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Archive Issue No : 23


WAKFS

On Creation of National Wakf Development Corporation and Restoration of PWB

Resolution of MMM, 11 February, 2006

The Markazi Majlis-e-Mushawarat

Demands the establishment of a National Wakf Development Corporation with adequate capital with an organic link with similar Corporations in all States of Wakf concentration.

Also urges the Union Government to restore the Inter-state Wakf Board covering Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and U.T. of Chandigarh because after its break up none of the States have been able to form viable State Wakf Boards in accordance with the Wakf Act, 1995 because of limited Muslim population.  This has caused immense distress and handicap to the management and progress of religious institutions in three States and one U.T. The MMM also demands that similar inter-state Wakf Boards be established in other regions, particularly in the N.E. and in the case of other U.T’s. 

Also urges an amendment to the Wakf Act, 1995, to raise the status of the Central Wakf Council from that to an attached office to the Ministry of Welfare to that of an autonomous body and establish organic linkages between the Central Wakf Council and the State Wakf Board.

 

Overview of Wakf Status in Major State

Letter to CWC, 21 February, 2006

If you have prepared an overview of the Wakf Administration in Bihar since the Act of 1995 came into force, I would be grateful for a copy.

I feel that the Central Wakf Council should annually review the status of Wakf administrations in the major States of Muslim concentration like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Assam and Kerala in consultation with the State Wakf Boards in the light of the Wakf Act, 1995 in respect of :

1.     Overview

2.     Survey of Wakfs

3.     Constitution of State Wakf Boards/Zila Wakf Committees

4.     Exemption from Rent Control legislation

5.     Exemption from Urban Land Ceiling and Land Reform Legislation

6.     Inclusion of Public Wakfs as Public Premises

7.     State grant-in-aid for administration of Wakf Boards

8.                 Any other major development in the State.

 

Investment of CWC Funds

Letter to CWC, 22 February, 2006

With reference to our discussion on alternative investment of the surplus/balance in the hands of the Central Wakf Council, we suggested Equity Mutual Funds. There are about 10, out of hundreds, which are doing well.

Since, as an official body, the CWC may prefer a public sector institution. I had suggested UTI or SBI Mutual Fund.

I saw a UTI Mutual Fund advertisement recently whose clipping I enclose for your information.

You can get details of the SBI Mutual Fund from or through the SBI branch which has your deposits presently.

Perhaps it may be easier to transfer fixed deposits in the SBI to SBI Mutual Fund.

I suggest that you make further exploration with other reputed Mutual Funds with the objective of raising earnings to at least 10% free.

Perhaps this question may be placed on the agenda of the next meeting of the CWC.

 

Survey of Wakf Boards

Letter to CWC, 11 March, 2006

Thank you for the Note on Grant-in-aid by State Governments to the Wakf Boards.

I would request you :

a)     To update the Note on the basis of Grant-in-aid budgeted for, or received during 2005-06

b)     To add to the Note the total income (other than grant-in-aid, if any) and expenditure by the Wakf Boards on Establishment and Administration, for 2005-06.

c)     Percentage of (a) to (b).

You may concentrate on 12 States of major Muslim concentration, namely, UP, Bihar, W. Bengal, Assam, J&K, Kerala, Maharashtra, AP, Karnataka, MP, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu.

You may ask the Chief Secretaries or Chairmen, Wakf Boards and later request the Chairman of the CWC to advise the CM or Minister of Wakfs but we should pursue the matter regularly to ensure that at least 50%, if not more of the administrative expenditure, is met by the State Government.

 

Encroachment on Wakfs by Govt. and Local Authorities in Lucknow

Letter UP Shia Central Wakf Board, 6 Feb., 2006

I have seen a press report regarding the encroachment by the State Government and the local authorities of Lucknow upon the valuable land of the Hussainabad and Allied Trusts. Since this Trust property is basically a Wakf created by the Nawabs of Oudh, the State Shia Wakf Board should take over the Trust and take legal and political steps to have the encroachment vacated.

Hope this finds you in the best of cheers.

 

Mutawalli for Protected Monument

Letter to CWC, 18 February, 2006

The Maharashtra Wakf Board has appointed a Mutawalli for Bibi Ka Maqbara in Aurangabad which is a Protected Monument under the ASI.  It has cited Section 63 of the Wakf Act for this purpose.

I request you to get the full particulars from the Maharashtra authorities.

 

Take-over of Wakf Properties in UP for ‘Development’

Letter to Minority of Welfare Deptt., UP, 25 Mar., 06

According to a press report today the UP Government has prepared a plan for the commercial development of 1,25,000 wakf properties in UP with an investment of Rs. 5,000 crores, ‘by roping in private parties’.

The Wakf properties can be developed only by the Mutawallis and if they are not in position to do so, by the Wakf Board. But the Government has no direct role at all in their development, except to assist the Mutawallis and/or the Board. Their main task is to ensure that the illegal occupation is vacated.

You are aware that the Central Wakf Council has operated the Scheme of Commercial Development of Wakf Properties for many yeas. Unfortunately so far the share of UP unit has been very small.

We would, therefore, like to know full details of this Plan and particularly to know the level of proposed investment by the State itself and the agency to be charged with its implementation.


URDU

Urdu as Medium of Secondary Education

Letter to VC, MANUU, 25 January, 2006

I understand that the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) plans to establish Urdu-medium primary and secondary schools.

In my view should not set up its own schools but establish a Board for Urdu-medium Education which should evolve appropriate curriculum and syllabus for Urdu-medium primary and secondary schools which follow its syllabus and conduct the secondary and higher secondary examination.

The Act may be examined to see whether to extend its academic activity in the field of school education, it will need some amendments which can then be taken up with the Central Government.

Such a facility would remedy the situation faced by the Urdu community in several states, particularly in Uttar Pradesh whose Education Code does not permit the use of any other language but Hindi as medium of school education and which does not provide Urdu as Mother Tongue due place in the curriculum.

I may add that I very much support the idea of Urdu-medium primary schools government or private for all Urdu-speaking children. But at the secondary level, the emphasis should not be on Urdu as medium of instruction but on teaching of Urdu as the First Language. However, in Urdu-speaking districts some Urdu-medium secondary schools may also be set up by the local Urdu community which can then receive academic support from the MANUU and serve as the feeders for its University courses.

 

Urdu Channel in Door Darshan

Letter to Minister of I&B, 6 February, 2006

You may kindly recall that your predecessor Shri Jaipal Reddy had assured the Urdu-speaking community of the establishment of Door Darshan’s Urdu Channel by 1 January, 2006. The deadline is well-past. We request you to look into the reason for the delay in fulfilling the assurance and expedite the inauguration of the Channel.

I may add that though spoken and understood all over the country, Urdu is the only major modern Indian language which has no home base and is, therefore, depends on the Central Government for its promotion.

 

Urdu Posts in Publication Division, AIR & DD

Letter to Minister of I&B, 16 March, 2006

I regret to bring to your attention that the posts of Editor and Asstt. Editor of the Urdu editions of the Ajkal and Yojana are vacant for quite some time. These vacancies are obviously detrimental to the quality and regularity of these journals.

I would also request you to inquire into the vacancies of Urdu posts in AIR and Door Darshan, some for years and take action for filling them expeditiously.

 

Urdu in UP Administration

Letter to Chairman, UP Urdu Academy, 17 Jan., 06

I am grateful to you for faxing me the text of UP Government’s circular on use of Urdu in administration.

I hope the Urdu Akademi shall, in collaboration with other Urdu organizations in the State, undertake a district-wise surveys of actual use of Urdu in government offices and then inform the State Government of the extent to which its instruction have been put into effect.

Such a survey is even more essential in respect of use of Urdu in schools of primary, middle and high levels, specially in relation to the implementation of Three Language Formula and the availability of textbooks of and in Urdu.

 

Urdu Calligrahy on Delhi Roads

I - Letter to Urdu Akademy, Delhi, 24 Feb., 2006

As you are aware, my repeated request for improving the calligraphy in the Urdu nameplates of roads in the National Capital Territory was assigned to the Urdu Akademy for implementation. However, the calligraphic improvement has been limited to New Delhi and some roads in other parts of Territory. In many places the same unreadable writings, shoddy and shabby continue.

I wonder if the mandate of the Akademy was limited to NDMC area or covered the entire Territory or whether the funds provided by the NDMC/MCD/State Government were inadequate for the work to be done properly and in all places.

In any case, the Akademy should ask for more funds, if necessary, and complete the task under its close supervision.

II - Reply to Delhi Urdu Academy, 13 March, 2006

Your letter No. F(35)/2006/UA/12700 dated 2 March, 2006. I do not know why road name-plates are ‘removed by government agencies at the time of visit by foreign delegates or delegations’.

I do not think your explanation for poor calligraphy in many nameplates is quite convincing. Did the Academy check the quality, road by road and issue a job completion certificate to whosoever it employed for each ward/constituency?

 

Urdu in India, A Statistics Language

Letter to The Times of India, 25 January, 2006

Apropos Mr. Mohd. Wajihuddin’s article “Death of a Language”, may I protest against his identification of Urdu with Islam, since a language has no religion? Urdu’s major handicap is that unlike other modern Indian languages, it has no home-base. It is a minority language everywhere. So it is no one’s baby. Urdu may be facing handicaps in the land of its birth but it is expanding horizontally across the world.

But while the written language is facing difficulties, the spoken language is flourishing. Perhaps even today the spoken Urdu is the lingua franca of the country and being propagated through films, mass media and Mushairas.

 

Inquiry in Computer Education Scheme

Letter to VC, NCPUL, 28 January, 2006

The Computer Education Scheme was being implemented by the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL) through 150 Computer Application and Multilingual DTP Centres set up in various parts of the country through voluntary organizations. In fact, 60% of the budget of the NCPUL was spent on this scheme. It was claimed that 60% of the output secured immediate employment.

It has been brought out by some well-wishers of Urdu that this Scheme did little to promote Urdu. 80% of those trained had never studied Urdu. In fact knowledge of Urdu was not compulsory for admission. Yes, the Certificate Examination has a simple paper, carrying 10 marks for Urdu. Examinees are allowed to write their answer in Dev Nagari!

Another charge levied against the NCPUL is that the ‘Centres’ were gifted to politically connected and influential persons as it may a commercial proposition to meet the demand for computer operation.

Unless the NCPUL Scheme was to fill up a gap by teaching computer application in Urdu to Urdu-knowing students, which facility was not otherwise available, the Scheme had no place in the NCPUL area of operation.

I think the NCPUL should review the Scheme in all its aspects – the eligibility condition for admission to the Certificate Centres, credentials of the voluntary organizations admitted in the Scheme, the number of Urdu-knowing persons admitted to the course, Centre-wise and year-wise, the number of certificate holders employed as Urdu computer operators in government offices, private firms and publishing houses.

In any case, I would be grateful for a complete set of documents relating to the Scheme i.e.

1.     Text of the Scheme

2.     Sanction of the Government of India

3.     Grant received, year-wise

4.     Contract for Supply of Hardware and Software

4.           Scheme of the Examination

5.           List of Centres under Operation

6.           No. of Examinees per center, year-wise, with the number of those successful.

 

Request to Review Committee

Letter to D.R. Goyal, 13 February, 2006

Let me first felicitate you on your appointment as the Chairman of the Committee set up by the Ministry of Human Resource Development to review the functioning of the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language, the utilization of resources allocated and its present policy for promotion of the language and to recommend necessary changes and suggest follow-up action.

We have been discussing the working of the NCPUL with the Anjuman Taraqqui-e-Urdu Hind and we have prepared a Memorandum which we had proposed to submit to Shri Arjun Singh, the Minister for Human Resource Development, but we now feel that it should be presented to you.

I would be grateful if you kindly indicate your convenience when a small delegation may call on you.

 

Inquiry in Software Project

Letter to NCPUL, 3 February, 2006

We understand that around the year 2000, the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language had taken up a Urdu Software Project with the technical help of C-Deck, Pune, with the objective of reducing the multiplicity of Urdu alphabets for expressing more or less the same sound.

We would like to know the present stage of this project and if completed, whether the resulting software has been introduced in the Computer Training Centres of the Council.

We would be grateful for your reply at your earliest convenience.

 

Urdu as Medium of Primary Education in UP

I - Letter to MEIA, UP 13 March, 2006

I thank you for sending me the text of Resolutions adopted by the Executive Committee of the Minorities Educational Institutions Association (MEIA), UP, on 26 February, 2006.

I would like to draw your attention to Resolution 4 on UP Education Code. To the best of my knowledge UP Education Code prescribes Hindi and Hindi only as medium of instruction in schools. This is a violation of the Constitution as far as primary education is concerned.

Article 30(1) does not speak of medium of education! Article 350A does.

These are 2 separate issues that every child should be given primary instruction through his Mother Tongue and every child should study his Mother Tongue as First Language under the Three Language Formula upto secondary level.

I do not endorse the demand for Urdu as Medium for Secondary or Higher Secondary Education. But if the student has not received his primary education through Urdu or acquired proficiency in Urdu by Class X, he cannot cope with Urdu medium at higher secondary level.

I, therefore, feel that you may examine this question in depth and adopt a revised resolution, demanding:

1)     Urdu as medium of primary education through amendment in Education Code,

2)     Urdu as First Language in the Three Language Formula from class VI to class X.

3)     Urdu as medium of instruction at Secondary and Higher Secondary level or both, if you so desire.

Many difficulties experienced by the MEI’s in UP can now be taken up for redressal through the NCMEI. You may like to study the Act and keep in touch with the Justice Siddiqui Commission.

II - Letter to Minorities Edu. Instt. Assn., UP, 31 Mar., 06

Thank you for your letter.

The Chapter of UP Education Code you have sent me is Chapter 4 on Higher Secondary Schools. Please check if the UP Education Code has Chapters on Primary, Middle and Secondary Education.  If so, please instruct your office to find the medium of instruction prescribed therein.


UNDER-REPRESENTATION IN LEGISLATURE

Genesis of Under-representation in Legislatures

Letter to Arun Shourie, 10 February, 2006

In your intervention yesterday in the discussion under Zakir Husain Memorial Circle, you pointed out that the eminent achievers in the Muslim community need to be projected to provide role models for the Muslim community and to indicate that all doors of opportunity are open to it. The problem lies in that below the top level there is almost a total vacuum, in the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary, not to speak of the Services and the Administrative rights down to Group D posts. As for the common man, the statistical data and recent research have pointed out that in all indices relating to income, asset and material well being of households such as household income, per capita income, land holding, housing and, above all, poverty head count, the Muslims are substantially below the national average. In the income segments below the poverty line, Muslim households are comparable to SC’s/ST’s and are nearly 1/3 more than the Hindus.

An average Muslim feels that entrance into both public and private employment remains barred by communal bias, and sees that his urban localities remain deprived of basic municipal facilities. How do you expect him to be content with occasional political appointments or the success achieved by a sportsperson or a film star?

What is needed is a sincere national endeavour to raise the level of the Muslim representation in legislatures i.e. their political empowerment , which would contribute towards their representation in governance and administration at all levels and more government schools in Muslim areas and greater share of fruits of development. This would, over a period of time, raise his economic and social level and pull him out of the wells of depression and consequent alienation.

Representation to the Prime Minister

Letter to PM Dr. Manmohan Singh, 21 March, 2006

With reference to the discussion the Delegation of the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) had with you on 3 March, 2006 on the question of persistent under-representation of the Muslims in the Union and State Legislatures, I draw your attention to the Statement of Consensus issued by the Muslim Parliamentary Forum in October, 1998.

The situation remains unchanged. The current FPP electoral system is weighted against the religious minorities at the constituency level. In fact, it is against all numerically inferior groups and sections of the people. Also because of the virus of communal bias, very few parties, national or regional, are in a position to transfer their votes to Muslim candidates. That is why, unless the constituencies have a very high concentration of Muslims, say, 30% and above, they hesitate to field Muslim candidates in due measure. The latest example is Assam, 2006 where the Congress has fielded only 29 Muslim candidates against their proportionate share of 38.

Secondly, Muslim candidates are not chosen on the basis of the trust and confidence they command in the Muslim community but of their proximity to the party structure.

Thirdly, in high Muslim concentration seats, more than one secular parties contest against each other with Muslim candidates, resulting in division of Muslim votes. In many cases, the anti-secular parties like the BJP then emerge as winners with non-Muslim candidates.

I realize that introduction of proportional system of electoral representation, which would undoubtedly make our political system more democratic, is a distant goal, a cry in the wilderness. But our purpose is drawing your attention to the problem was to request you to treat Muslim under-representation as a national problem so that you may like to consult other secular parties, in and outside the UPA, on the ways to raise Muslim representation in the legislature.

My personal view is that even if the secular parties in a given election do not have an alliance or understanding across the board, they may come to an adhoc agreement on Muslim concentration seats, defined by Muslim proportion in the electorate (say above 20%), not to contest against each other but assign it to one among themselves by mutually understanding. This will ensure the victory of the only Muslim candidate of a secular party. Muslims will move closer to the political system and generally support secular parties against anti-secular parties.

Muslims are not the only victim of the present FPP system. Perhaps the UPA may take up the larger question of the Reform of the Electoral System for consideration and establish a Committee to carry forward the pioneer work done by Justice Tarkunde Committee.


TERRORISM

Long Detention and Trial of Muslim Detainees in Tamil Nadu

I - Letter to Faizur Rahman Sayeed, 1 March, 2006

I thank you for the three documents on Muslim Detainees in Tamil Nadu. I have studied them and come to the following conclusion:

Number of Accused

1.

Acquitted

8

2.

Convicted

67+?

 

3.

Trial in Progress

238

4.

Trial Pending

18

5.

Appeal, if filed

67(?)

Important Cases/Court-wise

Madurai

35 – Imam Ali Escape Case

A status statement should be prepared on each of these 4 cases

Poonamallee

20 – 2001 IDF Case

Coimbatore

135 – Bomb Blast Case

Chennai TADA II

14 – RSS Office Bombing Case

It is not clear whether the State has appealed against the Acquittal or those sentenced against their conviction. Have life sentence been confirmed by the High Court?

I am of the considered view that the Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, Tamil Nadu should, with your help, take the initiative to form a Tamil Nadu POTA/TADA Detainees Defence Committee. This Committee should have a District Committee in each of the 4 places. The Committee itself should deal with the cases at the High Court level. If any case comes to Supreme Court on appeal or otherwise, All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) shall be of assistance and, if necessary, form a Defence Committee.

The Tamil Nadu Defence Committee should make a public appeal for funds to be received against regular receipts and issue periodical statement of accounts and list of donors, except those who want to remain anonymous. The Committee should take up not only the case of Muslim detainees but of non-Muslims who approach it.

In addition, there should be local Relief Committees in main cities to look after the families of the detainees living there which have no means of support.

I request you to do the needful.

II - Letter to Faizur Rahman Sayeed, 20 Mar., 06

Please refer to my letter of 1 March, 2006 on the pending prosecutions in Tamil Nadu under TADA/POTA.

I raised the matter with the Prime Minister. He appeared to be ignorant of the delay. He has asked me to send him a note on the pending cases, particularly the Coimbatore Blast Case.

May I, therefore, request you to send me urgently a brief note on each important case giving the date of detention of the main accused, the date of submission of chargesheet, the date of framing of charges, the present status of the case, whether bail has been refused by the High Court?

I am particularly anxious to have your note on Coimbatore Case.

 

Muslims Condemn Bomb Blasts in Delhi

30 October, 2005

The serial bomb blasts in several parts of Delhi ishighly deplorable and act of frustrated minds that needs to be nailed down at the earliest.

The timing of the blasts shows the deperatino of the terrorists to disturb peace and festive season prevailing in the country and is a crime against Indians on the eve of Diwali and Eid.

The loss of innocent life due to the inhuman acts of the terrorist mindset reminds us to unite at this hour of grief and take pledge to fight the terrorists unitedly and maintain harmony at this hour of tragedy and defeat the nefarious designs of the terrorists by maintaining peace at all costs.

Ahmad Patel, MP

Navaid Hamid, Member, National Integration Council

Syed Shahabuddin, ex-MP and President, All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat

Saiyid Hamid, Chancellor, Jamia Hamdard

Maulana Shafi Moonis, Vice-President, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind

Iqbal Saradgi, MP

K.M. Arifuddin, Editor, HamaraAwam, Hyderabad

Basheeruddin Babukhan, Former Minister, Government of AP

Allauddin Ahmad, Former Vice-Chancellor, Jamia Hamdard

Farookh Shaikh, Cine Artist

Ishaq Jamkhanawala, President, Anjuman-i-Islam, Mumbai

Iqbal A. Ansari, Secretary General, Minorities Council.

P.A. Inamdar, Vice-Chairman, Maulana Azad Education Foundation

Kamal Faruqui, Member, A.I. Muslim Personal Law Board.

Abdul Hameed Naumani, Secretary,Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind

Mohammad Sulaiman, President, Indian National League

Anis Durrani, Member, Censor Board.

Fakhruddin Mohammad, President, CMEII, Hyderabad

 

AIMMM Condemns Bomb Blasts in Varanasi

Statement, 8 March, 2008

“The AIMMM strongly condemns the twin bomb blasts in Varanasi on 7 March 2006 which have taken the lives of at least 20 innocent people & injured around a hundred. Like earlier similar incidents, these blasts too were designed to terrorize the common people & vitiate the communal harmony in the country.

The AIMMM unreservedly condemns this and all similar terrorist acts and calls upon the Indian authorities to make all possible efforts not only to apprehend the culprits and bring them to justice but also to expose their backers who motivated, trained and equipped them.

The AIMMM also looks with deep apprehension at the efforts by the communal organisations to usurp these tragic incidents and thereby help the terrorists in polarising the Indian society on communal lines and, as a result, stoke the fires of suspicion and hatred in our country. Such efforts by the communal forces must be effectively thwarted as they indirectly play in the hands of the terrorists who perpetrate these criminal attacks.

The AIMMM offers its deep sympathy to the next-of-kin of the victims and assures them that the whole nation shares their sense of loss.”

 

Credibility of Encounter Killing of Muslims

Letter to CM UP, 20 March, 2006

You may kindly recall that following the unfortunate bomb blasts in Sankat Mochan Mandir in Varanasi on 7 March, 2006 evening, a few hour later on 8 March morning, a Muslim youth from Hyderabad, AP, called Salar (alias Salim, Alias Doctor) was killed by the UP Special Task Force in an encounter in Gosaiganj, a rural suburb of Lucknow. The STF alleged that he was the leader of the terrorist gang responsible for the Varanasi blasts. The STF naturally earned kudos and perhaps the prompt apprehension and killing of the suspected terrorist served to cool sectarian passions. Varanasi has not only remained calm and its community has set an example in taking public initiatives to maintain and strengthen communal harmony. But the STF has not made any further progress in investigation, it has not collected any evidence to link Salar with the Varanasi blasts unidentified the actual culprits.

The BJP leader Shri Vinay Katiyar has since made a public claim that Salim was in unlawful police custody as a suspect for the last 3 months. Indeed the STF story itself raises the suspicion that a fake encounter was staged.

Custodial killings, in any case, violate the rule of law and the internationally accepted norms of human rights. Unfortunately, such events in which almost invariably Muslim youth are the victims have been frequently staged in various parts of the country. This raises fear and apprehension in the mind of the Muslim community.

The Muslim community has strongly condemned the bomb blast and even issued ‘Fatwas’ against acts of terrorism. But it is also questioning the legitimacy of Salar’s killing because the authorities tend to link automatically and immediately all terrorist acts to Muslim youth, even before investigation begins!

His wife, who is living in Delhi has told the press that he was taken away by the Delhi Police in February 2005. The Delhi Police Special Cell has confirmed its visit to their house but denies detention. However, the wife and children have not seen him since the police visit. It is possible that the Delhi Police later handed him over to UP STF at some stage.

The story is getting curiouser and curiouser.

The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM), therefore, requests you that in view of the circumstances, the State Government may hand over the case to the CBI for investigation.

 

Many Fatwas against Terrorism as Un-Islamic

Letter to The Times of India, 16 March, 2006

I endorse your view that Fatwa against Terrorism is no remedy and that it will only confuse the problem. In any case the Mufti has no authority to impose his views on the questioner, on the terrorist on his community or anyone. Moreover, no terrorist wears his badge of terrorism on his sleeve. The fatwa is no more than a publicity gimmick.

Ever since 9/11, many eminent Islamic jurists, all over the world, have condemned terrorism as an un-Islamic act. Terrorism, everywhere has its origin in political situation and must be tackled politically.


SECTARIANISM

On Sectarian Violence

Resolution of MMM, 11 February, 2006

The Markazi Majlis-e-Mushawarat

Takes this opportunity to deplore the rise in sectarian violence, particularly caused by rivalry for control of Masjids.  The MMM solemnly declares that all Masjids are open to all Muslims, irrespective of sect, baradari or organization and that the management committees should be appointed democratically from among the representatives of all sects living in the vicinity of the Masjid.

 

On Sighting of Moon

Resolution of MMM, 11 February, 2006

The Markazi Majlis-e-Mushawarat

Shocked by increasing clash of opinion among various religious bodies on sighting of the first moon in various parts of the country.  Sometimes rival bodies in the same state or place announce different dates. Such sectarianism and the absence of coordination makes the Muslim community an object of ridicule.

Appeals to the religious bodies of national eminence to devise a national as well as regional set-up consisting of Ulema of all schools to appoint suitable persons for moon sight in all important district towns and obtain and convey to them in advance the astronomical data on when and where to look for the first moon and the duration of its visibility.

 

Para-Islamic Communities in India

Letter to Yoginder Sikand, 3 March, 2006

Please refer to your article “Beyond Borders” by yourself and the J.J. Roy Burman’s “The Other Gujarat”. He is an anthropologist but you are a student of religions. What he is noting is the phenomenon of para-Islamic communities which was taken note of by Prof. Mohd. Mujeeb in his classic The Indian Muslim. So it is nothing new.

However, from the Islamic point of view, a ‘Mushrik’ cannot be a Muslim. Islam draws a clear line between Monotheism, on one hand, and atheism or polytheism, on the other. So Muslim missionaries like the Tablighi Jamaat try to guide such communities back to the basic Islamic faith.

The phenomenon of Dargahs of Sufi Saints attracting non-Muslims is universal. There is no bar in Islam for non-Muslims to enter a mosque or a Dargah. However, in many parts of India, the Mazars/Dargahs are being ‘captured’ by Hindu activists. You have cited the example of Pirana Dargah which has been renamed as ‘Peerana Peeth’.

I have seen similar situation in Mathura (UP), Dhar (MP), Mumbai (Maharashtra) and in many places in Karnataka with my own eyes. So while spiritualism unites people who may profess different faiths, the religious integrity of a shrine/place of worship has to be maintained, in accordance with law against unlawful occupation.


SECULARISM

Not Only Equality of Individuals but of Groups

Letter to Pratap Bhanu Mehta, 10 January, 2006

Your recent article “How to make India a Truly Secular Nation” ignores the fact that India is not a homogenous but a segmented nation, consisting not just of individuals but of a wide array of many sub-national groups and sub-groups – call them communities, caste, sections, as you like, which all have equal claims and, therefore, compete against each other for political, economic and social space. Each of them collectively has a sense of identity – whatever its basis – religion, caste, domicile or language, race, habitat – but all have the same aspiration aroused by democracy. Their identities are subsumed within the larger, all-enveloping identity of the nation and do not contradict our sense of nationalism in times of crisis. But if they are denied or ignored or their aspirations are considered unfit for negotiation, over a period of time, that can lead to an explosion. Communalism as inter-community relations is thus more comprehensive than just Hindu-Muslim relations.

Your prescription will not abolish ‘groups’ overnight and will not avert or even mollify competition among them for social space. The cry for social justice is for justice among historically defined social groups to secure for them all, equal opportunity and equal benefits and, what is more important, equal representation in the corridors, if not halls of power. ‘Secularism’ as defined in India is just another facet of this wider struggle for equality, justice and dignity, just as Federalism and Three Language Formula and Proportional Representation are. Political manouvres and machinations in the name of secularism result from deliberate majoritarian pressure to deny equal benefits of democracy and development to religious minorities.

 

Public Expenditure on Go-Sadans

Letter to CM Delhi, 16 March, 2006

The Delhi High Court has very generously raised the government share of expenditure on feeding cows sheltered in Go-sadans, I wonder how many families in Delhi spend Rs. 25/- every day on feeding among member of the family!

I would like to know if the MCD has abandoned its normal municipal activity of maintaining cattle pounds and releasing the impounded cattle to the owners if they come forward to claim the cattle on payment of charges and otherwise to auction the cattle.

The Government of Delhi first made government land available for Go-sadans which have shown a high fatality rate for the cattle. Now the grant-in-aid per head has been raised to Rs. 25/-. One would like to know the estimated burden on the public exchequer and also to see if the fatality rate goes down and the cows live longer.

The question is why this expenditure be borne by the general public and not by the philanthropists. The question also is why Go-sadans which were supposed to make a commercial proposition out of cow dung, cow urine and disposal of skin and bones after natural death have failed. The Delhi Government should inquire into the per capita cost of maintenance of abandoned and economically unproductive cattle.


RESERVATION

Introduction of Reservation for EBC’s

Letter to CM Bihar, 18 January, 2006

We felicitate you on your decision to introduce 20% reservation for EBC’s in the Panchayat elections, though it is still about 10% below their normal share. However, it is a good beginning and the quantum may be reviewed on the eve of the next Panchayat elections.

You have also introduced 50% reservation for women. You are aware of the wide variation in the educational and social level of women belonging to various social groups. In effect much of the women quota shall be monopolized by the women belonging to high castes and a few forward castes among the OBC’s.

We would, therefore, respectfully request you to introduce sub-quota within the ‘Women’s Quota’ for various social conglomerates like High Castes, Forward OBC’s, EBC’s and Minorities, according to their population at the Panchayat/Block/Zila level.

The alternative in keeping with the principle of Social Justice will be to reserve 50% of each quota and of the general seats for women.

 

Reservation for Forward Communities in Kerala

Letter to CM Kerala, 27 January, 2006

We have taken note of your announcement of Reservation of 10% to Forward Communities in Education.

We welcome it in principle. We also welcome the provision that the benefit shall go to families living below the poverty line.

Yet we do not understand how the 10% quota has been fixed. The quota should be based on the relative backwardness of the Forward Communities as compared to SC/ST and their population. As far as we know the relative backwardness of the Forward Communities has to be determined through a socio-economic survey by a duly constituted Backward Classes Commission.

Nor has their population been determined. For example, if the Forward Communities constitute 15% of the state population and their index of backwardness is 50%, with SC/ST = 100, the quota should be 7.5%.

Since Kerala would set a precedent for other States, we request you to kindly elucidate this point through an official statement.

 

Reservation for Panchayat Election

Letter to CM, Bihar, 10 January, 2006

The coming Panchayat Elections in the State should be held on party lines. But before it is held, the State Government should conduct a caste survey in every Panchayat and based on the results, reserve seats in every constituency for SC, ST and the OBC’s “Annexure-I and Annexure-II”. Normally the reservation of a ward of the Panchayat should be for the identifiable group or sub-group which is numerically the biggest in the ward. Also the post of President of the Panchayat Samiti at the Block level and of Zila Parishad would be reserved for the group which is the biggest in the relevant jurisdiction.

 

Bharat Nirman - Housing

Letter to M/Rural Development, 16 March, 2006

In district level allocation 75% of weightage is given to housing shortage and 25% to SC/ST population of the district. Also the programme specifically targets the rural BPL households.

Having done, there is no reason to stipulate that ‘at least 60% of the beneficiaries (I presume at the Panchayat level) should belong to the SC/ST. There are many Panchayats with much lower SC/ST population and all SC/ST may not be under the BPL. It is suggested that this 60% reservation should be substituted by reservation for SC/ST below the BPL in proportion to its population at the Panchayat level. For the rest there should be no reservation but it should be ensured that as far as possible the benefit flows equitably to all BPL households of all social groups, residing in the Panchayat.

 

Police -- A Composite Force

Letter to Soli J. Sorabjee, 20 March, 2006

We are glad to know that you are as the head of a Committee appointed by the Government of India to revise the Police Act, 1861. The Outlook (27 March, 2006) has introduced your Committee and given a summary of your priorities. However, I find something missing.

Universally, the State police as well the armed constabularies have developed an anti-Muslim representation. This means that in situations of communal conflict, they tend to support one side against the other. Professional neutrality is not only a question of training and leadership but also the composition of the force at the constable level. Unfortunately, the police and the armed constabularies have very few Muslims or members of low castes at this level.

I am writing this to suggest that the police should be a composite force, particularly because the recruitment has become a function of the caste of the recruiting officer and of the money, a candidate is prepared to pay.

 

Separate Quota Essential for Muslims

Letter to Mr. Bashiruddin Babukhan, 10 Jan., 2006

It occurred to me that since Mrs. Sonia Gandhi is going to Hyderabad for the AICC Session and is likely to say there for 3-4 days, you may try to organize a representative Muslim Delegation to see her during her stay, perhaps with the help of the Chief Minister. More than the data, what needs to be impressed on her that by any nationally accepted criteria of backwardness, the Muslim community of India, as a whole, constitutes a Backward Class, particularly in the states of its concentration like UP, Bihar, West Bengal, AP, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Assam.

Its level of backwardness places on par with but them just above the SC, as brought out by the NCAER and the Department of Statistics. Their relative index of backwardness may be roughly taken as 80, with SC = 100. If their population is 13.5% of the national population, Muslim Indians are entitled to a quota of 13.5 X 8 = 10.8% i.e. 11%.

The quota will naturally vary from state to state, depending upon its proportion in population and relative backwardness.

No doubt there are variations in educational and economic level among various sub-communities within the Community and in every state but every Backward Class has this pattern of variation.  It can be mitigated largely by eliminating the Creamy Layer uniformly from the benefit of any quota and by extending the benefits of the community quota to those who come from the economically or educationally backward families.

A separate quota is essential for the Muslim community because it cannot compete with other OBC’s because of another basic disadvantage – it suffers from communal bias, which operates at every level, sometimes openly, sometime discreetly. Reservation should apply not only in government employment but also in university education, in bank credit and in distribution of benefits of all welfare and development programmes which target individuals in the operational areas.

 

Reservation for Muslims in All Govt. and Aided Institutions

Letter to Dr. Udit Raj, 17 January, 2006

I am surprised by your demand for reservation for minorities and Dalits (why not OBC’s and ST’s) in Muslim Minority Institutions. I enclose for your information my letter to Swami Agnivesh on the subject. I feel that general institutions and minority institutions cannot be compared, particularly those established by Muslims who are a poor and deprived community.

However, if you demand reservation for Muslims in all government and government-aided institutions. I shall support your demand.

 

Uniform & Meaningful Cut-off for Creamy Layer

Letter to Minister of Law, 13 January, 2006

We are glad to know that your Ministry is examining the possibility of sub-categorizing the SC’s in relation to their present level of backwardness.

We support this move but we felt that the sub-categorization on the level of backwardness should apply to other constitutional conglomerates like ST’s and OBC’s as well as Minorities.

We also suggest that this should be a decennial exercise based on the Census, so that the quotas and sub-quotas can be increased or decreased in keeping with the impact of reservation.

But this implies

a)  Uniform, qualifiable and transparent parameters of backwardness

b)  Uniform methodology for determining level of backwardness of any identifiable and self-conscious social group in relation to the state average or national average of the parameters;

c)  Redetermination of quota/sub-quota on the basis of population and level of backwardness.

d)  Elimination of 50% limit because the sum total of quotas or sub-quota shall vary from State to State on the basis of population of Backward Classes and their level of backwardness.

We would, however, suggest that the first step towards equalization of real opportunity for all Backward Classes should be the introduction of a uniform cut-off of Creamy Layer. Much of the existing anomalies will disappear and reservation shall begin to draw more backward families into the net of development. In fact, while reservation quota should depend on the overall backwardness of the group, the beneficiary should be those candidates whose families are in fact backward.

 

Preference for Notified OBC Muslims in Muslim Quota

Letter to Prof. Imtiaz Ahmad, 20 February, 2006

The Tribune has reported (18 February, 2006) that at the Jamia Millia Islamia you pleaded for keeping the ‘non-marginalized’ within the marginalized group out of the purview of reservation.  I broadly endorse your view.

However, for effective struggle for empowerment, any marginalized group must consolidate itself and not allow itself to be divided.  Then the non-marginalized must demand:

·                 A meaningful line to separate the creamy layer of any beneficiary group. I have suggested those whose family income is above the group’s average at the State level should be excluded.

·                 Prior and preferential claim to the benefit to those who come from ‘notified’ sub-groups and the utilization of only the ‘left over’, if any, for the others in the larger group.

 

Reservation for Muslims

Letter to The Radiance Viewsweekly, 27 Jan., 2006

Apropos Mr. N.K. Afandi’s article on Reservation for Muslims (22 - 28 January, 2006), the Supreme Court’s judgement in Inder Sawhney clearly supports reservation for a religious community which is socially and educationally backward. This was also the view of the Venkatachalliah Commission which did not see any need to amend the Constitution to bring the Muslim community within the purview of legislation as there was no constitutional bar and this was just a matter of policy.

The issues really are:

i)        Identification of common and uniform parameters universally and nationally accepted to test the level of backwardness of the groups or sub-groups which demand reservation.

ii)      The methodology to determine their comparative level of backwardness or Index of Backwardness (with SC/ST as 100) and then

iii)    Fixation of their separate quotas in terms of population and Index of Backwardness.

Also another issue is whether the Muslim community should be treated as one community or whether each sizeable Muslim sub-community, which constitutes, say, 2 per cent of the national or state population, should have its own quota. I would prefer a common quota with safeguards for the backward sub-communities but I see no harm, if the major backward sub-communities, individually or collectively, have their own sub-quotas. However, the task of collection of data, even population figures for various sub-communities becomes more difficult and even impossible. There is urgent need for a scientific socio-economic survey of the community and all sub-communities to be undertaken by the State/Central Government.

Today all Muslim backward sub-communities, except the so-called ‘Ashraf’, are included in the OBC List of various States/Centre. But it is also a fact that they face tough competition from the other relatively advanced backward groups in the Lists and, therefore, do not get their due. So either as a community or as sub-communities, Muslims must have their separate quotas/sub-quotas in order to escape persistent and pernicious bias.
PROTECTED MONUMENTS

ASI’s Permanent Art Gallery in Taj Mahal is Beginning of Another Babari Masjid Dispute

I - Letter to Director General, ASI, 3 Feb., 2006

There have been a number of letters in the Urdu press protesting against the establishment of a permanent Art Gallery by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in the ‘Dalan’ on the left side of the Taj Mahal’s main entrance. This gallery, it is reported, almost wholly consists of reproductions of Hindu temples and temple architecture as well as plywood cut-outs of several savants including religious and political figures.

It would have been appropriate for an Art Gallery in the Taj to reflect Muslim art and architecture of India but photographs of Hindu temples and architecture are totally out of place. The Muslims of Agra consider it to be a misuse of the authority of the ASI for the protection of the Taj Mahal.

I may add that the Mausoleum is a religious place and such exhibition is considered by any Muslim as offensive to their religious susceptibilities.

We request you to review this use of a part of the Taj campus.

II - Letter to HM Shivraj Patil, 4 February, 2006

We request you to take notice of the beginning of a religious dispute in Agra which might assume, if not resolved, the dimensions of another ‘Babari Masjid’.

The local police, in cooperation with the Archaeological Survey of India, has announced the introduction of identity cards to all Muslim residents within 500 yards of the Taj Mahal to enter the Taj Mahal campus on Fridays to offer Namaz in the Taj Masjid inside, on grounds of security. All Muslim organizations of Agra have collectively protested against the move. They look upon this restriction as intended to reduce the number of participants in the Friday congregation and finally to close entry to the Muslims for the purpose.

Since the Taj Mahal is a Protected Monument, we request you to have consultations with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to workout a system of security check at a designated gate and with an assigned pathway to the Masjid. This security plan should be discussed with the leaders of the community in Agra for any suggestion that they may reasonably suggest and then the agreed security drill may be put into effect.

I may add that the ‘Art Gallery’ within the Taj campus, with several offensive items on display has been established without taking into account the fact that although a Protected Monument, the Taj Mahal is essentially a Mausoleum with a Masjid i.e. a religious place. We have already drawn the attention of the Director General, ASI, and requested him to review the arrangement. This Gallery has already offended the religious sentiments of the Muslims of Agra. We, therefore, request you to advise the ASI not to exacerbate religious tension in the area.

 

Location of New Bridge Over Yamuna

Letter to CM Delhi, 13 February, 2006

I thank you for your letter No.CM/PG/VIP/05/23488 dated 7.2.2006 regarding the location of the proposed Bridge over the Yamuna. We are glad to know that the proposed bridge shall be constructed 600 mtrs downstream from the existing barrage which is already beyond the prohibited limit.

I take this opportunity to draw your attention to the need to have a complete survey of a historic monuments in the Capital Territory which are not protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and to include them in the programme of conservation and protection of the State Department of Archaeology.

 

Encroachment on Karbala, New Delhi

Letter to Delhi Wakf Board, 9 February, 2006

As you may be aware the Delhi High Court has ordered the Delhi Government and the NDMC to remove the unlawful occupation of the historic Dargah Shah Mardan and Karbala in Jor Bagh, New Delhi. This order was passed on 9th November 2005 and the Court had instructed that this work should be completed in six months and the 5 acre of land belonging to Dargah should be fenced. But there is no sign of any progress.

The High Court was moved by the Anjuman Haidari because its repeated requests to the Wakf Board had not been attended to. I understand that the Wakf Board is still looking for the old records.

I request you to kindly expedite the process and in the mean time press the NDMC and the State Govt to implement the Order of the High Court because Anjuman Haidari is only a voluntary organization of the Shia community while the Mutawalli of all Wakf properties in Delhi is the Wakf Board.

 

Continuing Adverse Occupation of Sher Shah Mausoleum Campus

Letter to ZMMM, Rohtas, 22 March, 2006

I attach herewith the letter I have received from Mr. Mohd. Qalamdar who has styled himself as the President of the Tahaffuz Qabristan Committee. He has asked me to take up the question of conservation and maintenance of the Mausoleum of Sher Shah. As you know I have pursued this question since the early 80’s but have not been able to make a dent. Indeed the illegal occupation of the Protected Area around the Monument has increased.

I am prepare to take it up again provided I have a brief note on its present status and condition. Can you please inspect the Monument and also speak to Mr. Qalamdar and prepare a brief note?

Some action had been taken also on the judicial front. What happened to the writs in the High Court? Having tried the High Court, should we take it up in the Supreme Court. I can, provided we have some clue about the status of HC cases whose delay and failure to stop the rot will provide the legal reason to knock at the doors of the Supreme Court.

 

Continuing Desecration of Kamal Maula Masjid in Dhar

I - Letter to CM MP, 31 January, 2006

As you must be aware, the Hindu Jagran Manch (an affiliate of the RSS) in Dhar is insisting that on Friday, 3 February on the occasion of Basant Panchami, the Muslims be debarred from performing Friday prayer. The ASI has allowed entry to the Hindus on that day from sunrise to 12.30 PM and again from 3.30 PM to sunset.

The situation is pregnant with possibilities of violence, if Hindus refuse to vacate the Masjid by 12.30 PM and the Muslims do not vacate the Masjid by 3.30 PM.

We are not confident that the local police will be able to manage the situation of conflict without external assistance. You may like to depute the State Armed Constabulary to reinforce the police bandobust on that day. Since the Bhojshala Masjid is a centrally protected monument, the State Government may also consider seeking the assistance of the Central Government to post a small contingent of the Central Paramilitary force in order to secure peaceful compliance of the order by both sides.

II - Letter to DG, ASI, 6 February, 2006

As anticipated, the Hindutva activists did not abide by the ASI directives and the schedule decided by the Archaeological authorities in Dhar and they could not be forced out at mid-day and the Muslim community had to be content with a token group performing the Friday Namaz on the roof of the Masjid.

Also the Hindu activists did not vacate the monument in the evening and were allowed to occupy it and hold a Hindu Sammelan within the precincts of the Masjid on 4 February, 2006.

We consider that the leaders of the Hindu Jagran Manch, Dhar which had led and organized this blatant violation of the law should be prosecuted by the ASI.

We also request you to revise your impracticable Order of 7.4.2003 because the facilities given to Hindu visitors are being openly violated every Tuesday.

 

HC Order for Vacation of Encroachment

Letter to Delhi Wakf Board, 30 Jan., 2006

May I draw your attention to the Order of the Delhi High Court on 24 January, 2006 for the vacation of encroachment on 14 Protected Monuments in Delhi which includes 6 historic Masjids? The Masjids are:

1.     Nili Masjid in Hauz Khas

2.     Masjid in Palam

3.     Masjid in Qudsia Garden

4.     Sunehari Masjid near Delhi Fort

5.     Begumpuri Masjid

6.     Tomb of Razia Sultana (converted into a Masjid)

May I request you to let me know whether the Delhi Wakf Board has a hand in managing these Masjids?

The DWB has been asked by the High Court to appear on 15 February. This is an opportunity for the Board to offer to maintain these Masjids as their natural and legal Mutawalli, under agreement with ASI on terms which will respect the historical importance and archaeological character of the Masjid.
PERSONAL LAW

On Burial Right of Muslims

I - Letter to The Yojana, 30 January, 2006

May I seek a clarification in the article on Gadag Funeral Site on page 42 of the Yojana of February, 2006?

It is not clear whether the site includes a burial ground for Muslims or whether the local Muslims have consented to cremation rather the burial.

We would also like to know the religious composition of the population of Gadag Panchayat.

II - The Yojana’s Reply, 20 February, 2006

‘Kindly refer to your letter dated 30 January, 2006 on certain clarifications about the article on Gadag Funeral Site which appeared in Yojana (February 2006 issue). I have already sent an interim reply on 6 February, 2006.

Mr. L.C. Jain, the author of the article has replied to clarifications asked by you and are following:

1)     Panchayat in Gadag has set aside a site of 7 acre area, a part of which is earmarked for the Muslims to carry out their burial rites;

2)     Muslim population in Gadag district is about 15% and in the town 21%.

I hope that the above clarifies the matter.

III - Reply to The Yojana, 23 February, 2006

I thank you for your letter No. CEY/Misc/2006 dated 20 February, 2006 regarding Gadag Cremation-cum-Burial Site.

I also thank Mr. Jain for the clarification.

I suggest this clarification may be published in brief in Yojana.

 

On Modernization of Abattoir and Zabiha

Letter to LG, Delhi, 21 March, 2006

You may kindly recall my note of caution on the proposed abattoir in Ghazipur. I had suggested that a representative team of Ulema be invited to visit the site and examine the site plan and specially study the slaughter system. They should be explained the working of the slaughter machinery to be installed, so that they may pronounce a common view that the proposed slaughter system fulfills the requirement of ‘Zabiha’ in the Shariat.

If this is not done in advance, and later an objection is raised, a controversy would be generated which would not be easily resolved.

I suggest that before the machinery is ordered by the contractor M/s Food Processing Equipment Company, this essential step may please be taken to avoid future trouble.

 

SC on Minimum Age of Marriage

Letter to President, AIMPLB, 28 March, 2006

This is to bring to your attention that the Supreme Court has on 27 March, 2006 taken note of the petition filed by the National Commission for Women and the Delhi Commission for Women for removal of discrepancies in the legal systems as the marriageable age of girls arising out of disparity under various laws. The petition, inter alia, points out the disparity between the Child Marriage (Restraint) Act and the Shariat. In my view, there is a case for urgent intervention by the AIMPLB.

You may like to give necessary instructions to the General Secretary and the Legal Adviser of the Board.
OTHER MINORITIES

Removal of Obiter Dicta against Religious Minorities

I - Letter to Bal Patil, 31 December, 2005

Thank you for your email of 31 December, 2005.

I have spoken and written to Dr. John Dayal. I hope he will agree to file a petition for removal of the obiter dicta derogatary of all non-Hindu religions.

I shall speak to the Sikh Forum also.

I feel that the SC’s formulation to ‘short answer’ in para 7 of your petition also needs to be challenged. States were reorganized in 1956 on linguistic basis and not religious basis. Therefore for determining a linguistic minority, a State is and should be the authority but not for religious minorities. The test is only the Census of India.

II - Letter to Bal Patil, 22 March, 2006

I draw your attention to the Editorial “Defining Our Faith” for January-March, 2006 of Hinduism Today.

It defines Hinduism, inter alia, as the Religion of the Vedas and says logically that ‘religious traditions in India that do not accept the Vedas (as scriptural authority) are Indian but not Hindu. Among them are Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism which rejected the Vedas and thus emerged as completely distinct religions, dissociated from Hinduism, while still sharing my philosophical insight and cultural values with their parent faith’.

I feel that your stand about the Jains not being Hindus but a religious minority thus gets a theological justification.

III - Letter to Bal Patil, 28 March, 2006

I have read your letter of 23 March, 2006. Perception of the self and by the others go on changing with time. So I think that the Jains are simply what they perceive themselves to be as of today. Freedom is the spirit of the age. So the Sikhs, the Buddhists and Jains have to press the powers that be to recognize them as they would like to be recognized and to grant their right to have heir own personal law based on their own interpretation of their scriptures, traditions and customs. The Sikhs or the Buddhists have reached a point in their historical progress when even the Hindutva forces dare not call them Hindu or as sects of Hinduism. The main hindrance in the path of the Jains appears to be their small number and that too limited largely to India and scattered over many States. Thus there is both internally and externally a general perception that they are Hindus, given the wide spectrum of doctrines and beliefs in Hinduism.

The practical question is: supposing a referendum was held today – forgetting history, theology, philosophy – to ask the Jains whether they are Hindus, presumably 99% of them would claim that they are not Hindus. And if they do, which government can refuse recognition of Jainism as a separate religion? In essence, the problem becomes political, not theological, to be determined by a democratic process.

 

Freedom of Religion to Hindus in Russia

Letter to Prime Minister, 31 January, 2006

The small but growing Hindu community in Russia is denied Freedom of Religion. They are about 100,000 Krishna-bhaktas (ISKC) who are ethnic Slavs apart from 30,000 Hindus of Indian origin. The Russian Orthodox Church recently condemned Krishna as ‘evil demon’. The ISKC had obtained municipal permission to construct a temple in the heart of Moscow. This permission was cancelled by the Mayor. Their make-shift temple faces frequently cut of water, electricity and heating system.

It has been reported that following protest by the Hindu Forum of Britain, the British Government has promised to raise the question at the E.U. Summit. The report also says that the Indian Government has adopted a ‘non-committal stance’.

We consider that it would be right and proper for the Government of India to raise the question of religious freedom in any part of the world with the Government concerned violates internationally accepted norms as laid down in various international documents, particularly when such situations cause distress and concern to any section of our people. We request that the matter may be appropriately taken up with the Russia.

II - PM’s Reply, 10 February, 2006

I have received your letter of January, 31, 2006 regarding the denial of religious freedoms.

 

Anti-Christian Campaign in Gujarat

I - Letter to John Dayal, 5 January, 2006

Your email on the situation in Dangs. On 22 October, 2005 I brought the developing situation, specially the progamme for ‘Kumbh’ to the notice of the Government and Mrs. Sonia Gandhi. But there was no response.

II - Letter to Governor of Gujarat, 12 Jan., 2006

May I draw your attention to the Representation of 11 January, 2006 to you by the All India Christian Council regarding the organization of ‘Shabari Kumbh’ in the Dangs between 11-13 February, 2006?

Shabari Kumbh has no historic or religious roots. It is only a newly invented device by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad to promote anti-Christian and anti-Muslim sentiments among the tribals of the Dangs and to cover their exploitation by the Hindu banias and money-lenders. Above all, it is intended to change the tribal culture by Hinduising them. Incidentally the Kumbh is going to damage the natural environment of the area.

I had drawn the attention of Madam Sonia Gandhi, the Chairperson of the UPA, in September 2005 to the fear and apprehension in the mind of the tribal people of the Dangs and the communal mobilization implicit in the programme.

I find that the VHP is going ahead with the full support of the State Government.

We, therefore, join with the All India Christian Council to request your immediate intervention to stop communal mobilization and degradation of the environment in the Dangs.

 

Objectionable Portrayal of Shiva in French Film

Letter to Foreign Secretary, India, 21 Feb., 2006

May I draw your attention to the objectionable portrayal of Lord Shiva in the French film ‘Les Bronzes 3: Amis Pour La Vie’ which has hurt Hindu sensibilities in Europe.

We strongly feel that the Government should communicate the feelings of the Hindu community to the Government of France through diplomatic channels as well as to the producers and distributors of the film.
ORGANIZATION OF ISLAMIC COUNTRIES

India’s Relations with the OIC

I - Letter to Foreign Secretary, GOI, 25 Jan., 2006

King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz’s visit has again brought to the fore the question of India joining the OIC as an Observer. I have long supported the idea in several conversations with successive Foreign Ministers but on one condition. It should not be an adhoc offer and acceptance but based on a formal provision in the Chapter of the OIC for Observer status for Muslim-minority States with large Muslim population (of which India is at the top). Moreover the initiative should be taken by the OIC in the form of an invitation.

Pakistan has already opposed India’s entry. This should be Saudi Arabia’s concern and we should not react. Saudi Arabia, if it so wishes, can manage to quieten Pakistan.

II - Foreign Secretary’s Reply, 2 February, 2006

Thank you for your communication of 25th January, 2006 expressing views on India joining OIC as an ‘Observer’.

I agree withyou that any proposal of OIC on India joining as an ‘Observer’, which is adhoc in nature, is not acceptable.

 

Comments on Hamid Ansari’s Suggestion

Letter to The Hindu, 3 February, 2006

Apropos Ambassador Hamid Ansari’s article on “The OIC and India”, I endorse his view that time has come for a rethink. However, full membership would amount to avid embrace which Mr. Ansari himself has cautioned against. Moreover, India is not a Muslim majority State. So India cannot and should not be a full member, despite the fact that among the original members there are a few which do not have a Muslim majority. Yet the OIC should embrace States which have a substantial Muslim population, say, 10 million. I recall that in 1975 the OIC had commissioned a report on Muslim minorities and subsequently established a Department of Muslim Minorities in its Secretariat. But obviously the OIC cannot do justice to Muslim minorities by depending solely on adversarial reports.

OIC has Philippines and Thailand as Invitees and it invited Russia to be an Observer, though it is not clear whether the invitation was limited to the Kuala Lumpur Session. In any case, considering that 1/3 of the Muslims of the world are citizens of Muslim-minority States, the OIC should formally open its doors to Muslim-minority States with large Muslim population. An OIC is in fact working on the modalities. In my view, the OIC should formally amend its Charter to permit the entry of Muslim minority states, with Muslim population, above a cut-off limit, as Observers, if they so wish. All subsidiary institutions of the OIC should cover their Muslim minorities of Observer States in educational or cultural or social programmes. The Islamic Development Bank, Jeddah, is doing this on a modest scale. But much more needs to be done.

Both Muslim minorities and Muslim majorities can benefit from mutual interaction at meetings convened by the OIC for promoting the modernization of the world community of Muslims. The winds of change blowing across the Muslim world do not stop at national frontiers.

In my view, there is a historical error in relating the origin of the OIC to the Rabat Conference. The OIC was born later. Its Charter has a much wider horizon beyond Jerusalem. I think it would be better to make a fresh start both for the OIC and India, rather than revive the painful memory of Rabat.
OBITUARY

Death of Dr. Abdullah Abbas Nadwi

Statement, 4 January, 2006

“The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) expresses is deep sorrow at the demise of Dr. Abdullah Abbas Nadwi, the eminent educationist and an Arabic and Islamic scholar of the international repute.  Author of many books, he was the Education Advisor of the Nadwatul Ulama, Lucknow.  He passed away in Jeddah on 1 January, 2006.

The AIMMM pays its humble tribute to his memory and offers its sincere condolences to the bereaved family and to the institutions and organizations with which he was associated.

The AIMMM prays to Allah SWT for his Maghferat.”

 

Demise of Emir of Kuwait

I - Statement, 17 January, 2006

“The AIMMM expresses its deep sorrow at the demise of H.H. Shaikh Jabir Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, the Emir of Kuwait, and offers its sincere condolences to the fraternal people of Kuwait, in general and to the bereaved family, in particular. 

The AIMMM also joins them in praying  to Allah for the Maghferat of the deceased.

The AIMMM has taken note of the progress and development of Kuwait under the guidance of the late Emir and offers its best wishes to the people of Kuwait for their continued progress and prosperity.”

II - Letter to Ambassador of Kuwait, 17 Jan., 2006

I have the honour to convey to you, on behalf of the AIMMM, our deep condolence to the people of Kuwait at the demise of H.H. Shaikh Jabir Al-Ahmad Al Saleh, the late Emir of Kuwait. A copy of the AIMMM’s Statement is enclosed for your kind perusal.

I request you to convey our feelings of solidarity and fraternity to the bereaved family as well as to the Government and people of Kuwait.

 

Condolence on Demise of Mr. Fareed Ahmad

Letter to Syed Farooq, 14 February, 2006

I learnt with shock and sadness of the demise of your elder brother Mr. Syed Fareed Ahmad, who was not only an industrialist but a pillar of the Community in Uttaranchal. We share grief and consider it a great loss to the entire community.

We all pray to Allah SWT for eternal peace to the departed soul and for spiritual strength to you and other members of the family to bear this loss.

Please accept our sincere condolences and communicate our sentiments to the rest of your family.
NATIONAL POLITICS - ASSAM ASSEMBLY ELECTION, 2006

On Division of Muslim Votes

Letter to MMM, Assam, 16 March, 2006

It is requested that the list of Constituencies in which the Congress has fielded a Muslim candidate may please be compared with the lit of constituencies in which the UDF or its allies have or are likely to field Muslim candidates.

There is no problem if there is only one Muslim candidate in any constituency. However, in case of contest among more than one Muslim candidates the MMM, Assam, should assess which Muslim candidate is more likely to win and endorse his candidature.

The MMM, Assam, should then issue a general Appeal in their favour as well as give individual certificates of endorsement to the endorsed candidates, against a pledge to deal sincerely with the grievances of the community and raise their problems in the Assembly.

The MMM, Assam’s Appeal should call upon Muslims to exercise their vote massively and unitedly in order to maximize the Muslim poll in all constituencies in all Constituencies and thus raise Muslim representation in the Assembly, wherever possible.

Situation in Assam

I - Letter to N.H. Mazarbhuiyan, 18 Jan., 06

I thank you for sending me a copy of your letter of 13 January, 2006 to Mrs. Sonia Gandhi on situation in Assam. May I say that you have done a tremendous job?

I fully endorse your views that

a)     Congress has to set its own house in order, with due representation in its election machinery of all sections of the people on which it banks and select right people in right numbers for its ticket.

b)     Congress has to initiate negotiation with UDF to reach an agreement on distribution of tickets for 60 Muslim concentration seats.

c)     Congress must amend Foreigners Tribunal Act immediately to close loopholes for the harassment of Muslims of Bengali origin and others that have arisen due to nullification of the I.M.D.T.

I request you to let me know the names of the second biggest and third group/caste/community in the 36 + 7 + 17 Muslim concentration constituencies.

II - Letter to N.H. Mazarbhuiyan, 23 March, 2006

My letter to you dated 18 January, 2006 remains unreplied. Yet I am forced to trouble you to seek your assistance.

We are all anxious that Muslim/secular voters in Muslim concentration constituencies should not be divided and their votes should be cast unitedly for the strongest secular candidate.

Now we have 1. INC, 2. AGP (perhaps with BJP), 3, AGP(M) with NC, CPI, CPM and 4. UDA.

I am not clear if UDA shall have a common symbol. If not, their candidates will be treated like independents and may or may not have a common symbol.

Muslims due share is 38. You have identified 43 seats with above 30 per cent Muslim votes. Congress has announced only 29 Muslim candidates. Many of the Congress candidates have been fielded from other constituencies.

Our principle guidelines on Muslim concentration seats is as follows:

1.     If no Muslim candidate, we apply the usual formula - voting for the strongest secular candidate

2.     If only one Muslim candidate, we endorse him.

3.     If more than one Muslim candidates, choose the strongest among the Muslim candidate

4.     In non-concentration seats where any major party and alliance has put up a Muslim candidate, vote for the Muslim candidate.

I request you to keep an eye on nomination for the Muslim concentration seats and to give us your assessment on who is the strongest secular/Muslim candidates, including those of the UDA.

Advice on Phase - I

Letter to MMM, Assam, 28 March, 2006

The attached chart will show that even without counting Independent Muslims, in 20 Constituencies in Phase - I, there is multi-cornered contest among Muslim candidates in 15 seats. In 6 others only AGP(P) or AUDF has fielded a solitary candidate.

I request you to apply the Guidelines issued by the Central Office of the Mushawarat and let us know immediaely which candidates the Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, Assam, proposes to endorse to ensure that Muslim votes are not scattered at the Constituency level so that they effectively decide who wins.

This may kindly be treated as urgent.

Assam Election, 2006 - Phase-I

Constituencies with Muslim Candidates of Major Political Parties

S. No.

Constituency

Parties

1.

2 Patharkandi

AUDF

 

2.

3 Karimganj North

AUDF/AGP

3.

4 Karimganj South

AUDF/AGP/INC

4.

5 Badarpur

AUDF/INC

5.

6 Hailakandi

INC/AUDF/AGP

6.

8 Algapur

AGP/AGP(P)

7.

9 Silchar

SP/CPI

8.

10 Sonai

AGP(P)/SP/INC

9.

12 Udharbond

AGP(P)

10.

14 Barkhola

AGP/AUDF/AGP(P)/INC

11.

15 Katigora

CPI(M)/AUDF/AGP(P)

12.

49 Chaygaon

AUDF//INC

13.

55 Hajo

CPI(M)/NC/AGP

14.

56 Kamalpur

AUDF

15.

51 Jalukbari

AUDF

16.

81 Laharighat

AGP/AUDF/JD(U)/INC/BJP

17.

90 Jamunamukh

BJP/NC/AGP/AUDF

18.

104 Nazira

AUDF

19.

110 Naoboicha

AGP(P)/AUDF/INC

20.

111 Lakhimpur

AUDF

 

Compensation to Nellie Victims

Letter to President INC, 21 March, 2006

Although the rest of India appears to have forgotten about the Nellie Massacre, 1983, it remains a live memory in Assam, particularly for the Muslim voters, the bulk of whom are of Bengali (not Bangladeshi) origin as nearly all of 2000 or 3000 of the massacred were Bengali Muslims.

The administrative inquiry report was ever shelved and not one culprit was ever sentenced. Even the victims did not receive any worthwhile compensation.

The Congress has fielded 29 Muslim candidates from known Muslim concentration constituencies, though it is still below their due proportion of 37. It banks on Muslim electoral support to win a majority of these seats.

I suggest that in the election campaign, the Congress should promise re-opening the question of ex-gratia payment to the next-of-kin of those killed or injured in the Massacre in accordance with the latest pronouncements of the Supreme Court.


NATIONAL POLITICS - TAMIL NADU ASSEMBLY ELECTION, 2006

Preparatory Work in Tamil Nadu

I - Letter to Dr. Abdul Sattar, 28 February, 2006

Since Assembly elections are to take place soon, the MMM, Tamil Nadu should put itself on the Muslim radar by taking up their genuine grievances publicly and by drawing the attention of all the secular parties to their persistent under-representation in the power structure.

Therefore, I request you to give priority to:

a)     Identify Muslim concentration seats

b)     Collecting names of present and former Muslim MLA’s

c)     Drafting a Charter of Muslim Aspirations

Also, the MMM, Tamil Nadu should regularly issue small statements on current matters of concern to the community.

I am instructing the Central Office to send you copies of all statements issued by us by email or fax so that you may translate it into Tamil and release it to local press.

II - Letter to Dr. K. Abdul Sattar, 14 March, 2006

I have gone through the draft. It goes far beyond our immediate purposes and requirements. This may not be issued now as an official statement.

I request you first to finalize the list of Muslim-winnable seats. I have already sent you a tentative list last week of 12 only. Once we finalize it, we have to write to all secular parties in the fray to field good Muslim candidates from these seats.

Secondly, if you draft a Charter of Aspirations of Muslims of Tamil Nadu, we can finalize it and send it to all those parties for inclusion in their Manifesto.

Thirdly, when candidate file nomination, we have to find the constituencies from which one or more Muslim candidates are contesting. Then we have to apply our mind to spot the most winnable among them in those constituencies as well as other endorsable non-Muslim candidates in other constituencies with sizeable Muslim voter. We have to issue an Appeal and Guidelines to the secular voters through the press and advise the endorsed candidates of how the MMM, Tamil Nadu can assist them.

III - Letter to MMM, Tamil Nadu, 23 March, 2006

You must have seen the Statement made by the Federation of Minorities, Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, supporting DMK-led Democratic Progress Alliance. Kindly contact Mr. Hyder Ali, General Secretary of the Federation, obtain the text of the Statement and send it to me. Also send me your assessment of the impact of the stand of the Federation on those Muslim voters who are earlier inclined to vote for the AIADMK.

Has the DMK said anything about the demands of the Muslim community of Tamil Nadu?

IV - Letter to MMM, Tamil Nadu, 30 March, 2006

The DMK and AIADMK have issued their manifestoes.  I would request you to make a comparison from the Muslim angle.

Our general line for Muslim concentration seats and in seats in which only one recognised party has put up a Muslim candidate will remain unchanged.  But in other seats, MMM, Tamil Nadu, may advise Muslim votes to vote for one of the two parties - DMK and AIADMK, which has a more friendly manifesto and has put up more or a higher proportion of Muslim candidates.

List of Muslim Concentration Seats

Letter to MMM, Tamil Nadu, 10 March, 2006

As discussed, I have prepared a tentative list of 12 Muslim concentration constituencies which either elected a Muslim MLA or in which a Muslim candidate lost to a non-Muslim candidate in 2001.

Perhaps you can identify some more constituencies on the basis of having been won by a Muslim in the last 2 Assembly elections.

But time is short, we have to address the major secular parties in Tamil Nadu with the list and with the Charter of Muslim Aspirations, which you had undertaken to prepare.

Kindly give it high priority and let me have your draft at the earliest. Also any progress in persuading some eminent people to join MMM, Tamil Nadu? I would like to reconstitute the Adhoc Committee as soon as possible.

I am sending a copy of this letter to Dr. A. Sattar for his information.

Tamil Nadu : Assembly Election Results, 2001

Muslim Winners and Runner-ups

Constituency

I

II

12. Triplicane

DMK-Hussain, SAM 

INC

 

39. Vaniayambadi

IND- Abdul L.M.

DMK-H. Rasheed

131. Periyakulam

ADMK-Abuthahir M

DMK

143. Madurai Cen.

TMC(M)-Hakeem M.A.

DMK

148. Dindigul

CPM-Basheer Ahmed

DMK

151. Aravakurichi

ADMK-Liyaudeen Sait

DMK

166. Tiruchirapalli-I

DMK

MUL-K. Mohideen

170. Poompuhar

ADMK

DMK-Md Siddiq M

183. Thanjavur

DMK-Ubayadullah S.N.

INC

201. Rama/puram

ADMK-Anwer Rhazza

DMK-Rahman Khan

215. Kadayanallur

ADMK

DMK-Shahul P.M.

219. Palayamcottai

DMK-Mohideen Khan

ADMK

 

7

5


NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR MEI’s

Educational Concerns of Educationally Backward Religious Minorities

Letter to Chairman, NCMEI, 2 January, 2006

I thank you for your letter No. 7-5/2005-NCMEI dated 22 December, 2005 regarding the educational concerns of the educationally backward religious minorities. My comments on the issues raised in your letter are briefly as follows:

1.   Educational backwardness of the Muslim community is a fact of life, from primary to doctoral level. The basic reason is low enrollment in primary schools to high drop out at the secondary level.

      Schools – primary, middle or secondary – must be established in all deprived areas, including Muslim concentration areas, in accordance with the national norms.

      Apart from access to government schools, what is needed is a social campaign to ensure high enrollment and reduce school drop out.

      Beyond secondary schools, as in the case of SC/ST, there have to be special incentives like scholarships and hostel facilities for higher secondary and university education. My view is that such facilities should be provided by the State to the children of all economically backward families, irrespective of caste or religion.

      To attract Muslim children to the government schools, text books must be purged of all anti-secular and communal contents.

      And, the school culture should be secular and not denominational.

      Their Mother Tongue, if other than the Principal Language of the State should be the medium of primary instruction and it should be taught as First Language within the Three Language Formula.

      At the secondary level, there should be separate schools for girls.

      I may add that the NBE, 1968 completely ignores the rights of Linguistic Minorities , particularly in respect of Urdu which is a minority language in every State. The implementation of the Three Language Formula must be reviewed from the point of view of linguistic minorities and the content, restored to their original formula.

2.   The only appropriate mechanism is to establish government schools of uniform quality in deprived areas. The privilege of the minorities to establish their own educational institutions should not be confused with the duty of the government to provide equal and uniform education to all children upto the age of 14. However, if the Muslim community establishes a school and it receives aid from the State, it may be counted against the total requirement of the area.

3.   I disagree with the approach. The State should not shirk its responsibility for educating the children and place the onus of educational backwardness on the Muslim community.

      However, if the Muslim community in any village, mahalla, block/urban ward/town or city or state desires or plans to open an appropriate institution, the authorities concerned should act in accordance with a uniform nationally prescribed procedure to recognize and aid them under Article 30(2), to affiliate them to the Board/University which has the jurisdiction. If for any reason, the MEI does not find it possible to seek affiliation to the local Board/University, it should have the freedom to seek affiliation with a Board/University of its choice outside the State. Once it is recognized and affiliated, its right under Article 30(2) must be safeguarded irrespective of affiliation.

      There should be a National Fund based on both official and private donations for assisting any MEI in distress, Public Sector banks in the area should also cater to their temporary credit needs.

      Maulana Azad Education Foundation which was established to upgrade infrastructure, educational facilities and quality of education needs a much higher corpus to meet the demand. It has to be reorganized so as to shorten the time between receipt of application and release of grant.

      I also feel that Muslim trusts and charities should come together to form an All India Muslim Educational Fund to ensure that no applicant receives scholarship for more than one sources and secondly, what is more important, all meritorious students are not compelled to abandon studies for lack of support.

      As for general economic backwardness, Muslim community operates within the common national economy. Specific problems arising out of the particular vocation/profession may need remedial measures but generally they swim or sink with the rest of the people. My only suggestion is that the benefits of all development and welfare schemes targeted at individuals within an operational area, should be equitably distributed among various sections so that Muslim applicants get their due and legitimate share in proportion to their population within the area.

4.   Regarding proper use of educational rights under Article 30, the same restrictions that apply against commercialization in all private educational institutions should apply to the MEI’s.

      Also to ensure that the MEI’s serve the community in whose name they are established, their recognition as a minority institution should be withdrawn if the proportion of students from the establishing community goes below 50 per cent in the case of deprived communities. Also all the MEI’s should institute reservation for students from the OBC Lists, subject to minimum qualification for admission or give them weightage of 5 per cent in ascertaining relative merit.

These are my immediate thoughts. In case anything more comes to my kind, I shall revert.

In the meantime, I welcome your initiative and shall be happy to participate in the Meeting which should focus on specific proposals and avoid long, general speeches.

 

On NCMEI (Amendment) Ordinance, 2005

MMM Resolution, 11 February, 2006

The Markazi Majlis-e-Mushawarat

Appreciates the expeditious manner in which the NCMEI Act, 2005 has been amended by an Ordinance to make it more effective and thanks the Minister of HRD for fulfilling his assurance.

Takes this opportunity also to express its deep appreciation to the Union Government for exempting minority educational institutions from reservation in favour of the Backward Classes in all government-aided institutions and reiterates its demand that there should be reservation in all government and government-aided institutions in favour of religious minorities in every State in proportion to their proportion in population.

 

NationAL Commission for RLM

Memorandum Submitted to National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities

Introduction

The Indian Society is a heterogeneous society, divided by religion, language, caste and domicile. Every social group/community, constituting a majority or minority at any level in the country, whatever the basis of its identity, is divided among various sub-groups/sub-communities. Even a religious community is divided into sub-communities based on sects, denominations and castes, even if it speaks the same language.  The conventional starting point for analyzing the structure of the Indian society, which can be scientifically undertaken only on a regional basis, is religion or caste or language. Since all these strands are intermingled, every horizontal classification then needs to be supplemented by at least one vertical classification to arrive at a ‘homogeneous’ sub-group.

Religious Minorities

Professed by over 80% of the people, by far the majority religion of the country is Hinduism though it is difficult to define Hinduism in terms of doctrines and dogmas, even to enumerate its denominations and sects. Denominational divides within Hinduism have regional or local manifestations. Roughly 65%, out of 80%, are considered to be socially and educationally backward and enjoy reservation and/or special dispensation in a variable manner. They are listed as SC or OBC’s. The balance 15% consists of upper castes - Brahmins, Kshatrias and Vaishyas.  What is important is to realise that while they are well-positioned in the life of the country, in every sphere, there are pockets of backwardness within each upper caste. Their overall backwardness as compared to the SC/OBC may be lower and with a small population, their reservation quota may be very small, yet backwardness among the upper castes is a social reality and needs a helping hand.

According to the Census about 20% of the national population consist of Religious Minorities, though their percentage, individually and collectively, may vary from state to state. Muslim minorities form the biggest, with over 13% of the population and thus 2/3 of all religious minorities. Next come Sikhs and Christians followed by mini-communities like Buddhists, Jains and Parsis. In conventional parlance the word ‘minority’ has, however, become identified with Muslims, while the term should cover the Hindu community wherever it is in a minority, from the Panchayats to the States.

Muslims are a pan-national community but they are concentrated in 10 states: UP, West Bengal, Bihar, AP, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, MP, Gujarat, Rajasthan.  Together these states account for over 85% of the Muslim population.

That Muslim minority – with local variations – is educationally and economically backward and, therefore, poorly represented in every sphere of life – politics, government service, education, business, mass media (except films) and thus socially backward is well-established. There are individual exceptions who have reached the top but on the whole the Muslims are proportionately less educated and more unemployed and have limited access to productive assets. Many random socio-economic surveys, including some at state level, have established the fact of their economic and social backwardness. Nationwide surveys undertaken by NCAER (India Development Report, Oxford, 1999) and the National Sample Survey Organization (NSS 50th Round, June, 1998) highlight their collective backwardness.  Gopal Singh Panel data collected in the early 80’s are out of date but the latest data are available from various State Surveys e.g. Karnataka, AP, Kerala and Bihar.

Perhaps the Hon’ble Commission is not concerned with the religious minorities as a whole but with sections among each religious minority which is backward. Unfortunately there are simply no authentic data to indicate the population of various religious sub-communities, far less to quantify the relative backwardness of Muslim sub-communities among the Muslims or in relation to the other 100% backward communities like the SC’s or ST’s. 

Therefore, it is impossible to identify the backward sections within the Muslim community and to quantify their proportion.  The Hon’ble Commission may like to consider the Muslim community as a whole and treat it as an identifiable section of the Religious Minorities.

However, both Hindus and Muslims are divided into castes through the caste system does not create the same or even similar disabilities among Muslims. For example, no Muslim belonging to the so-called low castes, vocationally akin to Hindu SC’s, faces any bar in social or religious interaction within the community e.g. access to shrines and congregational prayers in the Masjids, as they do not bear the stigma of untouchability.  But the caste in the Muslim community is perpetuated by customary endogamy as the proportion of marriages between different baradaris (caste groups) is very low and also between the so-called Ashraf (high caste) and Arzal (low caste) as a whole, though the incidence of such marriages is rising with spread of education and social mobility.

On account of economic similarities and vocational identity, many Muslim ‘low caste’ groups have been included in the OBC Lists of the Centre and the States, alongwith Hindu counterparts.  Even those Muslim Sub-communities which have the same vocations as the SC’s are included in the OBC List.  All those in the OBC Lists face a handicap due to communal bias largely due to historical reasons and, therefore, do not benefit duly from reservation.

While the so-called low castes among the Muslims in any case enjoy the benefit of reservation as OBC, though not in full measure, a real problem is faced by the so-called high castes among Muslims – Syeds, Shaikhs, Pathans etc. – who were dependent on government employment and on land holdings which they have largely lost, since 1947.  Comparatively they have also suffered more displacement during the Partition.

This problem of the backward sections among the Muslims, not covered by reservation, is the same as these faced by the Hindu high castes cited above.  All these ‘high castes’, Hindu or Muslim, have their share of poverty, unemployment and economic distress and deprivation, their pockets of backwardness. However, poverty and backwardness are much more endemic and widespread among the Muslim high castes then among the Hindu high castes, because of relatively lower profile in politics and discrimination within governance and administration.

The Hon’ble Commission is requested to devise a method to identify the backward pockets among the Muslims and quantify their population and measure their backwardness.

Firstly, it is suggested that caste census be reintroduced for all communities.

Secondly, the criteria for determining and measuring backwardness should be universal, uniform, objective, transparent and quantifiable, and applicable to all caste sub-groups or sub-communities – for example, functional literacy, incidence of matriculation or technical diploma or basic university degree, per capita income, per capita land holding, possession of shelter which can be easily ascertained.

Thirdly, the level of backwardness may be determined in relation to the state as a whole or the SC’s therein or the BPL population.  

Fourthly, once the proportion of a backward group or sub-group in national or state population is determined and its relative backwardness is ascertained, it can be assigned a quota as a multiple of Population and Backwardness.

Fifthly, the quota should apply not only in public employment or higher education but also in the benefits of all development and welfare programmes which are targetted at individuals or families within the area of operation, and in flow of bank credit and in representation in legislatures. All the welfare or development schemes targeting individuals/families should be universal in application, irrespective of religion or caste, e.g. all widows who have no means of support or all orphans or all families living below the poverty line (BPL) or all handicapped or aged persons. But if, due to paucity of resources, there has to be a pick-and-choose, there should be a separate quota for each backward sub-community in the operational area in proportion to its population so that every group gets its due share.

Sixthly, the distribution of benefits should be under social control and transparent, not left to the whim of the bureaucrats or the fancies of the legislators who have their own priorities. The distribution system must be decentralised to village/mahalla in the interest of transparency and equity.

Seventhly, all provisions for the welfare of the Backward Classes, including educational incentives, reservation in post-secondary and technical education and government employment be extended without discrimination to all the backward communities, groups or sections thereof.

Eighthly, on 50% ceiling on reservation, the AIMMM is of the view that this is an artificial and illogical ceiling because the proportion of Other Backward Classes (other than SC and ST)  varies from state to state and also their level of backwardness. The total quantum of reservation in a state should be the sum total of quotas assigned to the various Backward Classes, calculated on the basis of their population and their relative backwardness as compared to the SC’s (which get full weightage for their population).  Already in practice, several States like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have exceeded the 50% limit. There is absolutely no logic in restricting the OBC’s to 27% reservation all over the country. 

Finally, the benefit of any quota should be available only to those families whose income and educational level fall below the Poverty Line or the state average.  In other words, the ‘creamy layer’ should be defined realistically as the families above the Poverty Line or state average in income and education.  In brief, the quotas should be calculated for all identifiable and conscious groups according to their population but its benefits should go only the backward families within each group. 

It is submitted that the Hon’ble Commission may like to recommend necessary constitutional and legal modalities to implement the above suggestions, if they are accepted.

Linguistic Minorities

Since the national territory was reorganized in 1956 broadly on linguistic basis, it is possible to define linguistic minorities in terms of the linguistic demography at the state, district, block and panchayat levels with the help of the Census data.  Generally speaking, the linguistic minorities in any state are cut off from full participation in politics and administration as well as educational and economic activities. So they tend to be socially backward.  In India government service has high social value and the linguistic minorities do not enjoy equal access to education and consequently to public and private employment or even in the market for skilled labour. 

Generally, the linguistic minorities are expected by the state authorities to undergo linguistic assimilation under pressure of circumstances though this may be contrary to constitutional assurances. Over a period of time many states appear to have almost forgotten about the safeguards for linguistic minorities enunciated at the dawn of independence. Ironically, the demographic situation is that while every state is a haven for its majority linguistic group, outside its border, that group forms a minority in many other States, where it faces the same difficulties as other linguistic minorities.

Only one or two linguistic groups face an exceptional situation.  The Urdu-speaking population which forms about 6-7% of the total population has no home-base. Apart from Sindhi, Urdu is the only MIL which is a linguistic minority throughout the country. Urdu is a concentrated in UP, Bihar, Maharashtra, AP and Karnataka and in pockets in MP, Gujarat, Haryana, West Bengal. It is the biggest linguistic minority, it is a truly pan-Indian language and is understood all over the country.  But, over the years, it has become increasingly identified with the Muslims. So that Urdu-speaking Muslims, roughly 50% of the Muslims, as a whole, stand doubly jeopardised and deprived.

It is fairly simple to identify the administrative units, Panchayats, Blocks, Districts and States where a minority language is spoken or has been declared as Mother Tongue by, say, 5% or more of the people.

In the light of the Annual Reports of the Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities, which have been tabled but never discussed in the Parliament, the latest being the 42nd Report for July 2003 - June, 2004, one concludes that the constitutional safeguards have not been fully implemented in any state, even in those States in which a minority language has been declared by law as the second official language. Urdu has been so declared in Bihar, UP, AP and Delhi but its situation is no better in them.

Minority languages cannot compete with the Principal Language of the State for State patronage or for use in education, administration and information. But in terms of the Constitutional safeguards, administrative assurance and international norms summarized in UN Declaration of Rights of Minorities, 1992, every linguistic minority of any state deserves the following facilities.

1.   Education    a)   Unconditional use of the language as medium of primary instruction because every child has this natural right.

                              b)   Teaching of the language to all its children through the school as First Language under the Three Language Formula in order to acquire due proficiency.

                              c)   Teaching of Principal Language of the State as Compulsory Second Language.

                              d)   Establishment of government schools in minority-concentration areas in accordance with national norms.

                              e)   Recognition and affiliation of schools and government aid to established and administered by the linguistic minorities.

                               f)   Recognition of non-formal educational institutions of primary and secondary education as equivalent to normal schools.

2.   Administration  a)         Use of minority language for specified official purposes at all levels of administration where the proportion of the linguistic minorities is 5% or more, which demands adequate translation facilities.

                              b)   Use of minority language as medium of examination for public employment.

                              c)   Requirement to pass an examination in Principal Language at elementary level only following recruitment.

3.   Legislature         A member whose Mother Tongue is a M.I.L. Language should be permitted to take oath in his Mother Tongue and to use his Mother Tongue for putting questions and making statements.

4.   Information        Use of minority language by government electronic media and in government advertisement in proportion to minority population within the service area of each station/centre.

5.   Elections            Electoral rolls of various polling stations should be published in the minority languages which constitute at least 5% of their population, in all Parliamentary or Assembly Constituencies.

Institutional Arrangements

The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM), in addition, proposes the following institutional arrangements for safeguarding the interests of religious and linguistic minorities:

(1)  Creation of a Ministry of Minority Welfare directly under the Prime Minister/Chief Minister or under a MOS responsible to the Prime Minister/Chief Minister.

(2)  Establishment of a Joint Committee on Minority Welfare in the Parliament and in the State Legislatures to monitor progress of the religious and linguistic minorities and the impact of the Central and State Schemes for their welfare and development.

(3)  Amendment of Article 15(4) of the Constitution to define backwardness more realistically as ‘educational and economic and, therefore, social’.

(4)  Appropriate legislation to strengthen the operation of the office of the Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities, which is a Constitutional post, to give it the powers of a civil court and the staff and budgetary resources to investigate the grievances of linguistic minorities.

(5)  Restriction of the constitutional principle of non-discrimination on the ground of domicile by the Centre or the State only to Group A or Class I jobs. This will give the Centre and the States the freedom to reserve Group B jobs within a State for those domiciled in the State, Group C jobs for those domiciled in the district and Group D jobs for those domiciled within the Panchayat or the town.  Such selective application will reduce the unmanageable movement towards all employment opportunities anywhere in the country, cut down unnecessary expenditure on T.A., transfer or holiday, and by localising the administrative system make it more socially responsive.  Such preference will also be in line with the ideal of decentralization. Today, with the spread of education, every state, district, panchayat/town is in a position to throw up qualified candidates for Group B, C and D posts respectively and the backward classes in any part of the country should enjoy access and opportunity in their own areas.

(6)  Amendment to Para 3 of the Constitution (SC) Order, 1950: The AIMMM is of the view that the religious criterion should be altogether removed in keeping with the secular philosophy of the Indian State and all groups, irrespective of religion, which have been professionally and vocationally akin to the SC’s should be included in the SC List. The State should not act as protector of Hinduism but as defender of Freedom of Religion.

       Indeed the Sikhs and the neo-Buddhists have been already included.  Only the Muslims and the Christians remain out.  There is no logical reason to leave them in the cold.

       The number of Dalit Muslim is very small and too dispersed. It is doubtful that transfer from the OBC to the SC Lists will benefit them but there is growing pressure because the SC’s enjoy reservation in legislatures which the OBC’s do not. In case the OBC’s are also granted reservation, this pressure may fade out.

Conclusion:

To conclude, the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) emphasizes the need for determination of the population of every identifiable group or sub-group and for ascertaining its relative level of backwardness on the basis of universally uniform and objective parameters. This exercise should be repeated after each Census. Hopefully with educational and economic progress, the level of backwardness of each group will go down and consequently the individual quotas, the reserved space will contract and the free space shall expand as the society moves towards social equality. The long-term national objective should be a level playing field for all, an equal society without discrimination and reservation.

The AIMMM would also like to place on record its considered view that the best solution, conducive to the overall progress of the society, is universalization of reservation for all identifiable and homogenous social groups or sub-groups which form a sizeable population, so that on the basis of common parameters they are entitled to a quota of at least 1%, with mini-sub-groups, below 1% share of population, either joining together to form one viable group or joining existing sub-groups of their choice.

This drastic approach shall see a new dawn of social justice and kickstart upward mobility and generate all round social progress and eventually fulfill the expectations of the deprived and eliminate the persistent monopoly of the privileged. The social environment, purged of exploitation and discontent, shall become more harmonious in both inter-community and inter-caste dimension.

To achieve empowerment of the Backward Classes and the Minorities, the Constitution should be amended to introduce a Proportional System of Representation in Legislatures to replace the current FPP System. Such an electoral system will not only make the democratic system more representative but ensure due representation in the legislatures of all weaker sections, particularly the Religious Minorities, which face bias under the present system, and the Extremely Backward Classes, which are too scattered to be politically effective. The AIMMM is convinced that the goal of Social Justice in a segmented society cannot be achieved without due representation of all segments of the people in the power structure, without the political empowerment of all identifiable socially defined and conscious segments, whatever their caste or religion or vocation or domicile.

                                                                        Sd/

New Delhi     (SYED SHAHABUDDIN)

28 January, 2006     PRESIDENT, AIMMM


NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR RLM

Memorandum Submitted to

National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities

Introduction

The Indian Society is a heterogeneous society, divided by religion, language, caste and domicile. Every social group/community, constituting a majority or minority at any level in the country, whatever the basis of its identity, is divided among various sub-groups/sub-communities. Even a religious community is divided into sub-communities based on sects, denominations and castes, even if it speaks the same language.  The conventional starting point for analyzing the structure of the Indian society, which can be scientifically undertaken only on a regional basis, is religion or caste or language. Since all these strands are intermingled, every horizontal classification then needs to be supplemented by at least one vertical classification to arrive at a ‘homogeneous’ sub-group.

Religious Minorities

Professed by over 80% of the people, by far the majority religion of the country is Hinduism though it is difficult to define Hinduism in terms of doctrines and dogmas, even to enumerate its denominations and sects. Denominational divides within Hinduism have regional or local manifestations. Roughly 65%, out of 80%, are considered to be socially and educationally backward and enjoy reservation and/or special dispensation in a variable manner. They are listed as SC or OBC’s. The balance 15% consists of upper castes - Brahmins, Kshatrias and Vaishyas.  What is important is to realise that while they are well-positioned in the life of the country, in every sphere, there are pockets of backwardness within each upper caste. Their overall backwardness as compared to the SC/OBC may be lower and with a small population, their reservation quota may be very small, yet backwardness among the upper castes is a social reality and needs a helping hand.

According to the Census about 20% of the national population consist of Religious Minorities, though their percentage, individually and collectively, may vary from state to state. Muslim minorities form the biggest, with over 13% of the population and thus 2/3 of all religious minorities. Next come Sikhs and Christians followed by mini-communities like Buddhists, Jains and Parsis. In conventional parlance the word ‘minority’ has, however, become identified with Muslims, while the term should cover the Hindu community wherever it is in a minority, from the Panchayats to the States.

Muslims are a pan-national community but they are concentrated in 10 states: UP, West Bengal, Bihar, AP, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, MP, Gujarat, Rajasthan.  Together these states account for over 85% of the Muslim population.

That Muslim minority – with local variations – is educationally and economically backward and, therefore, poorly represented in every sphere of life – politics, government service, education, business, mass media (except films) and thus socially backward is well-established. There are individual exceptions who have reached the top but on the whole the Muslims are proportionately less educated and more unemployed and have limited access to productive assets. Many random socio-economic surveys, including some at state level, have established the fact of their economic and social backwardness. Nationwide surveys undertaken by NCAER (India Development Report, Oxford, 1999) and the National Sample Survey Organization (NSS 50th Round, June, 1998) highlight their collective backwardness.  Gopal Singh Panel data collected in the early 80’s are out of date but the latest data are available from various State Surveys e.g. Karnataka, AP, Kerala and Bihar.

Perhaps the Hon’ble Commission is not concerned with the religious minorities as a whole but with sections among each religious minority which is backward. Unfortunately there are simply no authentic data to indicate the population of various religious sub-communities, far less to quantify the relative backwardness of Muslim sub-communities among the Muslims or in relation to the other 100% backward communities like the SC’s or ST’s. 

Therefore, it is impossible to identify the backward sections within the Muslim community and to quantify their proportion.  The Hon’ble Commission may like to consider the Muslim community as a whole and treat it as an identifiable section of the Religious Minorities.

However, both Hindus and Muslims are divided into castes through the caste system does not create the same or even similar disabilities among Muslims. For example, no Muslim belonging to the so-called low castes, vocationally akin to Hindu SC’s, faces any bar in social or religious interaction within the community e.g. access to shrines and congregational prayers in the Masjids, as they do not bear the stigma of untouchability.  But the caste in the Muslim community is perpetuated by customary endogamy as the proportion of marriages between different baradaris (caste groups) is very low and also between the so-called Ashraf (high caste) and Arzal (low caste) as a whole, though the incidence of such marriages is rising with spread of education and social mobility.

On account of economic similarities and vocational identity, many Muslim ‘low caste’ groups have been included in the OBC Lists of the Centre and the States, alongwith Hindu counterparts.  Even those Muslim Sub-communities which have the same vocations as the SC’s are included in the OBC List.  All those in the OBC Lists face a handicap due to communal bias largely due to historical reasons and, therefore, do not benefit duly from reservation.

While the so-called low castes among the Muslims in any case enjoy the benefit of reservation as OBC, though not in full measure, a real problem is faced by the so-called high castes among Muslims – Syeds, Shaikhs, Pathans etc. – who were dependent on government employment and on land holdings which they have largely lost, since 1947.  Comparatively they have also suffered more displacement during the Partition.

This problem of the backward sections among the Muslims, not covered by reservation, is the same as these faced by the Hindu high castes cited above.  All these ‘high castes’, Hindu or Muslim, have their share of poverty, unemployment and economic distress and deprivation, their pockets of backwardness. However, poverty and backwardness are much more endemic and widespread among the Muslim high castes then among the Hindu high castes, because of relatively lower profile in politics and discrimination within governance and administration.

The Hon’ble Commission is requested to devise a method to identify the backward pockets among the Muslims and quantify their population and measure their backwardness.

Firstly, it is suggested that caste census be reintroduced for all communities.

Secondly, the criteria for determining and measuring backwardness should be universal, uniform, objective, transparent and quantifiable, and applicable to all caste sub-groups or sub-communities – for example, functional literacy, incidence of matriculation or technical diploma or basic university degree, per capita income, per capita land holding, possession of shelter which can be easily ascertained.

Thirdly, the level of backwardness may be determined in relation to the state as a whole or the SC’s therein or the BPL population. 

Fourthly, once the proportion of a backward group or sub-group in national or state population is determined and its relative backwardness is ascertained, it can be assigned a quota as a multiple of Population and Backwardness.

Fifthly, the quota should apply not only in public employment or higher education but also in the benefits of all development and welfare programmes which are targetted at individuals or families within the area of operation, and in flow of bank credit and in representation in legislatures. All the welfare or development schemes targeting individuals/families should be universal in application, irrespective of religion or caste, e.g. all widows who have no means of support or all orphans or all families living below the poverty line (BPL) or all handicapped or aged persons. But if, due to paucity of resources, there has to be a pick-and-choose, there should be a separate quota for each backward sub-community in the operational area in proportion to its population so that every group gets its due share.

Sixthly, the distribution of benefits should be under social control and transparent, not left to the whim of the bureaucrats or the fancies of the legislators who have their own priorities. The distribution system must be decentralised to village/mahalla in the interest of transparency and equity.

Seventhly, all provisions for the welfare of the Backward Classes, including educational incentives, reservation in post-secondary and technical education and government employment be extended without discrimination to all the backward communities, groups or sections thereof.

Eighthly, on 50% ceiling on reservation, the AIMMM is of the view that this is an artificial and illogical ceiling because the proportion of Other Backward Classes (other than SC and ST)  varies from state to state and also their level of backwardness. The total quantum of reservation in a state should be the sum total of quotas assigned to the various Backward Classes, calculated on the basis of their population and their relative backwardness as compared to the SC’s (which get full weightage for their population).  Already in practice, several States like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have exceeded the 50% limit. There is absolutely no logic in restricting the OBC’s to 27% reservation all over the country. 

Finally, the benefit of any quota should be available only to those families whose income and educational level fall below the Poverty Line or the state average.  In other words, the ‘creamy layer’ should be defined realistically as the families above the Poverty Line or state average in income and education.  In brief, the quotas should be calculated for all identifiable and conscious groups according to their population but its benefits should go only the backward families within each group. 

It is submitted that the Hon’ble Commission may like to recommend necessary constitutional and legal modalities to implement the above suggestions, if they are accepted.

Linguistic Minorities

Since the national territory was reorganized in 1956 broadly on linguistic basis, it is possible to define linguistic minorities in terms of the linguistic demography at the state, district, block and panchayat levels with the help of the Census data.  Generally speaking, the linguistic minorities in any state are cut off from full participation in politics and administration as well as educational and economic activities. So they tend to be socially backward.  In India government service has high social value and the linguistic minorities do not enjoy equal access to education and consequently to public and private employment or even in the market for skilled labour. 

Generally, the linguistic minorities are expected by the state authorities to undergo linguistic assimilation under pressure of circumstances though this may be contrary to constitutional assurances. Over a period of time many states appear to have almost forgotten about the safeguards for linguistic minorities enunciated at the dawn of independence. Ironically, the demographic situation is that while every state is a haven for its majority linguistic group, outside its border, that group forms a minority in many other States, where it faces the same difficulties as other linguistic minorities.

Only one or two linguistic groups face an exceptional situation.  The Urdu-speaking population which forms about 6-7% of the total population has no home-base. Apart from Sindhi, Urdu is the only MIL which is a linguistic minority throughout the country. Urdu is a concentrated in UP, Bihar, Maharashtra, AP and Karnataka and in pockets in MP, Gujarat, Haryana, West Bengal. It is the biggest linguistic minority, it is a truly pan-Indian language and is understood all over the country.  But, over the years, it has become increasingly identified with the Muslims. So that Urdu-speaking Muslims, roughly 50% of the Muslims, as a whole, stand doubly jeopardised and deprived.

It is fairly simple to identify the administrative units, Panchayats, Blocks, Districts and States where a minority language is spoken or has been declared as Mother Tongue by, say, 5% or more of the people.

In the light of the Annual Reports of the Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities, which have been tabled but never discussed in the Parliament, the latest being the 42nd Report for July 2003 - June, 2004, one concludes that the constitutional safeguards have not been fully implemented in any state, even in those States in which a minority language has been declared by law as the second official language. Urdu has been so declared in Bihar, UP, AP and Delhi but its situation is no better in them.

Minority languages cannot compete with the Principal Language of the State for State patronage or for use in education, administration and information. But in terms of the Constitutional safeguards, administrative assurance and international norms summarized in UN Declaration of Rights of Minorities, 1992, every linguistic minority of any state deserves the following facilities.

1.   Education    a)   Unconditional use of the language as medium of primary instruction because every child has this natural right.

                              b)   Teaching of the language to all its children through the school as First Language under the Three Language Formula in order to acquire due proficiency.

                              c)   Teaching of Principal Language of the State as Compulsory Second Language.

                              d)   Establishment of government schools in minority-concentration areas in accordance with national norms.

                              e)   Recognition and affiliation of schools and government aid to established and administered by the linguistic minorities.

                               f)   Recognition of non-formal educational institutions of primary and secondary education as equivalent to normal schools.

2.   Administration  a)         Use of minority language for specified official purposes at all levels of administration where the proportion of the linguistic minorities is 5% or more, which demands adequate translation facilities.

                              b)   Use of minority language as medium of examination for public employment.

                              c)   Requirement to pass an examination in Principal Language at elementary level only following recruitment.

3.   Legislature         A member whose Mother Tongue is a M.I.L. Language should be permitted to take oath in his Mother Tongue and to use his Mother Tongue for putting questions and making statements.

4.   Information        Use of minority language by government electronic media and in government advertisement in proportion to minority population within the service area of each station/centre.

5.   Elections            Electoral rolls of various polling stations should be published in the minority languages which constitute at least 5% of their population, in all Parliamentary or Assembly Constituencies.

Institutional Arrangements

The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM), in addition, proposes the following institutional arrangements for safeguarding the interests of religious and linguistic minorities:

(1)  Creation of a Ministry of Minority Welfare directly under the Prime Minister/Chief Minister or under a MOS responsible to the Prime Minister/Chief Minister.

(2)  Establishment of a Joint Committee on Minority Welfare in the Parliament and in the State Legislatures to monitor progress of the religious and linguistic minorities and the impact of the Central and State Schemes for their welfare and development.

(3)  Amendment of Article 15(4) of the Constitution to define backwardness more realistically as ‘educational and economic and, therefore, social’.

(4)  Appropriate legislation to strengthen the operation of the office of the Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities, which is a Constitutional post, to give it the powers of a civil court and the staff and budgetary resources to investigate the grievances of linguistic minorities.

(5)  Restriction of the constitutional principle of non-discrimination on the ground of domicile by the Centre or the State only to Group A or Class I jobs. This will give the Centre and the States the freedom to reserve Group B jobs within a State for those domiciled in the State, Group C jobs for those domiciled in the district and Group D jobs for those domiciled within the Panchayat or the town.  Such selective application will reduce the unmanageable movement towards all employment opportunities anywhere in the country, cut down unnecessary expenditure on T.A., transfer or holiday, and by localising the administrative system make it more socially responsive.  Such preference will also be in line with the ideal of decentralization. Today, with the spread of education, every state, district, panchayat/town is in a position to throw up qualified candidates for Group B, C and D posts respectively and the backward classes in any part of the country should enjoy access and opportunity in their own areas.

(6)  Amendment to Para 3 of the Constitution (SC) Order, 1950: The AIMMM is of the view that the religious criterion should be altogether removed in keeping with the secular philosophy of the Indian State and all groups, irrespective of religion, which have been professionally and vocationally akin to the SC’s should be included in the SC List. The State should not act as protector of Hinduism but as defender of Freedom of Religion.

       Indeed the Sikhs and the neo-Buddhists have been already included.  Only the Muslims and the Christians remain out.  There is no logical reason to leave them in the cold.

       The number of Dalit Muslim is very small and too dispersed. It is doubtful that transfer from the OBC to the SC Lists will benefit them but there is growing pressure because the SC’s enjoy reservation in legislatures which the OBC’s do not. In case the OBC’s are also granted reservation, this pressure may fade out.

Conclusion:

To conclude, the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) emphasizes the need for determination of the population of every identifiable group or sub-group and for ascertaining its relative level of backwardness on the basis of universally uniform and objective parameters. This exercise should be repeated after each Census. Hopefully with educational and economic progress, the level of backwardness of each group will go down and consequently the individual quotas, the reserved space will contract and the free space shall expand as the society moves towards social equality. The long-term national objective should be a level playing field for all, an equal society without discrimination and reservation.

The AIMMM would also like to place on record its considered view that the best solution, conducive to the overall progress of the society, is universalization of reservation for all identifiable and homogenous social groups or sub-groups which form a sizeable population, so that on the basis of common parameters they are entitled to a quota of at least 1%, with mini-sub-groups, below 1% share of population, either joining together to form one viable group or joining existing sub-groups of their choice.

This drastic approach shall see a new dawn of social justice and kickstart upward mobility and generate all round social progress and eventually fulfill the expectations of the deprived and eliminate the persistent monopoly of the privileged. The social environment, purged of exploitation and discontent, shall become more harmonious in both inter-community and inter-caste dimension.

To achieve empowerment of the Backward Classes and the Minorities, the Constitution should be amended to introduce a Proportional System of Representation in Legislatures to replace the current FPP System. Such an electoral system will not only make the democratic system more representative but ensure due representation in the legislatures of all weaker sections, particularly the Religious Minorities, which face bias under the present system, and the Extremely Backward Classes, which are too scattered to be politically effective. The AIMMM is convinced that the goal of Social Justice in a segmented society cannot be achieved without due representation of all segments of the people in the power structure, without the political empowerment of all identifiable socially defined and conscious segments, whatever their caste or religion or vocation or domicile.

                                                                        Sd/

New Delhi     (SYED SHAHABUDDIN)

28 January, 2006     PRESIDENT, AIMMM
MUSLIM WORLD

Victory of Hamas in Palestine Election

Statement, 30 January, 2006

“The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) acclaims the victory of the Hamas in the election to the Palestinian National Council.

The AIMMM calls upon Israel to accept the democratic mandate of the Palestinian people and recognize the right of Hamas to represent Palestine in future peace negotiations. 

The AIMMM hopes that Israel shall eventually withdraw from all Arab Occupied Territories in Palestine and agree to the demarcation of the inter-state border on the basis of 1967 armistice line and to the posting of UN Observes for mutual security.

The AIMMM calls upon the USA/EU not to penalise the Palestinian people for exercising their democratic right and thus miss this historic opportunity of fruitful negotiations for settlement in the form of the establishment of a viable State of Palestine in peaceful co-existence with Israel, within mutually recognised borders.”

 

On Palestinian Election

Resolution of MMM, 11 February, 2006

The Markazi Majlis-e-Mushawarat

Is of the considered view that the democratic mandate given by the Palestinian people to the Hamas must be respected and they should be permitted to form the Government, notwithstanding any reservation expressed by Israel or by the USA.

Also urges that the Hamas that once formed its Government should take up the thread of negotiation with Israel as well as the UN and other States involved without any precondition. Such negotiations following a cease-fire and resumption of normal movement of people and goods shall imply de facto mutual recognition, without Israel formally abandoning  the concept of Ertz-Israel or the Hamas, any legitimate rights of the Palestinians.

 

Prospects of Pan-Turkism in Central Asia

Letter to Nasir Raza Khan, 27 March, 2006

I have read your article on Central Asia in the latest issue of India Quarterly.

There is very little known about the state of ideological stream of Pan-Turkism (or Pan-Turanianism) has gone underground apparently because of nationalist upsurge, notably after independence, also because Islamic Nationalism, Neo-Sovietisism and Modernization are actively in the field.

What is your view on the prospects of Central Asia emerging as a unified territory in terms of long-term perceptions, aspiration and interest of the peoples of these States? I know Tajik is close to Persian but the other languages are close to Turkish. So, in other words, what are the prospects of Pan-Turkism?

 

Excavation under the Masjid Al-Aqsa

I - Letter to IslamOnline.net, 5 January, 2006

Perturbed about the expanding extent of excavation under the Masjid Al Aqsa and the construction of a synagogue beneath it alongwith a historical museum in the excavated space. However, we would like to know if the Palestinian Authority or any Arab Government or any member of the OIC has protested against the continuing excavation which is a violation of international law and of the ceasefire agreement, much more serious than the Wall or Jewish settlements in the occupied area, because the latter can be undone.

We would be grateful for your immediate reply.

II - Letter to Ambassador of Palestine, 23 Jan., 06

You must be aware that Israel has been carrying out excavation on the Masjid Al-Aqsa. Not having found any credible remnants of the Temple, it has recently converted the excavated space into a synagogue-cum-Museum on Jewish History. The synagogue is right under the Al-Aqsa Mosque, some 90 meters from the Dome of the Rock. Israel is building yet another synagogue in the excavated space. This constitutes a threat to the Mosque’s structure which may collapse.

Al-Jazeera reported that the Supreme Islamic Association of Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Association for Construction of the Holy Shrines as well as the Islamic Movement has protested against the outrage. So has the Mufti of Al-Qudus and Palestine.

This report has caused much concern among Muslim Indians.

We would like to know if the Palestinian Authority has formally raised the question with Israel or whether the OIC or any Arab or Muslim country has registered a protest or brought the matter to the notice of the UN Secretariat/General Assembly. We would be grateful for your early response.

 

Condolence on Shipping Disaster

I - Letter to Ambassador of Egypt, 4 Feb., 2006

The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) expresses its shock and sorrow at the shipping disaster in the Red Sea which is reported to have taken more than a thousand lives.

The AIMMM offers its condolence to the friendly people of Egypt in general and to the families of those killed in particular.

The AIMMM suggests that the cause of the disaster should be inquired into thoroughly to rule out a hostile attack in the ship in the mid-sea, apart from the negligence in testing the sea-worthiness of the ship.

II - Reply of Ambassador of Egypt, 7 March, 2006

I would like to express my gratitude for  your condolence message on the tragic incident of ship disaster in the Red Sea, Egypt, that took the lives of so many loved ones.

I thank you for your thoughts and sympathy which provide great comfort at this time of sorrow and grief.

 

Proposed Demolition of Birth Site of Holy Prophet

I - Letter to Amb. of Saudi Arabia, 24 Jan., 2006

The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM), New Delhi cordially welcomes the visit by His Majesty King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, the Custodian of the Holy Places to India on a State visit. The visit, it hopes, shall raise the bilateral relations to a new level.

The AIMMM is fully aware of the constant interest by His Majesty in the progress and welfare of the people of India, in general and the Muslims of India, in particular.

The AIMMM established in 1964 is the apex forum of the Muslims of India, who constitute the second biggest Muslim community in the world. The AIMMM consists of Muslim organizations and personalities of national eminence. The current membership with AIMMM may be seen from the attached Directory.

The object and purpose of the AIMMM is to protect the legitimate interests of the community and to promote their welfare and good relations with other communities within the Constitutional framework and, for this purpose, it maintains constant contact with the government, the political parties, the opinion-makers and the mass media. A copy of its Dastoor is enclosed for your Excellency’s information.

The AIMMM desires to wait on His Majesty during his visit with a representative Delegation to submit a Memorandum for strengthening the relations between the two countries and for accelerating the educational and economic progress of the Muslim community.

We would be grateful for the inclusion of a Courtesy Call by the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat in the programme of His Majesty.

We request your good offices in recommending an appointment.

II - Letter to Amb. of Saudi Arabia, 2 Feb, 2006

May I draw your attention to the press report that the Royal Government of Saudi Arabia has decided to demolish the cave in Uhud, Medina Munawwara, where the Holy Prophet (PBUH) had rested for a while after receiving injuries in the Battle of Uhud?

This news is datelined Medina and states that the Ulema, the intellectuals and the people of Medina are opposed to the proposed demolition but have suggested installation of iron grills at the entrance to the cave. It also says that H.E. the Governor of Medina has appointed a Committee to take the final decision.

This news is bound to cause concern in the Muslim community of India and, therefore, we request Your Excellency to apprise us of the facts and, if possible, issue a press release.

III - Clarification of Saudi Embassy, 17 Feb., 2006

With reference to reports published in some Indian newspapers quoting a foreign news agency that the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia intends to demolish the birth place of Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) in Makkah al-Mukarrama and build a residential and commercial complex in its place, and in response to verbal and written inquiries received by this Embassy from Islamic and official quarters in the friendly Republic of India in this regard, and on the basis of the information provided by the concerned authorities in the Kingdom, the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in New Delhi would like to clarify the following:

1.   The Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia totally refuted the reports alleging that it intends to demolish the above place to convert it into a parking or commercial building.

2.   It is not correct to believe that the present building is the birth place of the Prophet (peace be upon him) as it is a new structure which was constructed only 56 years ago and it is not considered an ancient building.  Also, the very same building is not the house of the Prophet (peace be upon him) though a part of it encompasses the site of the house. Since the building needs to be renovated, the concerned authorities in the Kingdom are contemplating to reconstruct it in a way that befits the honour of the place and its proximity to the Holy Mosque and AI-Haram Library.

The Embassy hopes that this clarification will explain the facts and will satisfy the inquiries and the questions on the subject.

IV - Letter to MOS for E/Affairs, 24 March, 2006

Thank you for sending me a copy of the Clarification issued by the Royal Saudi Arabian Embassy.

The statement is vague and misleading in some respects. No one alleged that the Government of Saudi Arabia intended to demolish the birth place of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). It may well be that the Mecca Development Authority and the Mecca Municipal Corporation may have plans to do so.

Secondly, no one has said that the present structure is the birth place. Birth-place by definition means the site and not the building constructed thereon.

Thirdly, the exact site of the house of the Holy Prophet cannot be identified now. However, if part of the present Maktaba al Haram encompasses the house of the Holy Prophet, no one can object if the present structure and its adjacent areas are renovated and reconstructed so long as the birth-marker now in the Maktaba Al Haram is not displaced.

We should advise the Government of Saudi Arabia that the plans for renovation and reconstruction should be transparent and made pubic, showing the supposed boundaries of Maktaba Al Haram and of the Holy Prophet’s house and the birth-marker now and in the Reconstruction Plan.

 

On IAEA’s Resolution against Iran

Resolution of MMM, 11 February, 2006

The Markazi Majlis-e-Mushawarat

Deplores the decision of the Executive Board of the IAEA on 4 February 2006 to refer the Iran case to the United Nations Security Council, while diplomatic negotiations were still in progress. Since Iran has not violated the NPT by undertaking enrichment of  uranium and by all accounts it is  still years’ away from the production of nuclear weapons, even if it  so intends and also because Iran’s negotiation with Russia for outsourcing the enrichment of uranium were still in progress, the MMM regrets that India voted in favour of the resolution. This vote is being universally seen as submission to U.S pressure. 

Has, however, noted that the Resolution gives another 4 weeks for diplomatic negotiations before the Security Council considers the Iran case,  and, for once, calls upon all States of the region to stop production of weapon of mass destruction. This provides an opportunity for the Security Council to take note of the growing nuclear arsenal of Israel, which, not having signed the NPT,  has been freely developing nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction without let or hindrance.

The MMM feels that to make the region free from all weapons of mass destruction, the international community must pressurise Israel to declare its stockpile and facilities and stop production and stop piling all nuclear weapons. Unless this is done, all States in the region, whose collective military strength does not match Israel’s will continue their quest of security in all possible ways.

 

US Objective to Oil-Gas Deal with Syria

I - Letter to Dr. Manmohan Singh, 30 Jan., 2006

The Hindu has reported (28 January, 2006) the sanctioned by the US Embassy against ONGC-CNPC’s acquisition of state in he Al-Furat Oil and Gas fields in Syria.

I am glad that the US Embassy has been told that the investment shall proceed as planned.

The USA had earlier expresses its opposition to our gas deal with Iran and to the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project.

Obviously, the USA will also be inclined to oppose the projected gas and oil pipelines from Central Asia to India, via Iran or Afghanistan.

With the threat of congressional cancellation of the bilateral deal in civil nuclear cooperation, unless India votes against Iran in the IAEA, the US endeavour to obstruct our freedom of action assumes ominous propositions.

II - PM’s Reply, 10 February, 2006

I have received your letter of January, 30, 2006 regarding the alleged US interference in oil and gas projects involving Iran.

 

Europe and Israel’s Nuclear Threat

Letter to Satish Chandra,, 22 Feb., 2006

I have read your recent articles on the IAEA Resolution of 4 February, 2006. I had earlier read your articles on Iran’s Relation with the IAEA.

You have justly mentioned our concern on nuclear proliferation in the neighbourhood. This is what led us to catch up with China and Pakistan to catch up with us.

So, isn’t Iran in the same boat vis-à-vis Israel? But legally Israel, not having signed the NPT is free to do what it likes and stockpile nuclear weapons. Iran having signed it cannot even exercise its legal right of enrichment!

Where is the solution? I think Israel is the key. Unless Israel’s nuclear weapons are dismantled and nuclear weapon capacity restrained, with UNSC simultaneously guaranteeing its survival within international recognized frontiers, many other countries in the region shall follow the Iran route – Egypt, Saudi Arabia, for example. May be Uzbekistan.

I wonder whether Europe which is within Israeli range is not apprehensive about its bombs!

We must meet one of these days.

 

Zone of Peace in the Middle East

Letter to John Hallam, 27 March, 2006

Your email of 22 February, 2006.

You may notice that IAEA Resolution of 2 February, did open a window for a zone of peace in the Middle East, free of all weapons of mass destruction. This means restraint on Israel as well. With Israel as the only nuclear weapon state in the region, not only Iran but other NPT States in the region, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia, will move towards acquisition of nuclear weapon capacity and, with fear and hatred raging on both sides, this unstable situation will definitely explode into nuclear war. UN Security Council should be asked to take cognizance of the implicit threat to international peace and security and take steps to defuse this explosive situation, offering Israeli iron-clad guarantees for its survival in security with phased withdrawal, if it agrees, to the 1967 armistice line. This which will imply demolition of the Wall, the vacation of settlements on the Palestinian side of the 1967 line and at least moral responsibility to compensate the Arab refugees from the Israeli territory.

 

Islamic Madrasas in UK

Letter to British High Commission, 23 Mar., 06

A press report datelined London, March 22, 2006 mentions the existence of 700 Islamic Madrasas in UK with about 100,000 students.

We would like to know if these Madrasas are recognized by the local educational authorities as equivalent to private schools and whether they receive any official aid and whether they supplement or succumb usual education.

We would be grateful for information on these questions.

 

Reality of Holocaust and of Zionist Action

Letter to The Tehelka Weekly, 10 January, 2006

Apropos Harsh Dobhal’s article on the observation of the President of Iran on the Holocaust, the newly elected President has no doubt helped revive primordial fears in the mind of the Israelis. On the other hand, the real question he has raised still cries for an objective response.

Why should the Jews, persecuted for centuries and finally sought to be liquidated in Europe, be resettled in Palestine at the cost of the indigenous people living there for thousands of years?

If the ancient links of the Israelis to the land of Palestine justify their occupation and displacement of the Arabs, then where does one draw the line? In time and space.

There have been many migrations in human history at the cost of the indigenous people – in the Americas, in Australia, even in the Indian Sub-continent.

If the displaced cannot return to their homes and land in Israel, at least they should be generously compensated to build a new life in the Arab-occupied territories which Israel must vacate.

What boggles the mind is the realization that the victims of the Holocaust have committed unmentionable atrocities against innocent people, forced them out, occupied their land and their homes. And they have continued to kill them in order to silence them!

 

International Community/OIC Press Israel

Letter to Javed Jamil, 6 February, 2006

Your email of 5 February, 2006 on Iran. The Big 5 feel that Iran is clandestinely developing nuclear weapons, though it may still be years away. That will be a violation of the NPT.

Iran faces a threat from Israel, may be in its heart of hearts, also from Pakistan. It has the ambition to be a regional power. Though it signed the NPT, it is keen to follow the example set by Israel, India and Pakistan. But none of them had signed the NPT and, therefore, technically did not violate any international agreement.

In the IAEA Resolution, for the first time the US has supported the objective of elimination of all WMD from the middle-east. This is the time when all middle-east countries should renounce chemical/biological weapons and agree to destroy what they have, if Israel destroys its nuclear arsenal.

Israel, we know, is being used by the USA as the sentinel of its interests in the middle-east.

Will USA apply any pressure on Israel to do so? I do not think so. But if all other middle-east countries take a common stand, as above, they have a chance of making some effect on three of the P-5 (Russia, China and France), apart from nearly 2/3 members of the UN. Iran could also announce its readiness to foreswear nuclear weapons, if Israel agrees to reduce and eventually eliminate its nuclear weapons.

The real question is how does the NAM/OIC apply pressure on Israel, which is supported by the USA? Our recital of history is no help.

 

Deeply Anguished by Samarra Sacrilege

Statement, 24 February, 2006

“The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) is deeply anguished by the attack on the historic Golden Mosque in Samarra which is the resting place of the 10th, 11th and 12th Imams of the Shias and condemns the perpetrators of this sacrilege.

The AIMMM considers that this may be a deliberate act of provocation designed by the enemies of Iraq not only to divide Iraqi people and a incite on fratricidal war between the Sunnis and the Shias.  All over Muslim world, to undo impact of Universal unity in the face of vilification of Holy Prophet.

The AIMMM holds the USA, as the occupying power, responsible for  not protecting a historic monument and a religious shrine of great importance, despite its massive presence, overt and covert, in the country.

The AIMMM calls upon the Government of Iraq and the world media, particularly the Arabic media, to unravel the conspiracy and identify the culprits.

The AIMMM also calls upon the people of Iraq to maintain national unity in the face of this great tragedy so that the country does not slide into a civil war.”

 

Reported Rape of Hindu Woman in Pakistan

Letter to Foreign Secy., GOI, 6 February, 2006

The report by a Pakistani journalist on abduction, conversion to Islam under coercion and forced marriage of Hindu women to Muslims which was carried in the Indian press has been confirmed by the Amnesty Internationally and the Human Rights Watch. While Pakistani liberals have been appalled, the Indian liberals are careful to maintain their distance from the pattern of Pak-bashing set by the Hindutva organizations. Be it as it may, does not Indian Government have the right to raise the ill-treatment of Hindu minorities in Pakistan under the Nehru-Liaquat Agreement of 1951, if I recall correctly?

Our official silence sustains the impression that we tend to ignore violation of human rights in other countries.

I request you to review our policy in this regard.

 

Religious Violence in Nigeria

Letter to H/Commissioner of Nigeria, 14 Mar., 2006

We are sad to learn of the religious violence in Nigeria in late February, 2006 which led to the killing of Muslims, burning of their dead bodies, desecration of mosques and their massive eviction and displacement from their homes, particularly from Onitsha. We are certain that some Christians also suffered in the violence.

We express our sympathy with all the victims and pray for peace in your country.

We would like to know whether the Government have set up a Commission to inquire into this upsurge of violence and whether the culprits have been apprehended and are being prosecuted and whether the victims have been compensated and resettled.


MUSLIM POPULATION

Higher Rate of Growth Means More Children

I - Letter to Ashish Bose, 24 February, 2006

You may have seen P.K.Ohri’s article in the Organizer on explosion of Muslim population in India. In the issue published on 12 February, 2006, he has drawn attention to proportion of population age 0-6 to total population for religious communities in the Census 2001 (Statement 7 in the Five Report on Census Data).

To put it simply against the national average of 15.9 and Hindu average of 15.6, the Muslim average is 18.7. This means that all other factors remaining equal, the Muslims will also command a higher proportion of population as time passes through faster multiplication.

Not being a demographer, I can only say that having a higher proportion of children in the age 0-6 is a natural consequence of several social and economic factors but what I wish to understand is whether this factor is already subsumed in calculating the rate of growth which is higher for Muslims as recorded in successive Census like sex ratio. Should it be projected as an ‘additional’ factor?

I would be grateful if you would kindly clarify whether the writer’s apprehension deserves any special attention.

II - Ashish Bose’s Reply, 6 March, 2006

Thank you for your kind letter of 24th February. My apologies for not writing to you earlier : I was away in Udipur and Calcutta lecturing at various places including Asiatic Society. I am just back from Calcutta and I have a troublesome tooth problem. I have to go to the dentist.

I shall reply to your letter in detail shortly. There is nothing to worry about the comparatively high proportion of Muslim population in the age group 0-6. This is certainly reflected in the growth rate of Muslim population which is higher than national average. This is not an additional factor. I have not read Ohri’s article in the Organizer. I do not take such views seriously. More next time. The National Commission for Minorities has a new Chairman. I hope he will do a good job.

III - Reply to Ashish Bose, 11 March, 2006

Thank you for clearing my doubt. I look forward to your detailed response and also to the point I had raised about massive ‘infiltration’ in Assam.

IV - Letter to The Organiser, 16 March, 2006

I have read Shri P.K. Ohri’s observation on Statement 7 of Census 2001 Report. He has presented a misleading picture, calculated to incite fear and apprehension in the mind of the Hindus. I have consulted eminent demographers and they agree with me that a higher proportion of children in the age 1-6 is a natural consequence in the higher rate of growth of the Muslim community.

It is subsumed in the Census report on rate of growth and cannot be projected as an additional factor. The higher rate of growth of the Muslim community is due to educational and economic factors and not to any religious or political factor.


MUSLIM MINORITIES

‘Culture Test’ for Muslims for Citizenship

I - Letter to Ambassador of Germany, 5 Jan., 2006

We have been informed that the State of Baden-Wurttemberg in FRG has introduced a cultural test for Muslim applicants for citizenship to gauge the applicant’s ‘loyalty to German values’.

The test appears to be discriminatory as it applies only to Muslim, not to all applicants.

We understand that similar tests are in the pipeline in other States of F.R.G.

Presumably such tests are directed towards achieving cultural and religious assimilation. But assimilation goes beyond the legitimate demands of national integration.

We would be grateful if you would be gracious enough to convey the dismay of the Muslim community all over the country to the authorities concerned because such a step by the FRG may create difficulties for all Muslim minorities everywhere.

 

II - Reply from German Embassy, 7 Feb.,2006

I would like to refer to your letter dated January 5, 2006, addressed to the Ambassador and confirm that the German Federal State of Baden Wurttemberg introduced on January 1st 2006 an interview guideline for its authorities of naturalization in order to substantiate the fundamental prerequisite for the acquisition of German citizenship which is acceptance of the liberal and democratic system prevailing in Germany. According to information given by the Ministry of the Interior of Baden Wurttemberg this interview guideline shall be applied regarding every applicant without respect of his or her religion if there are doubts about the acceptance of the constitutional order of the Federal Republic of Germany.

The German Federal States, which bear the responsibility of implementing the Nationality Act, have the full competence to carry out all matters concerning nationality and naturalization. Please let me end by assuring you that the Federal German Government pursues a policy of integration which enables the equal participation of migrants in all walks of social life. Therefore, the Federal Government lobbies for establishing a standardized administrative practice regarding naturalization.

 

III - Reply to German Embassy, 13 February, 2006

We thank you for your letter of 7 February, 2006 in which you have explained the responsibility of the German Federal States to implement the Nationality Act and to carry out all matters concerning nationality and naturalization. We have noted that the interview guidelines introduced by the State of Baden Wuttemberg shall apply to all applicants irrespective of religion whose acceptance of the constitutional order of the Federal Republic is in doubt. Since majority of the applicants/interviewees are likely to be Muslims, the procedure has created an apprehension that in practice it may give rise to difficulties for them. In the final analysis this will depend upon what the guideline seek to find out. For example, if the interviewee is asked whether he takes alcohol or eat pork, if he is a Muslim, he may be rejected if he answers according to his religious conviction. Without presuming to advise your Government, we feel that ‘acceptance of liberal and democratic system’ and of ‘integration’, as distinct from assimilation, should not be so defined that they imply rejection of pluralism and multiculturalism in Germany while the world is getting growingly plural and multi-cultural.
MINORITY WELFARE

Electoral System is the Key to Empowerment

I - Letter to Abusaleh Shariff, 7 January, 2006

I have just gone through Chapter 7 of your book Social Development Report, 2005 (CSD) on Communal Relations and Social Integration which is, however, largely focused on the situation of Muslim community.

You have rightly suggested more active participation, shedding all inhibitions and mediating all obstacles, in the mainstream political, economic and social spheres. But there are systemic road blocks, particularly in politics. I do not know how the Muslims can overcome them and find a proper place.

The present political system is based on FPP electoral system based on single member constituencies for legislatures which generate the executive. I think over the last 20 years the avenues have narrowed and Muslims have become increasingly under-represented or, what is worse, represented by those persons who can only follow the party line and never utter a word without prior approval. In private, they only discuss their own personal ‘grievances’ with the party bosses. They have become show pieces to be displayed.

I have come to the conclusion that unless the electoral system is radically changed from first-past-the-post to proportional, there is no political future for Muslims.

I request to apply your mind to this real problem. Believe me, if Muslims get their political due, no power can stop their economic progress, educational uplift or upward social mobility.

II - Letter to Abusaleh Shariff, 3 February, 2006

I have gone through the Chapter 7 of the India Social Development Report on Communal Relations and Social Integration, written by you and Azra Razzack.

Broadly I agree with your presentation of the Muslim situation but I find it lacking in some aspects. Firstly, empowerment is vitally linked with representation in the democratic structure from Parliament to the Panchayat.

Secondly, you may recall that in the absence of universalization of welfare and development measures (keyed to individuals), the only key to equitable and fair flow of benefits to marginalized groups (particularly those who are looked upon as historical adversaries and are subject to social bias and prejudice), is through executive direction that in distribution of benefits as far as practicable all identifiable social groups within the area of distribution should receive their due share.

Thirdly, the share of flow of bank credit to Muslims is extremely small. I know there are technical difficulties but they can be surmounted to the extent that the community is able to submit bankable schemes or projects. I am speaking of general, not special, credit which in any case forms a very small proportion of total credit flow. I doubt if even 1% of the total flow of credit is reaching the Muslim community. But can’t this also be decentralized into district level for each individual bank and collectively for all banks?

I shall contact you, if any other thought comes to me.

I have sent you separately a copy of our Memorandum to the Misra Commission.

 

Flaws in Rural Employment Guarantee

I - Letter to M/Rural Development, 31 Jan. 2006

The NREG Scheme under the Act of 2005 has some grey areas which need to be clarified. So I bring them to your notice for necessary action by the Ministry.

1.   Entitlement: The total entitlement of a household is only 100 days. Is it for the whole family or for each adult member who demands employment?

2.   Priority to Women: Priority over men should be limited to women from the same Panchayat, not from other Panchayats.

3.   Contractors: If labour works as a gang or moves for work beyond the Panchayat limit, it always has a leader who acts as intermediary and who shall be paid by the individual labourers but the Panchayat/Programme Officer should deal directly with and pay wage directly to the individual labour.

4.   Payment of Transport Allowance: The additional payment should be related to distance beyond 5 kms radius and calculated at per km. of additional distance. So that a labour is paid for each km of additional distance.

5.                  Local Vigilance and Monitoring Committee: should be set up in each Panchayat and for each ‘work site’ outside the Panchayat beyond the 5 kms. radius.

II - Letter to Chairperson UPA, 31 January, 2006

The advertisements published the Ministry of Rural Development on the NREGA, 2005 do not define a ‘household’.

Assuming that a nodal family has its own household; it is likely to have 2 adults and 3 minors. Sometimes it may have one or two adult children living with the parents. If the quota of 100 days of work per household is divided in a nodal family of 5, it will mean 20 days wages to sustain each member for the whole year. This is a very low provision.

What is worse, the adult children who form part of the household have to manage within the same quota of 10 days. They are entitled to their own quota.

Unless 100 days of wage employment is guaranteed to every adult – irrespective of the size of the household to which he belongs, the MPEPA is not likely make any impact on the life of the unemployed poor in the rural areas.

I request a review by the UPA Advisory Council.

III - Reply of M/Rural Development, 27 Feb., 2006

I am in receipt of your letter dated 31 January, 2006 offering some suggestions for NREG Scheme.

I am having the matter examined.
MINORITY DEVELOPMENT

Suggestions on Development of Muslims

M/Finance’s Reply dated 13 January, 2006

Kindly refer to your letter dated 29.12.2005 enclosing a memorandum on behalf of the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat containing some suggestions for the development of the Muslim community.

Due to preoccupation with Parliament related work and preparations for the Budget, I was unable to meet you to receive the memorandum in person. However, I have read the memorandum and I shall have the suggestions carefully examined as part of preparation for the Budget for year 2006-07.

*Already published in Bulletin (Oct.-Dec., 2005) at Page 11

Inadequate Allocation for Institutions of Muslims

Letter to Finance Minister, 1 March, 2006

The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AlMMM) feels disappointed about the allocations for the welfare and development of minorities undertaken through the National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation (NMDFC), the Maulana Azad Education Foundation and the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language.

It may be recalled that the corpus proposed for the NMDFC, at its inception was Rs. 500 crores. Decades later it is far from reaching the target, you have allocated Rs. 16.47 crores. There is no increase in its corpus. We doubt that the NMDFC can fulfill the promises made by the Prime Minister on 15 August, 2005, even for the uplift of the artisans and weavers in districts of minority concentration. At least the arrears of grant for the IX Five Year Plan should be cleared. We request an enhancement.

You have raised the corpus of Maulana Azad Education Foundation to Rs.200 crores. Since the Foundation can only disburse the income from the corpus, its promotion of educational infrastructure will be limited. It should have an annual income of Rs. 100 crores if it is to make any impact on the educational scene for the deprived and backward minorities. We request an enhancement.

The National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL) has received an increase of Rs. 3 crores in its grant. Since Urdu depends solely on the Central Government for its promotion (not being the Principal Language of any State or UT), it deserves a more generous deal.

You have also announced a Scheme for award of 20,000 merit-cum-means scholarships for minority students for higher education, without indicating the details of the Scheme or allocation thereof.

This is most welcome. But we request that its terms should be on par with other similar scholarships available to SC and ST students. In fact, my own view is that, like Old Age Pension and other universal welfare schemes, there should be a common national scheme for meritorious but economically backward students from SC, ST, OBC and minorities as well as other social groups, with a sub-allocation for each distinct section proportionate to their population or demand.


MINORITIES COMMISSION

Socio-Economic Study in Cold Storage

Letter to CM, Bihar, 21 February, 2006

As you are aware, the Bihar Minorities Commission had, with the assistance of Asian Development Research Institute, Patna, prepared a Report on the Socio-Economic Status of the Muslims of Bihar.

The Report was ready for release towards the end of 2005 but since it was not very complimentary to the long RJD government in Bihar, its publication/release was withheld.

We request you to release it formally so that the people of Bihar and particularly the Community know where the Muslims stand, constituting perhaps the most backward community in the State. This will help your Government to make suitable plans for their development and empowerment and inspire them to do whatever they themselves can to improve their lot.

 

Felicitations to Chairman, NCM

Letter to M. Hamid Ansari, 4 March, 2006

Just a line to felicitate you sincerely on your nomination as the Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities.

We wish you a very momentous term and we expect more effective attention to the collective problems of the various minorities during your term.

To begin with, I would suggest that you invite the major national organizations of the Muslims (AIMMM, AIMC, JUH, JIH), the Muslim MP’s and Muslim ex-MP’s, living in Delhi and some eminent Muslim public figures like Justice A.M. Ahmadi, Mr. Saiyid Hamid for a briefing session. This exercise may be repeated with the Sikh and the Christian community.

I am going to Mumbai today and shall be back on 9 March and we should meet thereafter at your convenience.

 

Maharashtra Minorities Comm. Needs Revival

Letter to NCM,13 March, 2006

I was in Mumbai last week. I was surprised to know that the State Minorities Commission was dissolved more than a year ago and has not been reconstituted. I think it may be helpful if you to write to the Chief Minister, Maharashtra, although there is no organic linkage between the National Commission and the State Commission.

I attach a copy of the Maharashtra Minorities Commission Act. From a first reading of the Act, it appears to me that it has very limited authority. For example, it has no power to summon State Government officials or to seek an inquiry and report from district officials.

I would suggest that the NCM may examine the state legislations/executive orders on state Commissions and place a uniform pattern before the State Governments to be adopted, which would enable these Commissions to play a more effective role in examining allegations of injustice and discrimination.

 

Proper Representation of Sikhs in NCM

Letter to PM Dr. Manmohan Singh, 22 March, 2006

May I draw your attention to the demand by a section of the Sikh community that the newly appointed Sikh member of the National Commission for Minorities should resign because he considers the Sikhs to be a part of the Hindus?

To be a religious minority is not to be anti-national or a separatist. To deny it is to play the game of Hindu Rashtravad, which seeks to assimilate all ‘Indian’ religions within the fold of Hinduism.

If Mr. Josh indeed denies the status of a religious minority for the Sikhs, quite apart from the theological questions involved, there is indeed logic behind the demand.

You may, therefore, like to check with him. It goes without saying that the members of the Minorities Commission should enjoy the confidence and trust of their communities.

 

Revision of Bill on Constitutional Status

Letter to Chairman, NCM, 24 March, 2006

If the Standing Committee has already transmitted its Report to the Government for incorporation in the Bills No.104 and 105 of 2004, the NCM should obtain a copy immediately so that it may examine to what extent its own recommendations have been included/rejected by the Standing Committee and to consider whether to place its views before the Minister of Minority Affairs and suggest further amendments to the Bill.

Before the Bills are brought before the Parliament for discussion and passing, the Government may like to take a fresh view, particularly the Bill, as it stands, has many lacunae, including the following:

1.   No qualification of the selection of the Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and 5 Members are spelt out, nor the break up of the 7 among the various religious minorities.

2.   The power of inquiry and investigation available to the NC’s for SC and ST are not given to the National Commission.

I feel that the Commission may examine the Bills and the Report and place its recommendations before the Government.

 

Suggestions to the Chairman, NCM

I - Letter to Chairman, NCM, 27 March, 2006

      Apart from the proposal I made in my presentation, I would like to place before you and the Commission some additional points:

1.   Education: There are 3 basic impediments in the educational development of the Muslim community - the comparative deprivation of Muslim concentration tolas and mohallas in terms of government schools, if measured by nationally accepted norms. Distance from the habitat is also a factor of deprivation.

      Secondly, the medium of primary instruction which must be the Mother Tongue, and is not, constitutes a handicap. About 50% of the Muslims have Urdu as their Mother Tongue and constitute a linguistic minority also, thus suffering a double jeopardy. This needs to be remedied.

      Urdu-speaking children would also like to learn Urdu at least as one of the languages under the Three Language Formula, if not as the First Language, from class VI to X. This is denied in many ways blatantly as well as indirectly.

      Thirdly, many textbooks, particularly in government aided schools in Languages, Social Sciences and Value (or Moral) Education focus on Hindu traditions. School culture is largely keyed to Hinduism. It should be secular. There should be continuous monitoring by the Government of the school culture and textbooks from the secular angle.

2.   Religious Rights and Safeguards: Safeguards for the religious minorities have to be defined essentially in terms of the provisions in the Constitution. But International law has made much progress in the field of human rights and minority rights since 1950. India had voted in the UNGA in favour of the UN Declaration on Rights of Minority in 1992. Its provisions should be taken into account to clarify the provisions of the Constitution.

      Secondly, the most important safeguard is the recognition of the identity of a religious minority. This is often denied as the religious minorities are often defined as ‘Hindus with a different mode of worship’! Or as transient foreigners.

      In a recent judgement on the Jains, the Supreme Court has further eroded the concept of ‘religious minority’ and the constitutional principle of equality by giving Hinduism a special status and projecting it as the general religion of India and by calling Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists ‘so-called minorities’. This judgement is being challenged. The Commission had earlier supported the Jain demand for minority status. It should also place its views before the Supreme Court and seek the deletion of the ‘obiter dicta’ in the judgement.

      Thirdly, the Commission should take note of rising number of cases of vilification of minority religions and their sacred books as well as the demonization of their founders and of the campaign against their exercising the right to propagation their religion.

3.   Development: The Commission should make a study of the pattern of nominations by the Government of the members of autonomous Boards, public sector Corporations and institutions. There is a continuing grievance that the principal religious minority, the Muslims, hardly figure in such nominations.

      The Commission should emphasize that as far as possible, all Central and Centrally-sponsored welfare and development Schemes should be universal in application, if they are addressed to individuals and in case they cannot be for lack of resources, then every social group in the operational area including religious minorities should benefit equitably in proportion to its population.

      Public and private employment is the key to social and economic development. Deprived religious minorities should be assured of their due share at least at the non-gazetted level where selection and recruitment are largely subjective, either through reservation on the Karnataka model or through equal opportunity legislation (as suggested by Prof. Z. Hasan) or through a policy of positive affirmation.

4.   Representation in Legislatures: The largest minority, the Muslims, faces persistent under­representation in the legislature, including the Parliament. This has reached such proportion that the faith of the Muslims in the democratic system is under strain. This is a national problem and should be taken up by the Commission for suggesting remedial steps.

5.   Liaison with the MP’s: It is suggested that the Commission should have regular meeting with the MP’s, including ex-MP’s (living in Delhi) and the national organizations of each religious minority separately at least once in six months. The frequency of meetings may be flexible since the nature and intensity of problems faced by the religious minorities vary from minority to minority.

These contacts would constitute a vital and valuable resource for the Commission to gauge the feelings and priorities of the minority concerned.

II - Reply of Chairman, NCM, 30 March, 2006

Thank you very much for your letter of March 27, 2007 and for the substantive suggestions made therein. We are taking action on the points mentioned therein.
MASJIDS

No Foreign Donation for Jama Masjid’s Renovation

I - Letter to PM Manmohan Singh, 6 Jan., 06

It has been reported that H.M. the King of Saudi Arabia who is scheduled to visit our country towards the end of January, 2006 has offered financial assistance to repair and renovation of the Jama Masjid, Delhi.

It would be nothing short of national disgrace if the Government of India or the Delhi Wakf Board accepted any foreign donation for the purpose. That the Jama Masjid must be kept in good shape as a national heritage and as a historic Masjid, perhaps the biggest in the country, goes without question. But surely the Central Government can afford the cost, if necessary, with contribution from the Muslim community.

We must politely refuse the offer.

II - PM’s Reply, 19 January, 2006

I have received your letter of January 6, 2006 regarding the offer of King of Saudi Arabia for financial assistance for the repair and renovation of the Jama Masjid, Delhi.

 

Secure the Site of Masjid Telian, Nabha

Letter to CWC, 18 January, 2006

Hakim Mohd. Burhanuddin Rabbani, Faiz Aam Dawakhana, Manjit Singh Lassi Wali Gali, Mohalla, Pandusar, Nabha – 147 201, Punjab, has requested the Chairman, Punjab Wakf Board, to secure the site of Masjid Telian, Balochan Street, Mohalla Pandusar, Nabha which has been demolished by some mischievous elements with the connivance of the local Wakf Estate Officer.

I request you to instruct the PWB to take cognizance of the case and file a FIR under the Law of 1971 read with the Wakf Act, 1995 under intimation to Hakim Saheb.

 

Ban on Speeches in Shrines and Mosques

Letter to CWC, 23 January, 2006

The J&K Wakf Board has decided to strictly enforce the ban on speeches in the shrines and mosques under its control by political leaders. I would like to see the exact text of the order.

However, I feel that while political leaders may be banned, the Imams may devote their Khutbas on matters of common concern like earthquake relief or water or electricity problems, without entering into politics. Hence the line has to be drawn very carefully, if the Khutbas are to be made a vehicle of social or economic reform.

 

Protection of Wakfs by People

Letter to Mirza Siddiq Ali, 2 February, 2006

I thank you for your letter of 29 January, 2006 on the question of protecting the Wakfs. I suggest that you form a Delhi Wakfs Protection Committee consisting of knowledgeable and influential persons a) to draft necessary changes in the Wakf Act, 1995; b) to take up specific cases with the Delhi Wakf Board and the Government each separately.

 

Dismiss Rapist Imam!

Letter to Delhi Wakf Board, 30 Jan., 2006

You must have seen the press report about the acquittal of Maulana Mohd. Khalid, Imam of Madina Masjid in Nizamuddin, from the charge of rape on the basis of ‘consent’. But how can a person of such a character serve as Imam?

I do not know whether the Masjid is registered with the Board and the Imam is paid by it through the Managing Committee. If so, the Board should dismiss him and ask the Managing Committee to appoint another Imam in his place. The Imam says that some persons are trying to grab Masjid land. The Board should take steps to demarcate and secure the Wakf property.

 

Repair of Masjid Fatehpuri

I - Letter to Delhi Wakf Board, 22 Feb., 2006

May I draw your attention to the detailed report in the Urdu Rashtriya Sahara (20 February, 2006) on the repair and maintenance of Masjid Fatehpuri, Delhi.

First, we would request you to clarify whether it is a protected Masjid; if not, how does the ASI enter the picture?

Secondly, we would like to know whether the Delhi Wakf Board as the Mutawalli has nominated a Managing Committee and what are the annual income from the rent of wakf properties attached to the Masjid and from donations and the budget estimate for 2005-06.

Thirdly, we would like to know whether the Senior Secondary School Fatehpuri is a minority educational institution and, if so, who established it and how it is administered and whether it can be moved to alternative premises.

II - Reply of DWB, 23 March, 2006

Please refer to your letter dated 22nd February, 2006 on the repair and maintenance of Masjid Fatehpuri, Delhi based in the report of Rashtriya Sahara dated 20th February, 2006.

We decided not to make an issue with Mufti Mukarram of Masjid Fatehpuri who had apparently spoken to the Reporters at great length without giving the factual position.

It is clarified that the Fatehpuri Masjid is not a protected monument. However, ASI is being consulted only in view of their expertise in the preservation and maintenance of monuments.

Secondly, the Fatehpuri Masjid is under the direct management of Delhi Wakf Board and there is no managing committee as such. As a result of some recent initiatives, the income from the properties attached to the Masjid has increased substantially. The figures for the year 2005-06 will be sent to you shortly. The Board has however, sanctioned an amount of Rs. 5.6 lakhs for urgent repairs in the Mosque and the same is being released after being overseen by a Committee headed by Mufti Mukarram himself, Moulana Mohd. Moazzam Ahmed and 2 officials of the Board being other members.

The Fatehpuri Muslim Sr. Secondary School is an aided Institution and not under the management of the Board.

II - Reply to DWB, 4 April, 2006

Kindly refer to your letter No. DWB/06/523 dated 23 March, 2006 regarding the Fatehpuri Masjid.

It is poor management to hand over the amount sanctioned for repair to the Imam of the Masjid. How many Masjids in Delhi are under direct management of the Board?  Does the Board have a qualified engineer on its pay roll to execute such repairs. His work should be supervised by a Masjid Repair Committee of the Board. I do not follow the relationship between the school, the Masjid and the Board.

Is the Fatehpuri School a permanent tenant of the Masjid/Board? Is the Masjid/Board getting any rent from the School? If so, how much? When was it last fixed?

I shall be grateful for your kind response.

 

Renovation of Ancient Masjid in Patna

Letter to Vice-President, MMM, Bihar, 2 Feb., 2006

I attach a clipping for Inquilab Jadeed, Patna regarding the sad and deplorable state of Masjid Munshi Kazim Ali in Langar Gali of Haji Ganj in Patna City. I request you to visit the Masjid and report what you see to the Minister of Wakfs as well as the Chairman of the Bihar Sunni Wakf Board and Chairman, Bihar Minorities Commission and request them to have the illegal occupation vacated and the Masjid restored as it was on 15.8.1947, in accordance with the law of 1991.

 

Take-over of Masjids by Lucknow Development Authority

Letter to MMM, UP (East), 23 March, 2006

I have read about the ‘take over’ (Qurqi) of 3 Masjids by the LDA in Lucknow in Khadra, LDA Colony, Sadatganj and Thakurganj. They have been locked and, therefore, closed to Namaz. It is possible that they may be eventually demolished as part of urban development programme.

I would request you to let me have the facts of the case and write a letter of protest to the Chairman/Administrator, LDA, with copy to the Chief Minister and also consult some lawyer friends on taking legal action for the release of these Masjids.

 

Demolition Near Nizamuddin Railway Station

Letter to LG, Delhi, 27 March, 2006

It has been alleged that the DDA demolished 2 Masjids and 3 Dargahs in the vicinity of Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station on 22 March, 2006. All Masjids and Dargahs are prima facie Wakfs.

The DDA should, therefore, have taken the Delhi Wakf Board into confidence about their legal status before demolishing them. The DDA should be instructed to issue a public clarification immediately to explain why these places of prima facie religious significance were demolished. The DDA should also offer to have a joint inspection of the site with the DWB and if there has been a mistake, to rebuild the demolished structures on their original site.

 

Restoration of Lal Gumbad Masjid

Letter to DWB, 21 March, 2006

I am glad to note that Lal Gumbad also known as ‘Purani Masjid’ in Panchsheel Enclave has been cleared by the ASI of all illegal occupation, with the assistance of the Wakf Board. However, since this was a live mosque, the Wakf Board should ensure that Namaz would continue to be performed. For this, the Wakf Board has to have a regular agreement with the ASI on the conservation of the Masjid on one hand and its use for Namaz.
MADRASA EDUCATION

Plan to Revive of Madrasas in Bihar

Letter to CM, Bihar, 5 January, 2006

On your recent visit to Bihar Sharif you are reported to have informed the press that your government was working on a plan to revive the Madrasas. Many Madrasas are no doubt in a bad shape. Some Madrasas exist only on papers. Some are the private property of its founders/managers.

The Bihar Madrasas Board has acquired the reputation of being a den of corruption. In any case, to the best of my knowledge the Sarkari Madrasa System has not produced a single ALIM (Mufassir, Muhaddis, Faqih) of national eminence, since its inception.

Indeed the major Sarkari Madrasa of Bihar, Madrasa Shamsul Hoda, opposite Patna Science College, Patna, which was to become the core of the Arabic and Persian University announced by the Government of Bihar, perhaps 15 years ago, has deteriorated to the point of extinction. Only the Azad Madrasas (not affiliated to the Board) are producing scholars who are in demand even outside Bihar.

There is a concentration of Madrasas in some districts of the N.E. Bihar. They were affiliated to the Board and financially assisted for political reasons. Muslim parents no doubt want their children to acquire basic knowledge of Islam at neighbourhood Maktabs (while going to primary schools, as in Kerala) and then join the mainstream to get normal education.

I think that the Government should encourage the conversion of Madrasas into primary schools or at least into institutions as in UP whose products can take the entrance test for class VI and join the mainstream or equivalent of middle schools for admission to high schools. Only a limited number of higher Madrasas which teach upto the equivalent of secondary or intermediate or degree should be financially assisted by the Government, if they so desire, subject to social and academic audit.

I suggest that your Government may like to appoint a Bihar Madrasas Education Review and Reorganization Committee.

I would like to discuss this matter with you, if and when you have the time.

 

On Religion-Based Deprivation

Letter to Arkitctindia, 17 March, 2006

Apropos intervention by Sinha and Bhandari in the discussion on relationship between caste and education, apart from caste-based deprivation there is also religion-based deprivation which is to some extent mitigated at literary level by the Maktabs and Madrasas located in local Masjids with the Imam doubling as teacher. However, all other factors that apply to SC/ST also apply to a religious minority at the grassroots level, particularly if its mother tongue is different from the Principal Language of State. That explains its low enrollment rate and high drop out rate and poor performance at secondary level which shuts the door on further progress. Both caste and religious deprivation can be tackled by strict application of national norms for opening government schools under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, coupled with a social campaign for enrollment and material incentives like mid-day meal and secularization of textbooks of school culture.

 

Anti-Muslim Statement by DGP, SSB

Letter to HM Shivraj Patil, 27 March, 2006

On the eve of its Foundation Day, Shri Tilak Kak, DG of the SSB has briefed the press about the SSB keeping a watch on the 1172 Masjids and Madrasas on the Indo-Nepal Border. He said that ISI penetration from across the border has increased and some of these institutions provide sanctuary to criminals and undesirable elements. He added that 50-60 institutions are sensitive from the security angle.

We do not object to the security forces performing their duty in accordance with their instructions for collecting intelligence information. What we object to is that Masjids and Madrasas as institutions are publishing vilified in the process, thus poisoning the social environment.

Surely, if 50-60 institutions are under intensive watch, it should be possible for the SSB to apprehend the undesirable elements and to detain their collaborators among the managers and functionaries of these institutions.

Why should they disclose their findings even before they have apprehended and the authorities have prosecuted even one suspect among the Imams or teachers or managers?

We feel that the paramilitary forces need to be instructed not to make politically sensitive statements.

 

No More Research on Madrasas

Letter General Secretary, ATUH, 27 March, 2006

Your office has faxed to us a Research Proposal on the ‘Role of Madrasa Education in Mainstreaming Muslims in the Educational System’.

Perhaps it has been sent with the intention of eliciting my reaction. I think the proposal is a duplication of what has already been done, and is being done, by many public and private agencies.

Madrasas do not play much role in education of the Muslim community, as not more than 3-4% of Muslim students are enrolled in Madrasas on a full-time basis. Secondly, Madrasas are responding to employment opportunities in the market by changing heir curricula and syllabi and even modernizing their methods of teaching. Thirdly, Madrasas are themselves reorganizing their courses to provide terminal points so that their students may enter Higher Secondary Schools and Degree Colleges and take Master courses in various universities.

My advice is that this research programme be given up.


KASHMIR QUESTION

On Jammu and Kashmir Question

Resolution of MMM, 11 February, 2006

The Markazi Majlis-e-Mushawarat

Welcomes the initiative by the Prime Minister of holding dialogue with all political elements and social groups in the State of J&K.

Noted that while both India and Pakistan are taking confidence-building measures, they do not appear to have made much headway for the settlement of the Kashmir dispute.

Suggests that the Government should place all suggestions made by our think tanks or by Pakistan and by Kashmiri leaders before the people for a free debate which alone can build a national consensus on possible and viable approach towards a final settlement. The MMM also proposes systematic consultation by the Government with major political parties as well as eminent opinion-makers.

 

PM’s Relief Fund in J&K

Letter to Davinder P.S. Sandhu, 8 Jan., 2006

Thank you for your letter No. 82(17871)/2005-PMF dated 27 December, 2005 regarding the relief operation in J&K out of PM’s National Relief Fund. I have gone through the website. It does not give the total amount released to the eligible families in J&K. Apart from this, the website should also give the total number of beneficiaries, to the extent possible.

I presume that if the deceased had more than one successors who were relatedly equally to him, e.g. 4 children losing their father, the ex-gratia amount would be distributed equally among them and that if a father lost 4 children, he would receive ex-gratia for all 4.

I presume that earmarked donations also go into a common pool and separate accounting to correlate the donation with intended target is not undertaken.

These presumptions may kindly be confirmed or corrected.

 

Muslim Indian’s Stake in J&K

Letter PM Manmohan Singh, 15 February, 2006

The Muslim Indians have a vital stake in J&K controversy to remain a part of India. With this as the base-line, some of us had organized a National Convention of Indian Muslims on Jammu and Kashmir in New Delhi on 21 September, 2003. This Convention had come out with a Statement of Consensus which was appreciated by the mass media and in the political circle.

I enclose a copy for your kind personal.

We hope that while negotiating with various sections of the people of the State, you shall keep the views of the Muslim Indian community in mind.

 

Condominium in J&K

Letter to Ram Jethmalani, 22 February, 2006

Just a brief comment on your latest article proposing a solution for the Kashmir puzzle. What you propose is essentially a condominium. But why over the whole of the State, why not only over the Valley? Pakistan will gain sovereignty over areas on which it claims no sovereignty. India will reciprocally lose, not only over these areas but compromise its sovereignty over the Valley. What is the quid pro quo? How do we sell it to the people, to the opposition? Such a drastic change in the legal and constitutional position can be sold only as part of Treaty of Peace and Friendship which will offer multiple benefits to the people of India, as to the people of Pakistan.

I cannot think of another political approach to tackle the storm that will arise. Can you?

 

Endorses PM’s Vision of Peace with Pakistan

Statement,  27 March, 2006

“The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) appreciates and fully endorses PM Dr. Manmohan Singh’s vision of Treaty of Peace, Security and Friendship between India and Pakistan. Pakistan’s acceptance of this proposal in principle can serve as a viable frame of reference for expeditious settlement of the Kashmir dispute as well as other bilateral problems between the two countries. 

The Treaty, itself, when it becomes a reality, shall give a new dimension to the status of South Asia in the community of nations and a powerful impetus to economic development of the entire region and to their bilateral economic relations and a new dynamism to the promotion of social and cultural contacts between heir peoples.

The Prime Minister has also proposed a viable Road Map for the settlement of Kashmir Dispute through eventual acceptance of the LOC as the border between the two parts of the state and establishing consultative mechanism for promoting intensive interaction between the two parts, thus accelerating their social and economic development. The border will eventually become irrelevant, and without redrawing it or transferring territory it will unite the people and not divide them.

The AIMMM is of the view that progress towards the sub-continental goal should not be hostage to terrorism receiving support in Pakistan or to the mistrust and suspicion persisting in the Indian security establishment.

The AIMMM appeals to the intelligentsia and the political parties in the country as well as to the militants and non-militant groups in the state to support the Prime Minister’s Road Map for Kashmir and Vision for the Sub-continent.”

 

Grievances of Muslims in Jammu

Letter to Bajraj Puri, 3 February, 2006

I have just read your article on the grievances of the Muslims of Jammu. As usual, this article opens a new window to let in more light to illumine my mind, you have mentioned your 8-point formula to determine allocation of development funds to different areas, say, a district. This will ensure that backward districts get more per capita than relatively forward districts.

Yet, the question of just and fair distribution of benefits among various social groups remains unresolved. Some groups because they are politically or administratively well placed or well connected will take the lion’s share, while those marginalized shall not receive their due. Theoretically this implies that either the scheme should be universal in scope, irrespective of social category, or distribution should roughly be proportionate to population of various groups and, what is more important, to the families and individuals in each group which really deserve it according to common and uniform criteria.

I shall, therefore, be grateful to you for throwing more light on your suggestion.
HUMAN RIGHTS

No Valid Reason for Boycott Call

I - Letter to Ravi Nair, 2 January, 2006

Ref. HRF 133 regarding Saudi Arabia King Abdullah will not be the first, nor the last, non-democratic head of State/Government to be chief Guest at our Republic Day. India cannot reshape the world and has to deal with it, as it is, to further its interests.

Secondly, the punishment meted out to the Indian convict in Saudi Arabia is not exceptional, it is in accordance with the criminal code of the State and, therefore, the rule of law. Surely no other country can dictate to Saudi Arabia what its criminal or domestic law should be.

Of course, a human rights movement shall judge the domestic laws of all countries in its area of jurisdiction in the light of internationally accepted human rights standards. But then it cannot stretch its criticism to advise other countries to boycott it diplomatically. Perhaps, no State is fully implementing its obligations under international law. Then where do we end? An atomized international community, in which might is right.

II - Letter to Ravi Nair, 24 January, 2006

Your email of 20 January, 2006. There is a clear difference between the freedom enjoyed by private individuals and what you call civil society in criticizing states for violation of human rights and the states basing their relations with each other on the basis of their human rights record.

Many people even in the USA criticize USA and President Bush on human rights, in fact accuse them of crime against humanity and war crimes. Now President Bush is coming here on State visit. Should you not criticize the Indian Government for inviting him? The point I make is simply that inter-state relations have to be judged differently, not only on human rights records but on a balance of consideration.

Public  Humiliation of Muslim Women in Bihar

I - Letter to Chairperson, NCW, 18 February, 2006

May I draw your attention to the alleged disrobing and parading of a Muslim women, member of the Panchayat Shahiban Khatoon, by some members of the high castes in Saraiyya Chenapatti village in East Champaran, Bihar.

I attach a photocopy of the press clipping.

We request the Commission to inquire into the allegation.

II - Chairperson, NCW’s Reply, 23 February, 2006

I am in receipt of your letter dated 18th February 2006 informing about the alleged disrobing and parading of a Muslim women Mrs. Shahiban Khatoon, by some members of higher castes (One Bali Rai and others – against whom FIR has been lodged in Paharpur Police Station, Patna) in Saraiyya Chenapatti village in East Champaran, Bihar and attaching therewith a press clipping dated 15.2.2006 of the Express News Service in regard to this incident.

I am directing the NCW to look into the matter at once.
HINDU CHAUVINISM

Concept of Hindu Renaissance Should be Positive

Letter to Devakumar, 8 January, 2006

I thank you for sending me a copy of your response to Dr. S. Swamy’s article on Conversion and felicitate you for exposing his scheme to what it really is a blueprint to assimilate all other religions now professed in India within the fold of a particular variant of Hinduism. All Indians must respect all religions, professed and practiced in India. Change of religion is a voluntary exercise of freedom of conscience, free of fraud, coercion and undue influence.

Dr. Swamy is a champion of Hindu renaissance. But Hindu renaissance can be brought about by reforming Hinduism and not by acts of hostility directed against other religious groups.

One-sixth or one-seventh part of humanity lives in India. Let us work together to give them all a life of dignity.

 

Hindu Platform Should not be Anti-Muslim

I - Letter to Subramanian Swamy, 13 March, 2006

You have spoken recently of the need to create a Hindu platform to serve the cause of Hindu unity.

Have you or your party drafted such a platform?

I hope that your concept of the Hindu platform is not a negative anti-Muslim platform but a positive platform for the progress and development of the Hindu society, for its renaissance in social and intellectual terms.

II - Letter to Subramanian Swamy, 25 March, 2006

Thank you for your letter of 21 March, 2006.

I await your Tamil Nadu Manifesto. However, this letter as well as your recent article in the Organiser give enough indication of your thinking.

I still feel that you (like other Hindutva ideologues) are obsessively concerned about the Muslim and Christian minorities who form only 15 per cent of the total population! So instead of defining the Hindu and Hindu aspirations in negative terms (a Hindu is one who is not a Muslim nor a Christian), the Hindu agenda should define a Hindu in positive terms e.g. as a person who believes in the Vedas, the doctrine of incarnation etc. and Hindu aspirations, in terms of the welfare and progress of the Hindu community and the country.

That an overwhelming majority of the non-Hindus are descended from the Hindus is a fact. But many Hindu converts to Islam or Christianity did not change their culture – except to the extent that they had to abandon practices which were not in keeping with their new religion, that too without 100 per cent success.

Indians are indeed all one family but we find that minorities, particularly, Muslims, are not treated as members of the joint family that India is or receive equal share, because the ‘Karta’ the Hindu elite, swallows everyone’s share including that of a majority of the Hindus. Why should the Muslims be deprived of education, development, employment, public positions? Hindu Agenda, I appreciate, cannot be a Charter of Social Justice. But there can be no National Unity – across the board, without just treatment of the minorities, both within the Hindu society and outside.


HAJ

Grief at the Fatal Stampede in Mina

Statement, 18 January, 2006

“The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) expresses its deep grief at the death of nearly 400 Haj pilgrims in Mina in a stampede while performing the rite of stoning the Jamarat.

The AIMMM offers its condolences to the families of those who lost their lives while performing the rites of ‘Rami’ and prays to Allah SWT to admit them to the Paradise.

The AIMMM appreciates the enormous investment by the Royal Government of Saudi Arabia in facilitating the performance of Haj at every stage.  However, this rite appears to be the weakest link in the Haj chain.

The AIMMM proposes for the consideration of the Royal Government of Saudi Arabia, the appointment of a Committee of Technical Experts of international eminence to re-design the structure around the Jamarat and its re-reconstruction in accordance with its advice.

The AIMMM also proposes that the Committee lay down appropriate guidelines for regulating and controlling the human flow in this part of the Mina during the post-Haj period.

The AIMMM also suggests publication and mass distribution of literature as well as video films in various languages to advise the Haj pilgrims on following the traffic regulations for performing this rite.”

 

Compensation for Mina Stampede

Letter to MOS for External Affairs, 13 Feb., 2006

We would like to know whether we have requested the Government of Saudi Arabia to pay a suitable compensation to the Haj pilgrims from India who lost their life in the Meena Disaster this year, which was entirely due to mismanagement of traffic and the inability of the Saudi Arabian authorities to keep the approaches to the Jamarat at both levels clear of all unauthorized human and commercial occupation.

Haj Charter Fare

Letter to Irfan Engineer, 18 January, 2006

As promised I send you copies of my last letters to the Prime Minister and MOS for External Affairs in respect of Haj, 2006. Needless to say my suggestions were totally ignored and this year, to the best of my knowledge, the Haj Charter fare has risen to nearly 120% of the current IATA fare and the quantum of subsidy may rise to about 20,000 x 102,000 = 204 crores.

You should, as I told you, find out the Delhi-Jeddah-Delhi current IATA fare (in US $) and the Haj Charter Fare to which the Haj Committee has agreed.

As for the Lahore High Court Judgement, I am looking for it and shall send it to you.

I await a copy of the write petition filed in the Bombay High Court and the reply filed by the Government of India/Haj Committee, if any.

 

Creation of Trust for Haj House

Letter to MOS for E/Affairs, 14 March, 2006

It is indeed distressing that the Trust Deed for the Haj House, Mumbai, drafted in 1997 has not yet been finalized.

Consequently, the Haj House is not treated by the tax authorities as a charitable trust and as a result, the Haj Committee, as the putative owner of the property, has to fork out lakhs of rupees in this regard.

The fact remains that the Haj House, Mumbai, was built with donations by Haj pilgrims from all over India over a number of years and thus it belongs to the entire Muslim community of the country. The Haj Committee is using a small part of it but the income from the property should be maximized and utilized for the welfare and development of the entire Muslim community.

The full and legitimate use of this valuable property cannot be made unless there is a proper Trust.

Considering the changed circumstances, when the number of pilgrims transitting through Mumbai has substantially fallen to about 20,000, mostly belonging to Mumbai proper who do not need any accommodation, the use of Haj House even for accommodating Haj pilgrims during the Haj season is now very nominal. Therefore, the object and purpose of the Trust as well as the composition of the Board of Trustees need to revised, treating the Haj House as an institution of national importance and a common property of the Muslim community. In my view, it should be utilized, primarily as an institution for higher education and as a centre for research on Indian Muslim community. Indeed the Haj House could will become the seat of a specialized university in due course.

With this in view, my tentative suggestion is that the composition of the Board of Trustees should consist of the following:

1.        Minister in-charge of Minority Affairs in the Government of India, ex-officio

2.        Minister in-charge of Haj in the Government of India, ex-officio

3.        Minister in-charge of Human Resource Development in the Government of India, ex-officio

4.        Chairman, Haj Committee of India, ex-officio

5-6.     2 Muslim MP’s, one from Lok Sabha and one from Rajya Sabha, who are currently members of the Haj Committee

7-8.     2 Muslim Vice-Chancellors or ex-Vice-Chancellors.

9.        President of the Anjuman-I-Islam, Mumbai, ex-officio

10-11. 2 retired Muslim members of the All India and Central Services

12-13. 2 Retired Judges of the Supreme Court or High Court

14.      Former Ambassador of India to Saudi Arabia

15-16.             2 Heads of Muslim organizations of national eminence

17.      Chief Executive Officer of the Haj Committee, ex-officio Secretary

The term of membership for those who are not ex-officio Trustees should be five years. The ex-officio Trustees shall serve as such only so long as they hold their office and shall be replaced by their successors in office. Former Vice-Chancellors, Members of the Services, Judges and Ambassador shall be nominated by the Government of India, Heads of Muslim Organizations can be co-opted by the Board of Trustees.

We request you that you appoint a small Committee to revise the draft Trust Deed in consonance with the changed circumstances expeditiously so that this magnificent building can be fully utilized in the interest of the community.
GUJARAT MASSACRE, 2002

Protest on Award to Sudhir Parekh

I - Letter to PM Dr. Manmohan Singh, 6 Jan., 2006

I request your immediate intervention to stop the award of Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award by the President to Shri Sudhir Parekh who is VHP’s pointperson in the USA and a publicist of Chief Minister Modi during the massacre.

This award is to be presented on 9 January, 2006 at Hyderabad.

This award is a slap in the face of all secular PIO’s in USA who have exposed the VHP and its collection campaign as well as campaigned against the visit of Chief Minister Modi.

II - PM’s Reply, 17 January, 2006

I have received your letter of January 6, 2006 regarding aware of Pravasi Bharatiya Samman to Shri Sudhir Parekh.

Special Relief Package for Gujarat Victims

Letter to Chairman, NCM, 12 January, 2006

We welcome your proposal to the Government of Gujarat that the victims of the Gujarat Massacre, 2002 should be sanctioned a Special Relief Package on par with the victims of the Delhi Massacre of 1984.

We request you to let us know the particulars of the Relief sanctioned for the victims of the Delhi Massacre, 1984.

We also request you to make a formal proposal to the State Government and the Central Government for a Gujarat Package.

We would be grateful for a copy of your letter so that we may also request the Governments concerned in this regard.

 

Harassment of Next-of-Kin of Victims

Letter Dr. Shakil Ahmad, 12 January, 2006

You must be aware of the mass graves discovered in Pandarwada in the Panch Mahals which, apparently relate to those Muslims from Kideya who were massacred in Limbadle and Bashesara by hostile mobs.

In order to cover up, the Gujarat authorities have arrested the victims who are looking for the bodies of their kins.

We suggest that a small team of the IRC, Gujarat, should visit the area and report on the harassment of the next-of-kin in question of justice and their helplessness.

 

Restoration of Grave of Wali Dakhani

I - Letter to Shabnam Hashmi, 4 March, 2006

I felicitate and thank Anhad for taking up the restoration of the Mazar of Wali Dakhani in Ahmedabad.

A good beginning has been made. You have to persuade the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation to dig up the area and locate the outline of the Mazar which can then be rebuilt by the admirers of Wali.

This is a difficult task. Please keep us informed of the progress. We are prepared to help you in whatever we can.

II - Letter to GS, ATUH, 28 March, 2006

As you are aware, the grave of Wali Dakhani (Gujarati) in Ahmadabad was levelled during the Gujarat Disturbances, 2002, and the road was widened to cover it. So it is not surprising that vehicles are running over his body!

It is a matter of shame for the Urdu-speaking community in the country that it did not lift a finger. Now Akhila Krishna, a student of National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, who hails from Pune, has produced a 21-minute documentary film on him under the title ‘Words in Stone’.

I suggest that the ATU should address a demand for the reconstruction of Vali’s grave to the Mayur of Ahmedabad, the CM of Gujarat, the President of the Sahitya Akademi and the Chairman, National Commission on Human Rights.

III - Reply from ATUH, 4 April, 2006

Mohammad Wali was one of the most renowned Urdu Poets of India. The Urdu world has always been proud of him. Apart from being a great Urdu poet, he was also a great Sufi of his time. He was respected and loved by the people irrespective of religion, caste and creed.

His grave was in a “Khanqah”, located in Ahmadabad. During the Gujarat riots of 2002 some miscreants demolished the ‘Khanqah’ alongwith the grave. It was the responsibility of Gujarat Government to reconstruct the grave and the Khanqah of this great son of India, who was a symbol of unity for all the religions of communities of India. The entire secular opinion of the country had expected that the Gujarat Government would take initiative in reconstructing this historical monument. Unfortunately this has not happened. The Anjuman, therefore, seeks your support and cooperation in restoring this valuable heritage of India.

Looking forward to your early reply.

 

Need for Volunteer Lawyers in Gujarat

I - Letter to Harsh Mander, 20 March, 2006

Your email of 11 March, 2006 regarding volunteer lawyer for Gujarat cases. I have my doubt if lawyers who do not know Gujarati shall be useful because they alone can go through the piles of documents and speak to witnesses.

I shall ask Mr. Shakil Ahmad in Ahmedabad who was supervising legal work on behalf of the Islamic Relief Committee to cooperate with you. But please let me know whom he should talk to in Ahmedabad.

II - Letter to Islamic Relief Committee, 22 Mar., 06

Perhaps you may be aware that Mr. Harsh Mander of Action Aid (India) has shifted base to Ahmedabad. He is trying to place the work for legal justice and reconciliation on a firm foundation with Ms. Prita Jha, as the lead lawyer. He needs more Gujarati and non-Gujarati lawyers who can assist him as volunteers for the legal work.

He knows you well. Perhaps you may speak to him and/or Ms. Prita Jha to explore how best your team and organization can help him find volunteers and Muslim lawyers. You may also check with the team which was set up in Ahmedabad by Maulana F.R. Mujaddidi from Jamia-tul Hedaya, Jaipur as well as with the JIH’s Central Office about possibility of getting non-Gujarati lawyers from other States.

 

Communal Violence in Thakurpurva, Faizabad

Letter to Khaliq Ahmad Khan, 24 February, 2006

I spoke to you about Communal Violence in Thakurpurva, Tehsil Milkipur in Faizabad on 26 January, 2006. You assured me that the situation was under control. I would like to know:

a)   Whether the administration has made any ex-gratia payment to the owners for their homes which were torched and partially destroyed.

b)   Whether the administration has made any ex-gratia payment for the mental anguish and physical torture of the affected families and whether they have returned to the village and are living in peace.

c)   Progress in the investigation of the cow-slaughter case.

d)   Progress in the investigation of communal violence case.

I request you to meet the DM/SP and obtain the necessary information.


GOVERNMENT - MINISTRY OF MINORITY AFFAIRS

Scope of  the Ministry

Letter to M/Minority Affairs, 21 March, 2006

We regret to note that your Ministry has been cut off from the field of education, while the major problems are faced by the Muslim community in that field, from primary to professional level.

However, there can be no parallel system of education for minorities or for Muslims. So even in respect of all general schemes and institutions for the promotion of education, the Ministry of Minority affairs has to play an effective role to monitor that the minorities are getting their due share as well as an advisory role.

But the Government does have specific educational schemes and institutions for minorities e.g.

1.   Modernization of Madrasas

2.   National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language

3.   National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions

4.   National Committee to Monitor Minority Education

Frankly, we do not see why these schemes/institutions cannot be detached from the Ministry of Human Resource Development and transferred to your Ministry under Allocation of Business Rules.

Also Article 30 of the Constitution relates to the minorities and as such to facilitate its operationalization should be a responsibility of the Ministry of Minority Affairs.

Proposed Scope of  Ministry

Letter to Cabinet Secretary, 7 February, 2006

You must be grappling with the Government Business to be allocated to the newly created Ministry of Minority Affairs which the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) had been advocating for many years.

Our basic objective was to have a single window for the minorities to seek government assistance or intervention in problems faced by them.

So please permit me to propose a clear line of demarcation. We suggest that all Government Programmes and Institutions dealing exclusively with the Minorities be allocated to the Ministry of Minority Affairs. In addition, this Ministry should have the responsibility to monitor the status of the minorities in all general Programmes and Institutions, particularly those dealing with education, welfare and development and addressed to individuals at various levels.

We list the first category of exclusive Programmes and Institutions to the best of our knowledge.

1.   PM’s 15-Point Programme for the Development of the Minorities, presently with the PMO.

2.   a)   National Integration Council, presently with the Ministry of Home Affairs

      b)   Communal Harmony Award

3.   a)   Office of the Linguistic Commissioner, presently with the Ministry of Social Welfare and Empowerment

      b)   National Commission for Minorities

      c)   Central Wakf Council

      d)   Maulana Azad Educational Foundation

      e)   National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation

      f)    Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Foundation

4.   Haj Committee – presently with the Ministry of External Affairs

5.   a)   Maulana Azad National Urdu University, presently with the Ministry of HRD

      b)   National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language

      c)   Madrasa Modernization Programme

I believe this letter shall be of some assistance to you in defining the scope of the new Ministry.

We hope that this notable initiative shall make a substantial difference to the rising sense of deprivation among the minorities and that the new Ministry shall not be a hollow shell but charged with substantial responsibilities.

 

On Ministry of Minority Affairs

Resolution of MMM, 11 February, 2006

The Markazi Majlis-e-Mushawarat

Welcomes the creation of the Ministry of Minority Affairs as the realization of an idea which it has espoused consistently for many years and hopes that all government institutions and schemes which relate exclusively to the minorities shall be transferred to the Ministry and that it shall also be given to monitor the benefits that access to the minorities under other general schemes and common institutions.

Welcomes the appointment of a senior leader of the stature and experience of Shri A.R. Antulay as the first Minister for Minority Affairs and suggests that he should establish a National Advisory Council on Minority Affairs, which should include, inter alia, the heads of Muslim organizations and institutions and personalities of national eminence.

Thanks the Prime Minister for this innovative step and reiterates its suggestion to take the initiative for the formation of a Joint Parliamentary Committee on Minority Affairs. The MMM also takes the opportunity to request the Minister of Finance to august the grant-in-aid to various minorities institutions and the Planning Commission, while formulating the XI Plan, to pay due and proper attention to the welfare and development of the minorities.

Creation of Ministry of Minority Affairs

Letter to All India Milli Council, 11 February, 2006

I thank you for your letter of 3 February, 2006 and its enclosures on the creation of the Ministry of Minority Affairs. The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat has also welcomed the new Ministry because it is, in a sense, a culmination of our constant and repeated plea in the Charter of Muslim Aspirations submitted to all secular parties at the time of General Election since 1998.

However, we have to wait and see that the Ministry does not become a hollow shell. What is, therefore, important is the Government Business allocated to the new Ministry? I have written to the Cabinet Secretary in this regard.

 

Establishment of Ministry of Minority Affairs

Letter to Minister of Minority Affairs, 30 Jan., 06

I offer you my sincere felicitations, on my own behalf and on behalf of the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM), on your appointment as the first Minister for Minority Affairs in the Government of India. The AIMMM has been pleading for the creation of the Ministry with successive governments.

We look forward to closer association with you in our common quest of ensuring a life of equality, dignity and security for the Muslim community and for all other minorities in their motherland and of full participation in the political process and economic development of the country and of due share in the fruits of development and all welfare programmes.

II Min. of Minority Affairs’ Reply, 6 March, 2006

Thank you very much for your congratulations and good wishes on my induction in the Union Cabinet.

I hope with the grace of Almighty and good wishes of supporters like you, I am sure, I shall be able to discharge my duties, by His mercies to your and people’s expectations.

Role and Responsibility of Ministry

Letter to Minister of Minority Affairs, 15 Feb., 2006

On behalf of my colleagues who called on you and on behalf of the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, I thank you for your kindness and courtesy which gave us an opportunity to apprise you of the aims and objects of the Mushawarat, its present concerns and its working.

As I mentioned to you, we would like to organize a Reception in your honour at your convenience but you expressed a preference for a Discussion on Minority Questions.

Whatever the format, we would request you to fix a date at your earliest convenience when you may inform us of the Role and Responsibility of the Ministry of Minority Affairs and guide us on how best the Mushawarat can help you achieve its objectives.

Once again we wish you every success in your new and unique assignment.

Omission of Minorities in 20-Point Programme

Letter to M/Minority Affairs, 31 March, 2006

May I draw your attention to the revised Twenty Point Programme as published in the Hindustan Times of 27 March, 2006?

I am surprised to note that the revised Twenty Point Programme includes Empowerment of SC and ST, but leaves out the Minorities, though the Minorities rank far below the SC/ST in terms of empowerment.

The Committee of Secretaries (CoS) has prepared a draft note for the Cabinet to be processed by the GoM concerned.

We request you to urge the CoS/GoM/Cabinet to include the Empowerment of Minorities.


GOVERNMENT - ARMED FORCES

BJP’s Furore over Muslims in Armed Forces

Statement, 15 February, 2006

“The AIMMM is shocked, but not surprised, that the BJP and its allies in the NDA have raised a furore even at the collection of data about the level of representation of the Muslim community in the Armed Forces. 

With their inherent bias against the Muslim community, they have taken the plea that enumeration by religion is per se divisive. The AIMMM would like to point out that the decennial Census classifies and enumerates the national population by religion. If the BJP objection would be taken to its logical conclusion, then the census enumeration should first be stopped.  And so also the Central Statistical Organisation has published Socio-economic data by religion!  The High Power Committee appointed by the P.M. to explore the social, economic and educational backwardness of the Muslim community has obviously taken note of the longstanding grievances of persistent under-representation of the Muslim Indians in the Armed Forces. 

The AIMMM would like to know why the BJP and its allies wish to conceal the lopsided composition of the Armed Forces from public scrutiny and whether they consider soldiering  to be the monopoly of any particular regions or groups and wish to maintain the archaic system of allocation of ‘quotas’ to various States, to the effective exclusion of a majority of the national population.

The AIMMM feels that it is the right and duty of the Muslim Indian to bear arms for their country and if they have been deliberately kept from making their due contribution to national defence, apart from its social and economic consequences, it is a standing slur on the patriotism or the genes of the community. 

The AIMMM hopes that if the data collected by the Sachar Committee does reveal gross under-representation of the Muslim community in the Armed Forces, particularly, at the level of Jawans, it shall make suitable recommendations for raising level of its participation, as of all deprived groups and regions in the defence services. 

The AIMMM is confident that the induction of more Muslims in the Armed Forces will not, in any way, lower their professional standards and efficiency. 

The AIMMM is equally convinced that the secular and pan-Indian character of the Armed Forces shall be reinforced by due and appropriate representation of all religious groups and all regions of the country as in the CRPF at its initial formation and that proper training and leadership shall ensure that all units live and perform their duty in a secular environment.”

Equitable Representation of All in National Interest

Letter to Editor, The Indian Express, 23 Feb., 2006

I am writing a brief personal letter to you because my letters to the Editor do not find a place. The issue is not the performance of the army in internal disturbances, but its composition. With proper training and good leadership, the army will do its duty whatever its composition. Its narrow base detracts from its status as a national institution and also from the right of all citizens to bear arms for their country. This shows a colonial mindset, dividing people into ‘martial’ and ‘non-martial’ races, now into reliable and unreliable categories, it shows deliberate distortion in the modalities of selection. If the army composition were made public, you will find many other groups and regions under-represented or unrepresented. Selection system should give equal opportunity to all able bodied youngmen who are prepared to serve their country. It shows bias and prejudice in selection;

I have nothing to say about system for selection of officers. Muslims are educationally backward. But in the case of jawans, combatants and non-combatants alike, 3% shows as if they are also genetically deficient. In my view all vacancies should be divided among various States/regions on the basis of population. All units should be mixed units. If there is an all Sikh regiment, why not a Muslim or a Christian regiment? If there are Jat and Rajput and Dogra regiments, why not Ahir and Rohilla regiments? If there is a Punjab regiment, why not a Bengal or Tamil or Oriya or Gujarat regiment, as Advani once promised? May I remind you that when Rustomji was asked to organize the CRPF, every unit was a mini-India? Why can’t the Army be a mini-India?

And abolish religious war cries. The only war cry should be patriotic like Jai Hind or Bharat Mata ki Jai or Madare-Hind ki Jai.

With proper training and good leadership the army shall remain as secular, as professional as it is today.

Let us not confuse performance with composition.

 

Training & Leadership Determine Performance

Letter to Nilofar Suhrawardy, 28 February, 2006

I have seen your piece on Muslims in the Army. I really do not understand what you wish to say. I agree no secular government can do something only for the Muslims (or for that matter, only for any religious community) and not for all others. Equality of opportunity for all religious groups is a litmus test. Similarly, if there is a government opportunity (as in the Army or Railways or the Civil Service, or Higher Education or Bank Credit Flow or any Development and Welfare Scheme), it is the duty of a secular government to see if every religious group is getting its due share and if not, to devise means to bring about justice and equality. In this case, the Muslim deficit is sought to be concealed from the public gaze or pushed under the carpet. This is Communalism, with a capital C.

Since 4/5 of government expenditure goes to government personnel, it does matter, if Muslims, are only 2-3% in the armed forces.

Secondly, I would request you to make a distinction between performance and composition. Army has proved its secularism in its performance in civil conflicts. It will remain secular, whatever its composition. Does, anyone, maintain that the army will not be secular if Muslim proportion rises to 10%?

Armed Forces should Represent the Nation

Letter to Sukhmani Singh, 1 March, 2006

I appreciate your Minority Report. The operation of the unwritten ‘Law of Discrimination against the Minorities’ is the only reason why the security forces are not prepared for a scrutiny and wish to hide the truth from the public gaze or push it under the carpet. The armed forces as well as the para-military forces should represent the nation in all its regional/religious/linguistic/caste diversity. I attach a copy of my statement on the subject.

Procedure of Declaration of Deserter

Letter to Defence Minister, 9 January, 2006

Brig. R.P. Singh (Retd.) has brought out that although the Army Regulations lay down a procedure for declaring a soldier as a deserter, it is often given a go bye by the C.O. concerned in his own interest. He has cited the case of Arif Mohammed, the husband of ill-fated Gudiya, who was declared a deserter while he was a PoW in the hands of Pakistan. So Gudiya remarried after 4 years for lack of correct information about his status.

I request that the Army authorities be instructed to review all cases of declaration as ‘deserter’ to ensure that any misinformation on their status does not persist and cause complications.

Posts of Religious Teachers in Armed Forces

Letter to Defence Minister, 21 February, 2006

I had raised the question of appointment of Religious Teachers in various units of the Army with your predecessors.

In his reply No. 1965/F/RM/98 dated 12 August, 1998 Shri George Fernandes told me that posts of Religious Teachers are authorized on the basis of the composition of a unit/establishment. The Religious Teacher is provided to a unit if the strength of the JCO’s/OR’s professing a particular religion is 120 or above, in the category of Pandit, Granthi, Maulvi, Padre and Buddhist Monk.

Special arrangements are made for JCO’s/OR’s of minority religions with less numerical strength in a unit, either at another unit having facilities in the station, or local Church/Mosque/Gurudwara or through forming congregations of their own and performing worship within the camp.

I had suggested that just as provided in the Jail Manuals, Muslim JCO’s/OR’s in any unit may be allowed the services of a part-time Maulvi to lead congregational worship, particularly on Fridays and the Ids.

Unfortunately, my letter was not even acknowledged.

Since there are very few units in the Army with at least 120 Muslims, I request that my suggestion of appointment of part-time Maulvis for non-qualifying units may be given serious consideration.


GOVERNMENT

Mushawarat Delegation Submits Aides Memoire to Prime Minister and Home Minister

I - Minister of Home Affairs, 23 Feb., 2006

Composition of Delegation: Mr. Syed Shahabuddin, Dr. Abdul Haque Ansari, Maulana Mohd. Yahya, Mr. Syed Shamim Kazim, Maulana Mohd. Shafi Moonis, Mr. Akbar H. Jung, Prof. Shakeel Ahmad, Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan, Mr. Mujtaba Farooq

Text of Aide Memoire

1.   Physical Security:

a)   Review of the Bill on Communal Violence in the light of public comments.

b)   Prohibition of all Senas which incite hatred and train members in use of weapons and fire-arms and indulge in organized violence.

c)   Review of the Implementation of the Long-term Recommendations of the Reports of Commission of Inquiry in case of Major Communal Violence since 1980: Bihar Sharif Massacre, 1980, Nellie Massacre, 1983, Meerut - Maliana-Hashimpura Massacre, 1987, Bhagalpur Massacre, 1989, Mumbai Disturbances, 1993.

d)   Enactment of Hate Legislation and reinforcement of Section 153A and 153B of the IPC.

2.   National Integration Council: Formulation of Rules of Procedure for the Agenda, Structure, Frequency of Meetings, Recommendations, Follow-up.

4.   Babari Masjid Question:

a)   Public Commitment by Union Government to execute the Final Judicial Verdict on Title to Disputed Land in the light of Supreme Court Judgement of 1994.

b)   Reunification of the bifurcated chargesheets for trial by the Special Court in Lucknow in order to expedite the Criminal Cases related to the Demolition.

c)   Discouragement of Private Initiatives for Negotiations between unauthorized persons for out-of-court settlement.

5.   a)   Amendments of the NHRC Act to establish Organic Linkage between the National and State Commissions and for Implementation of the Ahmadi Committee Report.

b)   Ratification of International Humanitarian Laws and Conventions relating to Human Rights, particularly the Enactment of a Law on Genocide, Accession to International Code of Criminal Justice.

6.   Repeal of the POTA Act and review of pending TADA/POTA Cases.

7.   Review of the Ban on the SIMI.

8.   Due Representation of the Muslim Community in Central Para-military Forces and the intelligence Machinery.

9.   Ordinance on Foreigners Tribunals in Assam and its Impact on Detection, Detention and Deportation of alleged Immigrants in accordance with law.

10. Review of Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, in the light of cases since Notification.

11. Government’s Sensitivity to Religious Sentiments of the People aroused by Vilification of Religious and Demonization of Religious Personalities in India and abroad.

12. a)   Review of the Progress of Relief and Rehabilitation of the Victims of Gujarat Massacre.

b)   Review of the Progress of the Criminal Cases relating to Godhra Tragedy and the Gujarat Massacre, 2002.

13. Liberalization of the flow of Foreign Contribution for educational purpose: Publication of Annual Report.

14.       Review of the Procedure for Communal Harmony Award.

 

II - Prime Minister, 3 March, 2006

Composition of Delegation: Mr. Syed Shahabuddin, Mr. Saiyid Hamid, Dr. Abdul Haque Ansari, Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan, Mr. Akbar H. Jung

The Delegation thanked the Prime Minister for the creation of the Ministry of Minority Affairs and requested him that he should continue his personal engagement with the problems of the minorities. He assured the Delegation that the welfare of the minorities will always on his priority list.

The Delegation discussed with him the whole spectrum of the current situation of the Muslim community, with particular emphasis on the following:

Budget Allocation for national institutions of Muslim concern, namely, the National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation, the Maulana Azad Education Foundation and the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language: The Prime Minister agreed that they were low and that he would try to get them enhanced.

Establishment of Muslim schools in Deprived Areas including Muslim Tolas/Mohallas under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan: The Prime Minister assured that priority shall be given to deprived areas in the light of national norms.

Place of Urdu in Revised School Curriculum: The Prime Minister agreed that the constitutional right of children to receive primary education through Mother Tongue should be guaranteed and that the Mother Tongue should, as far as possible, be taught as First Language at secondary stage. He promised to look into the revised Framework.

Communal Violence Bill, 2005: The Delegation impressed on him the need to have an effective and adequate Bill.  Since it was already before the Standing Committee, the Delegation urged that the Standing Committee should invite public views, even if it delayed its passage. The Prime Minister agreed to the suggestion.

Aligarh Muslim University: The Prime Minister reiterated his Government’s commitment to restore the minority status of the AMU under the Constitution.

Review of POTA/TADA Detainees including the Coimbatore Case: The Prime Minister desired to have details because as far as he knows all cases had been reviewed as promised. 

Kashmir: He listened sympathetically to the Delegation’s views that since the Muslim Indians had a big stake in the matter, their representation should also be involved in seeking a solution.

Reservation in Public Employment: The Prime Minister was requested to consider the Karnataka model in the States.  He said that he would await recommendations of the Sachar Committee and the Misra Commission.

Under-representation of Muslims in Legislatures: The Prime Minister was aware of the fact but desired to have a note on what could be done.

Under-representation in Higher Judiciary: The Delegation requested him that following late Mrs. Gandhi’s example, he may like to advise the Chief Ministers to ensure due representation of weaker sections in recommendation and also to speak to the Law Minister.

Flaw of Benefits for Development/Welfare Schemes: The Delegation urged that either the welfare schemes should be universal as in the case of Old Age Pension, or benefits of the Schemes for the benefit of individuals should be distributed equitably among various social groups in the target area and that a direction to that effect should be sent by the Planning Commission to all States. He agreed to consider the idea sympathetically.

Wakfs: The Delegation placed various difficulties, in implementing the Wakf Act, 1995, particularly in having illegal occupation vacated and in developing wakf properties. He said that these matters may be discussed in detail with the Minister of Minority Affairs, so that if necessary, he may initiate suitable changes in the Wakf Act.

The AIMMM expresses its sincere thanks to the Prime Minister for his sympathetic  attention and proposes to submit comprehensive notes to him for his consideration, as desired.

 

Local Control of Anganwadis

I - Letter to M/Health, 10 January, 2006

In principle, the Integrated Child Development Scheme and the National Rural Health Mission should join hands to serve the pregnant and nursing mothers and pre-school children. To integrate them is an excellent idea but for its success, it is essential that there should not be parallel delivery systems and that at the ground level, they should be administered and controlled by a common authority.

I see the common authority close to the people in the Panchayati Raj institutions. Both the Anganwadis and the rural health delivery system should function as an integral part of the village Panchayats which should become the nodal authority at the ground level and serve as the conduit of all resources for the village Anganwadi and also as accountable for the proper utilization of the health delivery system by the beneficiaries.

This implies that the Anganwadi worker, the village health worker and the nurse should all be locally recruited and controlled by the Gram Sabha.

II - Minister of Health & FW’s Reply, 19 Jan., 2006

I am in receipt of your letter dated 10 January, 2006 regarding integration of Integrated Child Development Scheme and the National Rural Health Missin for proper utilization of the health delivery system by the Beneficiaries.

The concerned Officer in the Ministry is being asked to look into the matter for appropriate action.

Action Against Voluntary Organizations under FCRA

Letter to Home Secretary, 4 February, 2006

We welcome the action against 8,673 Voluntary Organization’s for violating the provisions of the FCRA for 3 consecutive years.

But we suggest that there should be an annual review and not once in a decade.

We also suggest that the authorities should have a computerized system of issuing notice of wanted returns within 3 months of the end of the financial year.

We also suggest that that Voluntary Organizations in ‘prior approval’ category should be upgraded to the ‘Permanent Number’ Category, if they do not come to any adverse notice during 3 years.


FREEDOM OF RELIGION

On VHP’s Campaign of Ghar Wapsi

Letter to President, JMM,13 February, 2006

We are glad to note that your party the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) shall oppose any State Legislation to ban change of faith by individuals. JMM should also oppose the VHP’s Ghar Wapsi campaign in Jharkhand which is: meant to induce the tribals, by applying undue community influence or religious pressure or even allurements to renounce Christianity or their tribal religion and embrace Hinduism.

Such legislations were first enacted in MP, Orissa and Arunachal Pradesh and only recently in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. AIADMK government has already repealed the law had it passed. The trouble lies in that MP, Orissa and Arunachal Pradesh were then ruled by the Congress which now leads the UPA.

The UPA Government which should take a clear stand against the VHP campaign all over the tribal areas from Jharkhand to Gujarat perhaps lack moral authority in this regard. The UPA should also review the Census System which records all tribals as Hindu, unless any one declares another religion, including his tribal religion. This helps process of Hinduisation. The proper course should be to record what the enumerated individuals declare as his religion.

We, therefore, feel that your party and you personally should join a lead in the matter and propose to the Central Government to take a stand against all change of faith under public pressure and against all presumptions about religion of the tribals.

 

No Curb on Voluntary Change of Faith

Letter to Soli J. Sorabjee, 22 February, 2006

I have seen your article on the debate on ‘Conversion’ in the Constituent Assembly.

You have emphasized the right to propagate one’s religion. That raises the point whether the religion propagated is being projected as ‘superior’ to other religions or at least to the religion of the targetted individual. It is answer is in the affirmative, shouldn’t the propagation stress the ‘greatness’, the ‘beauties’, the spiritual benefits, etc., while making fair comparison with other religions but without offending their followers or vilifying them. Where does the law draw the line?

Secondly, when I profess my religion, I do it because I do feel it is superior to other religions. That is how Gandhi stressed his faith in Hinduism, even in all its orthodoxy. Rajmohan Gandhi agreed with me that belief in the equality of all religions means equal respect for all religions, not belief in all religions! And equal respect for all religions also means respect for all human beings, irrespective of religion.

You have correctly defined religious faith as a matter of conscience. That is why the Quran declares ‘La Ikraho fid Din’ “No coercion in matters of faith”. But how can then some self-appointed conscious keepers, or a state functionary, presume to peep into my conscience and declare whether I have changed my faith from the religion of my birth to another, under undue influence or allurement! Indeed, all the ‘Freedom of Religion’ legislations are designed to keep the SC and the ST within the magic circle of ‘Hinduism’, lest they move out.

The state may stop propagate of faith or change of faith. But that will be a curb on human dignity.

 

Freedom of Religion is Essential Human Right

Letter to M.V. Kamath, 28 February, 2006

On the question of conversion, the constitutional point is that every one has the right to propagate his faith but not to coerce or bribe any one to convert him to his religion. On the other hand, every person has the freedom and the right to change his religion. How do you deprive him of this right? And, if he has no complaint against anyone, how does the State appoint itself as his conscious keeper? In effect, how does a secular state become the defender of the majority religion?

 

Blasphemy Against the Holy Prophet

Letter to India Today, 1 March, 2006

I wonder how the impossible happened! India Today has always been a very sensitive radar and a responsible journal.

My personal advice is that you immediately issue a statement of regret.

 

Desecration of the Holy Quran

Letter to CM J&K, 13 March, 2006

Sometime back there was an incident in Ladakh involving the desecration of the Holy Quran. This led to agitation by the Muslim community and also generated communal violence.

We would be grateful to know if the perpetrators of desecration have been apprehended and are under prosecution.

 

Publication of Chapter 14 of Satyartha Prakash

Letter to Muslim Orgns., 13 March, 2006

Perhaps you may recall that Chapter 14 of Swami Dayanand’s book Satyartha Prakash was banned under the British regime.

It has come to my notice that the book (including Chapter 14) which vilifies Islam, denounces the Holy Prophet and pours contempt and ridicule on the Holy Quran is being freely printed and distributed. Its extracts are being reproduced in anti-Islamic journals.

I propose that the Muslim organizations of national eminence should jointly take up the matter with the Minister of Home Affairs for strict monitoring and prosecution of those who violate the ban order.

 

Rajasthan Bill on Conversion is Unconstitutional

Statement, 28 March, 2006

“The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) protests against the decision of the Government of Rajasthan to enact the Rajasthan Religious Freedom Bill, 2006. The purpose is crystal clear. Like its model in Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh and Gujarat, the Bill will not extinguish the Freedom of a citizen to discard his religion and to profess another religion. But, it shall provide a tool to the State Government, committed to Hindutva, and its administration to pursue more vigorously its deliberate programme of harassment and terrorisation of the Christian minority in Rajasthan and to communalize the social environment.

The AIMMM has noted a specially abnoxious feature in the Rajasthan Bill to facilitate change of religion by non-Hindus to Hinduism. This double standard in the matter of change of religion is blatantly immoral, illegal and unconstitutional. The intention is to legalize the Ghar Wapsi Programme undertaken by the VHP which targets the much larger Muslim community which is largely descended from Hindu converts to Islam.

The AIMMM calls upon the religious minorities as well as the secular forces and the Human Right activists all over the country to mobilize the people and the intelligentsia against the proposed Bill and to challenge its legality and constitutionality, if it is enacted.”


FELICITATIONS

On Appointment as Member, CWC

Letter to Saifuddin Soz, 9 January, 2006

I sincerely felicitate you on your nomination as a member of the Congress Working Committee. Apart from Ahmad Patel, you are the only Muslim face in the body. Also, as such you shall have greater access to the President.

I shall like to keep in touch with you so that whenever you deem it appropriate you may bring matters of concern to the Muslim community to the notice of the President and the CWC.

 

On Appointment as Chairman of Minority Cell

Letter to Imran Kidwai, 6 February, 2006

Just a line to felicitate you warmly on your nomination as the Chairman of the Minorities Cell of the Congress and to wish you a notable tenure.

Your first task, in my view, is to have a truly representative Cell, not only of Muslims but other religious and linguistic minorities like Sikhs and Christians, all in due proportion. In the case of Muslims, you must have representatives from at least 10 States which have, among them, about 85-90% of total Muslim population.

 

Election to Rajya Sabha

I - Felicitations to Mr. Rahman Khan, 29 Mar., 06

Please accept my sincere felicitations on your re-election to the Rajya Sabha.

We look forward to continuing close interaction with you and wish you another momentous term.

II - To Maulana Mahmood Madani, 29 Mar., 06

Please accept our sincere felicitations on your election to the Rajya Sabha. We are certain that your presence shall make a difference both for the community and the country.

We look forward to close interaction with you on questions of Muslim concern and we shall be happy to assist you in every way we can.

We wish you very successful term in the Rajya Sabha.

III - To Mr. Jabir Husain, 30 March, 2006

I offer you my sincere felicitations on your election to the Rajya Sabha and my best wishes for a notable contribution.

This is the beginning of a new phase in your political career and I hope this shall open bigger horizons for you to serve the community and the country.
EDUCATION

Welcome Saudi Aid for Education of Muslims

Letter to PM Manmohan Singh, 7 Jan., 2006

It is reported that the Government of Saudi Arabia proposes to support education of the Muslim community. The former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had okayed the concept decades ago and since then the Islamic Bank, Jeddah, which largely runs with Saudi Arabian money, has been supporting educational activities of the Muslim community. We should, therefore, have no objection to Saudi Arabia continuing its support in the field of education since Muslims are an educationally deprived and backward community.

A possible modality can be the establishment of an Educational Trust under the Indian Law with India Muslims, approved by our Government as Trustees, for supporting individual institutions in the field of professional education and for aiding construction or extension of educational infrastructure in existing institutions or awarding scholarships and educational grants for higher studies.

Govt. Take Full Responsibility for Education

Letter to The Radiance Viewsweekly, 27 Jan., 2006

I appreciate Mr. M.A. Siraj`s article on Muslim Education in your issue of (22 - 28 January, 2006). I also broadly endorse his advice. However, I find a basic lacuna. Although he makes a passing reference to enrollment in government schools, his article is largely concerned with Muslim schools. The fact to be ever borne in mind is that the Muslim community is simply financially incapable of educating its children on its own. No community is. And all communities depend on the state to educate their children.

There is no reason for the Muslim community to withdraw its claim on national investment in school education. If the Muslim community has grievances about medium of instruction at primary level, teaching of mother tongue at secondary level, availability of teachers of and through the Mother Tongue, contents of textbooks and school culture, they should and can be corrected through political and social action.

Therefore, now that elementary education upto high school has become a fundamental right and is being provided by the State through Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, the Muslim leadership should launch a campaign to have government primary, middle and high schools established in every Muslim locality, according to national norms. And Muslim social workers should launch a campaign to have 100% enrollment and 0% dropout in the Muslim community. Insha`Allah, universalization will throw up the genius and the skills latent in the community and in 10 years the picture will change and Muslim boys and girls shall be able to compete their way into higher and professional education.

I would like to add a word about teaching of language. Even Muslim should learn his Mother Tongue (only 50% have Urdu as their Mother Tongue), the State Language and English. However, in non-Hindi States for Urdu-speaking students, the Three Language Formula is not adequate. So they should have a composite course of Urdu and Hindi, State Language and English as the Three Languages.

Mid-Day Meal Scheme in Schools

Letter to Minister of HRD, 23 January, 2006

Under Scheme for the Mid-day Meal in School, all students of Class I to V in government or government-aided schools get a free mid-day meal.

For this, the government provides 100 grams of wheat/rice per child per day, plus Re. 1/- to meet the cost of pulse, vegetables, oil, spices and cost of cooking. The school authorities purchase the fuel and necessary utensils and make arrangements for preparing and serving the meal to the students.

There are hundreds of thousands primary schools with only 1 or 2 teachers. A large proportion of teaching time and energy is likely to be diverted to cooking and service of the mid-day meal, apart from other common loopholes which would reduce both the quality and quantity of food that the students get.

It is suggested that the monthly ration plus Rs. 30 p.m. be given for each child to his/her family so that he can have a good meal before he comes to school and perhaps carry a small tiffin with him.

Such an initiative immediately raised the enrollment level as well as the attendance in primary schools, especially in backward parts of Bihar. The only argument against the proposed system can be that the child ration may be shared by the parents and other family members. There is no objection if it is kept in mind that it is no loss if the nutrition level of the family goes up, provided the child gets at least one square meal a day!

My suggestions will, above all, relieve the school teachers of an added responsibility and will leave the school routine undisturbed.

It is also suggested that the Panchayats should be made conduits for distribution of grain-quota and monetary assistance to the family of the students.

I request you to give these suggestions an experimental try.

Educational Organization should Not Lose Focus

Letter to CMEII, 1 March, 2006

I thank you for your visit and for your letter outlining the progress made by Confederation of Muslim Educational Institutions of India (CMEII).

I welcome the formation of the Confederation as we do need a national body to project the problems faced by Muslim Educational Institutions established under Article 30of the Constitution.

I would only caution against the CMEII becoming yet another Muslim organization like the AIMMM and the A.I. Milli Council which are concerned with every aspect of the life of the community and all its concerns. The CMEII should, as a technical/professional body, play a distinct role of focusing on the problems faced by the MEI`s – individually and collectively, and, as you explained to me, promoting foreign investment in such institutions as an integral part of the growing knowledge industry in our country.

I would also suggest that its doors should be open to all MEI`s at the secondary, higher secondary and college level and the member-institutions should be listed in your Newsletter.

I wish the CMEII every success.

Proposal for Annual Muslim Educational Conference

I-Letter to President, Anjuman-I-Islam, 10 Mar., 06

It was indeed a great pleasure to meet you and your family members. I thank you, particularly, for your gracious hospitality.

I am very happy that you accepted my suggestion to hold an Annual Maharashtra Muslim Educational Conference to monitor the progress of education in the Muslim community at various levels. I shall prepare, as I promised, a framework for the Conference for you to consider.

You may, of course, ask, in the meantime, the Anjuman office to prepare a list of all Muslim educational institutions, schools, colleges, both general and professional, leading Madrasas which teach upto the equivalent level of degree courses and of educational societies/trusts which have established these institutions.

Secondly, you may also like to appoint a group to collect statistics, say, for the year 2004-05 on proportion of Muslims in examinations at various levels, secondary, higher secondary, BA/B.Com./B.Sc. (all Hons), Medical/Engineer Admission Tests, Medical/Engineering graduates, Maharashtra Civil/Police/Judicial Service Examination.

The list appears to be formidable but all the data are in the public domain and, therefore, it is a question of time and manpower.

Once again I wish you a very successful tenure as the President of the Anjuman-I-Islam.

II-Letter to Karnataka Board of Wakfs, 14 Mar., 06

I appreciate your prompt and positive response to my suggestion that your organization should sponsor a State-level Muslim Educational Conference every year to review the educational situation of the Muslim community and to finalize a programme to upgrade it and to fill up the gaps that may exist.

Perhaps the first Conference may be planned for 2 days during the winter vacation in the State capital.

Apart from an inaugural session and a valedictory session to present the aim and object and the consensus respectively, the Conference should consist of Workshops on various aspects —

1.   Primary Education

2.   Secondary and Higher Education

3.   Technical Education

4.   Professional Education

5.   Education for Women

6.   Urban Accommodation for College Students

7.   Funding Meritorious Students

The Principals of Muslim educational institutions and leading Muslim educationists of the State should be invited. They should participate at their own expense but the sponsor should arrange for their overnight accommodation perhaps in a hostel and offer a lunch and dinner on the opening day and a lunch on the closing day.

No Dilution of Secondary Examination

Letter to NCERT, 16 March, 2006

I appreciate the contents of your letter No. PS(D)/2-6/2006 dated 13 February, 2006 and I am glad to note that Class X Board Examination is proposed to be optional only for the students who intend to continue their higher secondary in the same school and that there is no such recommendation for class XII Board Examination.

I do not think that an average high school in our country has reached the desired level of maturity and, more than that, the desired level of acceptability for higher education or employment, for its internal examination to be recognized as a substitute for a Board Certificate.

Failure rate is largely related to poor teaching of subjects like English and Mathematics. I think teaching in government schools should be strengthened and serve as the model. Non-government schools should be subject to non-recognition if they do not meet the minimum pass level persistently.

The basic trouble with the diversified system is that the employers/colleges shall pick up the products of known and standard schools and leave the others high and dry.

Detoxification of School Textbooks in States

Letter to Minister of HRD, 22 March, 2006

First let me felicitate you on your re-election to the Rajya Sabha and please accept our best wishes for continuing the momentous work you are doing to secularize the educational system.

I am writing this to draw your attention to the pathological level of toxicity in school textbooks and prescribed/approved reading material in schools in various States, particularly those governed by the BJP and UP.

Some years back you had organized a Conference to review the schools textbooks. But the situation needs fresh assessment today and urgent remedial measures.

The problem has to be examined in 3 dimensions.

I –     Textbooks in Government schools in States which have not adopted NCERT books.

II –    Textbooks in Government-aided Private Schools, which largely adopt state textbooks but add their own material

III –   Textbooks in unaided Private Schools, which have their own textbooks

In each category: the textbooks of Languages (particularly Hindi), Social Sciences (particularly History) and Moral Education have to be thoroughly screened.

Since textbooks play a role in building the mind of the young, even private schools cannot be exempted from adhering to national ideals of Democracy, Secularism and Social Justice and commitment to Human Rights.

However, I feel that all school textbooks and prescribed reading material need to be continuously screened by a Central School Textbook Committee, which may be set up as part of the guidance structure of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.  Such an exercise cannot be sporadic or random but continuous and comprehensive.

Limited Impact of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan on Muslims

I - Letter to Minister of HRD, 30 January, 2006

The national survey, commissioned by your Ministry, for which it deserves to be complimented, on the achievement of the SSA and its impact on various social groups, has brought out that:

1    12% Muslim children in rural areas are out of school, the highest among all social groups.

2    Muslim children also top the list in urban areas

3    Together 10% are out of school, this is higher than national average for ST children

4    Worst performing states are UP with 14%, W. Bengal with 11% and Bihar with 28%. These three states have just above 50% of the national Muslim population.

We, on our part, are trying to persuade the Muslim community that they should enroll their children in government schools and reduce their drop-out till they reach class X, even if it means some sacrifice.

II - Minister of HRD’s Reply, 5 February, 2006

I have received your letter dated 30th January, 2006 concerning the poor impact of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) on the minority community. I am grateful for your comments. I will specifically direct Secretary (EE&L) to ensure that the declared policy of the Government to open schools in minority-dominted areas is carried out faithfully. It is heartening to note tht the SSA has attracted the attention of the minorities, SCs/STs and OBCs. I am confident that we shall be able to carry out our programmes for the benefit of these sections successfully.

III - Reply from JS, Ministry of HRD, 13 March, 06

Please refer to your letter dated 30 January, 2006, addressed to the Hon’ble Minister of Human Resource Development, regarding impact of SSA on the education of Muslim community.           2.  Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is striving to address the needs of all communities who face disadvantages in elementary education including the minority community. Some of the steps taken are shared as follows: ­

*     There is considerable emphasis on providing universal physical access in all eligible locations including minority concentrations areas. 2,643 Primary Schools, 1,978 Upper Primary Schools and 55,529 EGS Centres have been sanctioned in minority concentrated areas in 2005-06 under SSA.

*     Madarsas/Maktabs affiliated to State Madarsa Boards are supported under SSA for children in the 6-14 age group with all facilities for which regular schools are eligible. 7,500 recognized Maktabs/Madarsas are presently being supported under SSA.

*     3,200 unrecognized Madarsas/Maktabs are presently being supported under the Alternative & Innovative Education component of SSA for introducing teaching of general subjects. Such Madarsas/Maktabs became eligible for a local teacher, free textbooks for girls, teacher training and the mid day meal scheme.

*     117 Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyala (KGBV), i.e. upper primary residential schools/hostels for girls have been sanctioned in minority dominated blocks.

*     Orientation of states with substantial minority population, to address the specific needs of Muslim girls and the community in general, is being done by Government of India, from time to time.

3.  We have further, decided to focus greater attention on a set of disadvantaged districts in the country that have a high concentration of weaker sections like SCs/STs, and minorities. Also districts with a high absolute number and proportion of out of school children will be monitored intensively. 93 districts in the country, with substantial Muslim population, are being taken into consideration for special focus under SSA.

4.   These steps should help in focusing greater attention on the needs of the minority community under SSA.

IV - Reply to JS, Ministry of HRD, 27 March, 2006

This is to acknowledge your D.O. No. 10-4/2006-EE.11(pt.) dated 13 March, 2006 regarding the impact of SSA on the educational progress on the Muslim community.

The word ‘considerable’ in the first sub-para of your letter does not give any measure of the impact unless the deprived areas are identified, district, block and Panchayat-wise, in relation to their population, due number of government primary schools under nationally approved norms and the actual number of such schools now and often the operation of the SSA, at the beginning of the academic year.

I request you to explain EGS Centres. We feel that under the SSA, primary schools of uniform minimum acceptable quality should be established and every year more primary and secondary schools should be established to reduce the gap in any deprived area like Panchayat/Block/District.

Government support to Maktabs/Madrasas affiliated to State Madrasa Boards, or otherwise, should not be taken into account in calculating the impact of the SSA.

Muslim children need normal education and in many parts of the country they are enrolled in normal schools but, simultaneously, many of them attend Maktabs/Madrasas on a part-time basis as in Kerala. Muslim children should not be fobbed off with Alternative and Innovative Education.

Regarding KGBV’s we would like to know the number of Muslim girls on the rolls/residing in hostels. Mere location in minority-dominated blocks is no guarantee of due benefit to the deprived Muslims girls of the area.

Orientation of States by the Union is no more than an exercise in guidance which, most of the time has no effect.

Regarding para 3, we would like to know the names of the districts receiving special attention and the proportion that total Muslim population of the 93 districts constitute of the total population of these districts and also the proportion of Muslim children enrolled as % of the total number of children enrolled in them.

The real test of the impact of the SSA would be to define as base-line the year of inception of the SSA and then calculating the % of children belonging to an educationally backward group, like SC, ST, and Muslim in the schools at the end of every 2 years and also the estimated rise in the % of school-age children of each group enrolled. There can be no other scientific test.


COMMUNAL VIOLENCE

On Mau Riots, 2005

Letter to Asghar Ali Engineer, 2 February, 2006

Your article on Communal Riots, 2005 has some factual errors on MAU. The Muslim youth did request the organizers of the Bharat Milap function to reduce the volume of the PA System. It was done but soon it was raised. Thereupon, one Muslim youth pulled out the amplifier connection. This led to a fracas. Some Muslim youth were arrested. But through the mediation of local administration, it was agreed that the function be postponed. The Muslim youth were released.

Protest by Yuva Vahini, Mahasabha and a section of BJP took the form of a Dharna next morning on the main road. Some stones were pelted at a Masjid nearby. Muslim youth of the area rushed there. It is then that the local Vahini leader Chandel who lived almost next door fired from his house causing injury to 3 or 4 Muslim youth. It gave rise to rumours that they had been killed and in retaliation some Muslim youth attacked some shops in the area.

The weavers’ colonies and Muslim schools on the outskirts of the town were attacked immediately thereafter on the same day. Neither DM nor SP visited the area or sent any force.

This went on the second day, with the result that 3 colonies of bunkars with their Masjids and Madrasas were ravaged by Hindu mobs in the presence of the PAC jawans and their powerlooms and other properties were taken away in broad daylight.

On representation by Muslims, the State Government transferred the DIG, Commissioner, DM and SP. The new team took over on the third day and peace was restored.

 

For Action against Hindu Yuva Samiti

Letter to Arshad Jamal, 4 February, 2006

When I was in Mau, I was told that all over eastern UP, the Hindu Yuva Samiti had distributed audio-cassettes which are designed to incite hatred against the Muslim community and intended to generate and promote communally surcharged environment. The audio-tapes are being played on all highways and markets.

In view of the recent decision taken by the Supreme Court against a Hindu organization accused of circulating offensive CD’s in Gujarat, I request you to collect the copies of 2 or 3 such audio cassettes and send them to me.

 

Video Recording of Speeches by Aditya Nath

Letter to UP CM, 10 February, 2006

May I draw your attention to the speech by Mahant Aditya Nath at Balrampur on 8th February during his Vishwa Shanti Kalash Yatra in which he used insulting language against the Saint Salar Masood Ghazi, whose nearby shrine is visited by people of all religions, and announced that a trishul shall be hoisted on this shrine and on every mosque. He made many other anti-Muslim statements in order to incite hatred and distrust against the Muslim community and thus prepare the ground for communal violence.

I have repeatedly requested you that all public speeches of Mahant Aditya Nath should be videotaped and examined to see whether they attract the law of the land and the local authorities should initiate legal action, if they do. By all accounts, the whole of Eastern U.P. has been turned into a boiling cauldron by the Mahant and his Hindu Yuva Vahini and we once again impress upon you the urgent need to take suitable action against him in order to contain his mischievous campaign against social peace.

 

White Paper on Bhagalpur Disturbances, 1989

Letter to CM, Bihar, 18 January, 2006

We welcome the government announcement about the publication of a White Paper on Bhagalpur Disturbances, 1989, covering both relief and rehabilitation of the victims and the prosecution of the culprits.

The RJD Government simply refused to respond to any questions on the progress of compensation and rehabilitation or prosecution.

The White Paper should also, inter alia, examine the implementation of the recommendations of the Bhagalpur Inquiry Commission Report.

 

Uniform Compensation for Loss of Life

Letter to NCM, 10 February, 2006

The U.N.I. has reported that Shri Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister of Bihar, has expressed his desire that the victims of Bhagalpur Massacre 1989 should receive due compensation at par with the victims of the Anti Sikh Disturbance in 1984. The report says that during his recent visit to Bihar, the Chairman supported this view. To the best of my knowledge the Commission has already proposed to the Govt. of India that not only victims of Bhagalpur Massacre, but all incidents of communal conflict should receive due compensation.

I request you to let me know the present status of the recommendation of the Commission and whether any further action has been taken on receipt of the Chief Minister’s letter.

The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat is of the view that the quantum of ex-gratia compensation for loss of life, limb, property and for sexual assault, in all communal incidents from 1984 onwards, should be equal and uniform, not only in respect of loss of life, but also for loss of limb, property and honour. We request that the Commission take up this idea with the Government.

We will be grateful for an early reply.

 

Communal Wave in Bhilwara, Rajasthan

Letter to MMM, Rajasthan, 31 January, 2006

During 2005, Bhilwara town and district experienced communal violence frequently as no other place in the country did.

On 13 March 2005, there was tension in the town following the murder of an activist of the Bajrang Dal which was attributed to Muslims. On 8 April, on the eve of the Charbhujanath Yatra, a saffron flag was hoisted on a Masjid. The Muslims filed a FIR and submitted a Memorandum to the DM. Then the Charbhujanath procession was ‘stoned’ at Lakhara Chowk which is a Hindu locality. 11 Muslim shops and 2 houses were torched, 2 Mazars were desecrated, a Masjid was damaged. A rioter was killed in police firing, but the police arrested and beats-up 25 Muslims, searched Muslim homes and molested women.

Immediately thereafter, flags with Muslim symbols were placed on Hindu temples in Kareda Tehsil and markets were closed for 2 days. Police. Police later found the culprit a Shiv Sainik.

Muslims families have migrated from Kanojalia village because they were socially and economically boycotted. To the best of our knowledge they have not come back.

Bhilwara town and district have thus become a testing ground for another Gujarat.

I would request you to send a small team to Bhilwara to inquire into the situation, particularly whether the boycott has been lifted and Muslims have returned to their homes and those who suffered of property have been compensated.
COMMEMORATION

Birth Anniversary of Mirza Mohd. Ismail

I  - Letter to M/Communication, 23 January, 2006

This is to draw your attention to the commemoration of the 125th birth anniversary of Mirza Mohammad Ismail (1883 – 1959) who served as Dewan of Mysore from 1926 – 1941, as Dewan of Jaipur from 1942-46 and finally as the Prime Minister of Hyderabad from August 1946 to May, 1947.

He is regarded as one of the makers of modern Mysore and thus of the state of Karnataka. He was also instrumental in introducing democratic reforms in the State of Jaipur and the development of the city of Jaipur.

A nationalist to the core, he was associated at various stages with constitutional negotiation which led to Independence.

I enclose a brief note on his life and a recent article in the Indian Express by Jaithirth Rao, the CEO, Mphasis, Bangalore.

This great son of India has been largely forgotten by the country. His exemplary life and his constructive model of governance in Mysore and Jaipur deserve to be placed before the younger generation of administrators and politicians and can serve as a role model.

I request you to consider the issue of a Special Commemorate Stamp on his 125th birth anniversary, which falls in 2008.

II - M/Communication’s Reply, 24 Feb., 2006

It has been decided to place this proposal before this committee for consideration at its next meeting for the year 2008.  Further developments will be intimated in due course.

 

4th Birth Centenary of Akbar

Letter to Minister of Culture, 8 February, 2006

We are glad that you have taken note of the protest by the Indian History Congress at the Government’s decision, not to observe the 400th Birth Anniversary of Emperor Akbar. Its executive has reiterated its call upon the Centre for proper observance for this recent event.

We are not aware whether the Government has formulated a policy paper on commemorating nationally important events.

The NDA Government had failed to observe an important anniversary of national importance — the 2nd Centenary of the fall of Srirangapatnam and the death of Tipu Sultan. That was obviously politically motivated.

We request you that the Government should fully and solemnly observe the Akbar event.

 

Commemoration of Baba Farid

Letter to Minister of Finance, Haryana, 6 Feb., 06

We thank you and thank you, the Government of Haryana for initiating an annual literary award in memory of Baba Farid.

We suggest that a Baba Farid Chair on Sufism in the Sub-continent be instituted in a university of Haryana.

 

Birth Centenary of Jusice Hidayatullah

Letter to Ministry of Communications, 1 Feb., 2006

Kindly refer to your letter No. 16-6/2006-Phil dated 24.1.2006 regarding issue of commemorative stamp on the late Justice M. Hidayatullah.

He was the Vice-President of India and Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. His son is a senior advocate practicing in Mumbai. Thus these sources are available to you for such information/material that you may require.

However, I enclose a write-up on him published by me in February, 1983.

 

Commemoration Stamp of M. Hidayatullah

Letter to Department of Posts, 1 March, 2006

Please refer to your letter No. 16-6/2006-Phil dated 28 February, 2006 regarding the proposal for issue of Special Commemorative Stamp to honour late Justice Hidayatullah.

As a former MP for 3 terms, I am quite familiar with the guidelines. However, I am also aware that sometimes special stamps are issued at short notice.

Does the Department of Posts solely depend on the recommendations of the PAC? Does it never take an initiative on its own? Or on instructions from above?

I feel that the omission of the Centenary of Justice Hidayatullah was a mistake. The centenary year is still on. Why can’t you process it as a special case and take instruction from the Minister and the Prime Minister?
CITIZENSHIP

‘Infiltration’ Slowing Down in Assam

Letter to Anwar Alam Khan, 14 February, 2006

I found a slip left by you at my home. On your next visit to Delhi, please see me. In the meantime, I would like to invite you to read my articles on the subject.

Briefly, infiltration means illegal entry of foreign nationals in the national territory. So they are illegal immigrants. Migration can be both internal from one part of the country to another, while infiltration is always from outside.

We are not concerned with population structure before 15 August, 1947, indeed even before the date when free movement between India and Pakistan came to an end. If we take the figures of 1951 to 2001 Censuses into account, there is no doubt that Muslim population in the country has shown a higher rate of growth. So it has in West Bengal and Assam. In the North-East, the rate may be higher but the base line is very small. In West Bengal and Assam, the reason for higher growth is manifold – relative poverty, educational backwardness, particularly of girls, early marriage, remarriage of widows and tendency to have large number of children. Conversion to Islam is no factor. Illegal immigration (infiltration) from East Pakistan/Bangladesh has been a factor but since 1981, it is going down. Between 1981-2001, my estimate is there have been more Hindu than Muslim illegal immigrants.


Foreigners (Tribunals for Assam) Order, 2006

Letter to Manoj Mitta, 22 February, 2006

I have seen your comments on the Foreigners (Tribunals for Assam) Order, 2006. But you have not mentioned that this is nothing more than an amendment to the pre-existing Foreigners Tribunal Order, 1964 under the Foreigners Act, 1946. I had suggested it in the wake of the Supreme Court judgement that the Government should make minor changes in the 1964 Tribunal Order by making it mandatory that the question of status of a suspected foreigners shall be referred to a Tribunal. There is no harm if the Tribunals are to be assisted by a joint Committee of official and eminent citizens at the district level.

The 1964 Order already provides some of the procedural safeguards like establishment of prima facie case, communication of main grounds to the alleged foreigner and ‘reasonable opportunity’ to him to respond.

I request you to compare the provisions of the 1964 Order with the 2006 Order.

 

Hindu Migration from East Pakistan/Bangladesh

Letter to  Jyotirmay Mandal, 1 March, 2006

In your article in the Dalit Voice (1-15 March, 2006) you have stated that 90% of the Hindu migrants from East Pakistan/Bangladesh to India belong to the SC. What is your basis?

The problem is now limited to those who migrated after 1971, Hindus and Muslims. Their number is not 20 million. Perhaps a majority of them are Hindus. Perhaps most of the Hindus, as you say, are SC’s. But the law, whether IMDT or Foreigners’ Act, applies equally and does not discriminate on religious or caste basis.

I would be grateful for your reply.
BABARI MASJID

No Defiance of Law but Commitment to Accept Verdict

I - Letter to President, BJP, 7 January, 2006

Let me first felicitate you on your elevation to the Presidentship of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

We have no comments on the ideology you have chosen to espouse or on your priorities. However, since you have made an appeal to the Muslim community ‘to come forward with an initiative to make possible the construction of the proposed Ram Janambhoomi Mandir on the site of the Babari Masjid’, we have to respond.

The Supreme Court has already drawn a road map for the construction of a Mandir and a Masjid within the Acquired Area, beginning with the judicial verdict on the title to the disputed site. If the title is decided in favour of the Muslims, the Masjid will be rebuilt on the disputed site and the Mandir at some distance within the Acquired Area. If the title is decided in favour of the Hindus, then a temple will be constructed on the disputed site, with a Masjid at some distance within the Acquired Area.

Since the Rule of Law must prevail, the Muslim community has repeatedly reaffirmed its commitment to accept the final judicial verdict whatever it may be. We appeal to you as the leader of the second biggest political party of the country, committed to the Constitution and thus to the Rule of Law, to commit your party to respect and abide by the final judicial verdict, whatever it may be.

An out-of-court settlement was possible through negotiations before the Demolition, 1992, if the Hindu leadership had taken a more flexible stand and not insisted on building the proposed temple on the very site occupied by the Babari Masjid. However, no out-of-court settlement is possible now.

We request you to close the chapter, commit your Party to respect the Rule of Law and wait patiently for the final judicial verdict, and in the meantime, desist from launching agitation to disturb the status quo, or to coerce the Muslims or to derail the judicial process.

II - Letter to President, BJP, 25 Jan., 2006

Your statement ‘Just as Jews have Wailing Wall, e need Ram Temple’ has served to expose the Zionist inspiration behind the VHP-BJP’s campaign against the Babari Masjid which culminated in its Demolition on 6 December, 1992.

But what is more important is that having demolished the Masjid, you have once again appealed to the Muslim community to gift the Babari Masjid site to you. As you are aware, two years back a similar appeal by the Kanchi Shankaracharya supported by the Vajpayee Government was rejected by the Muslim community.

In any case, the Supreme Court has drawn a road map for the settlement in October, 1994 and directed the Special Bench of Allahabad High Court to resume the hearing of the title suit. The hearing is expected to end soon, despite the time was lost by the Bench in the excavation of the site by the ASI and in consideration of the ASI Report.

The Muslim community is committed to accept the final judicial verdict and the consequent construction on the acquired area in Ayodhya of both the Masjid and the Mandir, in accordance with the Order of the Supreme Court.

The matter is subjudice and the continuous interrogation of the judicial process by your party amounts not only to its defiance of the Rule of Law but to undue pressure on the Judiciary and to contempt for the Supreme Court. This does not become a national party which was in power at the Centre and aspires to regain it.

May I request you to advise the Sangh Parivar, particularly the VHP, to commit itself to accept the final judicial verdict and to abide by the existing direction of the Supreme Court. Direct or indirect coercion of the Muslim community even to give up their constitutional, legal and democratic effort for the restoration of their Masjid will not succeed.

Today, this is the only way to settle this issue. A settlement will restore trust and goodwill between the Hindu and Muslim communities. This is the national consensus. To regain power, the BJP should not try to scuttle the judicial process.

 

Ram Mandir’s Model Gifted by University

Letter to Minister of HRD, 25 January, 2006

At the last Convocation of the Avadh University, Faizabad, held on 23 December, 2005, you were to be the Chief Guest. However, you could not make it and, in your absence, Shri T.V. Rajeswar, Governor of UP, became the Chief Guest.

What has surprised everyone is that the Vice-Chancellor Dr. S.B.Singh, presented to the Chief Guest a framed model of the proposed Ram Janambhoomi Mandir in Ayodhya as designed and publicised by the VHP.

This was a reproduction of the architectural model preserved in the Karsevakpuram, Ayodhya, which is shown to all visitors.

As you are aware, the title suit relating to the disputed site has not yet been decided. So it was improper on the part of the Vice-Chancellor to present the model to the Chief Guest. In a sense, it amounts to mockery of the judicial process.

Had you not cancelled your visit at the last minute, the ‘model’ would have been gifted to you! We request you to ask the Vice-Chancellor to explain his choice of gift.

 

Ram in Kochar’s Vedic Heritage

Letter to Zafaryab Jilani, 4 January, 2006

I am sending you photocopies of pages 208 – 215 of Kochar’s book “The Vedic Heritage”. This book situates Ram’s birthsite in Afghanistan. The book is not readily available in the market. You may kindly use this material in your presentation.

 

Final Verdict & Implementation of SC’s Roadmap

Letter to A.R. Mookhi, 10 January, 2006

Your email of 9 January, 2006.

Muslim withdrawal from the Babari Masjid title case will not expedite the verdict which will be based on the evidence before it. Neither the final verdict, whatever it be, depend on the wishes of the parties for execution but on the Union Government which is bound by the road-map drawn by the Supreme Court in October, 1994.

How can we cross the bridge before we come to it? The Muslim community may decide the course of action after the final verdict and the resulting situation. There is no room to indulge in ‘Qabal az marg wawaila’.

 

VHP’s Demand for Central Legislation

Letter to HM Shivraj Patil, 1 March, 2006

May I draw your attention to the Resolution adopted by the 11th Dharma Sansad convened by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad at Puri in February, 2006 and demanding Central legislation to hand over the site of Babari Masjid, Gyanvapi Masjid and Shahi Masjid Idgah in Ayodhya, Varanasi and Mathura respectively to the Hindu community (presumably the VHP) for construction of proposed temples in these places?

The Sansad has also adopted Resolutions for a Central Law against Change of Religion, against Slaughter of the cow and its progeny, the formulation of a Common Civil Code and the regulation of Madrasas and their curricula.

We place on record our opposition to all these demands and request the Government not to permit any agitation by the VHP on these subjects which would be directed against the Muslim community to incite hatred and distrust, generate a communal environment and vitiate social harmony.

 

Plan to Convert the Make-shift Temple on Babari Masjid Site into a Permanent Temple

Letter HM Shivraj Patil, 27 March, 2006

The Muslim community is deeply concerned about the plan to convert the make-shift temple at Ayodhya into a permanent temple under the excuse of protecting it against terrorist and bombing.

There can be no legal or moral objection to strengthening the security of the Acquired Area and that of the Sub-Area around the make-shift Mandir within it. But any plan to make the make-shift Mandir itself a security fortress by reinforcing and bullet-proofing the structure, its walls and roof — goes against the letter of spirit of the Supreme Court Order of 7 January, 1993 and more so of its road-map outlined in its judgement of October, 1994.

The continued existence itself of the unlawfully constructed Mandir on the site of the Babari Masjid depends upon the final judicial verdict on title to the disputed site. Any reinforcement the Mandir presupposes a final judicial verdict in favour of the Hindu community and against the Muslim community. There can be no justification for such a presumption. We, therefore, request that the Security Plan for the make-shift mandir be placed before the Supreme Court and its consent obtained, before unilaterally undertaking it.
ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS

General Framework of Electoral Guidance

Letter to MMM, Assam/W. Bengal/Kerala/Tamil Nadu, 21 March, 2006

This is to share some thoughts with you on the coming Assembly Elections for facilitating necessary guidance of the Muslim voters by the State Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (MMM). The coming Assembly Elections are important from the Muslim angle. Assam, West Bengal and Kerala are among 4 States with the highest proportion of Muslims. In these States, a secular party/partner of the UPA is in power. However, Tamil Nadu, another partner of the UPA, is leading the opposition but the ruling party is opposed by the BJP.

The political objective of the Muslim community is to ensure the formation of a government by a secular party or alliance, as well to raise the level of Muslim representation in the State legislature. For this, the State MMM should identify secular parties and Muslim concentration constituencies (with Muslim proportion of at least 20% and higher than any other social group) and publish it as well as send to all secular parties with the request either to come to mutual understanding on fielding a single Muslim candidate or to field only Muslim candidates in those constituencies. The State MMM immediately advise the Muslim community to

*  Vote massively and unitedly in every constituency, whatever the proportion in the electorate, as a matter of democratic and secular duty, and

*  Generally support of the most winnable secular candidate of a secular party in order to prevent division of secular votes and the consequent victory of an anti-secular party.

*  In Muslim concentration constituencies, the Muslim voters should vote preferably for the most winnable Muslim candidate in accordance with the following scheme.

    *   If no secular party has fielded a Muslim candidate in such a constituency, the Muslim voters should examine the credentials and winnability of Independent Muslim candidates, before deciding to vote for a more winnable non-Muslim candidate of a secular party, and

    *   If only one secular party has fielded a Muslim candidate, Muslim voters should vote for him, and

    *   If more than one secular parties have fielded Muslim candidates, the Muslim voters should vote for the most winnable Muslim candidate.

After the publication of final list of candidates, the State MMM should consider the relative merit of secular candidates in the field and identify the most winnable candidates in high Muslim concentration constituencies and appeal to the secular/Muslim voters to vote for them.

The State MMM should also endorse suitable secular candidates in other constituencies wherever possible.

The State MMM shall consult all Muslim social organizations in the State in endorsing candidates and then appeal to them to work wholeheartedly for the success of the endorsed candidates, at least in the Muslim concentration constituencies. If possible, joint appeals may be issued.

We request you to follow the above guidelines. You may consult us freely at every stage.
ANTI-CARTOON AGITATION

For Communicating of Muslim Sentiments to Dutch Government

I - Letter to Dr. Manmohan Singh, 31 Jan., 2006

Recently a newspaper in Denmark published an imaginary picture of the Holy Prophet. This has hurt the sentiments of the Muslims. The Ulema of Saudi Arabia have threatened to boycott Danish imports, if the Government of Denmark did not prevail upon the newspaper to offer apologies. The Royal Government of Saudi Arabia has recalled its Ambassador to exert diplomatic pressure. The Arab League and the OIC have raised their voice.

We request that the Ambassador of Denmark in India be called to the Ministry of External Affairs at an appropriate level to convey the legitimate sentiments of the Muslim community in India and to suggest that his Government take suitable steps to assuage their hurt feelings.

II - PM’s Reply, 10 February, 2006

I have received your letter of January, 31, 2006 regarding the publication of an imaginary picture of the Holy Prophet in a newspaper in Denmark.


On Blasphemy against Holy Prophet

Resolution of MMM, 11 February, 2006

The Markazi Majlis-e-Mushawarat

Strongly condemns with deep indignation the publication  of  caricatures  of  the Holy Prophet  (PBUH)  by a  Danish  paper and its re-publication in several European papers and looks upon it as a despicable expression of Islamophobia which has been on the rise in the West particularly after 9/11 and as a provocative move, designed to humiliate the Muslims and to misrepresent Islam and to incite hatred and contempt against them among the people of the West who are for peace have opposed war against Muslim States

Rejects the justification for this deliberate act of blasphemy in terms of Freedom of Press.  All freedoms have limits and entail responsibility and sensitivity to the values and interests of the others.

Considers that all European states in one form or the other practice double standards and Islamophobia has behind it the West’s historic hostility to the world of Islam.

Realizes that the West is not prepared to countenance the resistance of Muslim communities to cultural assimilation at the cost of their religious identity but the plurality of the world today demands mutual respect and tolerance and nationalism calls for national integration but not assimilation.

Fully supports the right of the Muslim world to register its protest but is convinced that an excessive and violent response, which is against the tenets of Islam, only serves the agenda of those elements in the West which are writing a scenario for eventual collision between Islam and the West. 

Therefore, urges Muslim communities  all over the world, and particularly in India, to eschew violence and articulate their feelings peacefully and through the representatives of the Western Governments and mass media in their countries and their own governments.

Text of the Statement, 11 February, 2006

Govt. Expresses Deep Concern on Publication of Cartoons

The Government is deeply concened about the growing controversy over thepublication of cartoons that offend the Muslim community worldwide.

At the time these offending cartoons were first published, Indian outrage at this had been conveyed to the Danish Government both in New Delhi and in Copenhagen, in October, 2005 itself.  It was suggested by the Government at that time that apologies should be sought and assurances obtained by the Danish Government that the concerned newspaper would prevent recurrence of such incidents.

It is incumbet on all of us to be sensitive to the beliefs and sentiments of others and avoid all actions that cause hurt to them.  India’s commitment to religious harmony and tolerance is unshakeable and actions that cause hurt to the sentiments of any part of our people are not acceptable.

 

Action Taken Should have been Published

I - Letter to Foreign Secretary, GOI, 13 Feb., 2006

We are gratified that the Government issued a statement on the Cartoon Affair on 11 February, 2006. However, it has been carried incompletely in only one national paper where I could find it. For example it is not known what the reaction of the Danish Government was to the expression of outrage by the Indian Government and whether our outrage was conveyed through our embassy in Copenhagon or the Danish Embassy in New Delhi.

May I suggest that the action taken by the Government should have been given due publicity right then so as to calm the uneasiness felt by the Muslim community in India at the apparent silence and inaction by the Government?

May I also request you for the text of the statement?

II - Foreign Secretary’s Reply, 21 February, 2006

Thank you for your communication dated 13 February 2006 expressing gratitude over Government of India’s statement on cartoon affair.  We had sent a copy of the statement to the Danish Embassy in Delhi also.

 

West Strategy of Provocation

Letter to Foreign Secretary, India, 23 Feb., 2006

It appears now that the Ministry had suitably conveyed the hurt feelings of the Muslim community to the Danish Government, both in Delhi and Copenhagen in October, 2005 itself.

I wish this action was put in the public domain. I think it was a tactical error not to do so. That would have cooled down tempers in India which were being aroused by deliberate mischief all over Europe. In my view, it was politically motivated to arouse religious passion in the Muslim world, generate ill-will for them in the West and gain public support for continuing the war against Islam which was losing tempo, in the USA and in Europe. The violent reaction among Muslims in some countries indeed served that purpose.

 

Protest on Publication of Cartoons

Letter to Ambassadors of Denmark/Germany/France/Italy, 4 Feb., 2006

The AIMMM, which is the apex body representing the Muslim community of India, strongly protests against the publication of cartoons depicting the Holy Prophet of Islam as terrorist by the Danish paper, which are considered blasphemous and derogatory and which have reprinted in several other European countries.

The AIMMM also protests against the statement of the Hon’ble Prime Minister of Denmark and other important leaders in Europe justifying the publication in the name of Freedom of the Press.

We reject the view that Freedom of the Press gives it the liberty to incite hatred and religious intolerance and deliberately offend religious susceptibilities of any religious community. Indeed such an interpretation goes against the letter and spirit of the UN Convention against Religious Intolerance and against norms of civilized behaviour and human co-existence.

We request Your Excellency to convey to your Government the hurt and concern of the Muslims in India, as all over the world, and our plea for legislative steps to set reasonable limit to the freedom of the press, as distinct from academic research and to bar blasphemy against all religions and incitement of hatred against all religious communities, without any discrimination and without applying double standards.

II - Danish Embassy’s Reply, 21 February, 2006

I beg to refer to your letter dated 4 February, 2006 to the Ambassador of Denmark, in which you convey the protest of the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat against drawings of the Prophet in a Danish newspaper, of which we have taken note.

With a view to clarifying this matter I enclose a number of papers containing i.a. public statements from our government, the apology issued by the newspaper in question and a joint UN-OIC-EU statement on the matter. In order to rectify many of the misunderstandings, which have surfaced on this issue, I furthermore enclose a fact sheet with questions and answers on the matter.

III - Letter to Ambassador of Denmark, 27 Feb., 06

May I draw your attention to our letter of 4 February, 2006 requesting you to convey the religious sentiments of the Muslim community on the publication of the defamatory and blasphemous cartoons in Denmark on 30 September, 2005.

We feel that had your Excellency’s Government and the editor of the paper expressed their regret when representations had been made by the Danish Muslim community, friendly governments like ours, the Ambassadors of the Muslim countries in Copenhagen, the agitation could have been avoided.

We take this opportunity to submit through Your Excellency for consideration by Your Excellency’s Government a constructive suggestion made by the American Jurist Prof. Bernard K. Freamon that the publisher of the cartoon may be prosecuted under Section 266b of the Danish Penal Code which provides for “criminal prosecution and conviction for dissemination of any communication by which a group of people is ‘threatened, insulted or degraded on account of their race, colour, national or ethnic origin or creed…” The initiative of the prosecution would serve to cool down religious passions all over the Muslim world.

 

Freedom of Expression - Not License for Vilification

Letter to Mike Ghouse, 3 February, 2006

Your email of 30 January, 2006. I totally, absolutely and emphatically disagree with you that freedom of the press or of expression should be extended to attack other religions or bring their leaders or doctrines into contempt. Blasphemy against all religions should be equally punishable. Incitement to hatred against other groups should be a penal offence. This is not protectionism but an approach to norms of civilized behaviour.

 

Protest against Misrepresentation of Holy Quran

I - Letter to Times of India, 7 February, 2006

We strongly protest against the publication of a photograph showing the first verse of the Holy Quran on the back of a nude woman in your issue of 4 January, 2006 (Supplement).

This has generated a spate of protest from Muslim organizations because such picturization amounts to desecration and is, therefore, an offence to the religious sentiments of the Muslims.

The Times of India is in the first rank of national newspapers and the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat expects greater sensitivity and circumspection from a paper of your standing.

We, therefore, request you to express your regret and offer your apology for this offence and close the chapter.

II - Reply of Times of India, 7 February, 2006

We strongly protest against the publication of a photograph

 

Place of the Prophet in Islam

Letter to Khushwant Singh, 20 February, 2006

Your column in the Hindustan Times (18 February, 2006). Islam does not and cannot give greater respect to the Holy Prophet, who was after all a human being, a creation of God, than to God, his Greater.

Blasphemy against sacrosanct persons and values is a sin in all religions. It is a crime in many States sometimes only for particular religions and it should be universally so.

Blasphemy violates the UN Convention against Religious Intolerance and other humanitarian and human rights laws.

I understand the European Union is considering a general law against blasphemy to protect the religious sentiments of all who believe in any religion.

I fully endorse your view of that any protest in a democracy must be peaceful.

 

Criminal Action against Denmark Paper

Letter to M. Mohiuddin, 18 March, 2006

Your note of 13.3.2006.

I agree with you. But I double if an Indian or non-European has access to a Danish Court. Perhaps a citizen or resident of Denmark could invoke its jurisdiction. Similarly any resident of European Union could invoke the European Court of Human Rights. I have read the ICC Convention. The ICC jurisdiction can be invoked only after national jurisdiction has been exhausted or by a decision of the UNGA. Perhaps, the OIC members would move a Resolution to that effect in the UNGA.
ALIGARH MUSLIM UNIVERSITY

Allahabad HC’s Judgement on AMU

Statement, 6 January, 2006

“The AIMMM has taken note of the judgement of the Division Bench of the Allahabad High Court on the minority character of the Aligarh Muslim University and on its recent policy of 50% reservation for Muslims in admission to some of its courses. The Judgement is not surprising and is no more than a repeat of the original judgement of October, 2004.  Both essentially constitute an exercise in archaeology and have dug out a long forgotten SC Judgement of 1968 in the Azeez Pasha Case and taken advantage of some inbuilt technical lacunae in the AMU (Amendment) Act , 1981.  The Judgement had to be dug out to deny to the AMU the benefit of the T.A. Pai Judgement which gives a minority educational institution complete freedom to determine its admission policy and even exceed 50% in reserving its facilities for the minority students.

The Azeez Pasha Case has been severely criticized by a jurist of the eminence of S.M. Seervai as ‘bad law’.  For one thing, it was heard by the Supreme Court behind the back of the AMU.  And two sitting Judges of the Supreme Court have, on record, suggested a review.  But it is there, like a thorn in the path of the AMU and any minority institution.  So this thorn has to be taken out, once for all.

The AIMMM, therefore, urges the Central Government, which has now fully and emphatically recognized the minority character of the AMU, to file a SLP in the Supreme Court and seek an immediate hearing.  It also calls upon the AMU to file a separate SLP or intervene in the first.

The AIMMM also suggests that, without waiting for the SC’s Judgement on the SLP whatever it be, the Central Government and the AMU should initiate discussion on the shape and form of suitable amendments to the 1981 Act and to the Constitution if necessary, in order to protect not only the AMU but the full ambit and scope of Article 30 which embodies a vital right of all religious and linguistic minorities.”

 

On Framework of Agitation over AMU

Letter to Mr. Zafaryab Jilani, 3 February, 2006

Thank you for inviting me to the Convention on the AMU being organized in Lucknow on 19 February, 2006.

I saw the press release issued by Mr. Z.K. Faizan. Inter alia, it lists several organizations as co-sponsors. These include some fake and also some undesirable organizations and individuals. As usual, some people have seized upon a situation of concern for the Muslim community for personal and political exploitation. I regret that in the circumstances I am not in a position to accept your kind invitation.

Personally I do not think, as I told you, time has come to launch any agitation on the question. Both the AMU and the Central Government are likely to appeal to the Supreme Court against the Allahabad High Court’s judgement, in coordination with each other, and at the same time, the Central Government and ruling party have at the highest level declared their intention to restore the minority character of the AMU. Both the AMU and the Government are also working on possible amendments to the Constitution and the AMU Act. Any agitation, at this stage, may prove to be counter-productive.

 

On Aligarh Muslim University

Resolution of MMM, 11 February, 2006

The Markazi Majlis-e-Mushawarat

Shocked and surprised by the Judgements of the Allahabad High Court on the declaration of the AMU (Amendment) Act, 1981 and the denial of minority status to the AMU. However, the MMM shares the feelings of Muslim community but remains optimistic that the dark clouds shall be dissipated before the next academic session begins if either the Supreme Court, on appeal by the University and the Union Government, restores the minority character or, if necessary, the Union Government promptly translates its repeated commitment into appropriate legislative measures.

Suggests to the AMU authorities as well as the Union Government to coordinate their appeal to the Supreme Court and that they simultaneously work on suitable amendments to the Constitution as well as the AMU Act of 1987 to place it beyond any doubt that the phrase ‘educational institution of their choice’ in Article 30(1) includes a university and that the AMU is a minority educational institution, established by the Muslim community and incorporated by AMU Act of 1920.

Appeals to the Muslim community not to allow itself to be exploited by political adventurers by launching an agitation but to help build up a national consensus by placing its point of view before the people, the Union Government, the important political parties and the mass media.

 

Restoration of Sir Syed House in Delhi

I - Letter to VC, AMU, 4 February, 2006

I wrote to you on 5 November, 2005 regarding the restoration of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s ancestral house in Daryaganj, Delhi. Subsequently, the Sir Syed Foundation in Delhi has taken up the question with the Lt. Governor and Chief Minister of Delhi. The Delegation, of which I was a member alongwith Mr. Zafar Saifullah, former Cabinet secretary and Mr. S. Shahid Mehdi, former Vice-Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia, proposed that the Government should declare it a National Heritage and acquire what remains of this property. Both agreed in principle. But the real issue will be the payment of compensation to the present title holders/occupants of various parts of the Haveli.

I propose to raise the issue at the next meeting of the AMU Court on 12.2.2006 and propose that the AMU Court authorize the VC to make an appeal to the Old Boys to contribute to a Fund for the Acquisition of Sir Syed’s Haveli in Delhi and call upon the Delhi Government to acquire the property and transfer it on long lease to the AMU for restoration and utilization as the AMU Delhi Centre, with an attached Museum on Sir Syed.

Once the AMU makes the offer for arranging the payment of compensation and for bearing the cost of restoration, the Government of Delhi can be pressed to announce its intention to acquire the property and notify the present residents not to make any addition or alteration, thus setting the process in motion.

II - Letter to VC, AMU, 21 February, 2006

You may kindly recall that I had raised the question of declaration of Sir Syed’s Haveli in Daryaganj, New Delhi, as a National Heritage by the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi, its acquisition by the Government with funds to be raised by the Old Boys and its subsequent transfer to the University for renovation and suitable utilization.

I request that without waiting for confirmation of draft minutes at the next meeting of the Court, you may like to set the ball rolling by communicating the sense of the House to the Lt. Governor/Chief Minister of Delhi and urge them to initiate action by declaration of intent in the form of a press note, followed by detailed photography. Thus the remains of the Haveli which still stand shall not be demolished and built over, while the proposal is processed.

III - Letter to VC, AMU, 21 March, 2006

You may kindly recall that I had raised the question of intervention by the AMU for the acquisition by the Government of Delhi of the family Haveli of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan in Daryaganj, Delhi. I had suggested that the compensation to the present owners/occupants under the Acquisition Act may be raised by the Old Boys and the property, on acquisition, may be leased by the Delhi Government on a long-term basis to the AMU for utilization for academic purposes e.g.establishment of Scholars House or Study Centre in Delhi.

I would be grateful to be informed if any progress has been made.

 

Introduction of Dress Code in AMU

Letter to VC, AMU, 21 February, 2006

As you may kindly recall I had suggested at the last meeting of the AMU Court that the AMU authorities review the question of introducing a dress code for the university students. At some stage, the then existing dress regulations were withdrawn. If the question is to be reconsidered, it is necessary to find out why they were dropped.

I, therefore, request you to have the relevant papers dug up from the archives.

 

On Constitution of AMU Court and Management of Meetings

Letter to VC, AMU, 25 March, 2006

I would like to place before you some ideas to make the meetings of the AMU Court more purposeful.

Frequency: The AMU Court should meet, it is generally agreed, at least twice a year. The year should be the academic year. It should be possible to fix the dates on a long-term basis and adhere to them. We already have one land mark: Sir Syed Day in October. The other can be sometime in April of the following calender year.

Minutes: The minutes should not record views expressed by individual members in detail but the broad lines of discussion and the consensus reached on the matter under discussion. The dissent of an individual member may be recorded, if he so desires, but without expanding on his rationale.

Agenda: To avoid deviation from serious and focussed discussion the Agenda should include General Discussion on the State of the University which should allow members not more than 5 minutes to focus on any particular aspect or problem. But only those members should be permitted who have sought permission in advance with the subject of their intervention.

To serve as a background, the University should circulate a Statement on the State of the University on important developments since the last meeting of the Court.

Annual Report: The Annual Report should give an overview of the University and not read like a compilation of Annual Reports of all Departments/Centres. The Report should have an opening chapter on Structural Changes in the University set-up during the year, in the membership of the University bodies like EC and AC, in the courses offered and approved capacity and actual intake, in the overall faculty-wise changes at the Professor, Reader and Lecturer level, in the enrollment of students and hostel capacity and utilization.

The Report should focus on academic output of the university, course-wise, university publications, research work recognized at least nationally, faculty participation in national and international academic events, achievement in sports and culture and major extra-curricular activities.

Procedure: No member should be permitted to intervene more than once on any subject under discussion. The Chair should sum up the discussion and record the consensus/decision for the minutes.

Resolution: No member should be permitted to move a resolution unless he has given prior notice and circulated a draft. In case a resolution is admitted, time for discussion should be set and the mover should be allowed to make a brief introduction as well as to respond to the discussion.

On important official matters, the Registrar should circulate a draft resolution alongwith the Agenda.

Old Boys: The University should have an official Roll of Old Boys consisting of those who have obtained at least a Degree from the University. All Old Boys shall be eligible to become members of the local Association or directly of the State Association in the absence of local association.

The Rules and Regulations of the AMU Old Boys Association should be approved by the Court and the Association should have State branches as well as branches in foreign countries of Alig concentration. The Rules should provide for proportionate representation of Old Boys from all states as well as relevant foreign countries among office-bearers and among Old Boys’ representatives in the AMU Court.

Old Boys who actually become members and are members in good standing should be allowed to vote, to become office-bearers of the central body or contest election to the Court.
ORGANIZATION -MINUTES

Draft Minutes of Markazi Majlis-e-Mushawarat, 11 February, 2006

The 6th Meeting of the Markazi Majlis-e-Mushawarat was held in the Central Office on Saturday, 11 February, 2006 with the President in Chair.

The following members attended the meeting:

1.   Mr. Syed Shahabuddin, President

2.   Maulana Md. Shafi Moonis, Vice-President

3.   Mr. A.R. Shervani, General Secretary

4.   Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan, General Secretary

5.   Maulana Ejaz Ahmed Aslam, General Secretary

6.   Mr. Mohd. Hamid Ansari

7.   Prof. Humayun Murad

8.   Mr. Syed Mahmood Ali

9.   Dr. N. Rasul Siddiqui

10. Prof. Shakeel Ahmad

11. Mr. Mohd. Zaki Ansari

12. Mr. S.M.Y. Nadeem

13. Hakim Mohd. Irfanul Husaini

14. Mr. Amanullah Khan

15. Mr. Umar Hayat Khan Ghori

16. Prof. Baseer Ahmad Khan

17. Mr. Irfanullah Khan

18. Maulana Nizamuddin Islahi

19. Mrs. Nusrat Sherwani

20. Mr. Obaid Iqbal Asim

21. Mr. Mohd. Manzoor Ali, Special Invitee

Item No. 1.  The Meeting begins with the recitation of the Holy Quran.

Item No. 2.  The Meeting then expressed its sorrow on the demise of the following eminent members of the community, prayed for their Maghferat and adopted condolence resolution.

1.   Dr. A.U. Shaikh, Educationist,  Administrator, Mumbai

2.   Justice Syed Shamsul Hasan, Retired Judge High Court, Patna

3.   Dr. Abdullah Abbas Nadvi, Islamic Scholar and Educationist, Meena

4.   Dr. Zaki Badavi, Islamic Scholar, London

5.   Dr. Akhtar Husain, Physician, Chicago

6.   Mr. Mohd. Wali Khan, Pathan Leader

7.   Maulana Asad Madani, President, JUH, Delhi

Item No. 3.  The Meeting confirmed the Minutes of the 5th Meeting held on 8 October, 2005.

Item No. 4.  The President presented the Annual Report for 2005 which was noted with satisfaction by the members.

Item No. 5.  In the discussion which followed, the President requested the Members:

a)   to persuade more eligible personalities to join the Mushawarat;

b)   to enroll more sympathizers as Members of the Circle of Friends. The President requested the members to help raise the number of members of the MMM to 125 and that of the CFM to at least 60.

c)   to propose suitable persons for recruitment as English-Hindi translator-cum-typist and as File Clerk-cum-Librarian.

      The President was requested to expedite the registration of the Mushawarat Trust.

      The President informed the members that every possibility for the return of the dissidents to the parent body was being explored. He explained that in pursuance of decision taken at the last MMA, he was to establish direct talk with Maulana Salim Qasmi but due to sudden demise of his brother, Dr. S. Farooq could not arrange it. He added that he was in the process of establishing personal contact with all leading dissidents with the help of Maulana Shafi Moonis and Dr. Z.I. Khan and would request all members to help pave the path for reconciliation.

Item No. 6.  The President presented the Draft Budget for 2006-07 alongwith the Statement of Expenditure for the period April, 2005 to January, 2006.  The proposed budget was approved with minor changes.

Item No. 7.     After some discussion it was agreed that the AIMMM should organise a National Seminar on Education, Employment and Development and Representation in Legislatures and Round Tables/Workshops on Sectarian, Minority Rights and Protected Masjids during 2006.

      The President invited ideas for the logo of the Mushawarat without which the proposed inscription on the wall facing the entrance could not be finalized.  He had requested an eminent calligraphist to design the wall which will also have the names of major contributors for the Building.  Some structural changes in the Building so as to utilize open space on the first floor, which can be later transformed into an Auditorium shall be done during 2006.

      The President also proposed to visit the capitals of 12 States of Muslim concentration during 2006 to revive/establish State Mushawarats.

      The President shall try to organise calls by Delegations on more Central Ministers to review progress on matters of Muslim concern.

      The President also proposed some more publications -- a bound volume of Mushawarat for 2004 and 2005, another volume on Resolutions and Statements of the AIMMM, 2000-2005, a Delhi Directory/Guide for Muslim Social Activists and NGO’s.

      Once staff situation was easier, with the help of JIH and others, the President also proposed to compile and edit the available documents of the Mushawarat.

      The President informed the members that he always endeavoured for intensive interaction with other sister organisations like the JIH, JUH, A.I. Milli Council and the leading opinion-makers in the community and he would intensify these contacts during 2006.

Item No. 8.  The President regretted that his note on review of the UPA Government Programme was not ready and shall be submitted at the meeting of the MMA in April, 2006.

Item No. 9.  After detailed discussion, the MMM adopted Resolutions on the following subjects.

1. Aligarh Muslim University, 2. Ministry of Minority Affairs, 3. Communal Violence Bill, 2005, 4. National Commission on MEI (Amendment) Ordinance, 2005, 5. Creation of National Wakf Development Corporation and Restoration of Punjab Wakf Board, 6. Jammu and Kashmir Question, 7. Sighting of Moon, 8.      Sectarian Violence, 9. Blasphemy against the Holy Prophet (PBUH) in Europe, 10. IAEA’s Resolution against Iran, 11. Palestinian Election.

 The Resolutions were placed on the Web-site of the AIMMM and the Milli Gazette and translated into Urdu for communication to Urdu press.

Item No. 10.  The meeting closed with Doa and thanks.

New Delhi,    (SYED SHAHABUDDIN)

13 February, 2006    President
ORGANIZATION -ANNUAL REPORT, 2005

AIMMM: President’s Report, 2005

Dastoor

The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) Dastoor was further amended by referendum during the year. The amended Dastoor as on 1.1.2006 has been published.

With the support of all the members, I have been persistently endeavouring for the reunification of the Mushawarat. Our Dastoor allows readmission of all former members of the Markazi Majlis.  The Dastoor also has a place of honour for the former President who now heads the parallel body.  However, our efforts has not met with success so far because the parallel body has some new members who do not fit into our criteria for membership.  However, our efforts will continue.

Office-bearers

The President, Mr. Syed Shahabuddin, completed his 2-year term on 31.12.2005.  Election was held by postal ballot to fill the vacancy, with Mr. A.R. Shervani as the Returning Officer. Mr. S. Shahabuddin was declared unanimously elected by the Returning Officer on 31 December, 2005 for the period January, 2006 to December, 2007.

Change in the Markazi Majlis and Markazi Amla

There was no change of office-bearers during 2005.

The membership of the Markazi Majlis-e-Mushawarat stood at 98 at the end of 2005. The names of the new members who joined in 2005 are:

1.   Mr. P.A. Inamdar, Pune

2.   Dr. M.M. Hasan, Bhagalpur

3.   Mr. S. Khalil Ahmed, New Delhi

4.   Dr. Abdus Sattar, Chennai

5.   Prof. Basir Ahmad Khan, New Delhi.

During 2005, 2 elected members of the Markazi Majlis-e-Amla, Mr. M. Afzal and Maulana F.R. Mujaddidi were dropped and Mr. Hakim Mohd. Irfan Al-Husaini and Prof. Basir Ahmad were nominated by the President in their place.

The Central Office has finalized the draft of the Mushawarat Trust.

The Central Office has also initiated steps for the reconstitution of the Supreme Guidance Council.

Finance

The Statement of Expenditure for 2004-05 and the Budget for 2005-06 is approved by the MMM are summarised below:

 

Actual Expenditure

Budget for

 

2004-05 (from 1.1.04)

2005-06 (upto 1.1.06)

2005-06

Membership Fee for 2005

13,500

39,000

50,000

Donation by CFM

1,75,450

5,99,646

4,50,000

Total Income

2,24,961

6,38,646

5,00,000

Actual Exp. for 2004-05

4,55,606

3,18,456

4,50,000

Actual Expenditure during 2005-06 (upto January, 2006)

 

Salary

1,17,675

Office Equipment including Repair

14,998

Furniture and Furnishings

11,305

Postage

31,799

Telephone

29,898

Stationery

11,441

Newspapers and Periodicals

7,227

Publication (including Bulletin)

20,822

Regular Meetings

7,383

Total

3,18,456

                                                                       

No. of Members of CFM as on 31.12.2004

19

No. of Members of CFM as on 31.12.2005

50

Associate Members of CFM as on 31.12.2005

4

I would like to place on record that the donations of the Friends of the Mushawarat have helped it to raise the level of activities as well as sustain financial health.

Staff

The Central Office which has a staff of only 3 full time employees continues to suffer from paucity of staff even though if the work has been expanding. The Central Office urgently needs an Archivist, apart from a second computer-typist or stenographer and a Urdu translator-cum-typist.

Our call to the educated intelligentsia to serve the Mushawarat as Volunteers or even as Executive Secretaries has not had any much response.

Land and Building:

The sale of plot E-35 was effected and the purchase of the building at D-250, Abul Fazal Enclave, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi-110 025 was registered on 3 March, 2005. Structural changes and repairs were completed. One room in the building has been converted into a Library and another with attached bath into a Guest Room for visiting Members and Associate Members. One area has been earmarked for Namaz. The following amounts have been spent on structural changes, woodwork, painting and plumbering:

Break-up

Amount

1)         Structural Changes

45,938

2) Woodwork

19,979

3) Plumbering Work

7,939

4) Painting

32,573

Activities:

Meetings of the MMM/MMA

During 2005, 3 meetings of the MMM were held on 12 February, 2005, 11 June, 2005 and  8 October, 2005. 3 meetings of the MMA were held on 9 April, 2005, 13 August, 2005, 10 December, 2005. The minutes of all meetings have been published in the quarterly Bulletin.

During 2005, the MMM and the MMA adopted 71 Resolutions (Please see Annexure-I for subjects).

Statements/Letters

During 2005, the Central Office continuously monitored the national and international developments of interest and concern to the Muslim community and issued 49 Statements (Please see Annexure-II for subjects) and addressed letters to Governments, Political Parties, other Muslim Organizations, mass media and opinion-makers.

Discussion with Government

During the year the AIMMM met several authorities and submitted a detailed Memorandum on Budget 2006-07 to Minister of Finance.

Visits: During the year, the President visited Assam twice, as well as Bihar, W. Bengal and M.P.

Website: All Resolutions and Statements as well as important letters have been reproduced, apart from Bulletin, on the Mushawarat Web-site (www.mushawarat.com) which was operationalized during the year.  In fact the Website carries the entire Bulletin from April, 2005.

Publication: Apart from the Bulletin, revised editions of the Introduction to Mushawarat and the Directory of Members were reprinted, alongwith the revised Dastoor (in English and Urdu).

Political Guidance

The AIMMM applied the experience of General Election 2004 to the Assembly Elections in Bihar (twice), Jharkhand and Haryana held during  2005. Special attention was paid to Bihar where AIMMM identified 78 Muslim concentration seats. It endorsed 48 candidates, largely belonging to RJD, INC and LJP in Muslim concentration constituencies or wherever any secular party had fielded a Muslim candidate, with a view to raise the level of Muslim representation.  Out of the candidates endorsed, 9 won. But 33 came second, primarily because of division of secular votes among Muslim candidates or candidates of secular parties. However, the results established the fact that if Muslim voters fully exercise their right to vote in a united manner, even under the present FPP system, the Muslim community has a fair chance of achieving equitable representation in the Assemblies.  The AIMMM noted JD(U) leader Shri Nitish Kumar’s election promises to the Muslim community and his endeavour to distance himself from his BJP partner before and during the election and to assure the Muslims of Bihar that the promises shall be fulfilled expeditiously. Subsequently, the AIMMM welcomed Shri Kumar as the Chief Minister and expressed the hope that his regime would try to maintain communal peace and pay due attention to the Muslim grievances.

Cooperation with Other Muslim Organizations:

During the year, on several occasions, the Mushawarat took initiative to consult with Muslim organizations particularly JUH, JIH and A.I. Milli Council on matters of common concern and responded positively to invitation from them.

Conclusion

I would like to add that I have accepted the post of the President for 2006-07 much against my will, simply because no one also was available and I would be happy to be relieved before the completion of my current term. But having given 25 years to the Mushawarat, I cannot leave it in the midstream unless some one comes forward to take up the responsibility. I request you to realise that no one is immortal nor is any one the last person in history but Mushawarat, Insha’Allah shall go on.

But I must also confess that my dreams about the Mushawarat are yet to be realized and I nurse a sense of failure and defeat. I do not quite know where the obstacles are.  Perhaps, in the era of politicisation, an elitist organisation is not in keeping with the spirit of the age. The elite in any case, I have found, are largely self-centred. The Mushawarat has to consider whether it can perform its due role and achieve its object and purpose more effectively by transforming itself into a mass organization. I am, however, afraid that a mass organization cannot be functional without adequate resources which the Mushawarat does not possess.  I leave it to the Members to ponder over this basic dilemma.

At the end, I would like to express my thanks to all the members and particularly to the Friends of the Mushawarat for their assistance and to the Donors for our Building Project and to our staff for their dedicated work. I am grateful to Maulana Mohd. Shafi Moonis in particular for his constant guidance and access and I hope in the coming year, our other office bearers who live in Delhi shall spend at least a few hours every day in the Central Office. 

New Delhi,    (Syed Shahabuddin)   

11 February, 2006    President

ANNEXURE - I

MMM and MMA RESOLUTIONS DURING 2005

MMM Meeting, 12.2.2005

1.   On Regular Contact and Consultation with Muslim Representatives

2.   On National Integration Council.

3.   On Reservation

4.   On Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan

5.   On Reconstitution of Official Bodies of Interest to Muslims.

6.   On National Commission for Minorities Educational Institutions Act, 2005

7.   On Language Census 2001

8.   On Personal Law Front

9.   On Expansion of Muslim Welfare Schemes.

10. On Restoration of Jamia Urdu, Aligarh.

11. On Observance of Foundation Day of the AIMMM

12. On Palestine

13. On Iraq

MMA Meeting, 9.4.2005

14. On Obituary

15. On Implementation of the Common Minimum Programme

16. On Education

17. On Recognition of the AMU as Minority Education Institution

18. On Foreigner’s Problem

19. On Babari Masjid Question

20. On Coordination among Secular Forces

21. On ASI’s Take-over of Jama Masjid

22. On Srinagar-Muzaffarabd Bus Service

23. On Release of Godhra Detainees

24. On Haj Management

25. On Personal Law Board.

26. On Developments in Iraq and Palestine

27. On Annual Accounts of AIMMM

MMM Meeting, 11 June, 2005

28. On Completion of one year in Office by the UPA Government

29. On Misrepresentation by Dissident Group as AIMMM

30. On Revised Admission Policy of AMU

31. On Revised National Curriculum Framework, 2005

32. On Haj Arrangements for Haj, 2006.

33. On Bhopal Session of the AIMPLB

34. On Repercussion of Advani’s Visit to Pakistan

35. On Dissolution of bihar Assembly Coming Election

36. On Desecration of Holy Quran in US Detention Centres.

37. On Development in Palestine.

38. On Development in Iraq

MMA Meeting, 13.8.2005

39. On Obituary

40. On Finance of AIMMM

41. On Assam Situation Report by President

42. On 1984 Sikh’s Massacre

43. On Communal Violence Bill

44. On Women’s Reservation in Parliament

45. On Taj Mahal

46. On Jama Masjid

47. On Babari Masjid.

48. On Imrana Issue

49. On UK Bomb Blast

MMA Meeting, 8.10.2005

50. On National Integration Council

51. On Assam Situation

52. On Restoration of Autonomy & Minority Character of  AMU

53. On Developments in Kashmir

54. On Admission Policy of Unaided Professional Colleges

55. On Restoration of Students Union in Jamia Millia Islamia

56. On Proposed Amendments to the NCMEI Act, 2005

57. On Obiter Dicta of the Supreme Court in Jain Case

58. On Division in the All India Momin Conference

59. On Workshop on SAARC Minorities

60. On India’s Vote against Iran in the IAEA.

61. On Developments in Iraq

62. On Developments in Palestine

MMA Meeting, 10.12.2005

63. On Bihar Assembly Election

64. On Jammu & Kashmir Final Settlement of Dispute

65. On Communal Violence Bill.

66. On Communal Situation in UP

67. On Assam Situation

68. On Reservation for Muslims in Private Educational Institutional

69. On Progress of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan

70. On Election to Students in JMI.

ANNEXURE - II

STATEMENTS ISSUED DURING 2005

1.   Appeal to Voters to Support INC in Haryana, 17.1.2005

2.   On Banerjee Report on Godhra Fire, 19.1.2005

3.   On Maha Aartis and Pujas in Official Programem for Rajasthan Day, 8.2.2005

4.   Requests Liberhan Commission to Summon Vajpayee, 22.2.2005

5.   Appeal to Secular Parties to Form a Secular Government in Bihar and Jharkhand, 28.2.05

6.   On Killing of Chechen Leader Mashkadov, 11.3.2005

7.   Advani should Refrain from Misleading People on Babari Masjid, 7.4.2005

8.   On Volunteering the Time and Energy for Mushawarat, 16.4.2006

9.   Welcomes the Proposals Envisaged in Joint Communique by India and Pakistan,19.4.05

10. On Demise of Mr. Ebrahim Sulaiman Sait, 27.4.2005

11. Welcomes New Admission Policy of the AMU, 11.5.2005

12. On Paswan’s Repeated Suggestion for Muslim Chief Minister in Bihar, 14.5.2005

13. On Unrest in Uzbekistan, 19.5.2005

14. On Demise of Shri Sunil Dutt, 27.5.2005

15. On Displaced Persons from Bodo Areas in Assam, 28.5.2005

16. On Dissolution of Bihar Assembly, 30.5.2005

17. AIMMM President’s Visit to Assam to Study Exodus of Bengali-speaking Citizens,30.5.05

18. On Political Exploitation of Imrana Case by BJP,  2.7.2005

19. On Terrorist Attack in Ayodhya, 6.7.2005

20. On Allahabad HC’s Decision to Restore Trial of Shri Advani for Demolition, 7.7.2005

21. On Terrorist Attack on London, 8.7.2005

22. On Demise of Dr. Rafiq Zakaria, 9.7.2005

23. On Massive Harassment of Bengali-speaking Persons in Assam, 13.7.2005

24. On BJP’s Intervention in Jama Masjid Case, 21.7.2005

25. On Demise of C.R. Irani, 25.7.2005

26. On Killing of Innocent Youth in J&K, 25.7.2005

27. On Advani’s Suggestions to Resolve Babari Masjid Dispute, 29.7.2005

28. On Demise of King Fahad bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, 2.8.2005

29. On Demise of Maulana Habibur Rahman Nomani, 19.8.2005

30. On Emergence of Two Rival Secular Formations in Bihar, 19.9.2005

31. On Fratricidal Killing in Iraq, 20.9.2005

32. On Commemoration of Gandhiji’s Birth Anniversary by RSS, 3.10.2005

33. On Loss of Life and Devastation Caused in India and Pakistan by Earthquake, 10.10.2005

34. On Mau Riots, 18.10.2005

35. On Ethnic Clashes in Assam, 19.10.2005

36. Recommendations to Restore Normalcy in Mau, 18.11.2005

37. On Nitish Kumar as Chief Minister of Bihar, 24.11.2005

38. On Babari Masjid Demolition Anniversary, 6.12.2005

39. On Syed Shahabuddin’s Re-election as President, AIMMM, 7.12.2005

40. On Exclusion of Muslim Educational Institutions from Reservation,14.12.2005

41. On Demise of Mr. P.M. Sayeed, 20.12.2005

42. On Muslim Reservation in Education, 22.12.2005

43. On Demise of Shri Sarat Chandra Sinha, 26.12.2005

44. On Welcome and Hospitality in UP to Uma Bharati on Ram Roti Yatra, 28.12.2005

 


ORGANIZATION

Visit to West Bengal

Letter to MMM, West Bengal, 20 February, 2006

As agreed, I shall reach Calcutta from Patna by Danapur-Horwah Express on 3 April, 2006 (FN) and shall spend the whole day there.

I suggest that

a)   You formally convene a closed door meeting of the Adhoc MMM, West Bengal to discuss both organizational matters and political situation

b)   You may organize a Reyasati Political Conference under the banner of the MMM, West Bengal, with the cooperation of other Muslim Jamaats like Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith, All India Momin Conference and other Muslim Jamaats, national or state, with representation of Muslim intelligentsia from all over the State. We agreed that the Left, the Congress and other secular forces may be invited to address the Conference. We shall place our Charter of Demands, the District-wise break-up of Muslim Concentration Constituencies as well as Record of Muslim Representation in the last 2 or 3 Assembly Elections before them.

Also, some personal calls may be arranged, particularly on State leadership of the Congress, the Left Front, the newspaper editors (they can be called for breakfast) and other opinion-makers in the Muslim community.

I shall send you a list of Special Invitees for the Mushawarat meeting separately.

 

Visit to Tamil Nadu

Letter to Dr. Abdul Sattar, 28 February, 2006

Just a line to thank you and Mr. Abdus Samad sincerely for making arrangement for my visit to Chennai, for giving me so much of your valuable time and for briefing me on the situation in Tamil Nadu and, above all, for reviving the State Mushawarat.

Kindly finalize the list of members of State Majlis-e-Mushawarat by deleting names of those who do not wish to associate themselves and adding those, who are eligible under the criteria and wish to associate themselves.

I would like to take this opportunity to advise maximum economy in organizing Mushawarat events, so that the burden does not fall on a few individuals. Also formal meetings of the State MM or MA should be open only to members and some special invitees (who are prospective members) and not become public meetings.

Consultation on Tactical Voting

Letter to A.I. Milli Council, 6 February, 2006

Thank you for your letter of 3 February, 2006 regarding the need of a review by the Muslims of their policy of support to political parties which call themselves secular.

Frankly, no political party has been truly and wholly secular in terms of giving due representation to the Muslims in party structure, as election candidates and in fulfillment of promises and assurances to the Muslim community in their manifestoes, when in power. There is no Muslim political party worth the name. The MIM is limited to the Hyderabad city and a few adjoining districts, the IUML has deliberately kept itself conferred to Kerala, the NC is limited to J&K.

I agree with you that leading Muslim organizations of national eminence like the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, All India Milli Council, JIH, JUH should sit down to review the limits of the policy of tactical voting i.e. to get ‘secular’ candidate or candidate of ‘secular parties’ elected in constituencies of Muslim concentration. Which other organizations would you like to be invited? Our circle of consultation should be limited, so that if it is agreed, the participants may organize a National Conference on Muslim Politics.

The primary reason for our political weakness, in my opinion, is disunity of Muslim leadership or their inability to unite the Muslim masses behind them or collectively on a common platform.
NATIONAL POLITICS-W. BENGAL ASSEMBLY ELELECTION, 2006

NATIONAL POLITICS - WEST BENGAL ASSEMBLY ELECTION, 2006

Under-representation of Muslims in Assembly

Letter to CPM, CPI, INC, FB, 4 March, 2006

As you are aware the Muslim community is very much under-represented in West Bengal Assembly. While by proportion there should be 74 Muslim MLA’s, in 2001, only 41 were elected but 26 secured second place. We presume that these 67 seats are in a position to elect a Muslim candidate of a secular party who commands influence and credibility in the community.

We would very much like the secular parties to reach some understanding at least on these seats so that the secular vote specially the Muslim vote, is not divided. Today, in West Bengal the secular parties which matter are the Left Front (CPM, CPI, FB and RSP) and the Congress. We regard the BJP and any party allied with it as a communal party.

I attach a Chart showing district-wise break-up of Due Muslim representation.

I also enclose a list of Constituencies which Muslim candidates won or in which they were the runner-up in 2001. This should help you to select constituencies where the Left or Congress may put up Muslim candidates of their choice.

After the list of candidate is finalized, we propose to endorse most winnable secular candidates for the constituencies, phase-wise and appeal to secular voters to vote for them, massively and unitedly.

 

Muslim Representation in West Bengal Assembly

 

S. No.

District

Total Population

Muslim Population

No. of Assembly Seats

Due Share of Muslim Seats

 

West Bengal

801,76, 197

202,40,543

294

74

1.

Darjiling

16,09,172

85,378

5

--

2.

Jalpaiguri

34,01,173

3,69,195

12

1

3.

Kooch Behar

24,79,155

6,00,911

9

2

4.

Dinajpur (N)

24,41,794

11,56,503

7

4

5.

Dinajpur (S)

15,03,178

3,61,047

5

1

6.

Maldah

32,90,468

16,36,171

11

6

7.

Murshidabad

58,66,569

                        37,35,380

19

14

8.

Birbhum

30,15,422

10,57,861

12

4

9.

Barddhaman

68,95,514

13,64,133

26

5

10.

Nadia

46,04,827

11,70,282

26

5

11.

24-Parganas-N

89,34,286

21,64,058

28

8

12.

Hugli

50,41,976

7,63,471

19

3

13.

Bankura

31,92,695

2,39,722

13

1

14.

Puruliya

25,36,516

1,80,694

11

1

15.

Medinipur

96,10,788

10,88,618

37

4

16.

Haora

42,73,099

10,44,383

16

4

17.

Kolkata

45,72,876

9,26,769

21

3

18.

24-Parganas-S

69,06,689

22,95,967

28

9

Average population per seat: 272, 708
COMMUNAL VIOLENCE BILL, 2005

COMMUNAL VIOLENCE BILL, 2005

On the Communal Violence Bill, 2005

Resolution of MMM, 11 February, 2006

The Markazi Majlis-e-Mushawarat

Taken note of the assurance by the Minister of Home Affairs to give due and transparent consideration to all public suggestions on additions, deletions and alterations to the Draft Bill to make it not only comprehensive but also adequate to meet the demand of the situation.

Tried its best to formulate a Muslim consensus on the Bill and authorizes the President to submit a Memorandum as soon as possible to the Minister of Home Affairs containing its suggestions for improving the Bill from the point of view of the communities which have been generally targetted in such violence.

Consultation on Communal Violence Bill, 2005

Letter to Iqbal A. Ansari, 30 January, 2006

Thank you for your letter of 27 January, 2006 inviting me to attend the Special Meeting of the Minorities Council on 31 January, 2006. I shall be engaged in the Asian Security Conference but I shall try my best to join you.

However, I give my response briefly:

1.  Draft Memorandum:  I have a reservation on para (b), because multiplication of official institutions may retard rather than help the process of social reconciliation. I think the existing National Integration Council should be given statutory status and it should be properly structured to undertake research, monitoring and review and issue appropriate guidelines, directives and recommendations to executive bodies.

2.  Compensation for Loss of Life, Limb, Dignity and Property: should be uniform and based on common criteria throughout the country and application to all forms and manifestation of social violence. Compensation should be payable by the State on the basis of claims and reports. And low dealing with social violence should provide for a Claims Commissioner.

3.  Impunity: No public servant, whatever the level, should enjoy any impunity for any act of omission and commission or collusion. State Governments bound to control social violence should be subject first to Central instruction under Article 355 and then limited intervention under Article 356.

4.           Current Bill: We should not reject the Bill but suggest deletions, additions, alterations in various Sections/Chapters.

"Reparation` Not Applicable to Internal Disturbances

Letter to IRCG, 4 March, 2006

Please refer to your Note on the Communal Violence Bill.

You have proposed that the word `Reparation` should be read in accordance with International Law.

Can you please cite the convention or covenant under which victims of internal disturbances are entitled to `reparation`?

AIMMM`s Views on Communal Violence Bill

I - Letter to Shivraj Patil, HM, 20 February, 2006

Having discussed the Communal Violence Bill, 2005 at several forums with many knowledgeable and thoughtful persons, we have the honour to submit the attached list of Amendments for your kind consideration. This letter is to explain the major points of departure from the official draft.

I – The legislation should apply not only to Communal Violence but in accordance with the Congress Manifesto of 2004 to Social or Group Violence in all its forms and manifestations which is indeed reflected in many parts of the Bill. The word `communal` in the Indian context has come to mean Hindu-Muslim violence. But there is need to treat all inter-group violence equally and uniformly.  Above all, this will reduce the communal bias in the magistracy and the police force by developing common standards for and uniform approach towards dealing with inter-group or social violence.

II – Joint Responsibility of the Centre and of the States to Curb Group or Social Violence: Both the Central and State Governments in our constitutional system constitute the State and in view of the human as well as international implications of group violence, the Centre has to and does monitor such situation closely. A socially and politically impartial administration will anticipate the eruption of violence and take necessary measures to prevent it. If violence does break out, it should be able to control it with 3 days. If it does not, the State Government should declare the district, or part thereof, as `Disturbed Area` and change the DM and the SP and appoint senior and experienced officers to take their place (and even change the officers-in-charge of the affected Thanas). If the new team fails to restore peace and normalcy within 7 days, the Central Government should immediately issue special directions under Article 355 to the State Government and offer central paramilitary forces.  If the State Government fails to normalize the situation and violence continues and even spreads to adjacent areas, the Central Government should issue a Proclamation and effectively take over the administration of the disturbed area under Article 352 and appoint a Special Commissioner.  All this falls within the four walls of the Constitution. To curb violence and anarchy and to protect life, honour and property of the citizens is the raison d`etre of the State and neither the Central nor the State Governments, whatever their political compulsion, should hesitate to act. This legislation should mandate them to take action, irrespective of political complexion of the Central and State Governments.

III - Impunity: No one, public servant (or political worker) should enjoy any impunity. Therefore,  the requirement of prior permission of the government for their prosecution should be dropped to make them accountable for loss of life, property and honour.

IV - Compensation for Loss of Life, Limb, Honour and Property: Compensation should be delinked from the progress of prosecution and accepted as a duty of the State.

The compensation should be uniform throughout the country. 

In the case of property, it should be based on replacement value or restoration cost. 

The ex-gratia payable to a family all of whose members have been killed should be paid to the voluntary organization engaged in large-scale relief and rehabilitation for their community or locality, e.g., for construction of housing colonies and infrastructure like schools and for establishment of orphanage. 

Ex-gratia should be payable in respect of those reported to be killed but whose bodies have not been found and, therefore, not subjected to post-mortem, after due inquiry for 3 months, on the strength of an indemnity bond by the claimant. 

For each disturbed area, the Government should appoint a Claim Commissioner to receive claims and to make awards in accordance with National/State Guidelines.

V – Question of Punishment:  Group Violence is motivated by hatred and revenge. Therefore, scheduled violence should be defined as an offence punishable under the IPC and other relevant laws motivated by hatred and revenge. This will provide the legal justification, as in USA, for the imposition of higher punishment.

VI –  Some Lacunae in the Bill

1.     The Bill is silent on Commission of Inquiry. An inquiry should be instituted wherever there is substantial loss of life and property.  However, prosecution should proceed in the normal course and the fact of an Inquiry should not be treated as a reason for deferring or slowing prosecution.

2.     Imposition of Punitive Fines - In addition, the imposition of punitive fine in the disturbed area may be considered whose quantum should be such that fine on the members of one side should equal the compensation paid to the other side and vice versa. 

            The former Prime Minister Late Morarji Desai once told me that this will immunize the area against future violence. 

3.     Videography of Speeches and Processions as well as Mob Attacks: Police should be equipped to videograph any situation likely to be provocative or cause disturbance.

4.     Rehabilitation should mean return of the displaced persons in security and dignity to their homes, to cultivate their land or run their business, as the case may be.

5.     Duties of District Administration during the build up of Tension should be laid down clearly:

a)     To identify the focii of potential conflict within the district in advance.

b)     To endeavour seriously to resolve the conflict of interest and to reconcile opposing interests.

c)     To detain persons and leaders of organizations engaged in rumour mongering, publishing baseless and exaggerated reports in the press or distributing offensive literature, inciting people through provocative or inflammatory statements or speeches, collecting and distributing arms, preparatory to the eruption of violence.

d)     To adopt the principle of composite posting of police personnel in all sensitive Thanas.

e)     To introduce a programme of refresher courses for the training of police personnel in sensitive districts so as to inculcate professionalism so that in any situation, they perform their duty, irrespective of the religion, caste, language or domicile of the hostile groups and do not apply the law selectively.

For your information, I attach a copy of the relevant portion of the recent UK Law on Racial and Religious Hatred which defines Religious Hatred and Acts intended to blow up Religious Hatred.

Need for Consultation among Eminent Muslims

Letter to Muslim Eminent Personalities, 1 Mar., 06

The AIMMM has written a detailed letter to the Home Minister as well as proposed Amendments to the draft Communal Violence Bill, 2005. Copy of the letter is attached.

The AIMMM Delegation also called on the Home Minister and told him that the draft is partly counter-productive and also inadequate to meet the real situation.

Several other organizations, particularly the All India Milli Council and the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, Mumbai, have submitted their proposals.

Eminent individuals including Mr. Justice A.M. Ahmadi, former Chief Justice of India have submitted their views to the Prime Minister and the Home Minister. Some have expressed them publicly at public meetings as well as at the Seminars conveyed the Home Minister. The Bill is before the Parliamentary Standing Committee which shall have before it, (according to the Home Minister), a summary of the views expressed at the Seminars and posted on its web-site. The Committee also has the authority to record public evidence.

The Home Minister is committed to the Bill as it stands and is not inclined to accept any suggestions for amending it on the plea that if delayed, it may be indefinitely postponed. We do not agree that an improper and inadequate law should be enacted. We have no dearth of laws. If the governments have the political will and tighten their control of the bureaucracy and the police, the communal incidents can be controlled. So a new law is not urgently needed, if it does not close the existing gaps, political and administrative.

Those of us who feel concerned have to brief the members of the Standing Committee. A list is attached.

It is, therefore, suggested that we meet to finalize our joint recommendations and then meet the members of the Standing Committee in an organized and systematic manner and brief them on essential desirable changes in the Bill, if it is to serve any purpose.

We have to give priority to this collective endeavour because the Government is anxious to have it cleared by the Standing Committee and bring it to the Rajya Sabha/Lok Sabha for discussion during the Budget Session.

I request you for your urgent response. If agreed, we may request Mr. Justice Ahmadi to convene such a meeting of concerned organizations and individuals who have submitted their views to the Government.

Plea for Wider Public Consultation

I - Letter to Smt. Sushma Swaraj, 14 March, 2006

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, under your distinguished Chairpersonship, is engaged in considering the Communal Violence (Prevention, Control and Rehabilitation of Victims) Bill, 2005.

The Bill has become the subject of a number of national Seminars organized by the Ministry of Home Affairs. Also at the invitation of the Hon’ble Minister of Home Affairs, several distinguished persons and national organizations have submitted their comments and their suggestions to the Hon’ble Minister for amendment. Among them are, the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM), the All India Milli Council, the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, the Minorities Council, the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind and perhaps the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind.

I am attaching a copy of our letter addressed to the Hon’ble Minister for your information.

We would like to know whether all the comments and suggestions, either in writing or through the internet, have been conveyed by the Ministry of Home Affairs to your Committee.

We know that the time at the disposal of the Committee is limited but we feel that in view of the long-term importance of this Bill the examination should not be hurried. We suggest that the Committee may either invite the public in general to send their comments to it or at least invite the organizations, which express such a desire, to give evidence before the Hon’ble Committee.

If possible, the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat would like to have an opportunity to place its views on the Bill before the Hon’ble Committee.

II - Letter to M/Minority Affairs, 17 March, 2006

As you are aware, the Government Bill on Communal Violence, introduced in the Rajya Sabha on 5 December, 2005 is now with the Standing Committee on Home Affairs.

Several groups and organizations have examined the Bill and eminent persons have expressed their views in the Seminars organized by the Government as well as by NGOs and have concluded that the Bill, in its present form, is full of flaws and inadequate to meet its objective and may even be counter-productive.

I know Justice Ahmadi, Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer and Prof. Iqbal A. Ansari have conveyed their views to the Prime Minister and the Home Minister. So have the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat and the All India Milli Council.

I attach a copy of my letter to the Home Minister for your information.

The problem is that the Home Minister is anxious to push it through the Standing Committee as it is.

We feel that the Bill needs much improvement and even conceptual reformulation and there should be no haste in legislating an imperfect and even to some extent counter-productive Bill.

I request you to take up the matter with your colleague and convince him that there is no point in pushing through a law merely to fulfill an electoral promise which would not satisfy the target community and the secular forces.

I also request you to convene a meeting of the Muslim organizations and leaders who have submitted their recommendations for reconciling their views and for presenting the Home Ministry and the Standing Committee universally agreed suggestions. Perhaps this can be done under the auspices of the National Commission for Minorities which had at one stage held a preliminary discussion when the Bill was under preparation.


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