RSS & 26/11: The book released in Mumbai too

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 31 December 2010 | Posted in , , ,

IMO News Service

The book 26/11 RSS ki Sazish by chief editor of Sahara Urdu daily Aziz Burney, which sparked off a new debate in the country regarding any potential role of RSS behind one of the most horrendous terrorist attacks in the country on 26th November 2008, has been released in Islamic Gymkhana on 30th December in a sequel to its first release in New Delhi on the 19th anniversary of Babri Masjid demolition. The Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh who released it in the national capital has once again graced the release function in that capacity. The other eminent personalities of the function were the author of “Who killed Karkare?” former Maharashtra IGP S.M Mushrif, film director Mahesh Bhatt, Samajwadi Party leader Abu Asim Azmi, local Congress MLA Kripa Shankar Singh, Jamiat leader Mahmood Madni and others.

Although his tone in lambasting RSS and its ideology remained unwaivering, however, the content of his justifications for considering the Hindutva movement responsible for the rise of terrorism has changed a great deal, perhaps due to strong reactions of the RSS and BJP leadership on his controversial statement that he talked to the former ATS chief of Mumbai Hemant Karkare just two hours before his mysterious death amidst 26/11 terrorist attack chaos in which he quoted the slain officer saying his life was blighted by constant threats from unknown persons.

Digvijay Singh elaborated upon his contention that the RSS-BJP circles support radical Hindu groups as illustrated by the fact that they have questioned the integrity of Karkare, pleaded for accused in terrorist cases and found giving shelter to rightist terror strikers, even he charged that Sunil Joshi was murdered because he could have named those who commanded ‘saffron terrorism’ to be perpetrated in the country.

Political parties react to 'Jammu discrimination’, Chief Minister on rotational basis?

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

By Bashir Assad

Jammu: Reacting to the voices being raised within Congress Party over the issue of regional discrimination meted out to Jammu region, the political parties in Jammu and Kashmir December 29, 2010 shared their opinion exclusively with Greater Jammu.

National Conference termed the allegations as baseless; BJP endorsed the views of senior Congress leaders Pandit Mangat Ram Sharma and Sham Lal; and JKNPP termed it as shedding crocodile tears.

Senior National Conference leader and Member Parliament said that the allegations of discrimination meted out to Jammu division were baseless and that there are some sectors wherein Jammu gets lion’s share and vice versa taking into account the potentiality of the region.

“The issue of discrimination was raised during Sheikh Sahib’s time also. Sheikh Sahib constituted Sikry Commission to unveil the truth. The commission submitted its report wherein it was denied that the region was ever been discriminated,” said Muhammad Shafi Uri adding that there are, of course some areas of development where Jammu gets lion's share as compared to Kashmir and vice versa depending upon the potentiality in the given sector. Referring to hydroelectric sector and industrial sector, Shafi said, “These are the sectors were Jammu division that get most of the allocations whereas Kashmir gets lion's share in tourism and allied sectors”. As for the centrally sponsored schemes, allocations are made strictly in accordance to the guide lines of the Centre so the question of discrimination does not arise.

On BJP’s demand for abrogation of Article 370 of Indian Constitution, Shafi said that the act was enacted with the full consent of Sardar Patel whom the BJP considers their ideologue and Shama Prasad Mukherjie never opposed the incorporation of Article 370. Shafi said that the Constitution of India came into force on the 26th January 1950 and Article 370 was to cover the case of Kashmir alone.

“In view of the special problem with which the Jammu and Kashmir government is faced, we have made special provisions for the continuance of the state with the Union on the existing basis,” Shafi quoted Sardar Patel as having declared. “The ‘existing basis ‘were the basis of instrument of accession’ and the special provisions were embodied in Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.

While commenting on hue and cry raised by Congress leaders over “discrimination issue” Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party chief, Professor Bhim Singh termed it a rhetoric and political gimmick to hoodwink the people. “They are the real culprits who are responsible for the mess in Jammu and Kashmir. This Congress and these leaders opposed the delimitation tooth and nail, now they are shedding crocodile tears for electoral politics,” Bhim Singh said, adding that Congress and National Conference are two faces of same coin. “Girdari Lal Dogra remained finance minister for 23 years, he was the face of Congress in the state, what did he do for removing disparity, actually NC and Congress are exploiting the people from last six years and if the people of the state has to chose between progress, prosperity and exploitation politics of National Conference and Congress.

On demand for Chief Minister on rotational basis, Bhim Singh said that it was no solution to the problem, solution lies in reorganization of the state. “Let's have separate assemblies for Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh under a true federal system by amending the Article 370 of the Constitution. Our demand for reorganization fulfills the constitutional requirements. NPP supremo said, adding that National Conference and Congress have brought the two regions head-on when the fact remains that people of both the regions are being discriminated by the politicians. “68% people in Kashmir are still illiterate and in Jammu it is 65%, where the amount has gone and where it has been spent. They have polarized the state, both regions are suffering. Why should Kashmiris raise fingers on Jammuities and vice versa, let's give them political and economic independence without disturbing the structural sovereignty of the state, let's have separate assemblies for all the three regions without going for the actual division of the state, Singh said. By political independence, I mean nip the evil (NC and Congress) in the bud, throw them out and free the state from their possession, added Bhim Singh. “National Conference had started war against Dogra rule in 1931 and Congress has been instrumental in suppression of legitimate concerns of the people of Jammu. Independent analysis of the happenings of past 60 years will definitely establish that Congress and NC are responsible for corruption and terrorism, added JKNPP Chief. He said that there are fourth schools of thought in Jammu and Kashmir, one for secession, another for division, third one for autonomy and fourth for self rule, they have nothing in common, they are contending thoughts, re-organization of the state is the only mechanism that bridges the all and advocates unity in diversity.

Professor Chaman Lal Gupta, senior BJP leader and former union minister in his reaction to the views expressed in Congress rally December 28, 2010 said that good sense has prevailed on Pandit Ji and Sham Lal. “As they are sharing power with National Conference, they should see to it that it is done away with.

Yes, we will be happy if some one from Jammu region replaces Omar Abdullah under power sharing agreement, nothing like that because Jammu is as important as Kashmir so there should be Chief Minister from Jammu also. Gajander Commission has recommended that chief minister and deputy chief ministers posts should rotate, so it is welcome if Congress presses for chief ministership for Jammu.

[Bashir Assad is a senior Journalist based in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir. He is now Bureau Chief (J&K) of IndianMuslimObserver.com. He can be contacted at bashirassad@rediffmail.com]

Mecca’s questionable makeover

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

By Nicoli Ouroussoff for The New York Times

Just south of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, the Muslim world’s holiest site, a kitsch rendition of London’s Big Ben is nearing completion. Called the Royal Mecca Clock Tower, it will be one of the tallest buildings in the world, the centrepiece of a complex that is housing a gargantuan shopping mall, an 800-room hotel and a prayer hall for several thousand people. To make room for it, the Saudi government bulldozed an 18th-century Ottoman fortress and the hill it stood on. The tower is just one of many construction projects in the very centre of Mecca, from train lines to numerous luxury high-rises and hotels and a huge expansion of the Grand Mosque.

The historic core of Mecca is being reshaped in ways that many here find appalling, sparking unusually heated criticism of the authoritarian Saudi government. “It is the commercialisation of the house of God,” said Sami Angawi, a Saudi architect who founded a research centre that studies urban planning issues surrounding the Haj, or pilgrimage to Mecca. “The closer to the mosque, the more expensive the apartments. In the most expensive towers, you can pay millions” for a 25-year leasing agreement, he said. “If you can see the mosque, you pay triple.” Saudi officials say that the construction boom — and the demolition that comes with it — is necessary to accommodate the ever-growing numbers of people who make the pilgrimage to Mecca, a figure that has risen to almost three million this past year.

Architects, preservationists and even some government officials believe the real motive behind these plans is money: the desire to profit from some of the most valuable real estate in the world. That mentality is dividing the holy city of Mecca along highly visible class lines, with the rich sealed inside exclusive air-conditioned high-rises encircling the Grand Mosque and the poor pushed to the periphery. There was a time when the Saudi government’s urban planning efforts, especially around Mecca, did not seem so callous.

In the 1970s, skyrocketing oil prices unleashed a wave of national modernisation programs, including a large-scale effort to accommodate those performing the Haj. The projects involved some of the world’s great architectural talents, many of whom were encouraged to experiment with a freedom they were not finding in the West. The best of their works — modern yet sensitive to local environment and traditions — challenge the assumption that modernist architecture, as practiced in the developing world, was nothing more than a crude expression of the West’s quest for cultural dominance. These include the German architect Frei Otto’s remarkable tent cities from the late 1970s, made up of collapsible lightweight structures inspired by the traditions of nomadic Bedouin tribes and intended to accommodate Haj pilgrims without damaging the delicate ecology of the hills that surround the old city.

The current plans, by contrast, can read like historical parody. Along with the giant Big Ben, there are many other overscale developments in various mock-Islamic styles. But the Vegas-like aura of these projects can deflect attention from the real crime: the way the developments are deforming what by all accounts was a fairly diverse and unstratified city. The Mecca Clock Tower will be surrounded by luxury high-rises, each designed in a similar Westminster-meets-Wall Street style and sitting on a mall that is meant to evoke traditional souks. They form a postmodern pastiche that means to evoke the differences of a real city but will do little to mask the project’s mind-numbing homogeneity. Like the luxury boxes that encircle most sports stadiums, the apartments will allow the wealthy to peer directly down at the main event from the comfort of their suites without having to mix with the ordinary rabble below. At the same time, the scale of development has pushed middle-class and poor residents further and further from the city centre. “I don’t know where they go,” Angawi said. “To the outskirts of Mecca, or they come to Jidda. Mecca is being cleansed of Meccans.” The changes are likely to have as much of an effect on the spiritual character of the Grand Mosque as on Mecca’s urban fabric.

Many people told me that the intensity of the experience of standing in the mosque’s courtyard has a lot to do with its relationship to the surrounding mountains. Most of these represent sacred sites in their own right and their looming presence imbues the space with a powerful sense of intimacy. The issue is not just run-of-the-mill class conflict. The city’s makeover also reflects a split between those who champion turbocharged capitalism and those who think it should stop at the gates of Mecca, which they see as the embodiment of an Islamic ideal of egalitarianism. “We don’t want to bring New York to Mecca,” Angawi said. “The Haj was always supposed to be a time when everyone is the same. There are no classes, no nationalities. It is the one place where we find balance. ” The government, however, seems unmoved by such sentiments. When I mentioned Angawi’s observations at the end of a long conversation with Prince Sultan, the minister of tourism and antiquities, he simply frowned. “When I am in Mecca and go around the kaaba, I don’t look up.”

Nobel laureate Venki refused to meet Modi?

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

Bharat Yagnik (TNN)

AHMEDABAD: One person who was 'missing' during the two-day visit of Nobel laureate Venkatraman 'Venki' Ramakrishnan to Vadodara, the city of his alma mater, was CM Narendra Modi.

Sources told TOI that efforts had been made to get Venki to meet Modi in Gandhinagar or Vadodara, but he is said to have refused apparently because of the CM's tarnished image due to the 2002 riots.

According to sources, "Efforts had been made by the state education department and the chief minister's office to arrange a meeting between the two, for 30 minutes or so, but it did not materialize because Venki did not agree."

Uddhav Thackeray's PA booked for Pune violence

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in ,

Pune: Two days after a Shiv Sena-called shutdown evoked some violence and a partial response in this Maharashtra city, a compliant was lodged on Thursday (December 30, 2010) against two of the party's leaders for hatching a conspiracy to create law and order problems, police said. Milind Narvekar, personal assistant of Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray, and legislative council member Neelam Gorhe have been named in the first information report (FIR) registered against them.

The shutdown was called on Tuesday to protest the removal of a statue of Dadoji Konddev, Shivaji's teacher.

Party activists had torched 13 buses and disrupted traffic on the Mumbai-Pune highway. Some activists were also detained in Lonavala for stopping two trains.

Police booked Narvekar and Gorhe after tapping their phone conversations.

"The tapped conversation showed that the two had spoken about creating a law and order problem in the city Tuesday," Joint Commissioner of Police Ashok Dhivre said.

Both Narvekar and Gorhe remained unavailable for comments despite repeated attempts.

Last week, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)-controlled Pune Municipal Corporation passed a resolution to remove Konddev's statue from the historical Lal Mahal, which is the memorial to Shivaji's mother Jijabai.

The statue was removed at 2am on Monday. Angry Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena corporators later ransacked the civic hall.

(Courtesy: IANS, December 30, 2010)

Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind to back Sunni Central Wakf Board on Ayodhya judgement

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in ,

IMO News Service

The national executive of the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind (JUH) on December 30, 2010, unanimously resolved to offer support to the Sunni Central Wakf Board in fighting the Ayodhya case. The Wakf Board has already moved the Supreme Court against the Allahabad High Court's judgment in the title suits.

This is significant in view of the divergent opinions expressed after the verdict by Maulana Mehmood Madani, a key member of JUH. Mr. Madani, who has since taken over as its general secretary, had advised the Muslim community to accept the court verdict and draw up a settlement with the Hindu parties to the dispute. A JUH spokesperson said the organisation's decision to back the Wakf Board was taken after assessing the report of an expert committee, which was in turn advised by a panel of lawyers.

Grameen Foundation, Grameen Capital India and Grameen-Jameel to jointly address funding constraints to Indian microfinance institutions

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 30 December 2010 | Posted in ,

IMO News Service

Grameen Foundation and its affiliates, Grameen Capital India and Grameen-Jameel Microfinance Ltd., on December 29, 2010, announced a new initiative to address the liquidity needs of Indian microfinance institutions (MFIs) that demonstrate a double-bottom-line focus on social and financial returns.

Local bank financing has shrunk throughout India in the wake of events in Andhra Pradesh over the past three months, and this initiative seeks to reignite banks’ interest in funding this sector.

Socially-oriented microfinance has been a core focus of the work of all three Grameen organizations. The group will make available $8 million in guarantee funds that it expects to generate a minimum of $16 million in local-currency financing to poverty-focused MFIs from local banks.

The guarantee funds, which will be made available to MFIs to the extent allowed by applicable law, will comprise $4 million in guarantees each from Grameen Foundation and Grameen-Jameel, and will be facilitated by Mumbai-based Grameen Capital India.

“Microfinance institutions have a responsibility to demonstrate clearly that they are reaching the poorest people and that these borrowers are moving out of poverty,” said Alex Counts, president and CEO of Grameen Foundation. “This initiative will focus on Indian institutions that have a history of accountability, transparency and results related to achieving poverty reduction outcomes. Microfinance, when applying best practices and sound ethics, can be a powerful tool in the fight against poverty. We are continuing our long-standing support for ethical, best practice microfinance institutions and hope that others will join us and ensure liquidity for the sector.”

“Recent events in Andhra Pradesh have sparked a broader liquidity-squeeze across the country, with funding all but drying up, especially when it comes to the smaller MFIs,” said Royston Braganza, CEO of Grameen Capital India. “We want to help ease the capital constraints by providing vital support through this facility to all MFIs that meet clear financial and social criteria.”

To be eligible for consideration, MFIs must have completed a social-rating or impact –assessment report, using recognized industry guidelines, in the past year. Alternatively, they must be actively using a recognized social-performance measurement tool, such as the Progress out of Poverty Index™.

“For microfinance to remain true to its original mission of helping the poor, it is important that microfinance institutions that demonstrably support this mission get the funding they need,” said Julia Assaad, general manager of Dubai-based Grameen-Jameel Microfinance Ltd. “Through this initiative, we want show that microfinance institutions can be financially healthy without straying from their core social principles.”

About Grameen Foundation

Grameen Foundation, a global nonprofit organization, helps the world's poorest people lift themselves out of poverty by providing financing, technology support and management strategies to the local organizations that serve them. It also spearheads technology initiatives that create new microbusiness opportunities for the poor and improve the poor's access to health, agricultural and financial information and other services. Founded in 1997, Grameen Foundation has offices in Washington, DC; Seattle, WA; Colombia; Ghana; Hong Kong; the Philippines; and Uganda. Microfinance pioneer Dr. Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank and winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, is a founding member of its Board of Directors, and now serves as director emeritus.

About Grameen Capital India

Grameen Capital India enables microfinance institutions (MFIs) to raise low-cost on-lending funds, by providing wider access to the capital markets, primarily domestic, through innovative debt and equity solutions, credit enhancement and capital advisory services. Grameen Capital also actively serves other social enterprises focused on the Base-of-the-Pyramid segment. Grameen Capital India is a collaboration between Grameen Foundation, IFMR Trust and Citicorp Finance India Limited.

About Grameen-Jameel Microfinance Ltd.

Grameen-Jameel was established in 2003 and incorporated in 2007 as a joint venture between Grameen Foundation and ALJ Foundation, a subsidiary of Abdul Latif Jameel Group. The company is the first social business in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), focusing to alleviate poverty in the region through forming strategic partnerships with microfinance institutions (MFI) by providing financial support and technical assistance to help scale the microfinance sector. As of 2010, Grameen-Jameel has facilitated financing amounting to over USD 52 million reaching more than 600,000 microfinance clients through its MFI partners in 9 countries in the MENA region and intends to extend the support to Microfinance institutions in other countries worldwide.

[This news is based on a Press Release sent to IndianMuslimObserver.com on December 29, 2010]

SBF holds two days workshop in Assam

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

By Asadullah Khan

Tezpur, Assam: The Society for Bright Future (SBF) a part of Vision 2016 and a national NGO looking after disaster management organized a state level two days Workshop on Disaster Management for Volunteers at An Noor Model School, Tezpur, Assam on 27th and 28th December 2010.Mr. Aquil Ahmed, co-ordinator of SBF introduced the SBF and said that this NGO came into establishment to look after the disaster management in India. He also highlighted the work of Vision 2016 and Society for Bright Future.

Dr. Dewan Nazrul Qadir, Regional Coordinator, Vision-2016 said that the North Eastern states of India are very sensitive and vulnerable to many types of disasters like flood and earthquake, and it is therefore quite essential to have a volunteer group to work at the time of disaster.

On behalf of Civil Defance Department, Tezpur Mr Upen Ch. Kalita, Mr. Pathak and Mr. Gautam Sarma participated in the workshop and trained the volunteers with practical training and demonstration of different methods of Disaster Management.

The programme was attended by 65 volunteers hailed from different places of Assam. The workshop was presided by Maulana Shams Ahmed, President, Assam Falah Society. Amongst the other prominent personalities Maulana Kefayat Ullah, Mr. Asis Hussain, Mr. Abdur Rouf attended the programme. The Programme was concluded with the concluding speech and Dua of Maulana Kefayat Ullah.

[Asadullah Khan is a writer and social activist. He can be reached at asadullah_khan2001@yahoo.com]

Hindu Mahasabha makes extra din on Islamic listing on BSE

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in ,

IMO News Service

While Hindu Mahasabha opposes Islamic listing of companies in the Indian share market, Muslim traders in India have welcomed a new share index of companies based on Islamic principles of business. The Mahasabha fears Islamization of the country as a result of the decision of the BSE.

The Bombay Stock Exchange launched the index of sharia-compliant firms on 26th December to open stock-trading to more Muslims.

The firms have all been screened by TASIS - a Muslim finance company based in Mumbai.

TASIS Director Shariq Nisar says the index will give greater investment opportunities to India's 160 million Muslims.

"There's no option other than the stock market to go to because banking is not permitted at the moment," he said.

"So considering this financial inclusion aspect and opportunities for investment, we came up with this index, which we hope can provide a lot of investment options for Muslims, and it will help financial inclusion of the community as well."

Muslims arrested in false cases of bomb blasts should be released, urge Muslim Ulema, intellectuals, activists to Maharashtra CM

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

IMO News Service

A delegation of Ulama, Muslim intellectuals and political activists met the Chief Minister of Maharashtra Prithivi Raj Chavan and pleaded that those arrested in various cases of bomb blasts in the state should be either released on bail a fast tract court should dispose off the concerning cases. 

The delegation was led by Abu Asim Azmi, the state president of Samajwadi Party and comprised Maulana Sayed Athar Ali, Maulana Abdus Salam Khan Qasmi, Maulana Ashrafi, Maulana Aizaz Kashmiri, Farid Khan of Qaumi Majlis-Shura, Rais Shaikh and others.

The delegation said that 43 Muslim youths have been arrested by the state police for 2006 bomb blast in a Muslim graveyard of Malegaon, bomb blasts in Mumbai local trains and weapon seizer case of Aurangabad and since there arrest long back, no hearing has been taken up in the court.

The delegation reminded the Congress leader and Maharashtra CM that two of his party’s national leaders Digvijay Singh and Rahul Gandhi have also raised the point that some Hindu radical groups have been found behind such events in various parts of the country.

The delegation was of the opinion that keeping people behind the bar for indefinite time without initiating a due process of law is a denial of their constitutional rights. Members of the delegation brought to the notice of several facts showing innocence of several youths facing the uncalled for ordeal.

Indian Mujahidin is the creation of Congress and IB: Ilyas Azmi

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

IMO News Service

Lucknow: While addressing a press conference o the eve of Samaji Insaaf Conference, Former Member Parliament Ilyas Azmi said that the hoax of Indian Mujahidin has been created by the Congress and Intelligence Bureau intended to harass educated Muslim youth. 

Speaking form the platform of Jan Sangharsh Morcha, he commented that the Congress is taking revenge from people of Azamgarh who did not voted the Congress to win local seat since 1962 except once in 1971.

Former IPS officer and ex-vice chancellor of Agra University Manzoor Ahmad has also addressed the media persons raised doubts about any existence of any terrorist group as Indian Mujahidin.

It was informed that a conference of will be organized this and other issues on 3rd January in Gandhi Bhawan auditorium jointly by several political parties of the state such as Jan Sangharsh Morcha, Loktntrik Samajwadi Party, National Communist Party, Krantikari Samta Party, Shoshit Samaj Dal, PDF, Samaji Insaaf Party, etc.

OPINION: The Purpose(lessness) Of History

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 29 December 2010 | Posted in , , ,

By Dr. Wasim Ahmad

History is one of the three sources of knowledge according to Qur’an. Qur’an recalls the landmark events of the past and does so for specific purposes. This is why we notice that it mostly omits the names of persons and does not mention the exact year and time etc. It does not mention unnecessary details. From the temporal (related to time) and spacial (related to space) it extracts what is atemporal and aspacial, not confined to both. This style of Qur’an teaches us a lesson i.e. what should be the focus while studying and narrating history. We get lost in the details of history focusing on the names of persons, places and dates etc. We go into such minute details of the past that the present escapes us. If we teach history with the Qur’anic outlook we will learn the right lessons from the right (or factually correct) stories and will not repeat the same mistakes which is the sole purpose of learning history.

For example, those occasions and events in history which caused division among Muslims should serve as a warning against division and (if rightly understood) should not further divide the Muslims. But this is precisely what those events do – defeating the very purpose of history. There are signposts in history which warn in big red letters not to go in a certain direction. But we make sure that we certainly move in that very direction. We remember the minute details of a historical event but forget the very lesson that we were supposed to learn from it. It is like reading “Deep Excavations Ahead” and falling blindly precisely in the same excavations.

We have a good number of experts in history in our Institutions. With such a big number of them we should have been in a much better shape. Imagine the same number of people constantly showing us mirrors. Because it hasn’t happened as desired we have been constantly cleaning the mirror (the RSS-VHP-BJP et cetera). We should have obtained a wealth of knowledge about the reasons for the rise and fall of nations and those reasons should have been popularized among ALL. By now all of us must have known quite clearly about the signposts, detours and the red lights. We cannot remove or put any new signposts in history. We cannot change a single name nor can we relocate an event. We have no control upon that. Therefore, what we have no control upon (the past) should not consume our time so much that we ignore what is present.

We have experts of history in its various periods which we have very clearly defined and identified. This is a very good work. But we remain in those periods the entire life. Is this the purpose of history – to remain glued to the past? When will we come back to the present after learning from history? If anyone argues that we don’t remain in any given period forever and it is false to assume so then I will ask where is the impact in the present, then? “Darakht apnay phal se pahchaana jaata hai” we have heard from our elders. We need to revisit the purpose of studying history and convince ourselves to MOVE ON after learning a few lessons from it. Not focusing on the real purpose of history, however, we notice what Anwar Mas‘ood has aptly described about the excavations on the ruins of Mohenjo-Daro:

‘ibrat ki ik chhataa(n)k baraamad na ho saki
culture nikal paraa hai manou(n) ke hisaab se

We have a knack for beating about the bush and remaining away from the crux of it. This is why I argue that we do not have the Book in our Right Hand. Those who teach this Book they, too, mean the same thing from the ‘minority’, for instance, as those who do not (claim to) hold that Book in their Right Hand. Let us learn the teaching and learning methodology from this Book. This will be the only Criterion (al-Furqaan) to know what are the issues and which are the non-issues. When we focus on the non-issues ignoring the issues (there is no other way to focus on the non-issues) then I wonder what is happening. The Book, however, will make us pause about our well established pre-conceived notions and (mis)conceptions. It might give a different meaning to things. It might help us look for a clear purpose behind everything – including history.

[Dr. Wasim Ahmad is Department Head of Islamic Studies, Preston University, Ajman, UAE. He can be contacted at malikwasimahmad@gmail.com or +971505363235]

63rd Int’l Tablighi Ijtima concludes seeking blessings for World Peace & Unity

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

By Pervez Bari

Bhopal: The three-day 63rd edition of “Aalami Tablighi Ijtima” (World Preachers’ Congregation) came to conclusion on Monday afternoon after the mass “Dua” (seeking blessings from the Almighty) with several lakhs of Muslims participating in it from all corners of the world.

The venue of the Ijtima on the outskirts of Bhopal at Ghasipura in Eintkhedi village in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, reverberated with “Ameen” (Amen) continuously during the 40 minutes of the “Dua”. Maulana Sa’ad-ul-Hasan of Nizamuddin Markaz (headquarters), New Delhi, who conducted the “Dua” in a mixture of Arabic, Urdu and Hindi languages, repeatedly pleaded to the Almighty Allah for the Muslim Ummah and humanity at large, which has gone astray, for forgiveness, mercy and guidance. The Maulana urged the Almighty Allah to grant peace and tranquility to humanity in this world and Hereafter. He sought divine blessings for peace, progress and unity of Muslim Ummah and mankind at large.

Squatting on the ground many of the devotees were seen sobbing inconsolably while tears rolled down the cheeks of others during the “Dua” as they chanted “Ameen” in unison after Maulana Sa’ad’s each pleadings while remembering the sins they had committed in their lives by violating His Commandments.

An aura of spirituality prevailed all along the three day Ijtima which reached its peak with mass “Dua” and thereafter devout Muslims in about 750 Jama’ats (groups of 10-15 people) fanned out to the length and breadth of the whole world to spread the message of Islam and the way of life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to their co-religionist and exhort them to follow the tenets of Islam in letter and spirit. The devotees were urged to mend their own ways in order to lead by example when they ask their co-religionist to join them in their task of spreading the message of Islam. Out of 750 Jama’ats people in 110 Jama’ats enrolled their names in the path of Allah for three “Chillas” (120 days i.e. four months) while the rest for one “Chilla” to persuade their Muslim brethren to strike a perfect balance between materialism and spirituality in their lives.

It may be pointed out here that a “Chilla” is of 40 days which has great significance as in the development of a child in a woman’s womb changes in the embryo takes place every 40 days till the fully-developed baby is finally born after 9 months of conception. So, inculcating good habits and discarding vices, a practice of minimum 40 days or maximum 120, a multiple of 40, helps man to overcome the shortcomings and become obedient to Almighty Allah. The Jama’ats would sermonize their co-religionists in cities and villages to lead a life as ordained by Allah. They would ask them to follow the five basic tenets of Islam in the true sense of the word.

A special feature of the Ijtima was special arrangements made for deaf and dumb people where 200 of them from all over the country came in Jamaats and are housed separately. The sermons from the main “pandal” were translated to them in sign language.

The walled city wore a deserted look in the morning as local people, who could not spare three days for the Ijtima, made a beeline for Ghasipura in Eintkhedi village to participate in the “Dua”. A sea of humanity converged from all sides and assembled at the venue to have their share of blessings.

It will not be out of place to mention here that in the time of degradation of moral values and all round decay in society the Tablighi Jama’at movement seems to be the only hope to provide succour to the beleaguered humanity, which is in the throes of crisis of all types, to revive the ethos. The movement remains completely oblivious of the happenings in today’s world and stresses on the Oneness of the Almighty while striking a perfect balance between spirituality and materialism with accountability Hereafter. The over stress on materialism is the main cause of all ills pervading the society in today’s world.

Meanwhile, the Indian Railways had also opened reservation counter and arranged extra bogeys in various trains from 27 to 29 December for the Jama’ats, At the Ijtema site medical camps and fire brigade have also been established to meet any emergency there.

Police made special security arrangements for providing safety and security to the Ijtema participants and SAF, RAF and GRP and other companies of armed forces were deployed at the Ijtema site, Railway Station and enroute to Ijtema to ensure peace and security. For security purposes, several watch towers, CCTV Cameras were also erected at various locations at the venue to ensure basic facilities and amenities for the participants.

Atiq-ul-Islam, spokesman and member of the organizing committee, lauded the facilities like water, medical, electricity and security provided by the Madhya Pradesh government during the Ijtima. He has thanked Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, all the agencies including M.P. Govt., PHE, Bhopal Municipal Corporation, MPSRTC, Railways, MP Police, Traffic Police, Zila Panchayat and villagers around Ghasipura and Eintkhedi and others for extending their services to make the Ijtima successful.

Meanwhile, it may be mentioned here that Tablighi Jama’at (Society for spreading faith) is a transnational religious movement which was founded in 1926 by Muhammad Ilyas in India in the Mewat province. The movement primarily aims at Islamic spiritual reformation and awakening to the world Muslims by working at the grass roots level, reaching out to Muslims across all social and economic spectra to bring them closer to the practices of Prophet of Islam Muhammad (PBUH).

Tablighi Jama’at came forth as an offshoot of the Deobandi movement. Its inception is believed to be a response to Hindu revivalist movements, which were considered a threat to vulnerable and non-practicing Muslims. Tabligh Jama’at gradually expanded from local to national to a transnational movement and now has followers in over 150 countries.[4]

Professedly apolitical, this movement asks every Muslim to spend his/her time and money in evangelistic journeys. During these pilgrimages (Usually for a specified period such as 4 months, 40 (called “Chilla”), 10 or 3 days) members of each pilgrimage group (called Jama'ats) will learn the basic tenets of Islam from each other.

Apart from these, a list of desired qualities called “Chhe Number” (six points) are also studied. These are: 1. Belief in the Oneness of God: This is expanded to mean that only God can affect you in good or evil and that material things (Everything other than God) have no real power over you or the universe. It also has the adjunct of belief that the way of life shown by the Prophet Muhammad is the best way to salvation in this world and the Hereafter. 2. Perfection in Religious observances: Usually meaning Namaz (Salah or the daily 5 times prayer). Also interpreted to mean the common religious practices. 3. Acquiring Knowledge and Remembrance of God. 4. Good Behaviour towards Muslims, and Others. Includes respecting ones' elders and showing kindness to somebody younger. 5. Purity of Intention: Meaning that all actions should be solely for the pleasure of God and lastly, 6. Spending ones time and money in the "Path of God", supposedly to acquire these above 5 qualities.

Members of any given Jama'at usually hail from varied backgrounds. Each Jama'at is usually constituted in a village or town Masjid. They decide upon a route and time period of the Journey by Mash'wara or group counselling. Each Jama'at has 5 to 20 members with one leader or “Ameer” who is usually chosen by the members themselves before the actual journey. They usually camp in Masjids (Mosques) along the way, and preach to the people who attend the Mosque. During the day, members of the Jama'at roam the markets of the town or village they have camped in and exhort the people to lead a pure life and to refrain from evils such as alcoholic drinks.

[Pervez Bari is a Journalist based at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He can be contacted at pervezbari@eth.net]

Skeleton of official accountability in Jammu and Kashmir: SAC - headless, SHRC - toothless, SIC - body less

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in ,

By Bashir Assad

Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir coalition government led by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, for obvious reasons, is skeptical of making the three most important autonomous bodies functional.

The State Accountability Commission (SAC), the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC), the State Information Commission (SIC) are either headless or toothless or body less. The SAC and SHRC touted as backbone of official accountability are without heads for a pretty long time. Moreover the SHRC is functioning with only two members, even as the law provides for a five-member bench including the chairperson of the Commission. The posts of the members in this Commission are vacant for nearly four years.

Of late, according to reliable sources, the state government has prepared a panel of prominent judges of the state, the committee members have not yet been informed of any date for the proposed meeting. The panel includes the names of Justice Bashir-u-Din, Justice Bashir Khan, Justice O P Sharma, Justice S K Bhat and Justice Muzaffar Jan who is one of the two members in the State Accountability Commission.

“A serious exercise is underway and things are getting finalised at the Secretariat,” said a senior officer in the Law department. A panel of judges has been sent to the Chief Minister and Principal Secretary to the CM is likely to convene the meeting of the committee, which is authorised to recommend the final names to the Governor.

Though the constitution of the State Accountability Commission provides for appointment of either retired Chief Justice of the High Court or Supreme Court judge, the government for the sake of convenience of finding suitable persons within the state made an amendment two years ago wherein a retired judge of the High Court is the mandatory qualification for the post.

It merits a mention here that about 16 politicians, including two Congress ministers in the Omar Abdullah-led government and nine former ministers, are facing cases of corruption or misuse of power in Jammu and Kashmir's defunct State Accountability Commission (SAC).

However, they are yet to face the law as eight of them have obtained stay on proceedings from the High Court, while complaints against others are pending as the state Government has not been able to appoint the Chairman and the members of the commission, official sources said.
There are a total of eighteen complaints against them. Two complaints each have been registered before the commission against Public Health Engineering Minister Taj Mohiuddin, Education Minister Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed (both from Congress) and former Agriculture Minister and opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) leader Abdul Aziz Zargar, they said.
Other Congress politicians who have complaints pending against them include former Deputy Chief Minister Mangat Ram Sharma, his colleague in Mufti Mohammad Sayeed-led council of ministers Suman Lata Bhagat, former ministers Ramesh Kumar and Abdul Majid Wani, they said.

Among these leaders, only Wani is a member of the current Legislative Assembly. Congress Legislature Party leader in the state Assembly Chaudhry Mohammad Aslam is facing charges of encroaching over 50 hectares of state land in Surankote area of Poonch district, the sources said.
The other former ministers facing corruption charges in the SAC include PDP leaders Tariq Hamid Karra and Abdul Gaffar Sofi, who is a sitting MLA from Homshalibugh, they said.

Former ministers Hakim Mohammad Yasin and Sofi Ghulam Mohiuddin, both part of the erstwhile Peoples' Democratic Front (PDF), also face charges of corruption during their tenure as ministers in the PDP-Congress coalition government, the sources added.

The ruling National Conference has cases of corruption pending against a sitting MLA and a former MLA. Rachpal Singh, sitting MLA from Kalakote, is accused of sheltering criminals involved in a theft case, while Ghulam Mohiuddin Mir (ex-MLA Pulwama) who switched over to PDP in 2009 has been accused of accepting a bribe of Rs 70,000 in lieu of providing a government job to the complainant.

Although eight of the politicians have obtained stay on proceedings from the High Court, they would not have faced the commission as it is headless and without any members for more than 18 months now, the sources said.

The State Government had listed rejuvenation of the SAC among its priorities but has not been able to do so due to varied reasons. The selection committee had recommended names of two retired High Court judges – Justices Bashir Ahmad Kirmani and Y P Nargotra – as members of the commission to Governor N N Vohra but he returned the panel asking the committee to reconsider it.

The selection committee couldn’t finalize the name of the SAC chairman in its earlier meetings due to non-availability of the opposition leader Mehbooba Mufti, who is one of the members of the panel.

On the other hand it was reliably learnt that the Coordination Committee (CC) of the coalition government headed by the Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) chief Professor Saifuddin Soz has identified the chairman and members of the State Information Commission, sources told Greater Kashmir on Thursday.

“The CC is likely to submit the names of the identified persons to the government in the coming days” sources said. They said that CC had been tasked by the government to identify the SIC members as well as the new chairman of the State Accountability Commission (SAC), an anti-graft body, that has been headless since 2008.

“The SAC will continue to remain headless till CC gives its recommendations,” sources added. They said that after CC gives it recommendations the government would hold a meeting of the selection committee to implement its suggestions.

The Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, according to the sources, had recently discussed the issue of appointing the SAC chairman and its members with the Governor N N Vohra.

“Appointment of the new SAC chairman will take time. The CC so far has not started the process to identify the person who can head the commission,” a senior Congress leader said.

He said the first priority for them was to hunt for the SIC members. “That job is almost over and now we will start looking for the SAC chairman and its members,’ the leader added.

Pertinently, the SAC was constituted by the coalition government led by Peoples Democratic Party in 2003. Its first chairman was Justice (late) R.P. Sethi, a retired Supreme Court judge, but he resigned in 2006 after allegations of his son’s involvement in a sex scandal.

There were interim arrangements but since 2008 the commission has not had a chairman.

[Bashir Assad is a senior Journalist based in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir. He is now Bureau Chief (J&K) of IndianMuslimObserver.com. He can be contacted at bashirassad@rediffmail.com]

लोक व सुफी गायकी का पर्याय हैं फकीरा खान

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 28 December 2010 | Posted in

चंदनसिंह भाट्टी

बाड़मेर: पश्चिमी राजस्थान की धोरा धरती की कोख से ऐसी प्रतिभाएं उभर कर सामने आई हैं, जिन्होंने ‘थार की थळी’ का नाम सात समंदर पार रोशन कर लोक गायिकी को नए शिखर प्रदान किए हैं। इसी कड़ी में एक अहम नाम है-फकीरा खान। लोक गायकी में सुफियाना अन्दाज का मिश्रण कर उसे नई उंचाईयां देने वाले लोक गायक फकीरा खान ने अंतरराष्‍ट्रीय स्‍तर पर अपना एक मुकाम बनाया है।

राजस्‍थान के सीमावर्ती बाड़मेर जिले के छोटे से गांव विशाला में सन 1974 को मांगणियार बसर खान के घर में फकीरा खान का जन्‍म हुआ था। उनके पिता बसर खान शादी-विवाह के अवसर पर गा-बजाकर परिवार का पालन-पोषण करते थे। बसर खान अपने पुत्र को उच्च शिक्षा दिलाकर सरकारी नौकरी में भेजना चाहते थे ताकि परिवार को मुफलिसी से छुटकारा मिले, मगर कुदरत को कुछ और मंजूर था।

आठवीं कक्षा उर्तीण करने तक फकीरा अपने पिता के सानिध्य में थोड़ी-बहुत लोक गायकी सीख गए थे। जल्दी ही फकीरा ने उस्ताद सादिक खान के सानिध्य में लोक गायकी में अपनी खास पहचान बना ली। उस्ताद सादिक खान की असामयिक मृत्यु के बाद फकीरा ने लोक गायकी के नये अवतार अनवर खान बहिया के साथ अपनी जुगलबन्दी बनाई। उसके बाद लोक गीत-संगीत की इस नायाब जोड़ी ने पीछे मुड़कर नहीं देखा। उन्‍होंने लोक संगीत की कला को सात समंदर पार ख्याति दिलाई। फकीरा-अनवर की जोड़ी ने परम्परागत लोक गायकी में सुफियाना अन्दाज का ऐसा मिश्रण किया कि देश-विदेश के संगीत प्रेमी उनके फन के दीवाने हो गए। फकीरा की लाजवाब प्रतिभा को बॉलीवुड़ ने पूरा सम्मान दिया।

फकीरा ने ‘मि. रोमियों’, ‘नायक’, ‘लगान’, ‘लम्हे’ आदि कई फिल्मों में अपनी आवाज का जलवा बिखेरा। फकीरा खान ने अब तक उस्ताद जाकिर हुसैन, भूपेन हजारिका, पं. विश्वमोहन भट्ट, कैलाश खैर, ए.आर. रहमान, आदि ख्यातिनाम गायकों के साथ जुगलबंदियां देकर अमिट छाप छोडी। फकीरा ने 35 साल की अल्प आयु में 40 से अधिक देशों में हजारों कार्यक्रम प्रस्तुत कर लोक गीत-संगीत को नई उंचाइयां प्रदान की। फकीरा के फन का ही कमाल था कि उन्‍होंने फ्रांस के मशहूर थियेटर जिंगारो में 490 सांस्कृतिक कार्यक्रम प्रस्तुत कर राजस्थान की लोक कला की अमिट छाप छोड़ी।

फकीरा ने अब तक पेरिस, र्जमनी, स्विट्जरलैंड, ऑस्ट्रिया, फ्रांस, इजरायल, यू.एस.ए बेल्जियम, हांगकांग, स्पेन, पाकिस्तान सहित 40 से अधिक देशों में अपने फन का प्रदर्शन किया। मगर, फकीरा राष्‍ट्रीय पर्व गणतंत्र दिवस पर वर्ष 1992, 93, 94, 2001, 2003 तथा 2004 में नई दिल्‍ली के परेड ग्राउंड में दी गई अपनी प्रस्तुतियों को सबसे यादगार मानते हैं।

फकीरा खान ने राष्‍ट्रीय स्तर के कई समारोहों में शिरकत कर लोक संगीत का मान-सम्मान बढ़ाया है। उन्होंने समस्त आकाशवाणी केन्द्रों, दूरदर्शन केन्द्रों, डिश चैनलों पर अपनी प्रस्तुतियां दी हैं।

फकीरा खान ने सितम्बर 2009 में जॉर्डन के सांस्कृतिक मंत्रालय द्वारा आयोजित ‘द सुफी फेस्टिवल’ में अपनी लोक गायिकी से धूम मचा दी। उनके द्वारा गाये राजस्थान के पारम्परिक लोक गातों के साथ सुफियाना अन्दाज को बेहद पसंद किया गया।

फकीरा लोक गीत-संगीत की मद्धम पड़ती लौ को जिलाने के लिए मांगणियार जाति के बच्चों को पारम्परिक जांगड़ा शैली के लोक गीतों, भजनों, लोक वाणी और सुफियाना शैली का प्रशिक्षण देकर नई पौध तैयार कर रहे हैं। फकीरा ने हाल में ही ‘वर्ल्‍ड म्यूजिक फैस्टिवल’, शिकागो द्वारा आयोजित 32 देशों के 57 ख्यातिनाम कलाकारों के साथ लोक संगीत की प्रस्तुतियां दे कर परचम लहराया। फकीरा खान को ‘दलित साहित्य अकादमी’ द्वारा सम्मानित किया गया। राज्य स्तर पर कई मर्तबा समानित हो चुके फकीरा खान के अनुसार, लोक संगीत खून में होता है, घर में जब बच्चा जन्म लेता है और रोता है, तो उसके मुंह से स्वर निकलते हैं।

उनके अनुसार, लोक गीत संगीत की जांगड़ा, डोढ के दौरान लोक-कलाकारों के साज बाढ में बह गए थे। फकीरा खान ने खास प्रयास कर लगभग दो हजार लोक कलाकारों को सरकार से निःशुल्क साज दिलाए।


Muslims urged not to shun spiritualism; 350 Nikahs performed in Ijtima

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 27 December 2010 | Posted in ,

By Pervez Bari

Bhopal: Muslims all over the world are at the receiving end for directing all their efforts and energies on materialism and giving a goby to spiritualism which links them to their Creator.

Maulana Shaukat addressing intellectuals in the 63rd “Aalami Tablighi Ijtima” (World Preachers’ Congregation) said on Sunday that Muslims are at the receiving end everywhere despite the fact that the amount of wealth and education possessed by the followers of Islam the world over is much more than what they had 1400 years ago at the time of advent of Islam during the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and later during the rule of four of his Caliphs. The Muslims nowadays, however, despite having everything with enormous resources at their disposal are scorned and despised by other communities as they have abandoned the way of life of their Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

He said on the contrary 1400 years back the Muslims did not had money-power and were even educationally backward but still shone like zenith on the face of the earth far and wide. Thereby tribes after tribes entered Islam due to its principles of equality, justice, peace and tranquility as ordained by Allah Almighty to lead a life of dignity in this world and Hereafter.

On the second day separate special religious discourses were held for intellectuals, traders, farmers, students etc. and the participants were asked to follow the Islamic religious tenets in their spirit apart from the message for universal brotherhood. Prominent “Akabreens” (Tableeghi elders) who addressed the gatherings included: Maulana Zubair, Maulana Sa’ad, Maulana Shaukat, Dr. Sanaullah, Maulana Mustaqueem etc.

In all 350 Nikahs were performed in the Ijtima in the evening on Sunday after Asr prayers in the spirit of Islam by Maulana Zubair from the headquarters of the Tablighi Jamaat at New Delhi. Before performing Nikahs Maulana Zubair threw light on the importance of Nikah and to perform it in a simple manner without any pomp and show entailing extravagant expenditure.

The Ijtima will conclude on tomorrow (Monday) with mass “Dua” (prayer) when several lakhs of people will join to seek salvation in Hereafter and universal brotherhood and peace.

[Pervez Bari is a Journalist based at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He can be contacted at pervezbari@eth.net]

Kashmir Univ film on global warming wins national award

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , , ,

Srinagar, Dec 26: In a significant development, Kashmir University’s Educational Multimedia Research Centre (EMMRC) made educational television film Global Warming –The Catastrophe In Making, has won the Best Educational Programme of the year award at national level Educational Video Competition organized by Consortium for Educational Communication New Delhi.

The film shares the award of Rs 1,00,000 with EMMRC Kolkatta film Sound and Images.

The KU PRO said 127 entries, from all over India, were received for the competitions, which were screened by Jury at New Delhi from 8th to 14th December.

“Our film on Global Warming and EMMRC Kolkatta’s Sound and Images were jointly declared as the best educational programmes of the year,” he added.

Produced and Directed by Dr Shahid Rasool and Shafqat Habib, the film deals with the impact of global warming in Kashmir and the challenges ahead.

The film, shot at various places in the Valley including Zanskar and Kolai Glacier, traces the visible features of the global warming and shows with graphic details how the global warming is effecting our climate and environment and thereby effecting our lively hood.

The KU Vice-Chancellor Prof Riyaz Punjabi while congratulating the department termed it as a great achievement for the young and talented media professionals at the varsity.

“This award makes it clear once again that we have creative young minds in our university who can rise to the occasion in the changing global competitive context and make a difference,” the VC said.

The filmmaker Dr Shahid Rasool said: “The idea was to create awareness and educate people about Global Warming which till recently was considered a western concept.”

“We are satisfied, the film was well received by people and generated debate about this important issue whenever it was screened during the last year,” he added.

“It is gratifying to know that it has been awarded the best educational film of the year award. This award is the recognition of the hard work and excellent teamwork at our centre. This is an honour for all of us at EMMRC and the University,” he added.

The film has been earlier shown at various film festivals at national level and has been appreciated by the filmmakers and environmentalists.

The film was also shown at South Asian film festival at Srinagar and Prakrati film festival at Jaipur in 2010.

Pertinently, the EMMRC, has produced over 500 ETV films during the last two decades including 7 National Award Winning films. The centre is now also engaged in E-Content development in multimedia format.

(Courtesy: Greater Kashmir)

Will India win Nobel Prize for peace?

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

By Rajinder Puri

Binayak Sen who is a practicing doctor and vice-president of the People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL) has been sentenced to life imprisonment on the charge of sedition. One cannot comment on the merit of the sentence without studying the judgment and assessing how credible and substantial is the evidence presented by the police against the doctor.

During arguments in court the Special Prosecutor said that Sen met alleged Maoist ideologue Narayan Sanyal 33 times and carried seditious letters to be passed on to another accused in the case, namely Piyush Guha. Sen applied 33 times on the letter head of the PUCL to meet Sanyal. Thirty-three times the two met and conversed in the presence of jail authorities. The letters passed on by Sen to Piyush Guha could, or would, have been scrutinised by the jail authorities. It is surprising that the judge did not sentence the jail authorities for facilitating sedition.

Sen was jailed in 2007 and denied bail till 2009. For some time in 2008 he was kept in solitary confinement. While it may not be appropriate without studying the judgment to comment on its merit, one can quite easily comment on the political consequences that may flow from it. This judgment will give a huge boost to the Maoist cause.

There are broadly two kinds of sympathisers of the Maoist cause. There are the hard-core violent militants, some of whom undoubtedly receive material and tactical support from foreign forces, and there are those who sympathise with the cause that the Maoists publicly espouse. The aims of the Maoists insofar as egalitarian reform is concerned are unexceptionable. Indeed these would attract very wide public support if spread democratically. The objection to the Maoists arises from the violent methods they adopt, killing many innocents in the process.

Referring to the dangers of home-grown terrorism spreading, the Prime Minister on Friday said: “If terror modules are to be found in our country and some misguided elements of our society take to the path, I think we have to tackle this problem with all the sensitivity that it requires.” It can be safely said that the sentence against Binayak Sen will make an increasing number of people misguided and persuade them to support Maoist violence.

Twenty-two Nobel Laureates had pleaded with the Indian authorities to release Sen. If the higher courts do not overturn the recent judgment administering a life sentence to Sen, it is entirely possible that in 2011 Binayak Sen might be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to succeed the current recipient, jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. Thereby India would be honoured with one more Nobel Prize. China pressured other countries to boycott the Nobel Prize distribution ceremony. Beijing refused to attend the ceremony. If Sen is awarded the Nobel Prize it is possible that India may proudly attend the ceremony for having won the honour. Most certainly India would never pressure other countries to boycott the ceremony. Unlike China we do not bully other countries. Like China we bully our own people.

(Courtesy: The Statesman)

Kuwait plunges in a political turmoil

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in ,

According to an Al-Arabia report, Kuwait has plunged into fresh political turmoil after opposition MPs unleashed a serious bid to unseat the oil-rich Gulf state's premier, a senior member of the ruling family.

The emirate has been rocked by almost non-stop disputes since 2006 when Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad al-Sabah was appointed prime minister.

"This crisis is a part of the old and still ongoing conflict between a party that does not accept democracy in Kuwait and the pro-democracy camp," political analyst Anwar al-Rasheed told AFP.

The unprecedented assault on the MPs was an attack on the Kuwaiti people (which) triggered a confrontation between the people and the government

Nasser al-Abdali, head of the Kuwait Society for the Advancement of Democracy

The crisis was sparked by a police crackdown on a December 8 public gathering held by the opposition to protest an alleged government-backed plot to amend the 1962 constitution with the aim of suppressing public freedoms.

Forces used batons to beat up demonstrators, injuring at least four MPs and a dozen citizens.

"The unprecedented assault on the MPs was an attack on the Kuwaiti people (which) triggered a confrontation between the people and the government," said Nasser al-Abdali, head of the Kuwait Society for the Advancement of Democracy.

"Any actions within the framework of the constitution are acceptable but moves outside the constitution are totally rejected. This explains the intensity of the current crisis," said Abdali.

Opposition MPs representing the three main groupings in parliament filed a motion to quiz the premier over the clashes in a session scheduled for Tuesday.

"The parliament session... will be the most dangerous session to be seen in Kuwait," Ahmad al-Khateeb, a respected veteran politician, wrote in the weekly Al-Taleea.

"During the session, the future of Kuwait, democracy and the constitution will be determined," said Khateeb, who was on the committee that wrote the 1962 constitution.

Liberal MP Aseel al-Awadhi described the opposition campaign as an "intifada (uprising) to safeguard the constitution against attempts to undermine it."

Opposition figures stress they aim to bring down the government, which they accuse of suppressing public freedoms and plotting to cut powers the constitution gives parliament.

"We will not coexist with this government under one roof," said opposition MP Mussallam al-Barrak, declaring they are backed by 21 MPs in the 50-member parliament.

Barrak and several opposition MPs said that after the premier had been quizzed, they would file a motion of non-cooperation with him.

If passed, the issue would be referred to Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, who can either dismiss the premier or dissolve parliament for fresh elections.

Since May 2006, the emir has dissolved parliament three times and fresh polls have been held while six different governments have been formed by the same prime minister.

The latest escalation comes despite a stern warning from Sheikh Sabah who took responsibility for the police crackdown, absolving his premier.

Pro-government MPs have in turn accused the opposition of challenging the Kuwaiti ruler's authority.

"I believe this question (session) is not directed against the prime minister but the emir," Shiite MP Hussein al-Qallaf said last week.

Another, Salwa al-Jassar, went as far as saying the "opposition was instigating civil war" by encouraging people to take to the streets.

The political upheaval has coincided with a clampdown on the media and government critics.

Two leading critics are behind bars, while Kuwait has closed the office of Qatar's Al-Jazeera television network for covering the police's use of force in the December 8 gathering.

The government has also sent to parliament proposals to toughen laws on punishments for the media, which MPs are to discuss at a later date.

Few believe Tuesday's parliament session will end political strife in Kuwait, which sits on 10 percent of the world's crude oil reserves.

(Courtesy: Al-Arabiya.net)

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