims and SCs. Therefore, we suggest that all future appointments in the Police Force should be regulated in a manner that the under-representation of these groups is redressed and their representation improves. One way of achieving it would be to distribute the annual vacancies in each cadre or sub-cadre in proportion to their backlog.
Proportional Reservation in Education
Letter to V. Narayanasamy, MP, 26 August, 2005
I have seen the Bill introduced by you in the Rajya Sabha for the proportional representation through reservation in educational institutions to the OBCs. As you know, some religious and linguistic minorities, particularly the Muslims, are as educationally deprived as the OBCs. I, therefore, suggest that in Section 3 of your Bill you may like to include the words “ and other educationally deprived groups” after the phrase “other backward classes” in both the Sub-Sections (1) and (2). This will broaden the impact of your proposal from the angle of social justice.
Reservation as Backward Class
Letter to United Muslim Other Backward Front of Assam, 19 August, 2005
It was nice to see you at Guwahati. I have examined your Press Release and I feel that it would be ruinous to separate the Muslim fishermen from the rest of the community when the Muslims as a community continue to be under-represented in all institutions and avenues of life. There can be no separate representation for Muslim Fishermen in various State Boards or Committees or in the Legislature or the Panchayati Raj Institutions. You may however ask for Muslim fishermen’s representation on the State Fisheries Board.
I would be grateful if you kindly let me know the names of various Muslim sub-communities, which are recognized as OBCs in Assam and their proportion in the Muslim population of Assam.
Equitable Universalisation of Reservation
Letter to H.D. Deve Gowda, 9 September, 2005
We have taken note of your proposal to divide category 2A of the OBC’s in the Karnataka List into three to ensure equitable flow of benefits of reservation to the more backward among those included in 2A. Your proposal is a welcome step towards universalization of Social Justice.
We have long espoused the idea of providing separate quota for sub-castes or sub-groups which constitute more than 1% of the total population in proportion to their population. There are mini- and micro-groups among the Backward Classes which form less than 1% of the population. They should have the option of forming a sub-category of their own by joining with each other or joining another major backward group of their choice. This recategorization should apply also to the SC’s and ST’s, because among them also some sub-groups have not benefitted from the quota.
The quota of each group should be in proportion to its population and its level of backwardness, as compared to the SC and the ST. The total quota in any state should be the total of all sub-quotas, without any artificial ceiling.
Since every social group has a backward section, even the high castes should have a quota but it shall be very small because their level of backwardness is very low as compared to SC/ST, may be, 10-20%.
But what the new quota requires is a Caste Census which has not been conducted since 1931. We would urge you to support our longstanding demand for Caste Census which has become a crying need in view of establishment of P.R. Institutions with reservation for Backward Classes.
On your next visit to Delhi, I shall like to see you to explain this idea which will mean justice and equity to all identifiable and self-conscious Social groups and assure each one of their due share in public employment and higher education.
Reservation for Muslims in All States
Letter to Jasim Mohd., 22 September, 2005
Your email of 3 September, 2005....
Secondly, why reservation for Muslims only in some States? It should be in all States and UT’s and in the Centre, in proportion to Muslim populations and their relative backwardness as compared to SC/ST in each case.
Thirdly, the representation of target communities like Muslims and Dalits in the State police may be proportionate to population but with armed constabulary and the central paramilitary forces should be 50% higher than in the Muslim/SC/ST population in each case.
Reservation Needed in PRI
Letter to Bashiruddin Babukhan, 1 Sept., 2005
Thank you for your letter of 24 August, 2005. You have raised a very important question. All Muslim organizations of A.P. should jointly press the State Government to introduce a separate quota in the PRI’s for Muslims, as a Backward Class, just as in the case of education/public employment.
In the meantime, members of Muslim sub-communities included in the OBC List should be encouraged and assisted in contesting the elections and for obtaining the OBC Certificates.
On Status of Taj Mahal
Statement of MMA, 13 August, 2005
The Markazi Majlis-e-Amla
· Deplores the controversy about the status of Taj Mahal when, according to all available records, it has always been a State property, directly administered by the Government of the day. Therefore, it recommends that in view of its national and international importance, the Union Government should enact a special legislation for its proper administration which should, inter alia, provide for regulated access to the Masjid in the Taj Mahal complex for performance of Namaz and proper terms and conditions of employment for its functionaries.
Implementation of Mirdha Committee Report
Letter to Minister of Culture, 7 July, 2005
May I draw your attention to Prarthna Gahilote’s report in the Indian Express, New Delhi (22 June, 2005) about the non-implementation of the recommendations of the Mirdha Committee Report on Protection of Historical Monuments submitted in early 1984, more than 2 decades ago. Incidentally, Dr. Manmohan Singh, then Financial Advisor to the Government was a member of the Committee.
The ostensible reason is lack of financial resources. As you are aware I have been requesting you to increase the budget of the ASI so that it can effectively discharge its statutory duties.
I request you to instruct the ASI to dust the Report and submit concrete proposals for implementing its recommendations to the Ministry of Culture, for urgent consideration.
Taj Mahal’s Status during British Rule
Letter to Nayanjot Lahiri, 19 August, 2005
I thank you for your kind letter of 4 August 2005 and for the copies of your valuable papers.
Your paper on Delhi is absolutely fascinating. There is always a current of tension between the demands of governance and the strategy of coping with the public opinion. The British may have acquired an empire in a fit of absent-mindedness but they learnt to deal pragmatically with the situation they encountered, so as to raise the least dust.
As for the Taj Mahal, the ASI’s point is since the time of Shah Jahan, it has been treated as a state property administered by the State authorities. During the Mughal regime, the waqf properties were managed by their mutavallis under the supervision of an officer of the Imperial Court. Under the Company and the Crown, the Collector dealt with it. In 1861, the ASI came into the picture. In the 1920s the Taj Mahal was declared a protected monument. At no stage did the British authorities or the ASI receive any claims from any mutavalli or from the U.P. Sunni Waqf Board since its establishment in the 1930s. It is and should remain in the hands of the ASI but with due facilities for access to the Masjid in the campus & for the remuneration of its functionaries.
On Premature Fatwa in Imrana Case
Statement of MMA, 13 August, 2005
The Markazi Majlis-e-Amla
· Considers it unfortunate that the Darul Ifta of Darul Uloom, Deoband rushed to issue a Fatwa on the Imrana case which is essentially a criminal case and subjudice. The MMA has noted that this premature Fatwa has provided grist for the mills of the anti-Islamic forces in the country for maligning Islam and the Muslim community.
· Requests the Muftis that to defend Islam against misrepresentation by hostile forces, they should exercise restraint in issuing Fatwas on sensitive situations, desist from issuing fatwas except at the request of one of the parties concerned and indicate in the Fatwa the school of Fi’qh applied and the position of other schools of Fi’qh on the question in issue.
· Also respectfully proposes to All India Muslim Personal Law Board that when there are sharp differences among the various schools of Fi’qh, the Board, as the religious representative of the Muslims in India, should convene a consultative meeting of the Ulama of various schools in an endeavor to reach a consensus.
· Requests the Board to issue a factual statement on its stand on the Deoband fatwa so that it is not projected as the stand of the Shariat but only of a particular school.
On Imrana Case
I - Letter to G.M. Siddiqui, 6 July, 2005
Your email on Imrana affair. Whatever be the facts of the case, the Deoband fatwa has posed a serious question for Muslim community. What does the Shariat say in the hypothetical situation? The schools of Fiq’h are divided 5:1 because the Quran or the Hadith make no textual reference. So why can’t the Personal Law Board evolve a consensus and inform the country of the correct rule of the Shariat?
Secondly, why shouldn’t the Muftis exercise a little restraint on issuing ‘fatwas’ on hypothetical but sensitive questions unless approached by one of the parties involved?
II - Letter to Dr. Manzoor Alam, IOS,19 Aug., 2005
I have seen your article on the Imrana Case in the Milli Ittehad of June-July 2005. The issue today is not the procedural mistake committed by the Darul Ifta of the Darul Uloom or the exploitation by the mass media or whether the said incident in fact occurred. The issue today is the question whether the said Fatwa represents the Islamic Shariat or the Fiqh of a particular sect/school. Unfortunately, all Muslim organizations of national eminence, with the exception of JAH, have adopted a very evasive stand on this essential question or tried to bypass it. I am therefore surprised that even you have done so in your article. I feel that those of us, who have direct, at lease partial, access, by the grace of Allah, to the wisdom of the Quran and the Hadith, have the duty to apply our mind and place our own findings before the community, the Ulema and the Fuquha to find a way to reach a consensus on such delicate questions on which they may have differences.
III - Letter to The Tribune, 6 September, 2005
Apropos Rashme Sehgal’s article “Ban Caste Panchayats”, I would like to point out that All India Muslim Personal Law Board is not a Caste Panchayat nor are the Darul-Qaza established by it. The Board does not issue Fatwas and a Darul-Qaza only deals with personal law questions of Muslim couples and families at their request and does not profess to have any authority to impose its decisions.
In the Imrana Case, the Board has not endorsed the Fatwa of the Darul Uloom, Deoband, which is nothing more than the opinion of a particular school of jurisprudence and various schools of Muslim jurisprudence represented on the Board have different views in this case. I may add that no Muslim organization or institution claims jurisdiction in a criminal case.
So, it is totally wrong on the part of the writer to lump the Board and the Darul-Qaza and even the Darul Uloom with Caste Panchayats.
In any case, she should not use the word Fatwa so lightly. Only qualified scholars – called Muftis – are eligible to issue a Fatwa in response to a hypothetical or actual situation brought to their notice.
Legal Age for Marriage
Letter to AIMPLB, 19 August, 2005
In order to eliminate Child Marriage, the Sharada Act is likely to be amended soon, to introduce compulsory registration of all marriages and to provide that if one of the parties to the marriage has a lower age than the prescribed, the marriage shall not be registered and will therefore be legally null & void.
You may recall our internal discussions on the question of legal age for marriage. Since the question of compulsory registration of marriages is likely to be on the national agenda, the Personal Law Board must decide its stand in advance.
In this connection, I also draw your attention to the recently reported on the marriage of four visiting Arabs, of above 50 years, in Hyderabad to young Muslim girls. At least one of them is reported to have been divorced after a week or two. I had earlier supported the idea that marriage of all Indian women with foreign nationals should be subjected to official registration. This is another aspect of the matter which needs to be considered.
Equal Property Rights for Muslim Women
Letter to AIMPLB, 21 August, 2005
I would like to draw your attention to the passage of the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Bill 2004 by the Rajya Sabha. It will now go to the Lok Sabha for consideration. It is likely to be adopted. The Bill removes the discrimination against women in the Hindu Succession Act and gives them equal rights in the parental property as the sons have. Naturally, the passage of such a Bill will add to pressure on the Muslim community to give equal rights to the daughters in the inheritance of the father.
I am advised that despite the clear enunciation of the succession in the Holy Quran some Muslim countries have adopted the concept of gender equality in this regard. I do not know how the gulf has been bridged but it is time for the Board to consider the subject in depth in order to meet the pressure.
Darul Qaza System and Personal Law Cases
Letter to The Asian Age, 2 June, 2005
Mr. Amulya Ganguli’s ‘Secular Sermon’ in your issue of 20 May, 2005 shows the flaws in his understanding of secularism when he describes as sinister mischief the Muslim community’s quest for recognition of its religious identity and when he uses abuse and inaccuracy as the ingredient of his sermon.
The Resolution moved by me and adopted by the Board did NOT advise the Judiciary to avoid dealing with subjects relating to the Shariat but wanted to assist the judiciary through knowledgeable lawyers in deciding cases relating to Muslim personal law in accordance with the Shariat which is the law of the land under the Shariat Application Act of 1937.
The Board did NOT decide to constitute a panel of experts in Islamic law but nominate one or more practicing advocates in every High Court on a voluntary basis to inform the Muslim Personal Law’s Central Office and its Legal Committee on important cases raising a question of Muslim personal law, as and when filed so that the Board may decide how and when to intervene. The Board reiterated to implement its Jaipur decision of 1993 for setting up Dar-ul-Qaza in every Muslim area to provide a forum to the parties concerned to settle family disputes expeditiously and at practically no cost.
But the Dar-ul-Qaza has no power to execute its decision. So either both parties accept it or any party aggrieved by the decision takes recourse to the regular judicial machinery. So the Dar-ul-Qaza is ‘neither the last nor the only resort’ as misconceived by Mr. Ganguli. In actual fact the decision of Imarat-e-Sharia in Bihar and Orissa and several similar institutions all over the country have been accepted with approval by several High Courts.
In 12 years, only a handful of Dar-ul-Qazas have been established fro various reasons, both religious and structural. So the Board has advised Muslim religious seminaries and social organizations to establish Dar-ul-Qaza or Sharia Panchayats to bring easy adjudication within the reach of the families in difficulties. If the system takes root and gets social acceptance, obviously this will serve to reduce the burgeoning load on the judicial system.
Mr. Ganguli knows that all over the country there are caste and tribal Panchayats which decide both criminal and civil cases and even execute their decisions without any cries of separatism or dilution of national judicial system or evasion of the Constitution by the secularists, though they have no written Codes, unlike the Dar-ul-Qaza, and no statutory backing like the Shariat Act, 1937. What is wrong with the mindset of Gangulis who see a ‘sinister mischief’ even in bonafide, socially useful and legal initiative by the Muslims?
Let me also inform Mr. Ganguli that the resolution arose out of a discussion in the Working Committee on the slow progress of the Dar-ul-Qaza system and on the tendency of the higher judiciary to decide cases related to Muslim personal law on arbitrary interpretation of the Shariat, largely because of ignorance and non-availability of proper legal advice. I was then authorized to prepare a Resolution for the Board.
If the Board, as Mr. Amulya Ganguli thinks, is a bunch of people who are not ‘sensible’, if it is a ‘rootless organization of rootless individuals’ who are ever anxious to build walls of separatism for fear of becoming jobless, all I can say is that he neither understands the object and purpose of the Board nor is he aware of the weight and influence that the Board commands in the Muslim community.
But he lives in his imaginary paradise, in blissful ignorance of the fact that the Board recognizes the Constitution and its basic organs, the Legislatures, the Judiciary and the Executive and its object is nothing more than to defend the Shariat against mindless attacks by the hostile forces, including super-secularists like him who have but an unidimensional view of secularism i.e. crush the identity of the religious minorities and assimilate them. Soviet Russia tried it and failed.
SC Notice to AIMPLB on Darul Qaza
Letter to M.V. Ibrahim Kutty, 12 Sept., 2005
I have just received your letter of 1.9.2005 regarding the PIL on Fatwa and Darul Qaza. Quasi-judicial forums and Lok Adalats as well as arbitration proceedings all owe their existence to relevant Acts. Darul Qaza or Shariat Courts have no such legislative cover. The Shariat Act, 1937, merely legitimizes the application of the Shariat but it is presumed that the Shariat-based law will be administered by normal judicial machinery. So I do not agree with you that the PIL is not maintainable.
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board has set up a Committee to prepare the counter-affidavit. You may like to contact Mr. Yusuf Hatim Muchhala, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India, 501, Sir Vithaldas Chambers, 16, Bombay Samachar Marg, Mumbai – 400 023 who is the Legal Advisor of the AIMPLB and the Convener of this Committee.
I suggest that in consultation with Mr. Muchhala, your Council may seek intervention in the case.
NGO’s Role in Adoption
Letter to Multiple Action Research Group, 7 Jan., 05
... I have come across some criticism of the role of NGO’s in adoption by foreign parents. I think a bill limited to foundlings, homeless children and parents in economic despair who often sell their children and may voluntarily offer them for adoption. Such a bill would raise no objection from any quarter.
Also I, have no data on the number of Indian children adopted every year either by Indians or by foreign nationals. Does MARG have some data?
|PM`S HIGH LEVEL COMMITTEE
Revival of PM’s 15-Point Programme for Minorities
Letter to Dr. Manmonah Singh, 21 August, 2005
The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) is glad to learn from your Address to the Nation on the Independence Day about the revival of the Prime Minister’s 15-Point Programme for the Welfare of the Minorities. We thank you on behalf of the Muslim community.
We would be grateful to be informed of the text of the revived Programme and the names of the implementing authorities and the monitoring agencies. We also request you to instruct the Press Information Bureau (PIB) and the Department of Audio Visual Publicity (DAVP) to give due publicity to this Programme which has, in fact, not been mentioned by many national papers while reporting on your Address.
Declaration of Muslims as Backward Class
Letter to PM’s High Level Committee, 30 Aug., 05
I thank you for your letter of 18 August 2005 inviting me to participate in the proposed Conference on Muslim Backwardness on 5-6 September 2005. I am afraid I shall be out of station and therefore I regret my inability to participate. I would however like to place before you my views on the problems of the Muslim OBCs.
Both the Union and the State Lists of Other Backward Classes (OBC) include Muslim groups or sub-communities on the basis of their traditional occupations, which are parallel to those of the more numerous Hindu OBCs. Their major difficulty lies in obtaining OBC Certificates. This is partly because many members of the groups have added Sheikh to their names as prefix or suffix. Sheikh have been traditionally regarded as second in the hierarchy of the so-called ‘ashraf’ and thus, the authorities question their OBC status. This misunderstanding needs to be removed and the issue of cast certificates facilitated.
Secondly, Muslim groups who are occupationally akin to Hindu SCs have been placed in the OBC Lists. This is because the Presidential Order of 1950 initially excluded all non-Hindus by definition from the Scheduled Caste. But over the years, this has been relaxed to admit Sikhs & neo-Buddhists, but Muslims and Christians continue to remain outside the pale. In my view, such exclusion militates against the principle of secularism. These Muslim groups now call themselves Dalit Muslims and are demanding their inclusion. Though I do not see any particular benefit to them in switching over from OBC to SC status, I think the definition of SC should not be subject to religious classification but only to traditional occupation and social status.
Thirdly, there is a longstanding demand for declaration of Muslim community, as such, as a Backward Class and consequently for reservation in public employment with a quota to be determined in accordance with their population and level of backwardness. On this quota the Muslim communities in the OBC lists should have primary and preferential claim.
In my reading of the Constitution, such reservation for a Backward Class identified by religion (on pa with caste) is admissible. Secondly, the Constitution does not set any limit on the total quantum of reservation for Backward Classes but it has limited to 50 per cent. These two false arguments have been used over the years to deny its legitimate due to the Muslim community whose level of backwardness is comparable to that of SC/ST.
I request you to circulate this letter to the participants of the conference in public interest.
Status of Muslims in J&K?
Letter to PM’s High Level Committee, 12 Sept., 05
It has been reported that during the visit of the High Level Committee to Srinagar, some people have suggested that the Centre declare the Muslims in the State a minority, though their grievances appear to have little to do with the State or the Union but with Union – State Relations.
The Centre does treat the Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir as a religious minority on matters such as the Census. However, the State cannot treat the Muslims as a minority as they form an overwhelming majority. If the Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir are a ‘minority’, then what is the status of the Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists of Jammu and Kashmir?
But this problem does arise in all States/Union Territories which have a non-Hindu majority as in Punjab, N.E. States and Lakshadweep.
A possible line of compromise can be that in matters coming under the purview of the Union Government, a national majority is a majority all over the country except in States/Union Territories where it forms a minority. Similarly a national minority is a minority everywhere except where it forms a majority. In matters coming under the purview of the State Government, the State minorities should get their due. However, this needs to be worked out in detail.
Needed a Muslim as Member, Law Commission
Letter to UPA Chairperson, 1 March, 2005
You may be surprised to learn that the Law Commission, in all its history, had only once a Muslim as a member in Mr. Justice Nasirullah Baig, who unfortunately could not complete his tenure.
Since the Law Commission often deals with issues related to personal law and was, in fact, asked by the NDA Government to prepare a draft for the proposed Uniform Civil Code, it would be useful to have as a member a Muslim jurist, who is an expert in Muslim Personal Law.
The Law Commission is to be reconstituted, it has several vacancies, I, therefore, request you to advise the Minister of Law and Judiciary to consider a suitable Muslim jurist for the Membership.
Proposal for Ambedkar Regiment in Army
Letter to National Commission for SCs, 19 Aug., 05
I have seen your proposal for the creation of Ambedkar Regiment consisting of Dalits.
My preference is for changing the names of all community and caste-based Regiments and to re-name them after various States and to ensure that all social groups in the State are duly represented as homogenous sub-formations within the Regiment. As a society, we are still very far from being homogenous and even without social bias and prejudice. Therefore, a battalion may consist of persons from all religious and caste groups.
I would like to meet you some time later to discuss about this matter which I have raised many times when I was in the Parliament as well as other matters of common interest.
Atrocities against SC’s in Rajasthan
Letter to National Commission for SC, 31 Aug., 05
May I draw your attention to the report about the Dhanka family which belongs to the Scheduled Caste and lives in Nimora village in Bassi tehsil. The representation by Shri Krishna Gopal Dhanka, the head of the family, to the Governor of Rajasthan and to the Chief Minister have received no response. The atrocities largely relate to their freedom of worship and their access to the public hand pump in the village. The local police appears to be working hand in glove with their persecutors.
I would request you that the Commission should intervene on their behalf and, if possible, send a small team to the village to investigate the situation.
Atrocities against Harijans in Orissa
Letter to Chairperson, N.C. for Women, 24 Sept., 05
May I draw your attention to the UNI Report datelined Bhubaneshwar, 23 September that on 19 September in a village in Puri district, called Bhawanti. 4 women belong to Nai community were dragged out of their houses, undressed and paraded naked through the lanes. 3 women alleged that later that night, they were raped. Their menfolk were beaten up and their dwellings were looted.
Their crime? On that day, their man folk, belonging to the NAI community, refused to wash the feet of the Baratis who belonged to high castes.
I would request you to take urgent cognizance of this atrocity against the women.
I am sending a copy to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes for information and necessary action.
Proposal for Cremation in lieu of Burial
Letter to Delhi Minorities Commission, 21 Aug., 05
The Indian Express has reported on 18 August 2005 that one of your colleagues as asked the Christian community in Delhi to consider cremation as an option for disposal of dead bodies because of space constraints.
Any option should be a free choice and not imposed upon any community by denying it additional burial grounds; Perhaps even in the capital territory of Delhi, the authorities concerned can locate barren pieces of land, which are outside the urban limits for allotment to various communities.
I realize that in any case space is limited. But in some places where there is demand for burial in a particular burial ground, the system of planned rotation has been introduced but even such an idea must be discussed with the religious authorities concerned and not come as a diktat from the Government or the Commission.
On Demise of Dr. Rafiq Zakaria
Statement, 9 July, 2005
“The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) expresses its deep sense of sorrow at the demise of the well-known parliamentarian, historian, man of letters and political analyst Dr. Rafiq Zakaria, as a great loss both to the country and the community. A man of many worlds, Dr. Zakaria achieved eminence in the friends of politics, education, administration, journalism and education. He played an active role in promoting the education of the community in Maharashtra and the cause of Urdu throughout the country. Through his writings he made a significant contribution to communal understanding and harmony.
The AIMMM pays its respectful tributes to his memory and prays to Allah for eternal peace to the departed soul and also offers its sincere condolences to the members of the bereaved family.”
On Demise of King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
Statement, 2 August, 2005
“The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) expresses its sincere and deep sorrow at the demise of H.M. the King of Saudi Arabia and the Custodian of the Holy Places Fahad bin Abdullah Aziz.
The AIMMM recalls his contribution to the modernization of Saudi Arabia, particularly in the field of education and industrialization, the expansion of the Holy Mosques and enhancement of services to the Haj pilgrims, the role of Saudi Arabia under his leadership to secure a peaceful, honourable and durable settlement of the Palestinian dispute and to support Muslim causes all over the world.
The AIMMM offers its sincere condolences to the Government and the fraternal people of Saudi Arabia and prays to Allah for eternal peace to the departed soul.
The AIMMM takes this opportunity to offer its sincere felicitations to H.M. King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz and expresses its good wishes for the continued progress and prosperity of the Kingdom under his leadership.”
I - Letter to Ambassador of Saudi Arabia, 22 Aug., 05
I have the honour to forward herewith a copy of the Statement of Condolence issued by the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawrat on the demise of H.M. the King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud of Saudi Arabia.
II - Reply of Saudi Arabia Ambassador, August, 2005
I gratefully acknowledge your sincere condolences on the passing away of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, vide your letter dated 2nd August 2005.
May Allah shower his choicest blessings upon him and the rest departed soul in his vast paradise.
On Demise of Mr. Asad Ali
Letter to Mrs. Asad Ali, 22 September, 2005
We have learnt with great shock and sorrow of the demise of your husband, very good friend Mr. Syed Asad Ali.
We did not know that he was bed-ridden for weeks before he expired on 28 August, 2005.
We offer you and your children our heartfelt condolences and pray to Allah Almighty to accept his good deeds and to grant him eternal peace in Jawar-e-Rahmat.
May Allah also grant you all the spiritual strength to bear this irreparable loss, Amen.
We regret the delay in offering our condolences. We read about it in Hamari Zaban only a few days ago.
|NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR MINORITY EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS
Christian Claim for Preference in St. Stephens
Letter to Chairman, NCMEI, 4 July, 2005
May I draw your attention to the cognizance taken by the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions of the grievances of some Christian students that the St. Stephen’s College, which is a MEI, had ignored their right to admission despite the directive by the Supreme Court?
We feel that the NCMEI should intervene in such a case and ensure that all MEI’s abide by the 50% reservation rule in favour of the establishing community.
Educational Rights of Minorities
Letter to Chairman, NCMEI, 7 July, 2005
May I take the liberty of drawing your attention to the article “Minority Rights in Education – Reflections on Article 30 of the Indian Constitution” by Ranu Jain in the Economic and Political Weekly of 11 June, 2005.
The title speaks for itself. I commend it to you for reading.
Establishment of Islamic Institution at Leh
Letter to NCMEI, 26 August, 2005
Please refer to your letter dated seeking our views on the request for establishment of a centrally sponsored Islamic institution at Chuchot Leh. It is not clear whether the Executive Council desires a madrasa or a Muslim school or an institution of higher learning.
Considering that the total Muslim population of Ladak is extremely small, there appears to be no justification for a Government sponsored institution in Leh for Muslims. If Muslims in Leh are not in a position to study in the Government primary, upper primary, and secondary schools, they may be advised too set up Minority educational institution under Article 30 of the Constitution. They may even set up a madrasa. For higher studies the Muslim students can seek admission in the schools and colleges located in other parts of the State.
Proposal for Discussion on Minority Situation
Letter to President, INC, 21 August, 2005
It has been reported that you may convene a conference of Congress Chief Ministers in September before the AICC Plenary slated for October 2005. I request that the status of the minorities in the States in the context of the assurances given and promises made to them in the last Assembly Elections as well as in the Congress Manifesto of 2004 (to the extent that the spadework for and the implementation of various policies and programmes lies with the State Governments) may be placed on the Agenda of the Conference and the Chief Ministers may be advised to prepare suitable material and circulate to the participants. Such notes should also bring out the assurances and promises which remain unfulfilled or have been partially fulfilled as well as the new concerns and expectations of the minority communities since the last Assembly Election. In this context, a special attention needs to be given to Assam, Kerala and Bihar.
I also suggest for your kind consideration that the leaders of the Congress Legislature Parties in the major States where Congress is not ruling nor is a member of the ruling coalition such as West Bengal, may also be advised to circulate reports on the situation of the minorities in their States.
Formulation of National Policy towards Muslims
I - Letter to V.P. Singh, 31 August, 2005
We are happy to know that you have initiated a dialogue on the formulation of a National Policy towards the Muslim Community with various political parties. We would suggest that you may like to consult important Muslim organizations, in particular, the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM), the Jamaat-e-Islami-Hind (JIH) and the Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Hind (JUH), in this regard. In the last General Elections, the AIMMM had circulated a Charter of Aspirations to all secular parties. I am enclosing a copy for your information. I request you to go through it as this will provide you with some positive ideas which may be included in the draft policy paper.
II - Reply from V.P. Singh, 9 September, 2005
I acknowledge with thanks the receipt of a copy of “Charter of Muslim Aspirations”.
I shall definitely go through the matter and look at the various options that can be included in the draft Policy Paper.
I will be in touch with you.
No Contradiction between
Politics, Education and Economy
Letter to Mr. Zafar Agha, 17 January, 2005
I have before me your article in Urdu calling upon Muslim Indians to throw off mental stagnation by taking to modern education and business. I agree with you. But will the country wait till the Muslims have reached the national level in these fields?
In fact the gap may be wider after a decade or two, because the State does not care and the Muslims do not have all the resources they need, either for education or for productive investment.
I think any community which does not share power shall lag behind more and more with the passage of time. That is why participation in politics, right from Panchayat / Mohalla level upto Assembly and Parliament is equally essential.
I do not see a contradiction between following the three courses – educational, economic and political. In fact the three shall reinforce each other and permit the community to supplement its own savings with its due share of national expenditure.
Reservation of Muslim Concentration Constituencies in Panchayati Raj
I - Letter to M/Panchayati Raj, 21 August, 2005
I wonder if it has come to your notice that in the Panchayat Raj Elections in Uttar Pradesh, which have just concluded many Muslim-majority and Muslim concentration constituencies were reserved, thus, depriving the Muslims of their winnable opportunities. It is my conviction that reservation for any deprived social group at any level should not be, either in extent or selection of constituencies, at the cost of another deprived social group. Certainly not one which commands the highest population in a given constituency. Normally, only those constituencies should be reserved for a group in which it commends the biggest or the second biggest voting population. It also goes without saying that reservation should rotate from one election to the other so as to divided the burden equitably.
I therefore request you that you may kindly examine, the pattern of reservation as well as demarcation of Panchayati Raj constituencies at the Panchayat, Block and Zila levels in Uttar Pradesh and issue suitable instructions to all States for course correction to all States.
II - Letter to M/Panchayati Raj, 12 September, 2005
This is in continuation of my letter 21 August, 2005 regarding the reservation of the posts of Pradhans in Muslim concentration Panchayats in UP. This has deprived the Muslim community of several winnable positions in the PR system in that State.
I am now sending you an overview of the PRI’s in Andhra Pradesh from the point of view of Muslim representation.
The data are self-explanatory and need no comment. I would only add that the Muslim population in the State is 12% and that their economic and educational backwardness is largely the result of under-population in the political structure from Lok Sabha (4.76%) and Legislative Assembly (3.74%) to the Panchayats.
Since Muslims have been recognized and declared as a BC by the Government of AP and provided with a reservation quota in public appointment and education, we feel that the Muslim community be given a quota in the PRI’s A.P. in accordance with their proportion in the population at district, Mandal and Panchayat level, to ensure their equitable representation and effective empowerment. This demand has been placed before the Chief Minister, A.P., I request you to support the demand.
Overview of the PRI’s in Andhra Pradesh
Total No. Elected
No. of Muslims Elected
% of Muslims Elected
Mandal Parishad (ZPTC)
Suggestions for Bihar Assembly Elections
Letter to Digvijay Singh, GS, AICC, 21 Aug., 2005
I feel grateful to you for taking me into confidence and listening carefully to my ideas and suggestions on the coming elections in Bihar and Assam.
In setting up an Advisory Committee of leaders for Bihar, you are on the right track and, as I told you, we are on the same wavelength. However, we have to analyze carefully the demands of the limited role, the Congress is going to play, as the junior partner of the RJD, its objective should be to attract those Muslim, Yadav and SC voters who stand alienated from the RJD, to net for itself the votes of non-Yadavs and OBCs, particularly the MBCs, who do not feel comfortable in voting for JD(U)/BJP and finally to provide a ‘shelter’ for the high castes, the Brahmins, the Bumihars, and the Rajputs (one may include the Kayasthas, by courtesy) who are in a fix and do not know which way to turn. In this context, the Advisory Committee must have leading public figures and personalities of their social groups, in a proper mix taking into account their respective population. Some of the names you mentioned to me are not magnetic enough and some groups are under-represented, for example, the Muslims and the MBCs.
If I may add a word for myself, I do not feel that I can be effective in the field since I had no position in the party, not even as a member of the AICC. I leave it to you to see how best my services can be utilized by the Party.
Inclusion of Muslim Concerns in INC Manifesto
Letter to Digvijay Singh, GS, AICC, 8 Sept., 2005
In my letter of 8 July, 2005 I had promised to send you a note on matter of concern to the Muslim community in Bihar which may be considered for inclusion in the Congress or UPA or Congress-RJD Manifesto for the coming Assembly Election.
I would also like to add that every constituent of the Secular Front, should field at least 16% Muslims in its List of Candidates, preferably from Muslim concentration constituencies which are allotted to it.
This will, to a large extent, erase the impression created on the Muslim mind by LJP’s insistence on a Muslim CM.
Suggestions for Inclusion in the Party Manifesto for Bihar Assembly Elections, 2005
1. Establishment of a Department of Minority Affairs, under the CM, for administering all Government and Semi-Government institutions of interest to the minorities and for monitoring fair deal and justice to minorities in all government departments.
2. Establishment of a Joint Legislature Committee on Minority Welfare.
3. Universalization of Welfare Schemes, Central, Centrally-sponsored or State, for all Individuals who meet common objective criteria.
4. Equitable Distribution of Benefits under all Economic Development Schemes, Central, Centrally-sponsored or State, to all Social Groups, in accordance with their eligible population in the unit area i.e. Panchayat, Block or District.
5. Establishment of a State Commission for Minorities Educational Institutions to facilitate implementation of Article 30 of the Constitution at all levels.
6. Declaration of the Muslim community, per se, as a Backward Class with 15% reservation in public employment and higher education. Alternatively reservation for all identifiable sub-communities/social sub-groups which constitute more than 1% of the population in the recruitment/catchment area, according to their population and level of backwardness.
7. a) Establishment of government primary, middle and high schools of minimum acceptable quality in all rural and urban areas which are deprived in terms of national norms, under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
b) Introduction of Urdu as medium of instruction in government primary schools situated in Urdu-concentration areas for students whose mother tongue is Urdu.
c) Introduction of Urdu as Compulsory First Language in all Middle and High Schools and of Hindi as Compulsory Second Language, for students whose Mother Tongue is Urdu as well as provision of Urdu as Optional Second Language for students whose Mother Tongue is not Urdu.
8. Introduction of Urdu as Second Official Language in all Districts, Blocks and Panchayats in which Urdu-speaking population forms 10% or more.
9. Grant of Statutory Status to, and adequate funding of, the Bihar Minorities Commission.
10. Revival of Bihar State Minorities Development and Finance Corporation with full Matching Grant by the State to the Allocation by the NMDFC.
11. a) Declaration of Public Wakfs as Public Premises.
b) Exemption of Public Wakfs from Rent Control and Land Ceiling Legislation.
c) Delimitation of Qabristans with reference to oldest available survey records and construction of boundary walls by the Government.
12. a) Review of Major Communal Incidents since 1990. Implementation of Recommendations of Judicial Commissions.
b) Payment of Uniform Compensation for Loss of Life and Property to all victims of communal and caste violence in accordance with the judicial pronouncements in respect of Anti-Sikh Riots of 1984.
13. Nomination of qualified Muslims to the High Courts, the Public Service and University Service Commissions, the Universities, their Senates and Syndicates, and other Educational Bodies as well as all Government Boards and Corporations.
14. Establishment of State Commission of Human Rights.
On UPA Manifesto for Bihar
Letter to Digvijay Singh, GS, AICC, 24 Sept., 2005
You have hinted at 5% reservation for Muslims in the UPA Manifesto for Bihar and, that too, subject to legal and constitutional clearances. This is absolutely inadequate. The Muslim population in Bihar is about 16%. They are entitled to at least 15% as their level of backwardness is about the same as that of the SC. However, since about 4.3% are said to be included in the OBC quota, they should have at least 10-11% reservation as a community, subject to the common creamy layer rule.
Alternatively, we suggest that on the full Muslim quota of 16% the notified Muslim Sub-communities in the OBC List should have the first claim and only if there are no qualified candidates from them, the higher caste candidates should be admitted to the privilege, in order of their inter se merit. Why should there be another legal and constitutional check? Surely all this has been done in Karnataka and AP? As for total reservation going beyond 50%, this is already so in Karnataka and in Tamil Nadu and perhaps also AP. So we request you that the UPA should announce a separate 10% quota for Muslims as a community without any ifs and buts, any equivocation.
Emergence of Two Rival Secular Formations
Statement, 19 September, 2005
“The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) feels distressed that the secular parties have not been able to join hands to defeat the anti-secular forces represented the BJP and its ally the JD(U) in Bihar in the coming Assembly election.
The AIMMM has noted with regret that there shall be two secular fronts led by the RJD and the LJP in the coming Assembly election which may divide the secular votes.
The AIMMM has been deeply concerned about the persistent under-representation of the Muslims in the Bihar Assembly. It, therefore, appeals to all secular parties to field at least 16% Muslim candidates in their lists from Muslim concentration constituencies.
The AIMMM reiterates its decision to appeal to the Muslims and other secular voters to support the most winnable secular candidate in every constituency, irrespective of religion or caste. However, in Muslim concentration constituencies with only one Muslim candidate of a major secular alliance/party or independent, the AIMMM appeals to the voters to support the Muslim candidates irrespective of the party and where more than one major secular alliance/party have fielded Muslim candidates to support the more winnable.”
Revision of Election Schedule for Bihar
Letter to Ch. Election Commissioner, 7 Sept., 2005
We would like to make the following submission for your kind consideration:
The long schedule for Assembly Election in Bihar is not conducive to free and fair election for the following reasons:
Firstly, it provides the parties an opportunity to revise their electoral strategy in the light of perceived performance in the preceding phase or phases, to regroup their forces and to redeploy their workers (and musclemen, in some cases).
Secondly, the administration is under strain and at a standstill for a long period. Also its efficiency level as well as watchfulness in election matters also falls with every passing day.
Thirdly, the long election schedule totally disrupts the normal social activities and services, like schools and courts at all levels.
Fourthly, a long schedule is likely to cover many local festivals which would, in the final analysis interfere with the electoral canvassing and thus make effective canvassing non-uniform for different phases.
Fifthly, the attention of all the people of the State remains focused on the electoral canvassing throughout the long period and breeds and builds up social tension at the constituency level which may flare up into violence during the long period of wait.
Sixthly, if the Indian State has the capacity to police a general election, surely it can provide the force required for the simultaneous conduct of election in the whole of Bihar. Non-availability of adequate central forces is, therefore, not a convincing argument.
The AIMMM, therefore, urges the Election Commission of India to revise the election schedule for Bihar to provide simultaneous poll and to press the Central and State Governments to provide adequate infrastructural support for one day election throughout the State.
Rumours on Demolition of Birthsite of Holy Prophet in Mecca
I - Letter to Amb. of Saudi Arabia, 21 Aug., 05
As you must have noticed there is considerable agitation in the Muslim community of India on the remourned demolition of the small building in Makkah which is said to mark the birth site of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). I believe it used to house a library. We are not aware of the facts whether the building has been already demolished or it is proposed to be demolished. So, we would like to know the exact position and we request the Royal Government of Saudi Arabia through Your Excellency, to reconsider the development plan for the area if it still stands.
We appreciate that the birth site of the Holy Prophet has no religious sanctity but it has historical importance. A living community always cherishes its history. Every country of the world preserves such sites, which are associated with its history.
The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) will be grateful to Your Excellency for exact information on the present position and the communication of our request to the Royal Government for its gracious consideration.
II - Letter to V.H. Dalmia, 31 August, 2005
I thank you for your letter of 8 May 2005 regarding the alleged demolition of a sacred site in Makkah. The matter is already being agitated by various Muslim organizations. We also making necessary enquiries from the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in New Delhi and we have also requested the Ministry of External Affairs to obtain the factual position from our representatives in Saudi Arabia.
Representation of Muslim Indians in ‘Alliance of Civilizations’
Letter to Under SG of UNO, 6 September, 2005
According to UN press release, the Secretary General has formed an ‘Alliance of Civilizations” consisting of 18 luminaries to recommend ways to bridge the growing chasm between the West and the Muslim World.
As you know 35-40% of the Muslims of the world live in Muslim-minority countries, with India having the largest Muslim minority of about 150 million. I feel that their views on relations between the Muslim World and the West need to be appropriately reflected in the Committee. I have not seen the complete composition of the Group of 18 but it should be useful to have the Muslim minorities – which have a different perspective represented.
Little Prospects of Unity in Muslim World
Letter to K.A. Mallick, 15 September, 2005
Thank you for Mr. Zakaria’s article. Pan-Islamism, Islamic Nationalism, Arab Nationalism, Islamic Unity/Arab Unity/Federation or Confederation of two or more Muslim majority States have all floundered on the rocks of personal interests of Muslim rulers. It is possible that one or the other foreign power may act behind the scene but Muslims are in the habit of blaming others but cannot take a stand against corrupt and selfish rulers. Muslim unity is a much more distant dream.
Arab Unity may come with genuine democracy if Arab masses are vigilant against personal interests of rulers.
Potential of Muslim Community in South Asia
Letter to B.G. Verghese, 19 September, 2005
Apropos your article on the creative potential of the Muslim community of South Asia, I generally agree with you and appreciate your analysis. I recall a prediction by a well-known Islamic scholar of Pakistan that India shall be the seat of Islamic renaissance in the 21st Century. However, much depends how Muslims themselves perceive the renaissance and how they husband their internal resources and operate in the global environment they live in.
Turmoil in the Muslim world will, I am afraid, continue so long as it remains the target of political dominance, economic exploitation and cultural penetration by the West. Even if left to itself the diversities of the Muslim world rule out the emergence of a central caliphate which died in Baghdad in the 13th century. Far from Islamic unity, even the question of Arab unity has remained a distant dream.
In the Sub-continent, the Partition has been a tragedy in more senses than one. Above all, it robbed the Sub-continent (and the adjacent non-Arab world to the north, the west and the east) of its natural role of developing as the cradle of a modern Islamic civilization, liberal and moderate, in tune with the times, as envisaged by Sir Syed, Azad and Iqbal.
If South Asia regains its cultural and economic unity and Islam, its intellectual vigour generated by long creative interaction with the genius of India, you may indeed prove to be prophetic. But I doubt if Hindu fundamentalism which has its own exclusively Hindu vision of India will ever let Muslim Indians to have the sense of social, economic and religious security and the peace of mind, which can be the starting point of a free exchange of ideas and synthesis of cultures which can lead to a renaissance. How can otherwise the Muslim Indians then discard fear, escape ghettoisation, physical and psychological, and emerge from the shadows in the Indian sun.
I regret to say that I do not see any sign of the Hindu Right giving up its narrowmindedness and its exclusive, almost proprietary vision.
As a Muslim Indian I can only hope that the Hindu Right shall one day give up its chauvinistic approach, its fanatical hostility to Islam and the Muslims, and let the Muslims share the cultural and intellectual space so that our common mother-land India scales the heights, it deserves to attain.
On International Situation
Statement of MMA, 13 August, 2005
The Markazi Majlis-e-Amla
· Unequivocally condemns the act of terrorism directed against the civilian population in the U.K. and elsewhere by the self appointed guardian of Islam. The MMA, however, is of the view that the roots of this waves of terrorism lie in the continued repression of the Palestine people, the occupation and humiliation of Iraq, the presence of foreign forces in Muslim countries and the consequent violation of their sovereignty and the exploitation of natural resources.
· Also condemns the continued barrage of vilification of Islam in the Western media and the demonization of the Holy Prophet and disrespect to Holy Quran which all add to the anger and despair of Muslim masses and provide a breeding ground for terrorism among the conscious youth who feel that the global war against terrorism has been transformed into West’s War against Islam.
· Appreciates the fact that the common people as well as leaders of public opinion in the West condemn such politics and oppose the policies of their government and their current approach of treating all Muslim citizens as suspects and subject them to anti-democratic and unlawful harassment.
· Calls upon the US and the UK and other European states to review their policies on Palestine and Iraq War and engage the Muslim world on terms of equality to promote democracy and to protect human rights and to ensure the utilization of natural resources for development.
Moratorium Subverts Islam by Questioning Immutability of the Quran
A Rejoinder to Dr. Tariq Ramadan, 14 April, 2005
In proposing a moratorium on Islamic punishments, Dr. Tariq Ramadan is flogging a dead horse because only a few Muslim majority countries apply the Islamic criminal law and impose Quranic punishments. It has been widely argued that severe as they are, Islamic punishments are to apply only in a Islamic State which presupposes a Islamic society.
On the other hand, by stretching the acceptable limits of Ijtihad, Dr. Ramadan is literally aiming his axe at the basic foundation of Islam – the belief in the divine origin and the immutability of the Quran. Once Muslim agree to place a moratorium on any mandatory provision of the Quran to suit the ever-changing intellectual fashion and cultural climate of the age, many edited and revised versions of the Quran, all unauthoritative, shall flood the market since Islam has no central authority like Christianity. Moreover some will seek a moratorium on performance of Salat 5 times a day, or on observance of Saum for a month during a fixed month. Zakat has already been a casualty to the controversy over Darul Islam or Darul Harb. What is worse, it will subvert the Muslim faith in the Quran and thus serve the object and purpose of the anti-Islamic forces which see the Quran as the main hurdle in ‘softening’ the Muslims.
If Muslim criminal law has been so interpreted and applied in some countries as to produce absurd judgements like stoning a woman who was raped and had lodged a complaint, but not the alleged rapist, because she or the state could not produce eye-witnesses, it is for the legislature and the judiciary of the country concerned to find a solution and ensure justice.
Inter-group and family violence in Muslim societies like ‘honour killing’ are not due to application of Islamic law but of custom and tribal laws which have survived conversion or encrusted Islamic norms.
Dr. Ramadan should not be apologetic and ask the Muslims to disown the Quran but to call upon Muslim theologians and jurists to reformulate the Fiq’h through collective Ijtihad and codify Islamic laws, civil and criminal, both substantive and procedural, to meet the contemporary situations, following in the footsteps of the Enlightened Caliphs, for example, Caliph Omar who suspended the punishment for theft in time of famine, thus upholding the letter and spirit of the Quranic mandate.
Fratricidal Killings in Iraq Deplored
Statement, 20 September, 2005
“The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) sincerely deplores the on-going fratricide in Iraq which is assuming the ominous dimensions of a civil war. Its apprehensions have been compounded by the call, by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of the Al Qaida, in Mesopotamia, telecast by Al Jazeera, for a total war against the ‘Shias, wherever they are found’.
The AIMMM sees a ray of hope in that many Shia leaders have advised the Shias against retaliation and many Sunni religious leaders of Iraq have condemned this un-Islamic call.
The AIMMM has noted that many people in Iraq suspect the hand of the forces of occupation in the fratricide conflict and, therefore, appeals to acting Prime Minister, Ibrahim Jaafari not to allow the Iraqi police or army to take part with foreign troops in military action against the Resistance and against the people of Iraq.
The AIMMM, on behalf of the Muslim community of India, calls upon both Sunni and Shia extremists in Iraq to stop the fratricidal killing so that there is no all out civil war, to save Iraq from disintegration. The AIMMM calls upon the Iraqi people to devote all their energy to the cause of the Resistance for early achievement of the evacuation of Iraq by the forces of occupation.”
No Coercion against Iran
Letter to M/External Affairs, 21 Sept., 2005
You are reported to have told NDTV in New York that our policy towards Iran takes into account the sensitivities of Indian Muslims, particularly the Shias.
I think the Muslims of India, including the Shias, understand that our foreign policy must be formulated and evolved, as the situation demands, in the overall national interest. No community, not even the majority community can demand the formulation of foreign policy in parochial interest.
As informed citizens, we believe that Iran is under constant pressure from the USA which, as in Iraq, is anxious to find an excuse for attacking it. We did not stand-by Iraq when it was invaded and occupied. We should not allow this to happen again closer to our borders.
Since Iran is a signatory of the NPT, it should stand by its treaty obligations but should be coerced to make more concessions. It goes without saying but the world sees the charade, before Iraq was invaded, being re-enacted. While calling upon Iran to fulfill its commitments and to do everything possible to remove any suspicion that the IAEA may entertain, we should caution the USA that we oppose any military action against Iran by the USA or any ‘coalition of the willing’ and that we do not consider that the possibility of Iran enriching Uranium to weapon grade, 10 years hence, constitutes any immediate threat to international peace or security.
On Permanent American Bases in Afghanistan
Reply from M/External Affairs, 31 March, 2005
I have your letter of 21 March, 2005* regarding Gen. Richard Myers’ recent statement in Kabul about building US bases in Afghanistan.
As you are well aware, Government of India are opposed to foreign military bases in any part of the world.
*Already published in Bulletin 19 at page 47.
Foreign Military Presence in Afghanistan
Letter to Ambassador of Afghanistan, 9 April, 2005
I have the honour to draw your attention to the article in the Guardian, London, on 19 March, 2005 on the present situation in Afghanistan.
The article says that ‘Afghanistan has become the new Guantanamo Bay’ and that USA has turned Afghanistan into a ‘hub of a global system of detention centres where prisoners are held incommunicado and subjected to torture’.
It is surprising to us that Your Excellency’s Government should permit the USA not just to have bases on its soil for its internal and external security, but allow it to run detention centres in its territory with Afghan and non-Afghan detainees, some perhaps brought from other countries. This state of affairs detracts from freedom and sovereignty of Afghanistan.
The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat would like to convey to Your Excellency the desire of the people of India to see Afghan territory free of all foreign military presence.
It would be grateful if you would kindly convey this expectation to your Government.
‘New Religion’ in Indonesia
Reply from Embassy of Indonesia, 15 April, 05
With reference to your letter dated 24th March, 2005* regarding the New Religion in Indonesia as published at the Hindustan Times, I would like to inform that the so-called New Religion is not recognized in Indonesia and according to the data, in 2004, the composition of religion followers in Indonesia are as follows:
Thank you for your kind attention.
*Already published in Bulletin 19 at page 48.
Silence over Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine
Letter to Dileep Padgaonkar, 6 June, 2005
In your latest piece in Times of India (22 May, 2005) you have touched the question raised by the desecration of the Holy Quran by the US Security forces in Guantanamo Bay. You have concluded with a reference to the comments of Irshad Manji. Indeed the protests in Pakistan or Afghanistan were quite peaceful till the security forces intervened. One does not know how many have been killed by the demonstrators and how many by the security forces.
Personally I find it pointless to protest against desecration of the Quran – a common event even in many Muslim countries and in India, when hundreds and thousands of Muslim lives have been lost and entire countries have been destroyed or occupied by the USA in its War against Terrorism which has now openly become the War against Islam.
You have quoted Irshad Manji perhaps because her name creates the impression that she is a Muslim. I have seen her writings. Since she parades her lack of faith in the Quran. She is not a Muslim, by definition. She has the reputation of being a Zionist agent. This explains why she makes no mentions of the killings by US in Iraq and Afghanistan and unspeakable tortures against prisoners detained in violation of international law and the persecution of Palestinians by Israel. She tries to silence sporadic violence by Muslims, while ignoring the real violence!
Credentials of Tablighi Jamaat
I - Letter to A.R. Mukhopadhyay, 31 August, 2005
I have read with great interest your comments on the German views of the Tablighi Jamaat (not –e).
It seems to me that the German Intelligence has no first hand information about the object and purpose, ideology and methodology of the Tablighi Jamaat. In fact it has been criticized in India for de-politicising the Muslim youth and for providing a justification for the Muslim intelligentsia to escape from political activism. I am not aware of any intensive programme of indoctrination undertaken by it at any level. Its object, as far as I know, is very simple to eliminate non-Islamic practices among Muslims and to motivate them to perform basic Islamic duties like Namaz and Zakat and to make them lead an honest life, indeed to make them into good citizens, whatever their vocation. I cannot imagine Tablighi Jamaat, which I have often criticized, as motivating any Muslim towards terrorism.
But I may not be in possession of all the facts and perhaps my knowledge is not only limited but superficial.
I would be grateful to you if you could be kind enough to give me a ring later. We can meet and discuss the subject.
II - Reply from A.R. Mukhopadhyay, 6 Sept., 2005
At first let me thank you that you found my commentary interesting. Instead of giving you call, I preferred to write you through email. I can also meet you any day you find convenient.
At the outset, I must clarify that the basic idea of my commentary was to give the audience in this part of the world how the European nations view their imminent threat against the backdrop of Madrid and the killing of the controversial Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh. Here at IDSA, I am specialising in European security and politics and studying how the Europeans view their security. As the issue of the European security today is intertwined with indigenous European Right radicalism, left-wing extremism but at the same time extremism found within a small part of the second and third-generation Muslims settled in Europe. My first and foremost finding is: the dearth of study on the Muslim societies in Europe. But I found a recent study worth to be downloaded at your end:
Buijs, Frank J. & Rath, Jan (October 2002), “Muslims in Europe: The State of Research”, Department of Political Science/IMES, University of Amsterdam .
I also attempted to emphasise that now the Western governments try to find out the root causes of terrorism and to go beyond the immediate interfaces presented by the Islamic websites and to undertake more in-depth research on the phenomena.
Now what the Europeans say about Tablighi Jama’at (TJ) as I also mentioned that as the organisation prefers to work quietly and shuns media, there lies a danger that terrorist groups may instrumentalise TJ’s huge followers’ network for their own end. Dr. Yoginder Sikand, who is an authority on TJ, has recently written a piece titled, “A Critique of the ‘Tablighi-As-Terrorist Thesis’”. He writes:
Because the TJ leaders rarely, if ever, refer to actual political events and do not instruct TJ activists on political affairs, individual Tablighi activists can adopt a range of political stances, quiescent or radical, on their own volition…. and I do not deny that some Muslims who join the ranks of militant Islamist groups may well have been associated, at some point in their lives, with the TJ. In fact, it is likely that the powerful rhetorical appeal of the TJ might well enthuse some Muslims in some countries, who perceive themselves as oppressed, to graduate on to more activist and radical Islamist organizations. The point, however, is that this is probably not a result of a conscious decision or official policy of the TJ as such.
Dr. Jocelyne Cesari, who is now researching at the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University, has extensively dealt with TJ in her latest book “ When Islam and Democracy Meet: Muslims in Europe and in the United States (2004) New York & London, PalgraveMacmillan.
‘Secrecy is an important element of Tabligh religious teaching in an environment that is perceived as at best indifferent, at worst hostile. The idea of practising one’s faith in an inhospitable environment, a remnant of Tabligh’s origins as a minority religion in India , happens to be perfectly suited to the minority condition in the West. (p.94)’
Further, Cesari identifies six principles of Tabligh as (i) Kalima, (ii) Namaz, (iii) Ilam and Dhikr, (iv) Ikram-e-Muslim, (5) Iklas-e-Niyat and (vi) Tafri-e-waqt. (Notes, p.233).
Sir, I think I have given too much quotations and references. But what I actually meant in my commentary that the awareness is growing in the resident European societies as well as in the governments about the Muslim community and their social, political and religious life.
III - Reply to A.R. Mukhopadhyay, 7 Sept., 2005
Thank you for your email of 6 September, 2005. I have not been associated with Tablighi Jamaat (TJ) but I do not think that either Sikand (whose book on TJ I have read and not found very organized) or Cesari have captured the essence of the TJ.
As far as I know, the TJ has no membership. A person may participate in one Ijtima (congregation) or in one ‘Chilla’ (trip) and no more. Except a few at the organizing end, no one is an active participant in any sense of the term. The masses are there simply for ‘spiritual merit’.
The TJ per se cannot be a propagator of activism, militancy or terrorism. But an Ijtima (which brings together lakhs of people or more) may be infiltrated by an activist or a militant or an ideologue of violence to build up contacts and form cells. After all discontent and unhappiness with the policies and actions of the West is more or less universal in Muslim societies.
But has any western intelligence or academician ever identified a terrorist or militant who had been associated actively with the TJ?
The headquarters of the TJ are in Delhi, as you must be aware. You should acquire first hand knowledge of their mission and activities by visiting it and speaking to the organisers. And also you should learn Urdu to read their literature in the original.
Having said this, I am myself amazed at the wide impact of the TJ. Perhaps this is largely due to the simplicity of its path for those who seek spiritual merit (Thawab) at financially and physically tolerable cost.
Evolution of Muslim Consensus in Bihar
Letter to Amir-e-Shariat, Bihar, 19 Sept., 2005
UNI has reported from Bihar that the Imarat-e-Sharia shall be calling a meeting of Muslim organizations of Bihar soon in Patna to evolve a common electoral strategy for the coming election.
I request you that to this meeting you may also like to invite the Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, Bihar, either the President (Prof. Alauddin Ahmed (Tel: 258 5010) or General Secretary Maj. Gen. Waseem Mallick Khairwi (Tel: 226 0128). I am instructing them to respond positively to your invitation.
I am attaching a copy of a Statement issued today which gives the approach of the AIMMM.
Muslim Options for Equitable Representation
I - Letter to Atif Suhail Siddiqui, 12 Sept., 2005
Your email of 11 September, 2005.
Muslim Indians cannot rule the country, they can only use their voting strength more judiciously. They cannot win many seats on their own as a) there are very few Muslim majority seats and b) there are always more than one Muslim candidates. So what is the strategy in your mind? How can we ensure that Muslim votes are not divided in any constituency?
II - Letter to Atif Suhail Siddiqui, 19 Sept., 2005
Your email of 17 September, 2005. Muslim-Dalit unity as electoral strategy has been on the Muslim agenda for more than 75 years! Dalits have reserved seats; they do need Muslim support. Muslims have no reservation and they have not more than 10-12 Muslim majority seats in the whole country which they can win their own. So your idea is easier said than done, primarily because the Muslims are never united in any constituency. Their votes are always divided, and not only on political grounds and therefore, become ineffective even in Muslim concentration constituencies. Muslims simply cannot be sufficiently hypocritical or liars or deceivers.
We tried the idea of Muslim or Mother-based party in Assam and we failed. Nearly 20 MLA’s elected on the UMF ticket jumped the fence to become Ministers!
A secular Muslim party was beyond the comprehension of Muslim community. So the Insaf experiment of 1989-91 failed.
Moreover, a new party will require enormous manpower and financial resources which is beyond the capacity of Muslim community.
But I am not the last man in history. Let some are also try.
RSS Response to Omar Khalidi’s Proposal for Muslim Majority States
Letter to The Radiance Viewsweekly, 16 April, 2005
I would like to draw your attention to Shri Dina Nath Mishra’s article, published all over the country “Five New Muslim Majority States?”
The RSS has long propagated the thesis that Muslims by internal migration and immigration from Bangladesh and Pakistan and, of course, by over-breeding, are laying the foundation for future Pakistans in several parts of the country. The interview of Dr. Omar Khalidi, published by you has served, not unexpectedly, as the fodder for its propaganda mills. After quoting extensively from the interview, Mishra comments.
“The cat is out of the bag, it was there for long. In India too they (Jihadis) have an agenda. Dr. Khalidi has just put it in words and in fact, if you mark his words he has given a call: “An atmosphere of competitive appeasement of Muslims where many of our political parties compete with each other in support of divisive demands like creative of five new Muslim majority States needs to be condemned strongly.
Our intellectuals and secular parties have an ostrich like altitude. Indian people did not understand the expansionist political religion of Islam. Even now our intellectuals scream communal and saffronite, whenever question of demographic aggression and high percentage of increase in Muslim population is put forward most objectively.”
Now let us examine the puerile thesis of Dr. Khalidi which I had rebutted publicly when he spoke at the Jamia Millia Islamia under the auspices of the IOS. His first example is ‘Rangareddy in AP and Gulbarga and certain other Talukas’ to become the ‘Deccan Province’.
% of Total Population
Next he speaks of the contiguous districts of Purnea, Kishanganj and Katihar. Let me add Araria. All 4 districts once formed part of the Purnea district, one of the oldest district of the Bengal Presidency under the British.
% of Total Population
Then he speaks of Murshidabad (63.67%) in West Bengal which has a Muslim majority, just on the border of Bangladesh. It could have gone to Pakistan under the Radcliff award. Yet at least for the last 50 years, there has been no whisper of secession from India to join East Pakistan or later Bangladesh!
No district in western UP has a Muslim majority. Rampur has the highest % of Muslims. Let us examine Rampur and its neighbouring districts :
% of Total Population
His next example is Mewat which largely lies in Haryana and consists of 3 districts of Gurgaon and Faridabad of Haryana and Alwar in Rajasthan which is also said to have a Meo concentration.
% of Total Population
Let us examine the five mini-Pakistans, hinted by Khalidi and taken as real threat by Mishra. The ‘Deccan Province’ lies in the heart of India. So does Mewat. Rampur is far away from Pakistan across a virtually de-Islamized Punjab. Murshidabad may form a real threat. Unless there is continuous economically motivated human seepage across the border from Bangladesh to India or unless Hindu chauvinists come to power in West Bengal making life miserable for Muslims, one sees no prospect for any secessionist movement in Murshidabad. Taken as a whole Purnea is still far behind in the race for Muslim majority and it has no contiguous border with Bangladesh.
Khalidi has done a great disservice by raking up the unfinished agenda of mini-Pakistans dispersed through the body politic of India. All the 5 or 6 mini-Pakistans put together have a Muslim population of 15.6 million exactly 11.26% of the total Muslim population. So while the proposition does not touch the vast majority of the Muslim Indians, it vitiates the political and social environment for all of them.
As I have pointed out in another article, Muslim under-representation in legislatures and governance can be remedied by creating districts of reasonable size based on the principle of administrative efficiency, economic viability, cultural and linguistic homogeneity and physical geography, followed by decentration of power and devolution of resources from the States right down to the villages, coupled with the substitution of the First-Past-the-Pole (FPP) system by proportional representation, at every level of autonomous governance.
The larger problem of empowerment of the deprived groups should not be looked upon as a Muslim problem as many other groups are equally and even more deprived than the Muslims in governance and welfare and development benefits.
On Omar Khalidi’s Thesis
Letter to The Radiance Viewsweekly, 13 May, 2005
I have seen Dr. Khalidi’s reaction to my criticism. I do not want to go on fencing with him but I would like to say that having a few Muslim-majority or Muslim concentration mini-States or districts in India or redemarcating a few more constituencies of Muslim concentration will not even marginally touch the problem of Muslim representation in legislatures far less solve it. On the other hand, any such demand will provide grist for the mills of anti-Muslim propaganda. There are better alternatives. I fail to understand Dr. Khalidi’s logic in seeing my reaction to his proposal as a service to the Hindutva cause!
In any case, I thank him for his kind words, though I can see that neither my words of caution after his lecture nor my response to his interview have heeded him to modify his views.
Bohra’s Birthday Greetings to Modi
Letter to Syedna Burhanuddin, 19 Sept., 2005
All national papers have published the photograph of a Bohra delegation calling on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi at Chennai on his birthday.
This is shocking to and has hurt the sentiments of the Muslim sentiments all over the country. We wonder whether your local Aamil had taken your prior consent for this gesture.
We would be grateful if you would ask all your Aamils to respect the sentiments of the rest of the Muslim community in such matters.
Bohra Fraternization with BJP Leaders
Letter to MMM, Rajasthan, 10 May, 2005
We have noted that this year the main Chehlum of Hazrat Imam Husain was observed by the Bohra community in Pratapgarh, Rajasthan, in the presence of H.H. the Syedna.
According to the press report, BJP political leaders including Home Minister Kataria were invited to the Vaaz of the Syedna, apart from local BJP leaders, who attended. Shri Kataria also came for a short while. He as well as several other BJP leaders including the MP, the MLA and Zila Parishad Chairman were all presented with shawls by H.H., as a mark of honour.
Rajasthan is ruled by the BJP and Kataria is well-known for his RSS linkage and bias against Muslims. As home minister, he has victimized the community in several communal situations. The BJP State Government has introduced Saraswati Vandana in schools. Grants to Muslim institutions has been stopped. Communal tension has risen to a point that Muslims have been moving from their homes because of insecurity. The State has removed the ban on Trishul diksha.
While we appreciate the traditional policy of the Bohra community to maintain good relations with the government of the day, there appears to be no reason to honour politicians and ministers who are known to be anti-Muslim. This episode is likely to cause misgivings in the mind of the other members of the Muslim community in Rajasthan.
Needless to say, in time of crisis, the Bohra and non-Bohra Muslim alike face the same situation of terror and violence. So they must try to develop confidence and trust in each other.
I would request you to contact the local Amil and other senior members of the Bohra community in Jaipur to find out the facts about Pratapgarh as well as not to act in a manner which creates a cleavage between them and other Muslims and demoralizes the whole community.
SC Obiter Dicta on Minorities in Jain Case [CA 4730/99]
A Signal for All Minorities to Protect Identity and Constitutional Rights
“… Before parting with this case, this Court cannot resist from making some observations which are considered necessary in order to remind the National and State Commissions for Minorities; the scope and nature of their functions under the provisions of the Act and the role they have to play in constitutional perspective.
The history of the struggle for independence of India bears ample testimony of the fact that the concept of ‘minorities’ and the demands for special care and protection of their religious and cultural rights arose after bitter experience of religious conflicts which intermittently arose in about 150 years of British Rule. The demand of partition gained momentum at the time the Britishers decided to leave by handing over self-rule to Indians. The Britishers always treated Hindus and Muslims as two different groups of citizens requiring different treatment… Britishers in the course of gradually conceding some democratic rights to Indians, contemplated formation of separate constituencies on reservations of certain seats in legislature in proportion to the population of Hindus and Muslims. That attempt was strongly resisted by both prominent Hindu and Muslim national leaders…
The attempt of the Britishers … however, ultimately led to revival of demand for reservations of constituencies and seats in the first elected government to be formed in free India. Resistance to such demands by Hindu and some Muslim leaders ultimately led to partition of India and formation of separate Muslim State presently known as Pakistan.
Many other revelations concerning competing claims for reservation of seats on religious basis can be gathered from the personal diary of prominent national leader late Abul Kalam Azad… Abdul Kalam Azad acted as mediator in negotiations between the national leaders of the times namely late Nehru and Patel on one side and late Jinnah and Liaqat Ali on the other… Late Abul Kalam Azad tried his utmost to find a midway and thus break the stalemate between the two opposing groups but Nehru and Patel remained resolute and rejected the proposal of Jinnah and Liaqat Ali…
It is against this background of partition that at the time of giving final shape to the Constitution of India, it was felt necessary to allay the apprehensions and fears in the minds of Muslims and other religious communities by providing to them special guarantee and protection of their religious, cultural and educational rights. Such protection was found necessary to maintain unity and integrity of free India because even after partition of India, communities like Muslims and Christians in greater numbers living in different parts of India opted to continue to live in India as children of its soil.
It is with the above aim in view that the framers of the Constitution engrafted group of Articles 25 to 30 in the Constitution of India. The minorities initially recognized were based on religion and on national level e.g. Muslims, Christians, Anglo-Indian and Parsis. Muslims constituted the largest religious minority because Mughal period of rule in India was longest followed by British rule during which many Indians had adopted Muslim and Christian religions.
Parsis constituted a numerically smaller minority. They had … adopting the Gujarati language, customs and rituals thus assimilating themselves into the Indian population.
The so-called minority communities like Sikhs and Jains were not treated as national minorities at the time of framing the Constitution. Sikhs and Jains, in fact, have throughout been treated as part of the wider Hindu community which has different sects, sub-sects, faiths, modes of worship and religious philosophies. In various codified customary laws like Hindu Marriage Act, Hindu Succession Act, Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act and other laws of pre- and post-Constitution period, definition of ‘Hindu’ included all sects, sub-sects of Hindu religions including Sikhs and Jains.
The word ‘Hindu’ conveys the image of diverse groups of communities living in India… He can be identified only on the basis of his caste as upper caste Brahmin, Kshatriya or Vaish or of lower caste described in ancient India as Shudras. Those who fall in the Hindu class of ‘Shudras’ are now included in the Constitution in the category of Scheduled Castes…
There is a very serious debate and difference of opinion between religious philosophers and historians as to whether Jains are of Hindu stock and whether their religion is more ancient than the Vedic religion of Hindus…
Thus, ‘Hinduism’ can be called a general religion and common faith of India whereas ‘Jainism’ is a special religion formed on the basis of quintessence of Hindu religion… In philosophical sense, Jainism is a reformist movement amongst Hindus like Brahma Samajis, Arya Samajis and Lingayats…
… There were certain religious communities in India who were required to be given full assurance of protection of their religious and cultural rights…. The group of Articles 25 to 30 of the Constitution … was only to give a guarantee of security to the identified minorities and thus to maintain integrity of the country. It was not in contemplation of the framers of the Constitution toad to the list of religious minorities…
The constitutional ideal … is to create social conditions where there remains no necessity to shield or protect rights of minority or majority.
The above-mentioned constitutional goal has to be kept in view by the Minorities Commissions …to direct their activities to maintain integrity and unity of India by gradually eliminating the minority and majority classes. If, only on the basis of a different religious thought or less numerical strength or lack of health, wealth, education, power or social rights, a claim of a section of Indian society to the status of ‘minority’ is considered and conceded, there would be no end to such claims in a society as multi-religious and multi-linguistic as India is. A claim by one group of citizens would lead to a similar claim by another group of citizens and conflict and strife would ensue… In a caste-ridden Indian society, no section or distinct group of people can claim to be in majority. All are minorities amongst Hindus… That would sow seeds of multi-nationalism in India. It is, therefore, necessary that Minority Commission should act in a manner so as to prevent generating feelings of multinationalism in various sections of people of Bharat.
The Commission instead of encouraging claims from different communities … should suggest ways and means to help create social conditions where the list of notified minorities is gradually reduced and done away with altogether.
… If the same concept for minorities on the basis of religion is encouraged, the whole country, which is already under class and social conflicts … will further face division on the basis of religious diversities… Encouragement to such fissiparous tendencies would be a serious jolt to the secular structure of constitutional democracy. We should guard against making our country akin to a theocratic state based on multi-nationalism….”
Number of Madrasas in J&K
Letter to Minister of HRD, 26 August, 2005
The Tribune has reported on 22 August 2005 that you have placed before the Parliament statistical data relating to member of Madrasas in the country, Statewise. Surprisingly, your report states that Jammu & Kashmir does not have a single Madrasa. There is obviously some mistake in the enumeration or the criteria for the identification of an educational institution as a madrasa. I have myself visited some madrasas in Jammu & Kashmir off and on but I am sure they have not been closed down. You may like to have the date re-checked.
Schools, Not More Madrasas for Muslims
Letter to CM, Rajasthan, 31 August, 2005
According to a newspaper report dated 24 August 2005 the Government of Rajasthan proposes to open more Madrasas for promoting the education of the Muslim community and also to conduct a survey of the backwardness of the Muslim community through the State Madrasa Board.
We feel that the Muslim community of Rajasthan, which has been educationally deprived, needs more primary and secondary schools in accordance with the national norm in areas of their concentration.
We would therefore suggest that you may kindly instruct your Department of Education to identify the Muslim concentration areas both rural and urban, which do not have requisite number of primary, upper primary and secondary schools, which these areas are entitled to have under the nationally accepted norms and, instead of consigning Muslim children to the Madrasas, provide them with access to regular education as envisaged in the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan.
As for the proposed survey, we think that as in Karnataka, it should be whole universe survey covering all Muslim families in Rajasthan and it should be conducted by the Government itself through the local administration from the Block to the District level.
Urdu in Primary Schools in UP
Letter to Minority Edu. Institutions Assn., UP, 4 Dec., 04
I have seen your article in the latest Dawat. I am surprised to note that the primary curriculum jumps from 2 subjects to 8 after first 2 years.
I think we should press them to have 1 more language in Class I and II so that both Hindi and Urdu can be accommodated.
In Class III Arithmetic, Basic Science and Social Studies may be introduced.
In Class V English may be introduced.
Muslim children can learn Arabic at home or in Maktabs. So can Hindu children learn Sanskrit in Pathshalas.
A child should not be made to learn more than 3 languages at the primary level.
You should officially ask the Director of Languages about the contents of his proposal and its progress, or request an MLA or one of the Muslim Ministers to find out.
Settlement on Equality and Justice Basis
Letter to Radha Kumar, 23 September, 2005
Reading your book on the Kashmir problem and again going through your articles in the Indian Express, I felt tantalized because you did not spell out the possible lines of settlement. You need not endorse any of them but analyse the pros and cons of each and leave the reader to make up his mind about their political viability. Presently Pakistan seems to hold the field by spelling out various options while we are silent, both the governments and the Kashmiri leadership.
I do not think academics discussion on the possible alternatives of comprehensive settlement in terms of equity and justice and in the larger interest of the Sub-continent as a whole will ‘compound the muddle’. On the other hand, it will help build public opinion on how to get out of the groove in order to build a new relationship in the region as both India and Pakistan and the Kashmiris seems to desire.
I agree with you that continuing terrorist violence in the Valley is an obstacle but creating a positive opinion in Kashmir in favour of peace is as important as an opinion in favour of mutual accommodation in India and Pakistan. Such a favourable environment will itself marginalize the insurgents and the terrorists.
I have my office in Okhla. Sometime I would like to have an opportunity of discussing possible options with you. I may add that for 20 years I was in diplomacy, for 15 in parliament and for another 10 more in public life and I have had a constant contact with Kashmiri leadership of various complexions. May I call on you?
Legality of Accession & Reorganization of State
Letter to Dr. Riyaz Punjabi, 1 February, 2005
Apropos your article on Kashmir Problem, I find a ‘disconnect’ between the legality of accession to India and the authority of the Union to reorganize the State territorially. Territorial integrity of the State is a presumption of the Jammu and Kashmir’s State Constitution which is not superior to the Constitution of India. How does it bind the Government as a condition consequent of the accession? That you are opposed to any division of the State, even of the part in our hands, is understandable. I have yet to find a single member of the Kashmiri intelligentsia who would support separation of other areas from the Valley! Even to loosen its hold on them. The reason is obvious. Numerically in overwhelming majority, the Kashmiri would like to enjoy their full clout in the democratic age on the ‘imperial’ domain they have inherited. On this question, I beg to disagree with you. Every nationality has equal right to self-determination, if it is territorially definable.
Confusing Hinduness with Indianness
I - Letter to Subramanian Swamy, 21 August, 2005
I was not surprised by your article “Hindu Society Under Siege” in the Organiser of 21 August 2005. It is yet another indication of how slowly but steadily you have moved towards the Sangh Parivar.
Let me say that on your terms no non-Hindu citizens of India will be prepared to respond to your call for ‘Hindu unity’. Indeed, throughout your article you confuse Hinduness with Indianness. It is not clear whether you are speaking about Hinduism being under siege when it is showing dynamic signs of spreading beyond the frontiers of the Sub-continent to distant countries. Nor is it clear whether India as a state is under siege or the Sub-continent which is what Akhand Bharat stands for. Whether it is India or the Sub-continent or the Hindu Indian community, your article does not clarify who is besieging them. Unless you define your enemy, how do you defend Hinduism or India? The Hindu Indians, who do not think like you and the non-Hindu Indians will not take your siege complex seriously unless you come up with more concrete evidence.
II- Letter to Subramanian Swamy, 1 Sept., 2005
Thank you for your letter of 24 August, 2005. I have no objection to your or anyone speaking explicitly about the grievances or complaint of the Hindu or any other community which falls within the framework of the Constitution. But I do object to fabricating motivated threats and generating fear and hatred and reaping political benefits, the old RSS way.
Regarding the Shankaracharya, I do not respect him as you do. What is important is that grant of bail does not mean acquittal. You should wait for the judicial verdict.
On J&K refugee and Bangladesh situation, I have spoken and written. But no one is bound to cover the whole universe, not even you!
Finally, all terrorist are not Muslims, all Muslims are not terrorists. And ‘fraud’ is not a monopoly of any particular religious institution.
Govt. Support to Conference of Pro-RSS Muslims
I - Letter to CM Rajasthan, 11 February, 2005
The Rajasthan Madrasa Board is organizing an All India Conference in Jaipur to preach the ideology of Cultural Nationalism to the Muslims of the country. Top RSS leaders and RSS-attached ‘Muslim’ intellectuals have been invited to address the Conference.
We strongly protest against the use of Madrasa Board and the services of Madrasa teachers/managers for propagating the principles of Hindutva – the core ideology of the ruling party.
Moreover, this Conference goes beyond the statutory function and responsibilities of the Rajasthan Madrasa Board. If the Board becomes an instrument in the hands of the Sangh Parivar, we would be forced to advise the Madrasas of Rajasthan to delink themselves totally from the Board.
We request you to intervene immediately and cancel this ‘cultural’ show.
II - Letter to The Hindu, 14 February, 2005
We are surprised by the misleading headline your paper has given to the report on “Nationalist Muslim Conclave”, sponsored/organized by the RSS in Jaipur on 13 February, 2005.
The enclave was not representative of the Muslim community, in any sense of the term. On the other hand, it led to protest demonstration by the Muslim community of Jaipur, spearheaded, as your paper has reported, by Rajasthan Muslim Forum which includes representatives of all leading Muslim organizations or institutions in Rajasthan, because a government institution the Rajasthan Madrasa Board was used to promote RSS ideology.
One would like to know the State-wise break up of Muslim delegations, their association with Muslim institutions/organizations and their profession and occupation, before accepting the RSS claim.
RSS/VHP’s Offensive against Adivasis of Gujarat
I - Letter to President, INC, 21 September, 2005
May I draw your attention to the report in the Indian Express (21 September, 2005) on the proposed ‘Shabari Kumbh Mela’, an innovation, being organised by the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram and the Hindu Jagran Manch at Pampa Sarovar, a small natural pool in the Purna river at Subir, 33 kms. from Ahwa, the district headquarters of the Dangs? Since the purpose is to convert the Adivasis formally to Hinduism, this proposal enjoys the full backing of the Sangh Parivar and the State Government and the local administration. The Project Manager is a Swami Asheemananda who arrived in the area in 1997 and has been responsible for disturbing the normal life of the region and organizing the violence against the Adivasis who are mainly Christians. He is now designated as Shraddha Jagran Pramukh of the All India Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram and he proposes to bring about 400,000 pilgrims to participate in the 5th Kumbh in the country between 11-13 February, 2006.
The local Adivasis who number only about 200,000 are unhappy and apprehensive about the changes imposed on their way of life and the damage inflicted on their culture but also about the ruthless cutting down of thousands of trees in the forests for building the townships for housing the visitors.
There are 2 aspects of the problem: organized Hinduisation of tribals with consequent communal tension and violence and destruction of the natural environment.
Incidentally, the local MP, MLA and a majority of Surpanches are all Congressmen. But no voice has been raised in defence of the Adivasi culture or the natural environment. Also the Adivasi Kalyan Ashram continues to be the recipient of grants from the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
I request you urgently to instruct the Gujarat PCC as well as the Ministries of Tribal Affairs and Environment to intervene in the interest of communal harmony and protection of the environment.
II - Reply from President, INC, 29 Sept., 2005
I have received your letter of 21st September, 2005 regarding the Adivasis of Dangs, Gujarat and taken note of your concern in this regard.
Constituency Rotation for Reservation for SC/ST
Letter to Delimitation Commission, 6 July, 2005
The Guidelines issued by the Commission to State Election Officers lays down dispersal of SC reservation throughout the State on the basis of at least one reserved seat in each district.
However, the population or the SC population is not uniformly spread throughout any State. So districts with a higher SC proportion than the State as a whole, should be differentiated from the district with a lower proportion. Consequently some districts may have more than one reserved seats and others may not qualify even for one.
Secondly, the constituencies with the highest absolute population of SC’s should be preferably reserved, so as to cover the maximum share of SC population of the State with reservation. On the other hand, at the same level of SC proportion, constituencies which have been under reservation for one or more elections should be dereserved and other reserved in their place.
We request you to issue necessary clarification to State Election Officers.
Equality of Religious Rights for All
Letter to Minister of Law, 19 August, 2005
May I draw your attention to the Private Member’s Bill introduced by Shri Tarlochan Singh, M.P. seeking amendment to Article 25 (2) (b) of the Constitution for adding the words “Sikh, Jain or Buddhist” before the terms “religious institutions” and also substitute the word “Hindus” at the end thereof by “these religions.”
I submit for your consideration that Article 25 relates to Freedom of Conscience and the Right to freely profess, practise and propagate religion and therefore all parts of the Article should apply equally to all religions and all religious institutions. Indeed, even the first part of the Sub-Section 2(b) applies to all religions. Though the second part should be amended in a manner to apply to religious institutions of a public character of all religions. This could be achieved simply by substituting the word “Hindu” by “all” and the word “Hindus” at the end by the phrase “any religion”. In that event, Explanation 2 may be omitted.
Shri Tarlochan Singh’s amendment appears to make an invidious distinction between Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism, on one hand, and Islam, Christianity and Zoroastrianism, on the other. If accepted, this would confirm the Hindutva line of dividing religions professed in India in two groups — indigenous and foreign. This should not be permitted.
Removal of Religious Encroachment on Pub. Land
Letter to Chairperson, NDMC, 19 August, 2005
It has been reported that the NDMC Demolition Squad failed to perform its task of removing the unlawfully constructed mandir on Dr. Rajendra Prasad Road, New Delhi, because of the intervention of some BJP leaders who are reported to have ‘warned of serious consequences if any future attempt would be made’.
I am personally aware of the slow but steady expansion of this mandir in the 80’s and the 90’s because I lived in its vicinity at 14 Janpath for nearly ten years.
Undoubtedly, the temple encroaches upon the pedestrian path & obstructs the traffic but it has achieved its present dimension due to the negligence by the NDMC. Therefore, it is essential that in such cases the NDMC should arm itself with a formal order from the Court and serve proper notice on the management and make adequate Police Bandobust, not only to deal with the crowd but detain any one, whatever his status, who obstructs the NDMC from carrying out its duty.
The NDMC should also direct its concerned staff to bring to your notice any illegal occupation or obstruction of public land immediately so that the mischief can be nipped in the bud.
Allocation of Land for Masjids on Par with Mandirs
Letter to CM, Haryana, 26 August, 2005
We have noted that your Government has revoked the cancellation by HUDA of all allocations of land for religious purposes in the new extension of Gurgaon Town. I am not aware where any allocation had been made for Muslim, Christian, Sikh religious places of worship. I do not know about Christian population but there is considerable Muslim population – and growing – in the DLF city, Sushant Lok, and Palam Vihar but there is not a single Masjid in the area outside the old town of Gurgaon.
I would request you that HUDA may please be directed to allot at least one small piece of land say 1,000 sq m in area in a central place for the construction of a Masjid. I know some of the residents and they shall be happy to make a formal application to the HUDA and find ways and means to construct the Masjid through an approved Masjid committee once you kindly indicate your approval in principle.
On Trishul Distribution in Madhya Pradesh
I - Letter to HM Shivraj Patil, 12 September, 2005
The Government of Madhya Pradesh has withdrawn the order of the Digvijay Government dated 12 August, 2002, banning the carriage and public display of Trishuls.
This is a retrograde step.
The M.P. Government has followed the lead taken by the Rajasthan Government.
This means that the VHP shall resume its Distribution Programme and train volunteers in their use. This will generate a sense of insecurity among the Muslims and the Christians in the two States.
We request you to consult the former C.M.’s of Rajasthan and M.P. who are now General Secretaries of the Congress and advise the State Governments to reimpose the ban if the relaxation is misused by the VHP to create tension. We also request you to consider a central ban.
II - Minister of Home Affairs’ Reply, 15 Sept., 2005
This is to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated 12 September, 2005 regarding lifting of ban on carriage and public display of Trishuls in Madhya Pradesh.
I am getting the matter examined for appropriate action.
Muslim Lack of Faith in Attorney General
Letter to Minister of Law, 31 August, 2005
I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the Muslim community generally has a very poor and negative opinion about Shri Milon Banerjee who has been appointed as the Advocate General by the UPA Government. This is particularly due to his performance when the cases relating to Babari Masjid were under consideration in the Supreme Court during 1991-92 and also because of the manner in which Shri Milon Banerjee, representing Government of India, misled the UN Commission on Human Rights on the Hashimpura Massacre, 1987. We feel that the Advocate General should be a person who commands respect of all sections of the people.
I would also like to draw your attention, in this connection, to the report in the Hindustan Times of 26 August 2005 which points out that Shri Milon Banerjee is not performing his duties as the Attorney General as he should, and very often he leaves it to his juniors to present the stand of the Government of India even in the Supreme Court.
Universalization of Benefits under SGRY
Letter to M/Rural Development, 1 Sept., 2005
We have seen your advertisement on SAMPOORNA GRAMEEN ROZGAR YOGNA (SGRY).
In Para 3 of the statement indicates that the SGRY is to be implemented by all the three tiers of Panchayati Raj Institutions. It appears to us that since the works are to be executed at the Gram Panchayat level, except inter panchayat works, within the same block and inter-block works within the same Zila, the distribution of resources among the three tiers should be on the basis of the implementation agency and the works allotted to them. This implies that there should not be a permanent or universal ratio.
In Para 5 your statement indicates that 50% of the funds at the village level are to be utilized for SC & ST habitations. Since the population of SC & ST varies from village to village and since there are other weaker sections which face the same economic situation, we do not see the reason for allotting 50% of the funds universally for all the villages. Allocation for SC & ST should be in accordance with their population in every Panchayat/Block/Zila.
Para 7 speaks of Muster Rolls which are perennial source of corruption. The workers are paid much less than what they sign for, sometimes the names of the persons who have not worked at all are included on the Muster Rolls. Placing Muster Rolls before the Gram Sabha which is largely uneducated can not eliminate such dishonesty. This makes the task of monitoring much more important. It is not clear who will constitute the monitoring committee and what its composition and power will be. This needs to be elucidated.
The last question we have is how the SGRY will be coordinated with the Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.
Extension of Atrocities Act to All Vulnerable Groups
I - Letter to S.A. Joshi, MP, 31 August, 2005
I have seen your Private Bill introduced in the Rajya Sabha on 29 July 2005 seeking an amendment to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. Farmers and agricultural workers may or may not belong to the SC/ST, but there are other deprived and marginalized communities, which are as vulnerable as the SC/ST, for example, the religious, linguistic and ethnic minorities, who are sometimes very sparsely represented in a given village. I therefore, feel that the Act should be amended to include “the other weaker sections, whatever their occupation”.
II - Letter to C.K. Chandrappan, MP, 1 Sept., 05
May I draw your attention to your Private Bill introduced in the Lok Sabha for amendment to the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950.
I endorse the basic point in Section 2 (1) of your Bill but I feel that Islam should also be treated on par with Christianity so that any person who belong to a Scheduled Caste and has converted to Islam or Christianity shall continue to be a member of the Scheduled Caste.
What is needed actually is a basic amendment to the Order of 1950 to make the status of SC totally independent of religion and related only to occupation and social treatment that those engaged in those occupations receive or received from the rest of the society.
Review of Position of Muslims in SC and H/Courts
Letter to Minister of Law, 9 September, 2005
We have noted the appointment of Mr. Justice Altamas Kabir as a Judge of the Supreme Court. However, the second slot, normally filled by a Muslim Judge, is still vacant.
We request you to take necessary steps for filling up the second slot at the earliest.
We also request you to review the position of Muslims in the High Courts, particularly Allahabad, Patna, Calcutta, A.P., Chennai, Bombay, Guwahati and Kerala which cover the States with the highest Muslim concentration. In accordance with the directive of the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, you may like to take effective steps to raise the level of Muslim presence in these High Courts in equitable proportion to their population in the State/area of jurisdiction.
Inclusion of Muslims in Old Age Law
Letter to M’s/Social Justice & Law, 21 Sept., 2005
I was surprised to read in the Times of India today that the proposed Older Persons (Maintenance, Care and Health) Bill which had been mooted by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in universal terms, now excludes Muslims and Christians on legal advice.
Islam plays much emphasis on the duty of Muslims towards parents and grand parents, towards wife and children. So, on the face of it, I do not see any objection to the Bill from the Islamic angle. However, we can give an opinion only if we see the text of the relevant provision.
I, therefore, request you to let us have the relevant text for our consideration. I am sending a copy of this letter to the Minister of Law and to Smt. Sonia Gandhi.
II - Letter to Tahir Mahmood, 23 September, 2005
I have just read your Statement in the Hindustan Times on the Older Persons (Maintenance, Care and Health) Bill, 2005.
I totally endorse your view. I have already written to the Minister of Social Justice as well as to the Minister of Law on the same lines but I have not seen the text of the Bill.
Apparently you have access to it. May I request you to share the text with me?
III - Letter to Valson Thampu, 24 September, 2005
I endorse your views on the proposed welfare legislation. In any case, care and maintenance of the parents and the elders is not contrary to the principles of Islam and Christianity.
I enclose for your information a copy of my letter to the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment.
Review of Working of ICDS (Anganwadis)
Letter to Deptt. of Women & Child, 23 Sept., 2005
We have noticed the expansion of the Integrated Child Development Services Scheme (ICDS) to 50 million children and more than 10 million pregnant/nursing mothers under more than 6,000 projects and in 9,50,000 Anganwadis.
Being out of Parliament since 1996, I do not know how the Anganwadis have developed and how they are functioning and achieving their objectives. Then I had seen a lot of corruption and nepotism. Between the district and the village, the supplies were diverted and the posts of Anganwadi workers merely served to provide a stipend for the unemployed daughters and daughters-in-law of the well-placed families who had little interest in the unwashed children of the lower classes.
The picture may not be as bad now or the same everywhere but the implementation process and procedure need to be reviewed from time to time as well as regional surveys conducted to assess the results.
I am writing this letter to request you to ask your colleague in-charge to inform me when the last survey and review were conducted by the Department or by the Planning Commission and the changes made in the methods and procedures, to ensure that the center and State funds spent on the ICDS do produce the desired results.
Rules and Regulations under the NREG Act, 2005
Letter to M/Rural Development, 24 Sept., 2005
As a citizen, having gone through the Act, I have some suggestion on 5 aspects.
1. The Act creates a parallel possible bureaucratic structure from the district to the ground level for implementation of the schemes, programmes and projects undertaken under the Act. This will be time consuming and widen the gap between the decision of the Gram Sabha and administrative and technical approval and between approval and implementation. Rules and regulations must attempt to narrow the gap between the proposal, approval and implementation.
2. The Rules should provide for the appointment of a Project/Scheme Secretary at the ground level for the implementation of every project. He should be a literate/educated member of the Gram Sabha, to be appointed by it in open meeting and should report to it every 3 month and on completion and he should receive a small stipend for this social service.
3. I suggest that available manpower in a village should be divided in small groups of 5-10, all belonging to the same ward. Every group should have a group leader. The group should work under the Project/Scheme Secretary. The names of members of each group should be placed on the notice board of the Gram Panchayat’s office with the name of the Project/Scheme assigned, the estimated number of man-days for its completion and the date of starting and anticipated completion.
4. The Act provides virtually no check on the biggest source of corruption in such projects – the maintenance of correct daily muster-roll. The muster roll will, otherwise, not admit many eligible applicants and on the other hand, include non-eligible persons and even non-existent persons; it will include and pay persons who have not done any work or little work. You have to apply your mind on framing regulations to plug this gaping hole through which much funds will sink.
The Muster Roll, based on daily attendance should be maintained by the nominee Incharge of the work and payment to each worker should be made only after scrutiny of the muster roll by the Gram Panchayat.
5. NREGS Funds should be earmarked for each village/Panchayat on the basis of enumeration of eligible manpower or applicants. One year’s requirement of funds, Panchayat-wise, should be available at the block level, in 2 instalments covering the seasons for non-agricultural work. Funds should be released to the Panchayats on a monthly basis, for weekly payment to the workers.
Both Blocks and Panchayats should maintain a continuing account of receipts and payments and provide a monthly report to the next higher level. There should be no lapse/return of funds at the end of the financial year so that the unutilized balance, if any, is passed on to the next year, alongwith the list of payment dues.
Survey of School Textbooks in UP
I - Letter to Deeni Taleemi Council, UP, 19 Aug., 05
I thank you for your kind letter of 1st August 2005 and for your prompt response to my request for a copy of your review of the UP textbooks from the point of view of secularism.
This is indeed a very comprehensive survey but such a survey needs to be repeated at the beginning of every academic year not only in respect of newly prescribed textbooks but also additional reading material recommended.
Had you invited me to the Seminar I would have definitely tried to participate because I was among the first MPs to raise the question on anti-secular material in school textbooks before and during NDA regime. In fact, I had organized a national conference on the subject with the cooperation of all leading Muslim organizations as well as Sikh and Christian leaders.
You have not stated whether the Council has submitted a formal memorandum to the Government of UP and if so to whom and when. If we receive a copy we shall be glad to extend our support by writing to the authorities concerned and also by raising the question with the Central Government.
II - Letter to Deeni Taleemi Council UP, 12 Sept., 05
Thank you for your letter of 30 August, 2005. I am glad to know that the Deeni Taleemi Council has established a direct contact with the CM and the officials of the Education Department. I hope some definite results will follow. But you need to keep knocking. Unless some concrete step is taken, you should not give up the mission.
I have gone through the press report of the Sachar Committee on its visit to Lucknow. I do not find any reference to charges needed in anti-secular textbooks of UP.
You should also ask the Government of UP to refuse grant-in-aid/recognition to private schools (run by Sangh Parivar and others) which use objectionable material as textbooks/prescribed reading. So the State should review not only government but their textbooks also.
Also I would suggest that apart from textbooks you should examine the school culture prevalent in UP. I am told that old objectionable practices continue.
Communal Textbooks in Gujarat
Letter to Minister of HRD, 1 Sept., 2005
May I draw your attention to the Social Science Textbook for Standard IX published by the Gujarat State Board of School Textbooks.
According to Fr. Cedric Prakash, Director, Prashant, Ahmedabad, a well-known public figure, the textbook:
“is full of historical distortions (including serious omissions), factual inaccuracies, value judgements and biases against minorities and women.
There is practically not a single page in the book which is free from error or from absolutely atrocious language.”
I request that the Union Government may kindly intervene in the matter.
Promotion of Sanskrit in Rajasthan
Letter to Minister of HRD, 21 August, 2005
It has been reported that the Rajasthan Government has established a Sanskrit University, which is expected to start functioning from September 14, 2005. In its annual Budget for 2005-06, the State Government has allocated Rs.73 crore for promotion of Sanskrit.
As you are aware, the Central Government has several national institutions for teaching and promotion of Sanskrit throughout the country.
In addition, several States have Sanskrit Universities, Sanskrit Colleges and Sanskrit Schools. The fact remains that none of the teaching institutions has any sizable number of students. While the elementary education of minimum quality is still beyond the reach of most of our children, such a high expenditure on promotion of Sanskrit can only be justified in terms of supporting the members of a particular caste, who provide most of the teachers in these institutions. To some extent, University Departments of Arabic and Persian are in the same position but they constitute a very insignificant part the Union or State education budget.
The purpose of this letter is to draw your attention to the politics behind such uncontrolled expansion of facilities for Sanskrit education. I request your Ministry to collect the data on the total Government expenditure – Union and State including the subsidies, incentives and scholarships provided to private institutions.
Promotion of Education among Muslims
Letter to Farooq A. Bawani, 13 September, 2005
I thank you for your letter of 9 September, 2005 and the enclosed clipping. I am surprised that the Times of India, New Delhi, has not published this report. I shall request my friend Zafarul Islam Khan to publish it in the Milli Gazette.
Nearly all States, more or less have the same educational upsurge. What the community should do is to ensure that all children get enrolled at the primary level, all first divisioners of Secondary Board enroll for Higher Secondary or technical diploma courses and all those who compete for professional degree courses after higher secondary do not suffer from lack of resources. Gujarati Muslims should set up a joint Muslim Educational Fund in every district and at the State level.
Comments on Annual Report of MAEF
I - Letter to Secretary, MAEF, 31 Aug., 05
I thank you for sending me a copy of the Annual Report of the Maulana Azad Educational Foundation for the year 2003-2004. During this year, the Foundation has launched three new schemes. The first scheme of scholarship for higher secondary is indeed welcome. The outlay for this scheme should be increased to cover all needy girl students who have secured first division in their secondary examination, if their parents/guardians have an income of less than Rs.60,000/- per annum. If the scheme cannot be universalized then the total number of scholarships should be distributed among various States in proportion to their Muslim population.
I do not see any justification for the Scheme of Sadhbhavna Kendras. It is nothing more than a diversion from the object and purpose of the Foundation.
As for the third scheme of Literacy Award, it should be re-phrased as ‘Education Award’ or ‘Education Promotion Award’ and the Foundation should lay down specific criteria for evaluating the work of the educational institutions, which apply. The report should also give the total outlay on grant-in-aid to NGOs since its inception in 1989, Statewise and the names of the NGO’s with brief schemes and amount.
The Foundation had organized a national convention on Educational and Economic Development of the Minorities on 3 May 2003 but the report does not inform the reader if the Convention adopted any Statement of Consensus or Resolution for promoting the development of the minorities.
The Foundation should help set up an NGO in New Delhi for running the vocational training center like any other similar center in the country. There is no point in the Foundation running one such institution.
I would finally suggest that the birth anniversary of the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad should be observed by the Foundation in a manner so as to promote the objectives of national integration. There appears to be no need for a separate function for participating in the National Integration Week.
II - Letter to Secretary, MAEF, 1 October, 05
Your letter of 6 September, 2005 which has reached me today. I thank you for reacting positively to some of my suggestions.
Regarding Sadbhavana Kendras, the text of the Scheme has not been attached. But I do not see how the establishment of a few Kendras help to create awareness among the students at large about the national ideas. I would suggest an alternative approach. Every institutional recipient of your assistance should devote one or two days in the year for promoting the ‘national ideas’. Thus, they would help inculcate a new outlook among a large cross-section of the students and teachers.
The Scheme for Maulana Azad ‘Literacy’ Awards has also not been received. I shall wait, till I do.
My idea was not to have a year-wise account but a statement of cumulative grant to various NGOs, NGO-wise, just as I have requested you for state-wise figures. I think such arithmetical work can easily be done by the Foundation, at the end of every financial year. We can begin backward and do it for the period 2000 - 2004, before adding earlier years.
Your response on the question of the Foundation running one Vocational Training Centre is not to the point. What I want is that the Foundation should deal with all eligible areas and NGOs equally and, therefore, I suggest that this VTC be transferred to a local NGO or, if necessary, a new NGO may be sponsored by the Foundation for running this VTC.
Implementation of Three-Language Formula
Letter to Santosh Bagrodia, MP, 1 Sept., 2005
May I draw your attention to your Bill on the Children’s Rights, Facilities and Welfare introduced in the Rajya Sabha on 6 May 2005. Perhaps your Bill had been overtaken by the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan and the pending Bill relating to the provision of free and compulsory elementary education. However, I am writing this letter with reference to Section 3 (i) of your Bill. As you are aware, the Constitution directs the provision of primary education through the medium of the mother tongue and for the teaching of languages at the upper primary and secondary level there is a national consensus on the Three Language Formula. This section therefore needs to be clarified to ensure that all children received their primary education through the medium of their mother tongue if it is one of the Scheduled 8 Languages and, thereafter, they should be taught the Mother Tongue as the First Language and two more languages, the second being Hindi or any other Scheduled 8 Language spoken in their State/UT and thirdly English or any classical language of their choice. These 2 languages may be initiated even at the primary level at class III and V level.
Introduction of English as Comp. from Class-I
Letter to Director, NCERT, 6 September, 2005
The NCERT’s recommendation to introduce English as a Compulsory Language from Class I is unfair to all linguistic minorities in all States. The NCERT has accepted that at the primary stage the Mother Tongue shall be the medium of instruction. Then if he learns English from class I, the child speaking a minority language shall not learn the Principal Language of the State, including Hindi in the Hindi-speaking States. If he does not, all children of linguistic minorities shall face a handicap in higher classes when the Principal Language of the State becomes the medium of instruction. Otherwise also, they shall face a handicap in the employment market.
Our suggestion is that alongwith the Mother Tongue as the medium of instruction, the Principal Language of the State and English may be introduced serially, within the 5 years of the primary instruction, say, from class III and class IV. Thus every child of the linguistic minorities shall have adequate knowledge of the PLS when it become the medium of instruction. Like other children they would also have some knowledge of English before reaching class VI. Also while the minority children are learning PLS from class III onward, the children whom Mother Tongue is the PLS should learn a minority language of the State or a classical language of their choice to keep the balance.
Over-Sanction of Intake for Tech. Institutions
Letter to Minister/HRD, 5 July, 2005
The AICTE has decided to reduce the sanctioned intake in technical institutions across the country by over 38,000 for the academic year 2005-06. We welcome it, though the move is belated. What is important is to correct the lopsided development of technical education in the country. The number of degree institutions among B.E., B.Sc. (Engg.) or equivalent varies sharply from State to State, though generally the number of such institutions and their total intake in a state should have a reasonable relation to its population. This lopsidedness has encouraged commercialization and students from deficit states try their luck in surplus states through they have to face many handicaps including linguistic and financial.
The idea of instituting No Objection Certificate of State governments was to promote educational planning and to enable State Governments to determine the growth of technical colleges accordingly.
I suggest that you may kindly instruct the AICTE to examine proposals for establishment, renewal of recognition and expansion of seats from surplus seats from this angle to obtain overall uniform spread of technical education facilities throughout the country and to encourage establishment of such institutions in private or public sector in deficit states.
Abolition of Secondary School Examination
Letter to Minister of HRD, 7 September, 2005
At the meeting of General Council of the NCERT as well as the following meeting of the CABE several members are reported to have objected to the proposal in the NCF to make class (Secondary) examination optional.
In our society, at the lower level even a student who fails or gets a third division in the secondary examination, called Matriculation in the past, acquires an educational and social status but students who will study after class X but take no independent examination will not do so. The abolition of compulsory Secondary Examination conducted by an independent Board of Secondary Education will rob them of this status.
This predicament will be hard for the students of lower classes who, in any case, would not have gone beyond the Secondary.
We, therefore, request you not to approve/implement this recommendation but advise the Secondary Examination Boards, Central or State, to continue the past practice.
In this connection, we would also request you to increase the space of free and compulsory elementary education by ONE year, to cover the secondary school.
Separate Council for BMA Course
Letter to Minister of HRD, 20 September, 2005
I am not aware of the circumstances in which Business Administration Degree and Master Courses were included in the jurisdiction of AICTE. But over the years both Engineering Colleges and Business Administration Schools have multiplied and the AICTE appears to be overburdened.
I feel that the AICTE should be confined to Engineering and Technology courses like B.E., B.Tech. and B.Sc. (Engineering) perhaps BCA also and their corresponding post-graduate courses and institutions and the BBA and MBA courses and their institutions should be handled by another statutory body. I request you to consider this suggestion.
Proposal for Separation of MBA from AICTE
Letter to UGC, 22 September, 2005
We would like to know the state-wise number of universities in the country which award Law degrees (B.L., LL.B. and M.L.) and their authorized intake, course-wise.
Although many degree holders do not practise or teach law in the country, at every level, it is flooded with unemployed lawyers, like unemployed engineers, who are forced to seek employment as constables and clerks. Also it is well known that legal standards are going down which over a period of time will reflect on the quality of judgements, even of the superior courts.
We would, therefore, suggest that the system of legal education be revamped, merit, quality and competition be introduced in admission and, above all, private candidates be barred from taking law examination and attendance rules be strictly observed.
Perhaps the UGC may like to discuss the present state of affairs with the All India Bar Council.
Proposal to Rationalise Legal Education
Letter to Minister of HRD, 24 September, 2005
The Supreme Court has taken note of 100,000 seats lying vacant in private Engineering Colleges all over the country. No State-wise break up is given but they are largely in some Southern States which have methodically commercialized technical education, with generous support by the AICTE.
To meet the emergency, he Supreme Court has allowed such colleges to admit students who have passed 10 + 2 and have not cleared any competitive test. This will no doubt lower the standard of technical education in the country.
As it is, we have lakhs of unemployed Engineering graduates. They are forced to apply for posts of constables, clerks and primary school teachers!
The remedy lies in clamping down on the establishment of new engineering colleges far beyond the normal requirement of the States in which they are located.
I am aware of the fact that many politicians are involved in the racket.
To set up a uniform standard, I request you to examine the number of available seats per million population of the country as a whole and the corresponding number in various States and instruct or advise the AICTE not to sanction establishment or expansion in states which already have 50% more intake than the national average and encourage establishment and expansion of engineering colleges only in those states which are below the national average.
I think such analysis and urgent action are essential today.
Muslim Quota in Reservation in Higher Education
Letter to Muslim Organizations, 1 Sept., 2005
As you are aware that the Supreme Court has laid down that the State shall not impose any quotas for admission to private aided professional institutions. This basically hits the SC/ST quota as well as the OBC quota in some States.
The Minority Educational Institution established under the Article 30 of the Constitution, if they are not receiving aid from the Government, also fall in this category. This implies that they would be free to admit much higher proportion of the students from the establishing minority. In the long run, this should be beneficial for the minority specially those who are educationally deprived.
However, there is political and parliamentary pressure on the government to restore the Government quota by legislation. The Ministry of Human Resources Development has gone on record to say that in accordance with the demand of social justice, the Government shall, in consultation with other political parties, formulate suitable legislation for reservation in private institution and move it in the winter session of parliament which begins in November.
The Muslim community has for many years been demanding quota in all the Government institutions of higher learning in accordance with its population and level of backwardness, which is only a little higher than that of SC / ST. It is therefore, an opportunity for the Muslim leadership to press the Government to provide for a quota for Muslims in all government and private institutions through out the country. It is therefore, suggested that your organization may like to place this point of view before the Minister of Human Resources Development, the leaders of recognized political parties and the Chief Ministers of 7-8 states of Muslims concentration namely U.P, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala.
It is also suggested that our organizations should jointly hold a National Convention to demand reservation for implementing in higher education proposed in October 2005.
I would be grateful for your early response.
RSS University in Jaipur
Letter to Madrasa Jamia-tul Hidaya, 120 Mar., 2005
You must have been informed that the RSS is setting up a Hindutva University in Rajasthan. It shall be a private university. Either a Society registered by the RSS will set it up and then seek legislative support from the State Government.
It will be a private University and it may not be possible for the government to treat it, in the matter of grant-in-aid on par with other universities set up by the Government. But, if its courses are recognized by the University Grants Commission, its degrees shall be recognized and then its graduates can compete with other eligible candidates for public and private employment.
I am writing this letter to request you to prepare the blue print of an Islamic University in Rajasthan to teach undergraduate and post-graduate courses in Islamic Studies and Social Sciences, to begin with. As soon as possible, a Society should be registered with this objective.
There is no other Muslim organization in Rajasthan that can take up such a project.
In case you feel interested, you may like to visit Lucknow and speak to Prof. W. Akhtar, V.C. of the first private Muslim University in India; the Integral University, to understand the legal mechanism involved.
As for the courses of study, the Islamic University in Islamabad, Pakistan may guide you in formulating the courses etc.
On Legislation on Communal Violence
Statement of MMA, 13 August, 2005
The Markazi Majlis-e-Amla
* Expresses its deep disappointment that the Union Government has not yet finalized the draft of the proposed comprehensive legislation against social violence and requests that it should complete the task urgently and, as promised, place the first draft in the public domain for comments and suggestion by interested individuals, institutions and organizations, This will restore the confidence of the target communities which has been eroded.
Relief Scheme for Sikhs Should Apply to All
Letter to CM, Delhi, 13 September, 2005
The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) welcomes your announcement for ex-gratia payments to those injured in the 1984 Anti-Sikh Disturbances and the sanctioned of Rs. 36.51 crores for it. It has also noted that the Government of Delhi has already spent Rs. 87 crores in ex-gratia payment for loss of life and property and for rehabilitation of riot-affected families, widows and children.
The AIMMM is not aware of the losses of life, limb and property in other manifestations of communal or caste violence in Delhi since November, 1984. But I believe that such ex-gratia payments constitute a moral and legal duty of the State when it fails to protect life, limb, honour and property of its citizens, which is its primary duty. The AIMMM also believes that all citizens and all social groups are equal before the law.
Therefore, it suggests that your Government should announce that the Scheme of Compensation/Ex-gratia Relief applicable to the Sikh victims of 1984 shall apply equally to all victims of communal violence sine November, 1984. The numbers of claimants may not be very large but you shall have established the principles of State duty and equality of citizens before law. In so doing, you and your Government would have set up new standards of State conduct and deserve the thanks of many past and all future victims.