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Special aversion to Hadeeth seems illogical

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 28 February 2011 | Posted in , , ,

By Dr. Wasim Ahmad

A friend of mine made it easy for me. What I was not able to convey in paragraphs after paragraphs he put it cogently in just a few words. Referring to many among our friends he says that they “will study everything under the sun, but develop a special aversion to Hadeeth”. I cannot understand the aversion to Hadeeth and ever willingness to share one’s own ideas, interpretations, inferences and footnotes – and doing so in all possible and available modes of communication. These very people will continue to use all future channels and means of communication which we cannot even imagine of currently.

Referring to a specific Hadeeth and trusting it 100% authentic (only to reject the remaining ones) while objecting to its delayed recording, is worth pondering upon. I am not able to fathom the logicality in this standpoint. Why shouldn’t the Ahaadeeth be taken into consideration if they were recorded much later and we should listen to the arguments against it even further later in time? Why the period of time is not applicable in the latter case? Why is it a factor only for the special aversion to Ahaadeeth and not for any other thing?

The special aversion seems a kind of escapism to me. Because then one doesn’t need to take the trouble of verifying and evaluating (applying the rigorous principles of Hadeeth criticism) – leave alone relating and applying it with today. In other words, there is no need for Ijtihaad – an extremely difficult task. Now we can sit back and relax. A question, however, springs to mind, namely, where are we investing this saved time, energy and resources and what have been the results? It will be enlightening to know this.

We have many more illogicalities. A respected gentleman argues – without any qualifying [restricting] observations – that “Yes, Muslims are supposed to scare the enemies of Allah” – referring to Soorah al-Anfaal, 8: 60. This gentleman quotes a single verse out of thousands. He doesn’t think that it is necessary to go back and see the context. He doesn’t notice that he is excluding a sizeable part of the world from the purview of hidaayah, the foremost objective of Qur’anic verses. But Qur’an is serving the purpose of justifying the position of one individual or the other in an arbitrarily selective manner and Hadeeth is being quoted in the same manner to negate Hadeeth!

These are all the consequences of the lack of coherence in our thought patterns. We end up supporting and opposing the same thing. This is because we haven’t popularized the fact that truth is free from self-contradiction. We don’t clearly see the incoherence of dividing knowledge into ‘secular’ and ‘religious’ and the disjointedness of many other aspects of our collective life. The popularization of critical and scientific thinking – together with the search for the whole picture – will put everything in order. It will bring about real (and not artificial) unification in our ranks. It will put all the different pieces of the jigsaw puzzle in order:

sab ke dil mei(n) hai jagah teri jo too raazi huwaa
mujh pe goyaa ik zamaana mehrbaa(n) ho jaa’ega

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

Analysis from Ground Zero: Godhra Verdict – Travesty of Justice!

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

By Abdul Hafiz Lakhani

The court found 31 people guilty of conspiracy and murder and let off 63 people in the case of the burning of a train compartment at Godhra, Gujarat, which killed 59 Hindu activists returning from Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, where they had gone to volunteer for constructing a Ram temple at the site where a centuries old mosque had been demolished in 1992.

The BJP, the principal Opposition party, hailed the court verdict as vindication of its proposition that the Godhra killings were the result of a conscious conspiracy. The unstated subtext is that this somehow justified what followed, a pogrom against Muslims across Gujarat, particularly vicious in the state’s largest city, Ahmedabad.

The state’s administration led by chief minister Narendra Modi is widely perceived as having been complicit in this organised carnage. The special court’s verdict has surprising loose ends: the chief conspirators being prosecuted have been found to have been not present at the site of the alleged conspiracy, but the confession which named these individuals as chief conspirators have been relied upon, in the main, to assert a conspiracy. These loose ends will be up for further legal scrutiny when the verdict is appealed in higher courts.

But the gloating by the BJP and the implicit justification of communal violence can be contested only in the court of the people. Politics that celebrates India as a secular, composite democracy that gives equal space for all its diverse constituents to live with dignity and prosper must prevail over politics that seeks to redefine Indian nationhood as Hindutva and consign all non-Hindus to second class status. The Godhra verdict provides an occasion to see this ideological battle as a central feature of the Indian polity that cannot be obfuscated by n-generation scams. A dynamic economy cannot have schism for a foundation

It is quite ironical that in a case which is highly disputed till now and it would definitely be challenged in apex court, a judgment and convictions have come but still for 1200 people killed in Gujarat pogrom there is no sign of hope yet.

Although the judgment comes after long nine years but still 31 convictions are a thing to be proud off for Gujarat government which highly endorsed the theory of conspiracy. The government of Gujarat and national government should be ashamed of this.

Cases like Bombay blasts of '93 and such as this one are being solved but the cases in which genocides happened and which were done in broad day light brazenly are nowhere to be seen to be concluded.

The communal frenzy that followed the Godhra train burning case and led to the worst communal riots in independent India's history had completely overshadowed the gross injustice done to the families of the victims of the tragedy traveling in the ill-fated train on the day of accident. 

Over the past nine years there have been repeated attempts by various political parties to give a political color to the tragedy for their narrow political interests.

What serves as a true testimony to the pervert mindset of our politicians, they have shown no compunction in trying to make political capital from the deaths of hapless victims. What should have been a subject of transparent police enquiry and subsequent judicial pronouncements based on police investigation and forensic evidence was turned into a political game by our politicians.

Now that the verdict has been delivered by the High court, it is necessary to view it dispassionately. Those who are not satisfied should adopt the constitutional route which is to appeal in the Supreme Court against the judgment. At no point should the political class or religious zealots should be allowed to fan communal passions based on the verdict and any such attempt should be actively thwarted by state administration and the public in general.

Since this is a high profile case and has already taken nine long years to reach this stage during which all those fighting for justice have patiently waited, it is the responsibility of the Supreme Court to fast track the case as and when an appeal is filed. The wheel of the justice grinds slowly but it should not be so painfully sluggish that any verdict delivered amounts to justice denied.

Justice delayed is justice denied. The cliché has still relevance. The nine long years the innocent lost in the prison can never be retrieved. The loss is not only for the victims. Their wards and dependents are also the sufferers. Passage of time cannot wash off the stains of Godhra carnage and the consequent pogrom in the State, or for that matter, cannot sweeten the hands of the perpetrators. The intolerance we manifest in our our community life reveals that we are still a primitive lot. Unless we reform ourselves, we cannot claim that we are the crown and glory of creation!

[Abdul Hafiz Lakhani is a senior Journalist based at Ahmedabad, Gujarat. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Gujarat). He can be reached at lakhani63@yahoo.com or on his cell 09228746770]

Muzaffar Ali, Prakash, CS Santosh & Pradeep rule the roost in National Gulf Cup Dirt Track Racing

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

By Pervez Bari

Bhopal: R. Prakash of Coimbatore, C. S. Santosh & H. K. Pradeep of TVS Racing team (both of Bangalore), along with local lad Muzaffar Ali ruled the track in their respective classes during the Gulf Cup Dirt Track Racking at the BHEL Dussehra Ground in Bhopal on Saturday (February 26, 2011).

C.S. Santosh, like in the previous rounds, did TVS Racing proud by sweeping the Indian Expert Class Group A Foreign Motorcycles up to 260 cc. He finished first in two races and second & third in two other events.

However, H. K. Pradeep stole the show and honors from C.S. Santosh and Arvind KP in the Indian Expert Class Group B up to 260cc 2 & 4 stroke classes. Pradeep in both the races one and two of Indian Expert Classes emerged first while CS Santosh and Arvind also of Bangalore finished second and third alternatively in the two events. Both Pradeep and Santosh of the TVS Racing team, who each remained winner in two races and runner-up and third in two others, earned equal sum of prize money of Indian Rs. 11,000/- each. While Arvind pocketed total Rs. 8,000/- from the four races he took part with being runners-up in two and third in two other events.

The goodly crowd that turned up on a chilly morning was left in awe as riders went through the motions in the event, organized by Sportscraft and sponsored by Gulf Oil Corporation Limited.

Muzaffar Ali
If C. S. Santosh stole the honors in the Indian Expert class, it was R. Prakash of Coimbatore who excelled in the other glamour event, the Private Expert Class for foreign motorcycles 260cc 2 & 4 stroke. Prakash was first in three of the four races he participated and stood second in the other in the Private Expert class categories.

In the Private Expert Class Group A Prakash was, ahead of Vineeth Kurup and Jatin Jain who were placed second & third respectively. While in Private Expert class Group B he was challenged by Grishan KC of Kerala & Murthy R of Bangalore who were placed 2nd & third respectively. Prakash received the loudest applause at the prize distribution function. He received glittering trophies and earned total Rs. 12,800/- as prize money.

Muzaffar Ali, displaying his spectacular skills and stamina he finished on top in all the three races he participated, was the toast of the home crowd and cheered by the locals vociferously as he won both the local classes and the Scooter class. He was way ahead of other local heroes Mohammad Ansar, Mohammad Yousuf and Shuja’at Khan who challenged him in various classes. A motorcycle mechanic by profession having studied up till Std. XII only, he was richer by Rs. 8,500/-.

Muzaffar told this Correspondent that he had passion for motorcycle racing since childhood and his ideal has been Syed Ehtesham, an international motorcycle racing champion who has now settled in Dubai. He was champion in the Novice Class in 2007.

Gulf Oil has over the years spared no effort in giving two-wheeler riders an opportunity to test their skills under a safe environment with events like Dirt Track Racing and the Monsoon Scooter Rally. Saturday’s event in Bhopal was no less challenging, as the course laid out by Sportscraft was really tough. In addition to the sharp bends there was also loose gravel and water-logged areas to negotiate, which made riding a dicey proposition. However, all riders, first timers included, displayed excellent skills to come through this test of man and machine in flying colors.

There was huge cheering when the Novice class was run. Naresh V.S. of TVS Racing Team gave home fans lots to shout about as he challenged Varun CV of Kerala and Yasir Ishaq of Bhopal in the Novice Class Group C Motorcycle 131 cc up to 165cc class.

In Group C Motorcycles up to 165cc 2 stroke it was Santosh Kumar of Coimbatore was ultimately the winner, who was challenged by Mohammad Ali of Bhopal and Sarath K. P. of Calicut. The duo stood second and third respectively in the race.

While the crowd that turned up was appreciative of the event and thoroughly enjoyed as riders from all over India were participating and the local riders did challenge them well. The riders too were all praise for Sportscraft’s conduct of the event, which saw the races being gone through with precision efficiency.

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

Tamil Nadu fishermen remain a neglected lot

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

By Syed Ali Mujtaba

Some systemic correction is going on with regard to the fishermen’s problem in Tamil Nadu. The fishing folk who have been at the receiving end for long, have taken upon themselves the responsibilities to address their issues, evolving a possible rapprochement to address the recurrent attacks on their lives and livelihood.

The fishermen from Karaikal and Nagapattinam passed resolutions to this effect and the most important being that henceforth they will not cross the International Maritime Boundary Line (IBML). Any breach of this would invite penalty and the fisherman concerned will be forbidden from venturing into the sea for not less than a month. Further, the catch of that fishing folk will be confiscated.

This is very significant development because the crossing the IMBL is the main causes of all tension and conflict involving Tamil Nadu fishermen and the Sri Lankan government. So far, more than five hundred lives of the Indian fishermen have been lost due to the transgression of the IMBL.

Those who have been witness to the scene at the IMBL when Tamil Nadu fishermen venture there, describe the scene as chaotic. The Indian fishermen in chase of their livelihood cares do not care about IMBL and all the warning from the Indian coast guard falls on deaf ears. They are aggressive and belligerent lot and may like go into the Sri Lankan territorial waters as far as they can, and sometime even reach their shores.

Recently, two Tamil Nadu fishermen were shot in the mid sea, apparently to having crossed the IMBL. Indian side accused the Sri Lankan navy for the cold-blooded murder, the Sri Lankan government denied any such act.

As its election time in Tamil Nadu, the incident triggered a flurry of activity in the state. There are twelve costal districts having sizable fishermen population and in terms of votes every political party may like to woo the fishing community by highlighting their plight.

The opposition AIADMK, attacked the ruling DMK, a partner in the ruling coalition at the center being callous towards addressing the fishermen’s problems. Many other political parties cashed on the incident and joined the chorus, castigating the government being negligent towards the fishermen community and making them cannon fodder of the Sri Lankan navy.

The surprise pack among the political parties was the BJP, a non-entity in the state, that flew in, its top leader, Sushma Swaraj, to highlight the plight of the Tamil Nadu’s fishermen. Evoking, nationalism, she promised to make this issue a national concern raising it the national Parliament.

It was for the first time, the national media woke up took to the news of the Tamil Nadu fishermen’s problems. The front page of the newspapers screamed about the plight of the fishing community in the state, so did the television channels. Its reverberation was felt on the social network groups active on the internet.

Well public memory is too short; one has forgotten the count how many times all this has happened before. After going through the usual motion the news has paled into oblivion

Even all this was going on; some misguided elements alleged to be belonging to the fishing community attacked monks living in a Sri Lankan monastery in Chennai. It was alleged to be a retaliatory measure to avenge the killing of their two folks by the Sri Lankan navy.

All this was a nightmare to the ruling DMK party. With one of its top leader and central minister, facing corruption charges in the 2G scam, the fishermen incident rattled put the party in a dock. In a firefighting exercise, the DMK tried to salvage its battered image, putting pressure on the central leadership, to take the issue of the Tamil Nadu fishermen, very strongly with the Sri Lakan government.

India’s foreign sectary Nirupma Rao, flew to Colombo for holding talks with highest level official on this issue. She got a categorical assurance from the Sri Lankan government that such incident of killing may never occur again. This prompted India’s Foreign Minister SM Krishna to come to Chennai to tell the DMK patriarch, that necessary action has been taken and henceforth there will be more security in place for the Tamil Nadu fishermen venturing into the sea.

Even before the cacophony of the shooting incident could drawn, Sri lankan fishermen from Jaffna rounded up 136 Indian fishermen from Nagapattinam and Pudukottai. They were taken to the Sri Lankan shores but better sense prevailed this time, and the Sri Lankan government released them quickly without any physical harm.

This incident was catalyst in some terms and actually led to soul searching by the fishing folks of Nagapattinam and Karaikal. They promptly passed resolutions to serve their interest. The next resolution sought a possible arrangement for joint fishing on contractual basis by the fisher folk from across the two boundaries. The fishermen wanted their Sri Lankan counter part to allow them fishing in their areas where catches are available.

It seems, Sri Lankan fishermen have no objection to the Indian fishermen wish of fishing in Lankan waters. They are only opposed to the use trawler fishing nets that may damage their sea assets. The Sri Lankan fishermen representatives had visited Tamil Nadu in August, 2010 and held talks in this issue, but nothing came out them.

Now, when the Tamil Nadu fishermen has come up with such a proposal, the governments is trying to facilitate such a talk and keen that both the parties should arrive at a negotiated settlement as quickly as possible.

Another resolution passed by the fishing community was to seek diesel subsidy from the government, that may deter them from crossing over in the event of a poor catch, and they may return empty and need not care about the diesel expenditure.

The fourth resolution demanded from the government to facilitate modernized occupational inputs and modernized fishing nets by providing them loans.

Well in the past, there also have been many such resolutions being passed like; revocation of Coastal Regulation Zone by the Central Government, to protection of Tamil Nadu fishermen from attacks by the Sri Lankan Navy, autonomy of Ministry of Fisheries in liaison with Central government and holding grievances redressal meeting in the interest of fishermen on a par with farmers every month. However, none have been implemented and the problem continues to stagger as before.

The fact of the matter is there is not much fish available in the Indian waters to cater to the needs of a large fishing community engaged in such vocation. Even the break in fishing activity for the catches to grow and flourish has not helped in the sufficient increase of the fish population.

There are number of proposals being made to ameliorate the plight of the Tamil Nadu fishing community. It seems all have been gathering dust in the offices of those making policies for the fishing community.

One such proposal was that the government should develop fish farms in its territorial waters for peaceful fishing activity. The government may arrange ships to take the fishermen along with their boats to such farms and let them go out for catching the fish and after some time bring them back to the shores. Many countries are following such practices and its being felt that the Indian government should also consider such an option to protect the lives and livelihood of is fishing community.

The other recommendation is to help the fishermen community to take up other occupation to decongest the crowded profession of fishing. Many traditional professions are being given up for better opportunities, why not the fishing folks are to be weaned away towards them. The non governmental organization may organize vocational training and micro fiancé for such activity. Actually, some efforts being made in this direction, but no significant impact have been felt on the ground.

The fact is Tamil Nadu fishermen continue to be a neglected lot. The incidence of them being rounded up is reported at regular intervals. Here is another one:

The Sri Lankan Navy rounded off some 2,400 Tamil Nadu fishermen that had set out from Rameswaram in 600 mechanized boats in complete violation to the understanding that no mechanized trawlers will be taken across the IMBL. The fact that the Sri Lankan navy did not open fire on them or formally arrested them, letting them off with a warning, is something noteworthy. The incident triggered a huge protest in front of the Indian embassy at Jaffana, with Sri Lankan fishing community demanding to keep the Indian fishermen away from their waters.

To cut the long story short, the problem of Tamil Nadu’s fishermen continues to fester in all its magnitude. After long hiatus, the Sri Lankan fishing community is venturing into the sea to pursue its vocation. The Indian fishermen who far had a free run are now finding the going tough. No one seems to look at the big picture, its only when blood spills in the mid sea, there is some uproar and then every thing gets normal till another such incident raises its ugly head.

As Tamil Nadu remains out of focus from New Delhi, Nagapattilnam, Pudukottai, Rameshwaran or Kanyakumari where the fishermen live, the fishing communities of Tamil Nadu are out of sight of those people who are sea blind but still guide their destinies.

(To get more insight to Tamil Nadu fishermen's problems, please read my earlier write on this link: http://mujtabas-musings.blogspot.com/2007/12/tamil-nadu-fishermens-problems.html)

[Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at syedalimujtaba@yahoo.com]

Al Amal Microfinance Bank of Yemen named winner of the Islamic Microfinance Challenge 2010

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in ,

IMO News Service

Al Amal Microfinance Bank of Yemen has been awarded US$104,000 under the Islamic Microfinance Challenge 2010, a partnership launched to encourage the reach of Islamic financial services to micro-entrepreneurs.

CGAP, Deutsche Bank, Grameen-Jameel Pan Arab Microfinance and Islamic Development Bank partnered to sponsor this global competition in order to uncover viable business models that provide microfinance products compatible with Islamic law, or Shariah. Sponsors received over 130 applications from 43 countries for this competition, thus underlining the growing global prominence of Islamic financing options. Applicants included Islamic and conventional microfinance institutions (MFIs), multi-sector non-governmental organizations (NGOs), consultants, and academics.

A significant portion of the 2.7 billion people without access to finance often refuse financial products that do not conform to Islamic law, and are therefore at an even greater disadvantage than other low-income individuals seeking financing to fund their micro-businesses.

“The response to the Islamic Microfinance Challenge has been astonishing,” said Julia Assaad, General Manager of Grameen-Jameel Pan Arab Microfinance. “There is great demand for Islamic financing and a lot of enthusiasm among financial groups globally in meeting this demand. We are heartened by both the commitment and innovation we saw from applicants. We hope to see Islamic microfinance flourish in reaching low-income households”.

Al Amal Microfinance Bank is the first microfinance bank in the Arab world to offer only Shariah-compliant products. Operating for just over two years, the bank has 15,000 active borrowers and 20,000 savers, and has already captured over 25 percent of the Yemeni microfinance market. The bank’s menu of Islamic microfinance services include group and individual financing, project, corporate, and investment financing, savings, investment funds, and insurance.

Al Amal’s proposal for the competition was to pilot an Islamic leasing product. The bank plans to self-fund its leasing product by relying on its Islamic investment funds product. It expects to reach operational and financial sustainability by 2012. Al Amal will be recognized and awarded its US$104,000 prize funds during the annual Sanabel Conference in June.

“In its short life, Al Amal Microfinance Bank has already distinguished itself as a pioneering institution of Islamic microfinance,” said Henry Azzam, Deutsche Bank’s Chairman for the Middle East and North Africa. “Al Amal has found creative solutions to self-finance its banking activities and has demonstrated that micro-entrepreneurs can be reached with diverse Islamic finance tools on a large scale.”

The judges also named four runners-up, Tameer Microfinance Bank (Pakistan), Tanzania ecoVolunteerism (Tanzania), Bina Insan Sejahtera Mandiri-BISMA (Indonesia), and Center for Women’s Cooperative Development-CWCD (Pakistan). “Congratulations to these runners-up for submitting business ideas which strongly meet the combined criteria of sustainability, scalability, and innovation,” says Rabih Mattar, Microfinance Team Leader at the Islamic Development Bank. “These applicants have developed interesting ideas to cater to their local markets while remaining committed to Shariah principles. We look forward to hearing about their future pursuits.”

Sponsors of the Islamic Microfinance Challenge hope this competition serves as an impetus for deeper exploration of ways to serve the market. “Ultimately,” says Mohammed Khaled, the Middle East and North Africa representative at CGAP, “the conclusion of the Challenge marks not the end, but the beginning of a collaborative process to build this sector—as we develop business models, it is also critical that we develop training tools, performance ratios, and reporting standards for common use. Practitioners need to have an honest exchange of ideas on what works and what does not, while donors must encourage innovation by investing in new pilot projects.”

MP Minister wants statue of Vagdevi to be brought back from London Museum

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in ,

By Pervez Bari

Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh Culture Minister Laxmikant Sharma has said that the statue of Vagdevi should be brought from London museum and be installed in the Raja Bhoj millennium year celebrations.

Mr. Sharma reviewed the celebration preparations progress of unveiling statue of Raja Bhoj at Swaraj Bhawan. He held discussions with representatives of self-help groups. The statue will be unveiled by the Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on February 28.

All the city points, squares, give ways will be decorated by the self-help groups: Rashtriya Pratibha Samman Manch, Akhand Sindhu Sansar Vichar Manch, Swatantrata Senani Federation, Tulsi Manas Pratisthan, Rekhankan Kala Sanstha, Sangeet Kala Academy, Dushyant Kumar Smarak Pandulipi Sangrahalaya, Rangadhar, Third Bell, Hum Ek Hain, Vishala Lok Sanskriti, Abhilasha Kala Kendra, Lekhak Sangh, Marathi Sahitya Academy, Abhinava Kala Parishad, Nat Bundela Sanstha and educational institutes. List of square/rotaries has been prepared by Nagar Nigam. All the organizations/institutes have shown their interest in making the celebrations success. Rotaries will be decorated with flowers and lights.

Culture Minister said that Raja Bhoj millennium year celebration is not only traditional celebration but also a resolution to assimilate the values of Raja Bhoj into lives. He also informed that various competitions would be held to educate the children about the history of Raja Bhoj at educational institutes.

At the suggestions of representatives of institutes/organizations, Mr. Sharma said that available documents cite that Bhopal was Bhojpal. However, the Minister said no decision has been taken in this regard but added that the name of Bhojpal would bring pride to the state.

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

Shabir Shah rejects invitation by Interlocutors, Rejection aimed at keeping moderates away from the dialogue

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 25 February 2011 | Posted in ,

By Bashir Assad

Srinagar: Center’s Interlocutors on Jammu and Kashmir have been again rejected by the separatists despite being invited formally for dialogue. Sources, however, maintain that senior separatist leader, Shabir Ahmad Shah, who was the first to reject the dialogue offer, has been playing spoilsport.

If sources within the separatist camp are to be believed, Shabir Shah’s rejection was aimed at barring the moderate Hurriyat camp from enetering into a dialogue process with the Interlocutors.

Pertinently Shabir on February 23, 2011, said that atmosphere in Kashmir was not conducive for talks. He, however, welcomed the resumption of dialogue process between India and Pakistan. This apparent dichotomy is likely to leave impact on moderate Hurriyat leadership  aimed at isolating them in case they accept the invitation for dialogue by the Interlocutors.

Shabir Shah while addressing a News Conference in Srinagar said, “New Delhi should withdraw troops, repeal all draconian laws, release detainees and bring the perpetrators of human rights violations to justice so that conducive atmosphere could be created for resolution of the dispute. In this atmosphere, holding talks with the interlocutors is a futile exercise.”

He said the three interlocutors have at various stages admitted that there was a need for demilitarizing the state, releasing detenues and putting an end to the killings. “But the ground situation continues to be the same,” Shah said.

He said the separatist camp in Kashmir was not against dialogue for resolution of the Kashmir issue but talks cannot be held when harassment and intimidation of the people are going on.

Shah said he would not hesitate to meet the interlocutors if the atmosphere becomes conducive. “We want resolution of the Kashmir issue and dialogue is the only way but that is possible only when there is change in the ground situation,” he added.

Welcoming the resumption of Indo-Pakistan talks, Shah, however, said bilateral talks will not help in resolving the Kashmir issue.

“Based on our experience, bilateral talks will not help. Dialogue has to be tripartite where India and Pakistan are parties to Kashmir issue, but people of Jammu and Kashmir are the basic party to the dispute,” he said.

Shah alleged that India had stepped up human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir to prevent the Kashmiri people from raising their just voice for securing right to self-determination. He said that innocent youth and teenage students were being arrested and were sent to jails under draconian law, Public Safety Act, which was injustice and against the democratic norms.

He praised the people and government of Pakistan for their moral, political and diplomatic support for the Kashmir cause and hoped that the support would continue in the future as well.

Shah called upon the world human rights organisations particularly Amnesty International and Asia Watch to take notice of the ‘state terrorism’ in Kashmir and put pressure on India to stop rights violations.

On unification between two factions of Hurriyat Conference, Shah said, “This is my dream. For my efforts to unite Hurriyat I’ve been booked under PSA for eight times in the last three-years.”

On the other hand, Hurriyat Conference (M), JKLF and other groups invited by the Interlocutors for talks are yet to decide their future course of action.

Meanwhile Interlocutors arrived in Srinagar on Wednesday afternoon where they held meetings with several delegations and some journalists. Later in the evening, they are scheduled to meet Peoples Democratic Party president, Mehbooba Mufti, at a dinner meet at the latter’s residence.

[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]

TN Wakf Board will establish a medical college by next three years

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 24 February 2011 | Posted in , , ,

The response for fund collection for the proposed medical college for Muslim students has been tremendous, says Tamil Nadu Wakf Board Chairman Janab Kavikko Dr. S. Abdul Rahman.

He was addressing reporters here after chairing a consultation with members of the board about the project.

According to him proposal to start the college as a joint venture with Jamia Misbahul Huda Madarasa at Mayiladuthurai required funds to the tune of Rs. 160 crore. There were two slabs for donors to make donations, he said.

By donating Rs. 10 lakh one could become a general body member of the college governing council while one could become a lifetime trustee with a donation of Rs. 5 crore, he said.

So far 450 persons have made a donation of Rs. 10 lakh each, while there are 12 lifetime trustees, he added.

People living abroad have also expressed interest in making the hospital project a reality, he said.

“We are determined not to collect any donation from the students and if things worked out as expected there would not be any requirement for the poor students to make even the required 10 per cent fees stipulated by the government”, he noted.

Dr. Rahman said that it would take another three years to launch the medical college but a nursing college would start functioning from the next academic year. The Chairman said a dental and paramedical college and colleges for traditional medication such as unani, siddha, homeopathy and yoga would be started in a phased manner.

As part of the medical college we would also be starting a multi facility hospital at Mayiladuthurai to render free medication to people below the poverty line, he added.

He expressed confidence that the medical hospital project would provide direct employment to 5,000 people and indirect employment to an equal number.

Keeping in mind the need to educate girl children we would soon start around five colleges for Muslim women that includes two law colleges and an engineering college. He also said that steps are in full swing to establish a branch of the Aligarh Muslim University in Tamil Nadu.

Dr. Abdul Rahman said that encroached land worth about Rs. 300 crore belonging to the Board has been recovered from encroachers.

Godhra verdict: Communal card for political parties

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

By Abdul Hafiz Lakhani

The verdict of Sessions Court at Ahmedabad’s Sabarmati Central Jail in the Godhra case is out now and it has made one thing very clear that the entire incident in which 59 passengers were burnt to death in the S-6 coach of ill-fated Sabarmati Express on February 27, 2002, was caused by a group of people, who set the coach on fire in a pre-planned manner and it was not an accident as suggested by the U C Banerjee Commission report.

The court on 22nd Febuary pronounced its verdict in which 31 people were charged with ‘criminal conspiracy’ and were charged of murdering innocent ‘Kar sewaks’, who were returning back from Faizabad on this train and so they were also booked under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). However, the court let 63 others free as charges could not be proved with supportive evidence.

The verdict once again gave the opportunity to both the Congress and Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) to play their communal cards. Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi will once again become the target of many Congress leaders, who try to consolidate their Muslim vote bank by condemning the acts of violence, which happened after the S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express was set on fire by a mob, which locked the coach from outside, sprinkled petrol and put the coach on fire near Godhra railway station.

The court also rubbished the findings of Justice Banerjee report, which came as a blow to former Railway minister and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, who looked disturbed while facing the media on the Godhra issue. While giving an explanation for what led to the constitution of Banerjee Commission, whose report had been rejected by the court, Lalu Yadav said both the judges retired from the Supreme Court, and it was up to the court to take its view on the findings.

Mukul Sinha, an activist lawyer heading the Jan Sangharsh Manch, said that the ill-feeling generated in a community will continue because the judgment takes cognizance of the conspiracy theory without any evidence of it.

"There are many questions which remain unanswered. If there was a conspiracy, where did the information come from, more so when the train was five hours late? What was the previous plan if this second one was a conspired one," he asked.

He added: "The admitted position is that those who were convicted were part of a spontaneous crowd. Moreover, if 63 are innocent, how can others from the same crowd be conspirators? Thus the entire argument is full of holes. But as law abiding citizens, we accept the judgment. Nevertheless, it should be challenged and I am sure it will be. Thus the long wait still continues for justice."

Father Cedric Prakash, director of PRASHANT, a centre for human rights, justice and peace in Ahmedabad, termed the verdict a gross miscarriage of justice.

He said that the verdict leaves several questions unanswered with many glaring gaps in it.

According to him, the so-called "conspiracy theory" is totally hollow. While the original "main conspirators" are now acquitted, a hash job is blatantly evident in an attempt to stick to it, he said.

"Above all, what happens now to the 63 acquitted? Who will bring back the nine years lost in their lives? Will they be compensated by the state? The verdict will definitely be appealed in a higher court," Prakash said.

He added that only when the full truth of the Gujarat carnage is brought out into the open will the cause of justice be served.

Until such time the struggle will continue, he said.

Social activist and renowed dancer Mallilka Sarabhai reacted sharply saying that considering that Babu Bajrangi had admitted in the Tehelka tapes that the train burning was part of the plot, and the fact is that he has not been put behind the bars. She expressed her utter distress at the judgment

Defence counsel in the Godhra case AA Hasan speaking to the media after the verdict said that the theory of prosecution was not accepted by the trial court to some extent. Elaborating on this aspect he said that the police personnel in cross-examination admitted that combing operation was carried in certain minority community areas and 70 accused were apprehended.

He said that except railway personnel there were no witness. As far as rest of accused are concerned arrest was made on basis of statements of VHP member and local politicians, he claimed.

He also said that the court accepted that local politics may have played a role in these arrests. He said that the court accepted their submission that it was practically impossible to see and identify the accused, who are believed to be standing beneath the roof of A Cabin where the train halted.

Counsel also claimed that test identification parade was also not carried and confessional statements of most of the accused were based on hearsay evidence. As per established law the same is not admissible, he claimed.

Our Correspondent’s Analysis

One more compromise "verdict" from the Indian Justice System. We cannot call it justice served rather it is the helplessness of the Justice system. First of all it is hard to establish the fire broke out from outside, hence it was established that fire bomb was used. OK, even if fire bombs fell inside, naturally people will try to doze it off or through it out.

And, one fire bomb cannot burn an entire compartment so if we consider 10 fire bombs falling inside a moving train with steel bars on windows, there may be 100 bombs thrown at the train from outside.

In that case some of these bombs can lose the target and hit next compartment in front or back. But there is no evidence of this. Beside who locked the compartment from out side?

A moving train cannot be locked from outside. Up to my knowledge the compartment can be opened even if it is locked from outside provided there is no additional locking device - like chains metal bars etc. is used. But this was never mentioned. it looks  that entire unfortunate tragedy was nothing but a deep conspiracy for a reason to instigate and justify the anticipated riots.

The government system was misused or brainwashed. The gameplan was that the party wants to get the power in Delhi by consolidating the Hindu votes like the wave after the Masjid demolition. But unlike the others, educated majority community has denounced the motive. Religion is the business between oneself to GOD; it should not mix up with the politics and governance. The government must bring a law to punish the leaders of the party who indulge in criminal activities (physical), tax payers money should not be used to investigation etc. We are an educated country in the threshold of greater developments, political parties must made responsible for their party members misgivings.

[Abdul Hafiz Lakhani is a senior Journalist based at Ahmedabad, Gujarat. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Gujarat). He can be reached at lakhani63@yahoo.com or on his cell 09228746770]

Jamia minority status can be challenged only in High Courts, Supreme Court

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in

NEW DELHI: The order of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) granting minority educational institution status to Jamia Millia Islamia can be challenged only in the High Courts and the Supreme Court.

Section 12 F of the NCMEI Act bars all courts except the High Courts, acting under Article 226 and 227 (writ jurisdiction), and the Supreme Court from entertaining any suit, application or other proceedings in respect of any order of the NCMEI.

It can be challenged in the High Courts only under writ jurisdiction for violation of fundamental rights, equality of opportunities but not as an appeal. The Other Backward Classes (OBCs) can challenge it since declaration as minority institution would now exempt Jamia from giving reservations.

The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, who already have quotas, can also file writs fearing denial of reservations being availed of by them under Articles 15 (4) or 15 (5) of the Constitution.

An appeal can, however, be filed in Supreme Court both by affected persons, including the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes, as well as by any other affected party.

Also, the parties already before the Supreme Court in the petition challenging the minority status of Aligarh Muslim University can also apply for clubbing the matter with AMU as questions of law involved are the same — namely, the Supreme Court's orders in the Aziz Basha matter of the AMU that a university established by Parliament cannot be said to be established by the minorities.

Jamia was a deemed university prior to being established as a Central University through an Act of Parliament and the sponsoring society had agreed to the Central University status on the undertaking that it would be a secular institution when the Government turned down the request for minority status.

As a matter of fact, the Government recognises deemed universities as minority institutions — Jamia Hamdard, Allahabad Agricultural Institute now called Higginbotham Institute at Naini and Karunya Institute of Technology are recognised as minority institutions.

When AMU wanted to change its admission policy to reserve 50 per cent seats for Muslims, the Central Government gave a no objection certificate on the ground that AMU could do so by being a minority institution, but the Allahabad High Court struck it down.

AMU and the Union of India are before the Supreme Court now. Even though the Supreme Court stayed the High Court order, it also directed AMU not to proceed with the proposed change in its admission policy.

Azeez Basha versus Union of India, AMU and others was a five-judge decision of the Allahabad High Court delivered in 1968. To overcome the judgment, Parliament amended in 1981 the AMU Act to define the university to have been established by Muslims of India for the Muslims of India. When the no objection certificate issued to AMU in 2006 was challenged, the Allahabad High Court (both Single Judge and a Division Bench) ruled that the amendment to the AMU Act of 1978 was a colourable legislation and hence void.
(Courtesy: The Hindu)

Saudi women fighting the odds

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in ,

By MARIAM NIHAL

JEDDAH: A lack of cultural and recreational activities has driven women to challenge existing rules and norms and pursue their hobbies and interests in secret.

Women mainly use shopping malls and cafés for recreation and entertainment purposes in the Kingdom.

While the recent trend in the Kingdom is to build new malls, language centers and Dawa schools and gyms, there is a greater demand from local women for public libraries, art centers, sport facilities and music schools.

Those cultural and recreational needs are served in other Arab countries like the UAE, Bahrain and Qatar.

“Health is a very important life factor. When I lived in the States, every community had a health club and community center where kids could play or women could participate in art and cultural activities,” a P.E. teacher from Jeddah, who did not wish to be identified, told Arab News.

“We can develop more skills and enhance our talents. Arab girls need a platform to show who they really are. Only a few girls can afford high maintenance gyms, which are far more inaccessible than a health center for the community.”

There are scarce centers for children and women to learn painting, cooking, horse riding, music, or other such activities in the Kingdom.

Maintaining physical and mental fitness as well as cardiovascular health is dependent on an active lifestyle.

Inactivity has been linked to type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.

“Men should think about their wives, sisters and children in general. How will you have gold medal winners if you do not have anyone to support and encourage new talent in the country? You never know what you are capable of unless you nurture talent,” a Jeddah university woman professor, who chose to remain anonymous, told Arab News.

According to the World Health Organization, the most important risk factors of non-communicable diseases in Arab countries include high blood pressure, high concentration of cholesterol in the blood, inadequate intake of fruit and vegetables, overweight or obesity, physical inactivity and tobacco use.

Five of these risks are closely related to improper diet and physical inactivity.

Aliyah Qureishi, 21, finds her passion for playing football is wasted.

“I have nowhere to play. Usually women are frowned upon or ridiculed if they want to play a sport traditionally played by men,” she said.

“But I love football and there should be a place for women to pursue our love for sports. Eventually, I make an excuse to go play football with my friends outside, like pretending to go swimming, but if my parents knew the truth they would start hyperventilating.”

Most young women restricted from such activities find a way to beat the odds and take bold risks.

Some women feel it is discrimination, while others blame the rules and norms of society for barricading their way to further accomplishments.

“I wanted to learn the guitar, so I started searching online. I finally found groups online and called up the private tutors to see if they could teach me because there are no music schools here,” a Saudi girl who chose to remain anonymous, told Arab News.

“Of course my mother thought it was ridiculous and my father told me I would be a shame to his family name if I tried to contact a man who could teach me an instrument. I was too scared to pursue my passion, but three years later I felt I had to find out if I was any good at it, so I took my chance and joined up with a group.”

She now learns the guitar with a group of Saudi college students.

“I love it. I wish my family could see this, and be proud. I have to lie that I am going to my girlfriend’s house every time I come for practice. If they find out, it’s over. But then Dalma Rushdi won a gold medal only because she was given a horse to ride.”

Dalma Rushdi H. Malhas was the first Saudi girl to compete at an Olympic event and won a bronze medal in equestrian at the Youth Games held in Singapore last year.

“I empathize with the young women here that have so much hidden talent. Women pioneers are like gold reserves, you need to extract them from the core,” a private male music instructor told Arab News.

“Unfortunately, every factor, be it cultural, traditional, or family related, seems to conspire against them.”


Supreme Court to hear today on quota to Dalit minorities

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in

By Aurangzeb Naqshbandi


The political heat over the demand for extending reservation benefits to Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims has gained momentum with the assembly elections coming up in five states. The Supreme Court hears the matter on February 24. The demand to scrap clause three of the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order 1950, which excludes Muslim and Christian Dalits from reservation has found many takers.

According to the order, only persons belonging to Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist religions are eligible to be included in the list of Scheduled Castes.

With an eye on the coming assembly polls, the ruling communist parties in Kerala and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in Tamil Nadu have raised the pitch over the issue.

The CPM recently organised a major convention at Kottayam, a major Christian centre in Kerala, to woo the Dalit Christians. Christians form 19% of the state's 31.8 million people while Dalit Christians are around 4%. Similarly in Tamil Nadu, the DMK has said it will take up their cause in Parliament.

DMK boss and chief minister M Karunanidhi has maintained that the demand for granting Scheduled Caste status to Dalit Christians  "is notonly just but also indisputable" and if necessary the party would even lead an agitation.

But the Congress, on its part, is treading very cautiously on the issue. A section has argued that the issue could trigger political backlash and cost dearly for the party.

Senior Congress leaders like Arjun Singh and Digvijaya Singh are strong votaries of the reservation for minorities. Digvijaya, who is party general secretary in charge of Uttar Pradesh, has maintained that reservation should be extended on the basis backwardness and not on religious grounds.

Digvijaya has set his sight on the 2012 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, considered crucial for the Congress to re-emerge as the single dominant force at the Centre, and his quota carrot to Muslims is part of the strategy to woo the community.

The minority vote in the recent past has shifted between the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party.

The matter remained inconclusive at the meeting of the cabinet committee on political affairs on Monday. (Bahujannews)

Maulana Vastanvi will face an equiry committee

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

Maulana Ghulam Mohammad Vastanvi, under attack for his his alleged endorsement of pro-Narendra Modi administration in Gujarat, will continue as vice-chancellor of Deoband Darul Uloom religious seminary till a three-member committee makes an enquiry into the controversy, according to Islamic seminary governing council sources.

Until then, Maulana Mufti Abul Qasim Nomani will act as the caretaker vice-chancellor of the religious seminary. If committee finds Vastanvi at fault, Nomani will automatically become the regular vice-chancellor.

The seminary students clearly belong to two groups. One section is articulate, aggressive and sore with incumbent Darul vice-chancellor Maulana Ghulam Mohammad Vastanvi for his pro-Modi stand. Their resistance to Vastanvi holding onto the job as the VC became more pronounced on a day when a special court in Ahmedabad gave its verdict on the 2002 Godhra train-burning case.

The other lot is reluctant to talk. At best, they mutter an odd sentence in a muffled voice: "whatever happens, the seminary's environment should not be vitiated".

The latter forms Vastanvi's support base. There is a lurking fear among the powers that be, who otherwise seem to be convinced that Vastanvi's days as VC is numbered, about the silent lot's quiet determination to alter the script.

Earlier, pro-Vastanvi supporters had threatened to go on strike if the MBA cleric from Gujarat is shown the door.

Interestingly, Vastanvi's ardent supporter -- pro VC Maulana Abdul Khaliq Madrasi -- seems to have toned down his support.

"If I had earlier said Maulana Vastanvi is the best option for Darul Uloom that was right in its own way. But I will stand by, whatever the Shoora decides tomorrow," he said.

Attacks on churches were sponsored by State: PUCL & TII

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

The attacks on churches in Karnataka in September 2008 and the others that subsequently occurred were “pre-planned” and “State-sponsored” by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led Government, according to a report by Michael F. Saldanha, retired judge of Karnataka High Court. Mr. Saldanha released it in Mumbai on Tuesday.

The report was the outcome of a public inquiry conducted at the instance of the People's Union for Civil Liberties and Transparency International India (TII), Karnataka Chapter.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Saldanha said that when Karnataka appointed Justice B.K. Somasekhara Commission to inquire into the attacks, Christian organisations had told Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa that his candidature “did not inspire confidence”.

“We, therefore, decided to have a people's inquiry which would be free, frank and unbiased,” Mr. Saldanha told a press conference. The incidents in Karnataka “are representative of the hidden agenda of the party in power, the BJP. Every one of the attacks and incidents were instigated and pre-planned. They were State-sponsored and not only supported by the State but were covered up by the State. The responsibility of this devolves on Home Minister V.S. Acharya and Mr. Yeddyurappa,” the findings conclude.

The report also indicts the State police force for “coercing” the perpetrators of violence and allegedly even guiding assault in some places. In one instance, “the police storm[ed] the church at Pemannur, obstruct[ed] and stopp[ed] the Mass, assault[ed] the celebrant priest, and standing on top of the altar, direct[ed] the assault,” the report alleges.

“As far as the saffron activists are concerned, the Bajrang Dal leader and the leader of the Sri Rama Sene have at all times boldly and openly admitted that it was their organisations which had undertaken all the attacks. The evidence clearly established that as far as Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts are concerned, the RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh] was involved,” the report states alleging “total collusion” between the BJP Government and these organisations.

Mr. Saldanha said that he visited 431 places and spoke to over a thousand witnesses, besides collecting material from journalists, and from press clippings and television footage.

Cardinal Oswald Gracias said the people of Karnataka had called for a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation. He said the guilty must be brought to book and compensation to victims must be given at the earliest.

“It is time for us to stand up for a cleaner society. The credibility of the country and inquiry commissions is at stake. Mistakes have to be rectified,” he said. Christian NGOs condemned the Somasekhara report for being “biased” against Christians and for being “a sham to whitewash the crimes of the BJP Government and protect the Hindutva brigade.” They demanded expunging the “false allegations” on conversion and misuse of funds against Christian organisations.

“The Karnataka riots are part of a wider plan of radical Hindutva elements targeting the Christian community after the Muslim community. You have seen this in all the BJP-ruled States,” Joseph Dias of The Catholic Secular Forum said.

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