Reframing the debate on Islam in France

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 30 November 2011 | Posted in , , ,

By Tareq Oubrou

Why does the public expression of Islam pose a problem – not just in France, but all over Europe? Yesterday, it was the construction of minarets in Switzerland; the day before, it was the headscarf. Today, it is the demand for halal (permissible according to Islamic law) meat in canteens and banned street prayers that have fuelled a sense of exclusion and led to tensions within French society.

It’s in this context that a new report on Islam in the Arab majority French suburbs was published in October. Titled “Suburbs of the Republic”, this report by Gilles Kepel, a French political analyst specialising in Islam and the contemporary Arab world, comes a few months before the French presidential election, and confronts both politicians and Muslims with reciprocal responsibilities.

”Suburbs of the Republic”, which addresses some of the issues regarding Muslim integration in France since the 1980s, notes that there has been a strengthening of religious feeling in poorer districts. This increased religiosity in the suburbs is partly due to insensitivity and negligence on the part of political and public authorities. Because of the isolating social housing policy upheld by both leftist and rightist governments for decades, for example, Muslims immigrants have often had to live in homogenous communities, rather than in diverse ones.

When it comes to the failure of education in these parts of the country (more than 50 per cent of students in these suburbs do not obtain an advanced degree), who is responsible? For obvious reasons, Kepel highlights education as a major challenge in his main conclusion, which is directed at the government.

These socio-economic issues are bound to have a negative impact on Muslims dealing with their identity, leading them to feel that being Muslim might equal exclusion from French society. But this phenomenon is not unique to matters of religious identity; it is also an issue of being part of an underprivileged social class. Kepel explains that “this assertion of identity should not be understood too literally; it is also another way of asking to integrate in society, not necessarily to reject it.”

In no way does this absolve French Muslims of their responsibility. In fact, addressing the other side of the problem falls to religious, intellectual or cultural Muslim leaders themselves. This recent eruption of the public expression of Muslim faith has been sudden, often chaotic, identity-based and at times reactive. The majority of Muslim leaders have yet to realise the level of concern this has triggered in secular societies, such as France’s.

One thing is certain: everyone agrees on the values of the French republic. The issues under question are strictly of a technical and ethical nature. I propose two principles that might help us, within existing laws, to find viable ethical-technical solutions. Discourse ethics is a concept coined by German sociologist and philosopher Jürgen Habermas, for whom mutual understanding is the product of debate and discussion. Additionally, reasonable accommodation, a legal concept invented by Canadians to allow accommodations when possible in order to avoid discriminating against minorities, could also offer a general framework for the resolution of this major social issue of integration.

Take the example of Muslims praying on the street. The street prayer ban in September made media headlines. The solution to this problem involving the perceived takeover of public space is incredibly simple and can be addressed through the Canadian principle of reasonable accommodation. Namely, since Friday prayers are fairly short a mayor could, for example, rent out a room to those observing it for a few hours, pending the purchase of their own facility.

In the absence of any other solution, and to accommodate the needs of the faithful, a Muslim congregation could also conduct two or three prayer services every Friday, instead of just one in which people spill over onto the street. This canonical option is indeed possible.

With a modicum of goodwill and common sense, a solution can always be found, provided ideology, politics and fanaticism don’t mix. The key is a desire to live together in respect and fraternity – the national motto of France.

[Tareq Oubrou is Director of the Bordeaux Mosque and President of the Imams of France Association.]

(Courtesy: Al Arabiya News)

Douse Communal Fires

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

Our commitment to secularism will remain hollow as long as anti-Muslim prejudice exists

By Abdul Khaliq

Last week, that inveterate hate-monger Praveen Togadia made an impassioned plea for a new Indian Constitution that allows for “anyone who converts Hindus to be beheaded”. He went on to assert that “we Hindus should include Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains because their line of thinking is no different from Hindus, except for a few small habits”. Is this isolated fundamentalist ranting or the indication of a trend towards increase in the forces of hatred and division in our society?

The preamble to the Constitution is the most noble advertisement of our commitment to secular humanism. It spells out our resolve to be a humane society that will secure justice, liberty, equality for its citizens and promote fraternity. Of these cherished values, the greatest and the most neglected is fraternity, perhaps because it is least amenable to political action. As a wise man once said, the State can prevent me from coveting my neighbour’s property but it cannot oblige me, by law, to love my neighbour. And yet, the success of our pursuit to be a strong, united and civilised country ultimately depends on whether we love one another as brothers. Our prescient Constitution- makers, knowing the importance, underlined fraternity as a key ingredient for building a vibrant democracy.

We have failed dismally in this endeavour. The country today is the hotbed of a million mutinies. Our prime minister has spoken of terrorism as the biggest threat to the nation. Others believe that the long shadow of Maoists over the heartland is our Achilles’ heel. However, there is another insidious, omnipresent and all-consuming poison that is eating into the vitals of the nation — religious prejudice and intolerance.

When a bomb explodes and kills innocents, cold fear grips the Muslim community. It knows, from bitter experience, that although terrorism claims affinity to a host of faiths and ideologies, the invariable reaction to a terrorist act is to blame it on some Islamic terrorist group. The grim reality is that only Muslims are made to feel that they have to answer for the perverted deeds of their co-religionists, whereas an equally heinous crime by Norwegian Anders Breivik is rationalised as a case of individual madness that has nothing to do with Christian fundamentalism. Similarly, the terrorist acts of the right-wing Hindu extremists are seen as an aberration. The fact that so-called Islamic terrorism claims many more Muslim victims than others is studiously ignored because it vitiates a neat argument.

The bogus perception of Islam has unfortunately seeped into the law-enforcement apparatus. Time and again, the nation is confronted with the unacceptable injustices perpetrated on members of the minority community in the guise of fighting terrorism. After the 2006 Malegaon blasts, 115 Muslims were picked up and all, barring nine, were released after years of incarceration and torture. These nine innocents remained behind bars until last week, despite Swami Asimananda’s confession that it was the handiwork of Hindu extremists. Earlier this year, 63 Muslims who had languished in jail for nine years for alleged involvement in the Godhra train massacre of 2002 were released for want of evidence. The Godhra verdict itself threw up a major paradox. The court on the one hand adjudged that this horrific incident was the result of a criminal conspiracy and on the other came out with the astonishing contradictory ruling letting off the main conspirators who were allegedly instrumental in mobilising the mob on that fateful day. The judge apparently does not subscribe to the dictum that a case is only as strong as its weakest link. Full of loose ends and imponderables, the judgment has done little to inspire confidence and finally clear the air.

So acute is the discrimination that Muslims wonder whether they have equal citizenship rights under the law

In July, 12 Muslim youth, who were implicated for the Haren Pandya murder, were set free after five years as there was no evidence against them. More recently, 21 Muslims who had been implicated for the Mecca Masjid blasts of 2008 were released because they were innocent. Not surprisingly the advocate commissioner who had been appointed by the State Minorities Commission to investigate allegations of police abuse not only confirmed torture but the report also added that the detainees believed that they had been picked up and tortured “because they belong to a particular community”.

What the years of torture, unfair defamation and separation from their families have done to these broken spirits is impossible to express in words. So acute is the discrimination that Muslims wonder whether they have equal citizenship rights under the law. The most tragic irony is that scores of innocents are behind bars because of their religious affiliations, whereas there are thousands of murderers — the perpetrators of the Sikh killings of 1984, the Mumbai blasts of 1992, the subsequent Mumbai pogrom of 1993, the Godhra train massacre of 2002 and the subsequent Gujarat riots — who are roaming free. This is the chilling reality of life in our country today, which can be ignored only at our own peril. These hate-mongers would need little provocation to kill again.

Former Supreme Court judge Justice Markandey Katju recently berated the media for accentuating the false perception about Muslims. He is convinced that the media often twists facts and creates the impression that Muslims are terrorists. Observers have noted that the media is muted and guarded in exposing the atrocities committed by other right-wing extremists. It is significant that the mainstream media ignored the recent revelations by a special director of the Intelligence Bureau at the conference of the State Police Chiefs that Hindu extremists have either been suspected or are under investigation in 16 incidents of bomb blasts, which makes Hindutva terror a much bigger phenomenon than previously envisaged. The media, however, continues to portray the Muslim as the archetypal terrorist. Fuelled by prejudice and intolerance, our public discourse has degenerated to the lowest possible level. The most inflammatory and divisive rhetoric has become commonplace. We are all aware of the scurrilous remarks about Muslims made by Subramanian Swamy, who has called for disenfranchisement of Muslims if they did not proudly acknowledge that their ancestors were Hindus. Even the once respected Justice VR Krishna Iyer made this scandalous observation: “I do suspect their loyalty. If every Muslim in India feels India to be his motherland and wants to defend it, the police will easily get information about the secret manoeuvres of hostile Muslim elements.” Can hate and prejudice get more absurd and hurtful than this? With such deviant thought processes in the public domain, our founding fathers’ cherished dream of universal brotherhood lies in tatters.

In this mind-numbing environment of hostility and prejudice, one would have thought that the political leadership would help to redress this grave situation with courage and humanity. But far from trying to rectify matters, they have only added fuel to fire. Who can forget Rajiv Gandhi’s statement about the inevitable effect of the falling of a big tree? Or Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s heartless comment following the Gujarat riots that Muslims did not condemn the Godhra carnage loudly enough. Then we had Narendra Modi’s infamous Newtonian observation justifying the Gujarat riots as reaction to an action.

Today, the woes of the ordinary Muslim seem never ending. Living as he is on the margins of society, discriminated against in education and the job market, even when looking for accommodation, he is also burdened with the awful stigma of being in tacit collusion with terrorists. In communal conflicts, he is not only pitted against the other group but has to contend with the clearly partisan actions of the State as demonstrated in the Gopalgarh incident in Rajasthan where only the Muslims were gunned down by the police. And despite his intolerable travails, he is considered the main beneficiary of “minority appeasement”. Is it any wonder then if many believe that our secular democracy exists only in the statute books?

[Abdul Khaliq is General Secretary, Lok Janshakti Party. He cn be contacted at akhaliq2007@gmail.com]

(Courtesy: Tehelka, India)

Total Muslim Reservation: A Lesson to learn for SP, BSP & Congress

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

By Ashok Yadav

Let me start with an interesting event. On July 23, 2005 outside the expansive dome shaped S K Memorial Hall in Patna there were a number of television media vans to cover live the conference going on inside the hall. The hall with a seating capacity of more than two thousand persons was full and equal number of people were standing and sitting on the stairs of the hall and moving here and there inside the campus. The ambience was electric owing to many factors. In assembly elections in February the same year Bihar could not form a government as none of the political party (or the political alliance) could get a clear majority. The assembly was put under suspended animation. Then one mid-night the newly elected assembly which had not even assembled once was ordered by the UPA government to be disbanded paving the way for second round of election in coming November. Political environment in Bihar was tense. On one side was Laloo Yadav whose fifteen years long government had been ousted in February. On the other side was BJP backed Nitish Kumar. The people of Bihar had given mandate to none to form the government. Laloo and Nitish were therefore locked in a fierce political battle for the November rounds of election. It was unthinkable in those times to find the duo present together at a forum. The organizer of the event Ali Anwar, President, All India Pasmanda Muslim Mahaj and now MP (Rajya Sabha), had like Yudhistir in Mahabharata flashed an ambiguous news to the media that Laloo and Nitish both would grace the occasion, however, without mentioning the fact that both would come separately. That the duo would be sitting together was very big news for media. The media had made elaborate arrangement to cover the event. Many news channels ran the program live. As it turned out both graced the occasion indeed but, however, separately. While Nitish, then MP (Lok Sabha) inaugurated the program and went away, Laloo came afterwards, obviously waiting for Nitish to depart from there, and delivered the closing speech.

What was so special about the event that compelled the two to go there?

In the month of October in the preceding year the UPA-I government decided to constitute National Commission For Religious and Linguistic Minorities (NCRLM) under the Chairmanship of Justice Rangnath Mishra, the former Chief Justice of India. The commission was entrusted the following terms of reference:

To suggest criteria for identification of socially and economically backward sections among religious and linguistic minorities. To recommend measure for welfare of socially and economically backward sections among religious and linguistics minorities, including reservation in education and government employment. To suggest the necessary constitutional, legal and administrative modalities as required for the implementation of their recommendations.

Ali Anwar led All India Pasmanda Muslim Mahaj raised a banner of revolt against the terms of reference for it spoke of giving reservation to socially and economically backward sections among religious and linguistic minorities. Mahaj was of the view that since socially and educationallybackward sections among religious minorities were already covered by state backward lists and central OBC list, the term socially and economically backward was used to refer to upper caste sections among Muslims and that the constitution of the Commission was nothing but a ploy to bring the upper caste Muslims under reservation. If UPA-I constituted commission for reservation to socially and economically backward among minorities, NDA had already set up earlier in the month of February (the same year) Commission for Economically Backward Classes (CEBC) ostensibly for giving reservation to the upper caste people in general on economic basis. Ali Anwar on behalf of the Mahaj submitted a memorandum to Sri Rangnath Mishra, Chairman, NCRLM. Para 2(1), 2(2) & 2(3) of the memorandum read:

Item (C) of the terms of reference of NCRLM (as also the similar item in the terms of reference of CEBC) is to suggest “necessary constitutional modalities” or in other words amendments to the Constitution required to permit classification and recognition and identification of the spurious unconstitutional constructs put forward by the government, for extraneous reasons…It is well established that the Legislature does not have unlimited license to amend the Constitution in whichever manner the ruling party of day wishes. The Supreme Court has rightly laid down the concept of the basic features of the Constitution in the Golakhnath case, the Keshavananda Bharati case and other cases. No amendment of the Constitution is permissible which tampers with any of the basic features of the Constitution. The two pillars of equality…viz. person-to-person or individual –to-individual or citizen-to-citizen equality in all spheres and its exception/reinforcement through special provisions only for SC and ST and SBCs including SBCs of Muslims and of any other religious minority or any linguistic minority constitute a basic feature of the constitution, which is sacrosanct and unalterable…“Economically backward classes/sections” or “socially and economically backward classes/sections” of religious and linguistic minorities and “economically backward classes” are spurious constructs and irrational classifications which cannot be accommodated within the four walls of the Constitution by any amendment. Any such amendments are not likely to secure the special majority required by Article 368 of the Constitution and, even if they pass in the legislature, will be challenged before the Supreme Court and liable and likely to be struck down by the Supreme Court on the ground of violation of a basic feature of the Constitution. You as top legal luminary of the country and former Chief Justice of India is very well aware of the Constitutional doom fated for and faced ab initio by the exercise undertaken by the government and it would be wise and constitutionally appropriate that the Chairman calls it off before any wasteful public expense is incurred and advises the government to immediately wind up this commission (as well as CEBC).

The late Ashfaq Hussain Ansari former Member of Parliament from Gorakhpur (UP) on Congress Party ticket was also present on dais in S K Memorial Hall on that fateful day. In his separate memorandum to NCRLM on behalf of his Centre of Backward Muslims he quoted the judgment of Justice P B Sawant in the famous Indira Sawhney case (better known as Mandal case):

The backward class of citizens referred to in Article 16 (4) is the socially backward class of citizens whose educational and economic backwardness is on account of their social backwardness. A caste itself may constitute a class. However, in order to constitute a backward class the caste concerned must be socially backward and its educational and economic backwardness must be on account of its social backwardness….The economic criterion by itself cannot identify a class as backward unless the economic backwardness of the class is on account of its social backwardness…The adequacy of representation is not to be determined merely on the basis of the overall numerical strength of the backward classes in the services. For determining the adequacy their representation at different level of administration and different grades has to be taken into consideration. It is the effective voice in the administration and the total number which determines the adequacy of representation….Reservation of seats or posts solely on the basis of economic backwardness i.e. without regard to evidence of historical discrimination as aforesaid finds no justification in the Constitution…Of the total religious minorities population more than 75% belongs to these “bulk” and less than 25% belong to the other category who are generally called ‘Ashraf’ or elite and ‘non-indigenous’. Less than 25% are getting more than 75 percent positions and more than 75 percent are getting less than 25 percent positions. This is the factual position. The figure of Muslim representation in parliament and legislatures also speaks the same truth…Now the Lok Sabha list of members is available under one binding from first to thirteenth lok sabha. One can minutely examine and find the names of backward muslims in the list, without much difficulty. From first to fourteenth Lok Sabha around 7500 members were elected but out of this only around 400 muslims could be elected, and out of this 400, 340 belong to Ashraf elites or Muslims of non-indigenous category. The representation of ‘bulk’ of backward muslims is only 60. The figure of Bihar Legislative Assembly is also available. From 1952 to 2000 only 276 Muslims could get elected and out of which 217 belong to Ashraf category and only 59 belong to non-Ashraf category.

Ashfaq Hussain Ansari has quoted from reports of “National Commission For Review of Working of the Constitution” chaired by Justice Venkatchalliah as well:

Backward classes belonging to religious minorities who have been identified and included in the list of backward classes and who in fact constitute the bulk of the population of religious minorities should be taken up with special care along with their Hindu counterparts in developmental efforts for backward classes.

Total Muslim reservation would have put on stake the nascent Pasmanda movement. As part of agitation against NCRLM Mahaj decided to call a convention to draw the attention of the political class to the damaging effect the total Muslim reservation would have on Pasmanda movement in particular and the social justice movement in general. As the demand to scrap Rangnath Mishra Commission (NCRLM) gathered momentum it began to acquire political dimensions. Mahaj declared that whosoever would support the demand to scrap the constitution of NCRLM would get support of Mahaj in the upcoming assembly elections.

Since the day Laloo ordered his administration to arrest L K Advani he throughout enjoyed undiluted support of Muslims. However, the social-political churning that Mandal caused among the backward sections also began to affect the apparently monolith Muslim society. Like the Hindu backward castes the Muslim backward castes too began to assert themselves against Muslim upper castes. The hitherto unchallenged domination of the Muslim upper castes over Muslim society and polity came under strain and began to crack. Laloo sensed the crack in the Muslim monolith and lent attentive ears to the emerging Pasmanda leadership. He took many steps including nominating Ali Anwar as member of State Backward Class Commission to give a message to the Pasmanda that he was their natural leader. There are indications to suggest that upper caste Muslim leadership put counter pressure and succeeded in convincing him that Pasmanda movement was at the best an aberration and that the illiterate and backward Muslim masses still followed the fatwa of the ulemas. It also appears that in absence of a caste census they also convinced Laloo that the Pasmanda contrary to the popular perception numbered much less than the estimate of not less than seventy five percent or even more.

Laloo’s RJD was the second largest party in UPA-I and carried weight. The Pasmanda who had solidly supported Laloo in his battle against BJP now wanted clarification from him if he supported the canon of total Muslim reservation or, in other words, reservation on the basis of economic backwardness and wanted promise from him that he would exert pressure on the UPA government to withdraw NCRLM. As Pasmanda formed not less than seventy five percent of Muslim population Laloo could not have ignored the invitation to attend Mahaj’s convention. In order to put pressure on Laloo Mahaj also invited Nitish.

It was like students union election in which the two contenders had been invited by the public to present their views on a core issue. Nitish smelled the great opportunity that the convention concealed for him. That the biggest block of Muslim population chose to invite a person whom the BJP’s L K Advani had projected as chief minister candidate indicated the sea change that the Muslim politics had underwent only in a handful of years. The presence of a non-BJP government at the centre had given a prospect to the Pasmanda to do an experiment with Nitish who was not only an OBC but also belonged to non-BJP segment of NDA. Nitish had nothing to lose as the Muslim had never supported him in his battle against Laloo. At the centre he was in the opposite camp of UPA government. So, when he inaugurated the convention attended by the Pasmanda delegates from all over Bihar he gave loud and clear message that reservation could never be given on economic and religious basis and that the constitution of NCRLM was against the tenet of constitution for which he lambasted the central government. He promised to raise the issue in the parliament in the monsoon session, which he did on returning to Delhi. He went away. Then arrived Laloo. He had dared to come in a field full of mines but was clueless as how to clear them so as to emerge unscathed. He was more faithful to the UPA government and its decision to constitute NCRLM than to his politics. His hesitation in supporting the cause of Mahaj and in declaring the constitution of NCRLM as unconstitutional was unmistakable. Nitish had won the debate. Later Mahaz took the decision to support Nitish’s JD(U) candidates but did not support Laloo’s RJD where it was pitched against BJP. They did not vote for BJP either. In order to teach Laloo and RJD a lesson for turning head against the Pasmanda they preferred to waste their votes by voting in favor of secular candidates of other parties who were not in a position to defeat BJP. This hugely benefitted BJP. The traditional understanding that being anti-BJP was the first principle for being called a secularist had taken a nosedive. Rest is history. The issue of total Muslim reservation, a euphuism for narrow caste-class interest of the Ashrafia i.e. the upper caste Muslim elites, had taken its toll on one of the greatest champions of Muslim masses in independent India.

It is often discussed that people have short memory and the politicians exploit this. But the way the issue of total Muslim reservation has been raked up in the run up to the UP assembly elections may provoke one to remark that politicians too have short memory which is exploited by the influential sections. Apropos of UP assembly elections a few months away from now, it can be said that SP, BSP and Congress have miserably failed to learn a lesson or two from the ignominy suffered by Laloo in not taking a clear stand against the issue of total Muslim reservation in Bihar assembly elections, 2005. Laloo misread that Pasmanda factor was weak and not at all in a position to influence the election outcome.

The Pasmanda of UP is alert and attentively watching the stand of each and every political party on issues concerning it. Different organizations and segments of Pasmanda have already held many congregations on their demands. In the last UP assembly elections held in 2007 the Pasmanda could not affect the poll outcome. However, in the last five years the Pasmanda movements have made deep forays in UP. The Pasmanda of UP and Bihar are in close contact and sharing experiences of movements with each other.

Rangnath Mishra NCRLM has meanwhile submitted its report and recommendations. The Pasmanda is quoting Rangnath Mishra report in support of their old demand to include dalit Muslims in SC list. Contrary to the popular perception, they are not pleased with its recommendation of giving separate reservation to OBC Muslims as this gives an opportunity to the OBC politicians of saffron camp to raise communal passion once again. Break up of unity with Hindu Pasmanda is the last thing they want. Secularism and social justice are not just two key words but the very foundation on which the whole Pasmanda movement rests on.

Equipped with Bihar experience the Pasmanda may spring surprise in the coming UP elections. Beware, SP, BSP and Congress!

[Ashok Yadav is social justice activist and writer. He is attached with All India Federation of Backward Classes (OBC) Employees Welfare Associations headquartered at Chennai. He can be contacted on ashokyadav2007@gmail.com]

International colonial frauds: ICC promotes fake cricketism

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

By Dr. Abdul Ruff

ICC creates confusion because there are more than two such ICCs, but all of these are bogus institutions created essentially to shield imperialist advances of global state terror (GST) states and to promote colonial interests. We are not talking here about international criminal court which shields the crimes through joint state terrorism operations by NATO terror syndicate and their fascist classmates, India, Israel and other terrocracies, but the global cricket board known as ICC, the International Cricket Council, also doing almost the same in cricketism.

As ICC judiciary facilitates western terror operations against Islam and Muslim nations, the cricket ICC tries every trick to protect he cricket political interests of colonial countries like England, India, etc.

Like the Australia-South Africa matches held in SA recently where Australia was offered the trophy on a platter by SA monkeys, obviously on prior agreement, the Ind-West Indies test series has been a total farce. Ind-WI boys played according to some a thorough plan presented to them by mafias. As per the plan, India must win at any cost and WI who been invited by Indian corporate sponsors and the central regime and select ministries in general, must oblige the hosts in all possible ways.

After all, cricket is not played for the firs time and it is not going to be the last either. They have been doing all mischief day and and night, duly endorsed by the funny ICC , essentially controlled by Ind-England, which wants to keep the test format intact for batboys to amass runs and bowlders take lump-some wickets to their records. .

The second innings on the 5th day was a total drama enacted by both teams to make India look smarter than the Wet Indies. Indian could easily remove 8 wickets in a matter of minutes with the coordination from the WI boys, but WI boys "struggled" without any purpose. They possibly expected and wanted the Indian batboys to give away their wickets on their own as they themselves have done, but Indians refused and played while WI bowlers offered good runs. Bishoo and Sammy were limping. When India could remove 8 wickets just a few minutes ago, why WI found the pitch too bad and "unresponsive" ? They just played for India. Rampaul was bowling on Indian pitch to save the Indian skins. . India was on business and were chasing out of their skins while Windies were playing drama for Indian b crazy crowds.

One important issue here. When semi-god Sachuin fell unable to score just 6 more runs to complete his kilimterstone, one thought the crowds in Mumbai would walk out in frustration. But, no. They all stayed. They are more shrewd than Tendulakar himself has been who plays cricket runs politics, and did not even bother that the guests from WI thrashed Indians on their face by refusing to add another 6 grace runs to Tendulakar, but they have deleted their "god" and wanted India to win were told that if Sachuin was not offered 100 plus, then, the WI would eventually let Indian team win as a thrash for Sachuin.

India diligently plays such dirty triclomacy to all teams and get what it wants from them. But countries like South Africa, Australia, NZ, even Sri Lanka promote Indian cricketism for their own trade sake.

South Africans could have easily won but as per their prior agreement, have let Australia win the series in SA by finally making Aus bowler Johnson the match-wining boy with the offering of many runs to him who could not get any wicket but had offered to many runs to SA batboys.

The Indian IPL played with black money churned out by corporates and billionaires, devastating role in making cricket an Indian special. Not only during the IPL matches, but even after that the paid foreign cricketers are pressured to play for Indian interests even in their own countries. But they all must play for India when playing for their own countries in India. the assumption is India pays cash to foreign payers as a package deal for their services for India all around. This is the key cricket law of India.

The Windies also have done similar gimmick promoting Indian cricktism interests. In both first and third tests, they really had the upper hand, but on pressure plus huge extra black money from Indian sponsors, coaches and cricket mafia as well as the extremely influential Indian players themselves.

When Indians went to England to play cricket, they were sent back by London boys and the sponsor corporates and regime without offering any runs and wins. India lost all matches it tried in London, including the practice matches. India also lost their bogus ranking in both test and ODI. But when English team came to India soon after, they voluntarily or on extra payment from Indian sponsors and mafia, let Indians shine in ODIs and get back their lost bogus "ranking".

Australia-England and Australia-South Africa matches are always planned and played in favor of more important power between the two. Australia lets England win and SA promotes Australian interests. Australia is lenient towards India because it gets plenty of money from Indian students who go there to obtain their degrees usually on payment-for-package basis.

All these bogus cricktism has been going on for years now under the guidance of cricket ICC now fully controlled by India-UK colonialist duo, systematically promoting special interests of pampered cricketers, especially the batboys by arranging to provide "good runs' to them by playing positive bowling in favor of the batboys.

Behind all matches trade in oil, liquor, arms and other "goods" take place among the cricketism nations. Hence none in cricket field makes complaints about the bowlers not offering them enough runs. And the former cricketers do not expose the mischief and corruption taking place behind the scene because all of them have a stake. In stead, all of them promote mediocre but state pampered cricketers for prestigious awards.

While the notorious ICC promotes illegal state fixings for package deals and immoral runs, it did the dirty job for India against the already weakened Pakistani team by engineering sport-fixing drama-controversy that was well played out by UK and its bogus judges who shield one of the top most criminals and corrupt leaders of the world, Tony Blair who was involved as UK terror PM in bribery in arms-oil deals with Saudi Arabia. . . .

Strangely enough, India seriously believes so long as the cricket team keeps wining matches at any cost by package deals, it could illegally control the occupied Jammu Kashmir.all cricket nations, including its neighbors, pretend to quite understand the Indian confused, emotional mindset over cricketism, terrorism and Kashmir....

What seems to be common among the cricket nations is the need to protect state fixing crimes, to help each other in test cricket so that cricket never dies.

[Dr. Abdul Ruff is Specialist on State Terrorism. He is Chancellor-Founder of Center for International Affairs (CIA). He is former university Teacher, Analyst in International Affairs and an Expert on Middle East. He can be contacted at abdulruff@ymail.com]

Crowd Management a lucrative Enterprise in India

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

By Syed Ali Mujtaba

Social activist and anti graft crusader Anna Hazare has caught the imagination of the nation and he and his team is a subject of discussion at every nook and corner of the country. The common man in India sympathizes with the cause that they are championing, but some have reservations about the method being adopted to put across the point to check corruption in the country.

Let us analyze the anti corruption fast of Anna Hazare in New Delhi in August 2011. A careful study of the fast covering both the pre planning and execution, clearly indicate the enormous level of strategic planning that have gone into this public agitation.

While there maybe twenty thousand agitators sitting along with Anna Hazare during the fast in Delhi, and maybe around fifty thousand persons in different cities all over India, yet they remain a miniscule figure when compared to the total population of the country.

The hard fact is that the number of agitators who actually participated in Anna Hazare’s fast could be less than 0.01 % of the Indian population. People in the lower income group who are the real sufferers due to corrupt conditions prevailing in the country and who constitute around 30% of Indian population (more than 300 million people) did not participated in Anna Hazare’s agitation. Many people in the rural areas did not even know about this fast taking place in New Delhi.

Nevertheless, the impression that was spread around the country was that the whole country was behind Anna Hazare. The Government of India was brought to its knees by the people’s power on the streets. The protest method adopted in the colonial era, still remains the most potent form of agitation even today. It also serves a role model for groups and lobbies to launch a similar agitation to get their demands accepted by the government.

The impression that is being created is something that needs to be analyzed, because it has ominous portents for the future of democracy and the development of our country.

The credit of “highly successful” fast of Anna Hazare in New Delhi obviously goes to the skillful agitation managers or team Anna as its being called.

The agitation managers had controlled the movement so tightly that no negative campaign was able to make an impact during the time of the protest. The coercive methods adopted by them may have been disliked by lakhs of Indians, but they were “silenced” by the Anna Hazare’s strategists making more noise and diverting attention.

This is the most conspicuous part of Anna Hazare’s fast in New Delhi and it needs to be studied in detail because this could be a right subject in the management schools and can be learned under the topic agitation management, a lucrative enterprise in India.

In recent times, the agitators in India appear to have become highly skilled and some of them seem to have turned professionals as well. It’s not a emotional outburst that forms crowd but there are certain methods and theories that needs to be applied for the formation of the crowd.

So the crowd management is an interesting area of study, because India is a democracy and power lies with the people and they need to be mobilized in the streets round the year for different reasons and different purposes. It has to be backed by sound logistics and appropriate strategies in tune with the ground realities. It’s a highly specialized job that needs to be studied in all its seriousness.

This realization is soon dawning upon and the day may not be far off, when the management schools in India will start a special course on “agitation management”, teaching the students about launching agitations in a scientific way. A money spinning opportunity appears to be awaiting the B schools in the country.

What is striking is that many of the recent agitations all over India have been “successful,” with the state and central governments yielding to the threat and succumbing to the pressures of the agitators. Consequently giving an impression that the agitators are right and the method adopted is becoming a role model to be replicated in all the future agitation in this country.

The growing trend now is that the agitators seem to be measuring and testing as to what should be the ultimate intensity of agitation to paralyse the administration and bring down the government or any other agencies to their knees. A scientific survey and right timing, well managed and well executed agitation is sure to be successful.

Given their recent “successes”, many agitators seem to think that whatever may be the cause, if they could organise ten thousand agitators in one strategic place backed by money power and skillful media management they can become successful.

In a country like India, organizing ten thousand agitators is a cake walk. The social media has come as a bonus in the crowd formation, money power and media support are the other necessities. In such circumstances, the political parties and agitating groups first organize the money power and media support before venturing to bring the crowd on the streets to launch a successful agitation.

In the strategic planning of the agitation, they also take into consideration the quality of the political leadership and their lack of credibility which they exploit superbly working out the timing of the the agitation and in framing their pamphlets and speeches.

The Anna Hazare’s fast in New Delhi fast had all such planning done in a very meticulous manner. Every thing was in place, with Sonia Gandhi out of the country and weakest Prime Minister at the helm, they know that Tienanmen square cannot happen at Ramlila grounds. So with remarkable planning they launched the agitation sustained it for two weeks a time well thought out to make the government relent and declare mission accomplished.

The example that is set by the Anna Hazare’s fast in New Delhi fast has now its echo is the agitation against the Koodankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu. Although opinions are divided on this issue, those against the nuclear power station had a field day. With the government unable to decide how to handle the protestors, this agitation is also considered to be “highly successful.”

The Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant in the Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu is under construction since 2001 with Russian assistance. No one opposed to it and in the wake of Indo-US nuclear deal it was considered to be country’s asset in the generation of nuclear power.

However the radiation leak in March 2011 at Japan's Fukushima nuclear installation due to tsunami disaster, led to the opposition of the construction of the power plant at Koodankulam. Thousands of protesters and villagers living around the Koodankulam nuclear plant blocked the highways and staged hunger strikes, preventing further construction work demanding the closure of the plant

A group of agitators by their skillful planning and methods have been able to stall the entire progress of the massive power plant. The central government has repeatedly given an assurance of the safety of the nuclear power plant but the protestors remain unconvinced.

The Koodankulam agitators taking the cue from the successful agitation management of team Anna are also managing this agitation in the same way. They have managed the media well ensuring that the media focus remain on them and their demands. Their methods include even disrupting the meetings that would support the Koodankulam power plant.

The agitation management theory propounded by team Anna has become so successful that may political parties and agitating groups are taking note of it. In Tamil Nadu, the agitators are getting emboldened and one group is now demanding the closure of Kalpakam nuclear power plant, believed to be having India’s nuclear assets.

Now the big question is how to bring such misguided people into seeing the reasons? India is not Singapore or China where such agitations would be put down with heavy hand mercilessly. India is a democratic country and we all enjoy the right to protest.

The argumentative Indian the debating Indian is the trademark of the citizens of India. There could be different opinions and view points on every issue and in the traditions of the Indian democracy all this has to be discussed and debated in the Parliamentary forum of the country.

Parliament alone is the right forum to debate and discuss every issue that concerns the citizens and the nation as whole. The constitution has given us the rights to remove those in power if majority of people dislike any action of the government but this could be done only by due electoral process.

In such background, if this trend of a small group of people skillfully organizing agitations by their money and muscle power and media management are allowed to have a free run, it can seriously retard the stability and progress of the country.

While we all are proud of the liberal Indian democratic traditions, at the same time, we should realize that in the interest of the nation, it is necessary to ensure that frequent agitations and protests do not hamper the growth of the country.

By resorting to coercive agitations of colonial era, and at the drop of a hat, using methods like so called satyagraha and fast unto death, are highly counter productive. In fact such agitation management is leading to ‘mobocracy’ and creating a condition of unrest in the country. It’s undermining our democracy our liberal values and all the good that goes into the making of wonder that is India.

It is high time that we wake up to such realities and arrest this trend gaining ground and doing more damage to the country.

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

HWF felicitates 120 students under Award For Academic Excellence-2011 programme in Guwahati

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

IMO News Service

Guwahati: Human Welfare Foundation (HWF), New Delhi, under its Vision-2016 program awarded 120 meritorious students of Assam in an Award For Academic Excellence-2011 at Institution of Engineer’s Auditorium Hall, Panbazar, Guwahati on 27th November 2011. The meritorious students were awarded with cash prizes and mementos. The students who secured more than 60% marks in the board examinations were felicitated on the occasion.

Prof. Manzoor Ahmed, Former Vice Chancellor, graced the award ceremony as the chief guest. He emphasized the role of education in the development of society.

In his keynote address, Prof. Ahmed said that this is the right time to change the mindset of our young generations. They shall have to build their career not only for themselves, but they have to prepare themselves for the common cause of their community as well as the country. He also expressed his gratitude to Human Welfare Foundation for taking such positive venture for our country future generations.

Human Welfare Foundation is a national NGO working mainly for social, economic and educational upliftment of minority community.

It has started several schools in different parts of the country and supported for capacity building of the schools especially of technical schools. There are several projects running under its programme and working with the support of several NGOs including 6 national NGOs like APCR, SBF, HWT, Sahulat Microfinance, Women Empowerment etc.

APCR is working for providing legal support to people, SBF on disaster management and Sahulat Microfinance Society is working for providing interest free loan to poor people.

The main focus of HWF and its Vision -2016 programme is to work for giving basic amenities to deprived sections of the society especially of northern and north-eastern part India.

Vision 2016 programme is also working for providing best healthcare facilities to the people and it has recently started one multispeciality hospital at Okhla, Abul Fazal Enclave, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi.

Amongst other prominent personalities present on the occasion incuded Dr. Dilip Bora, Editor, Gana Adhikar; Abdul Khalek, Chairman, Assam State Wakf Board; Dr Hasan Raza, Reader, Ranch University; Zakir Hussain, Director, NEF College; Er. Israfil Hussain, President SIO, Assam Zone and others. Mr Kefayatullah, President, Assam Falah Society, presided over the meeting, while the welcome address was given by Dr. Dewan Nazrul Qadir, Regional Coordinator, Vision-2016. The programme was initiated by Darse e Quran of Maulana Abdul Basit and Career Counseling by Dr. Diganta Sarma, managing Director, Skill n Shot, Guwahati.

Doha Bank expects India licence soon: CEO

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

By Vishwanath Nair & Neelasri Barman

Mumbai: Reaching every unbanked Indian is more important than liberalising policies in India today, believes R Seetharaman, chief executive officer, Doha Bank. He spoke with Vishwanath Nair and Neelasri Barman about the benefits of banking in the Gulf states, the features of Islamic banking and the challenges associated with the business. Excerpts from the interview:

What is the difference between interest rates charged to corporates in Qatar and India? What are the other challenges that Indian corporates face in Qatar?

Qatar is very cost effective. Corporates are charged at least 5-6% lower than in India. The maximum interest rate for a highly rated company is 6%; here you pay a prime rate of 10%. We are parity linked to dollar. If I can borrow money at 3% in the international market, why would I stretch my margins beyond? In the Gulf, the opportunities are more than challenges because you have a) proximity b) you can partake in the economic progress of these countries, which are doing very well. They are running projects worth of trillions of dollars. So the opportunities are definitely more. The challenge is that you have to integrate people and you have to get skilled labour.

Do you think the Indian banking regulator is more stringent than the regulator in Qatar? Do you think the Indian regulators need to be a little more liberal in their policies?

I think the Indian regulator is right in forming its governance in the right direction. This has proven to be the correct model now. I would not use the word liberalisation; I would say we’re grossly under-banked, so re-regulation is a better model than deregulation. A financial institution needs to have a long-term view; you cannot have a short-sighted policy. For re-regulation we need more financial inclusion, every average citizen needs to have a bank account. This gives you a sense of security and self-discipline, it also gives you a certain purchasing power. There is nothing wrong in putting an interest rate cap, nothing wrong in putting a lending cap, this will only discipline your system.

When are you hopeful of a foray into India?

We had applied for licence in April 2005. We followed it up. They wanted reciprocity and for Indian banks to come there. Now two Indian banks (ICICI Bank and State Bank of India) are there in Qatar financial centre. Then they expected us to resubmit the application which we did last year in April. So I expect the licence anytime so that I can add value. Currently, I have exposure of over $2 billion to Indian financial institutions and Indian corporates around the world as on September 30, 2011. This forms a part of the total asset base of around $15 billion. In addition to that I am remitting to India. If I get a branch over here I can lend directly to Indian corporates. We would like to open a branch in Mumbai.

Qatar has a public-private partnership model in banking. Do you think that should be followed even in India to facilitate financial inclusion?

Yes. That is the way out. This kind of partnership can give you a lot of transparency and governance. It is also going to add value in terms of gross welfare for the masses. This is a better form of management and has proved to be more resilient, stable and functional than what individual institutions do.

What kind of non-performing asset levels do you see in Qatar banks? How do you manage it?

We have 1.8% non-performing assets in the system. When you deal with global communities, you have to have clear arrangements in terms of collection efforts. You have to go through agencies around the world. We have a contract with these agencies and give them the details of the customer. They try, or sometimes these agencies collude with the customers and share the money between each other, leaving the bank in the lurch. It’s a risky business, but we have maintained our NPAs.

Since you have an experience in Islamic banking, do you think it should be permitted in India?

Islamic banking is equity financing than debt financing. In that, asset backed securitisation is a must. It is also useful for sustainable long-term financing. It is a good business model. But I would not like to comment on the government policy and framework.

(Courtesy: DNA, Mumbai)

UAE: First Gulf Arab country pursuing peaceful nuclear programme

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in ,

By Shafek E Koreshe

Abu Dhabi: The United Arab Emirates is pursuing the mission of a peaceful civil nuclear programme to meet its growing energy needs and to deliver efficient energy to its grid by 2017 and beyond. UAE’s Undersecretary of the Department of Economic Development Mohammad Omar Abdullah told a group of foreign reporters from 43 countries said UAE being the first Gulf Arab country with nuclear capability was complying the relevant international guidelines on controls and inspection.

The Under Secretary said the UAE was in strategic cooperation with South Korea on civilian use of nuclear energy.

The UAE offered a bid tender which was won by the Korean Electricity company, Korea’s biggest electricity company, back in 2009 for rights to build the UAE’s first nuclear reactors.

The Emirati-Korean Nuclear joint program will cost the UAE about $30 billion namely Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp and Korea Electric Power Corp.

Omar Abdullah said despite Japan’s nuclear disaster earlier this year, the government of the UAE decided to continue with its nuclear project, which includes four nuclear reactors.

He said the UAE is also emerging as a leader in research into sustainable energy and mentioned that Abu Dhabi was the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

He also briefed the journalists about Abu Dhabi’s Vision 2030 which regards national economy as the cornerstone for sustainable growth.

He said despite the fact that UAE remains one of the world’s largest producers of hydrocarbons and is the fourth largest oil reserves and with a production rate of around 2.5 million barrels a day, it does not want to rely on oil as it was risky due to the volatility in its price.

He said under the vision, the economy of the Emirates was being made robust and diversified by integrating and forming strategic international alliances.

He said there was also a growing focus on public and private partnerships and there was an increasing reliance on steel, petrochemical sector, services and tourism sectors.

He pointed that around 16 percent growth has been observed in the non-oil sector in over the years.

He said the UAE was also trying to integrate with other States to ensure that the pace of development positively impacts the entire Emirates.

He particularly mentioned Dubai which he said complimented Abu Dhabi. He said however there was a difference of approach between the two, as Dubai relied more on commercialism and tourism, while Abu Dhabi was inclined towards petro-chemicals and services.
He said despite the global recession, the UAE has witnessed increased Foreign Direct Investment and did not feel threatened from the Euro zone crisis.

Governor Central Bank of UAE Sultan Nasser Al Suwaidi gave a brief account of the economy and said 24 banks were incorporated with it including eight dealing with Islamic banking.

Apart from that, 32 foreign banks were operational with a portfolio of around 344 billion AED Dirhams.

He said the size of the Islamic banking was similar to that of Malaysia and said it was still a growing sector that was learning to implement the principles of Islamic finance.
To a question he said the closer interaction and integration within the GCC would be a definite boost for the entire region.

About implementation of sanctions against Syria by the UAE, he said these would be pursued if the UAE government or the UN Security Council resolution asks for it.

About sanctions against Iran, he said UAE would abide by the UN resolutions and would continue to work with the US and European Union authorities.
When sought advise about the ongoing Euro Zone crisis, he said the member states needed to be patient and they would be over their problems soon.

To a question, he said the UAE would continue to peg its currency with the US dollar and was comfortable with it. He said his government also invests in the US treasury and depends on the changing requirements.

(Courtesy: APP, Pakistan)

Islamic Banking is the Need of the Hour: Experts

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 29 November 2011 | Posted in , , ,

Mumbai: Even as RBI and government aren't keen on allowing Islamic banking, experts from the world of Islamic finances today said it is a question of "how soon and not whether it will be allowed", as this mode of banking can greatly help a fund-starved country get long-term finances.

"It is not when, but how soon, the Reserve Bank and the government will take a positive view on this highly effective financing option," T Balakrishnan, the brain behind the country's first proper Shariah-compliant financial services firm Al Barakah Financial Services, promoted by the Kerala government, told PTI on the sidelines of a meet on Islamic banking organised by the Indo-Arab chamber of Commerce and Industries here today.

Balakrishnan, who just retired as the additional chief secretary of Kerala in-charge of industries and commerce, said the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation-promoted Al Barakah Financial Services, which was refused permission by the RBI early this year to start NBFC operations, is still hopeful of getting the regulatory nod.

Islamic banking prohibits charging interest from idle deposits, but allows investment in productive projects/ business and the resultant profit-sharing.

Pointing out that 75 per cent of the bank deposits in Kerala is held by the state's Muslim population, which constitute 25 per cent of population, he said, if Al Barakah Financial Services, in which, the state holds 11 per cent equity, or any other organized player is allowed to operate, they can easily channel billions of rupees to build infrastructure in the state. But he added none of these depositors draw interest from their banks, as it is prohibited under their faith.

Currently, Islamic banks across the globe manage an asset base of over USD 1 trillion (as of 2010), which is projected to reach USD 2.8 trillion by the turn of 2015.

Addressing the summit, Rajya Sabha deputy chairman R Rahman Khan blamed the bureaucracy for their myopic approach to developmental issues.

"The problem is that our bureaucracy is not open to change and look for newer ideas. So is the case with the officials at the central bank. If they open their eyes and look at the Arab world and their finances, they will find that their banking model is many times better and more stable than interest-driven banking system that we have," Khan said.

Shariq Nisar, a director at TASIS that advices Shariah-complaint companies in their investment areas, said, "It is not that there is no Islamic banking being practiced in the country now. There are aplenty, but all in an unorganised manner. What we need is a formal approval from regulators, so that large players can enter and tap this huge untapped money for productive purposes."

Pointing out that already Islamic fund houses like Gulf Finance House, have invested over USD1 billion in the country's infra sector like roads, ports, railways, airports, which are all Shariah-compliant, a partner at law firm Clasis Law Ishtar Ali said the Naiad Toll Bridge was partly funded by Islamic finances.

"But companies cannot come and invest in more such projects because our banking rules don't allow them to do so," he said.

Balakrishnan said, Al Barakah Financial Services will again move the RBI for approval and expressed the hope that it will come by going by the 30 per cent (or USD 300 billion) funding gap envisaged by the Centre for its USD 1 trillion infra push in the next Plan period.

He also drew his optimism from the recent statement by the Prime Minister that it is high time the country looked at the Malaysian model of infra funding.

The Southeast Asian tiger economy heavily depended on Islamic funds for its infra expansion. So are China, the US, Britain, Germany, France and many other non-Arab, non-Muslim nations, Balakrishnan said, adding Islamic banking is thriving in as many as 75 countries today.

(Courtesy: Outlook, India)

Delhi Declaration urges PFI to build the Nation on justice

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

By Pervez Bari

New Delhi: The Social Justice Conference at its conclusion released the Delhi Declaration which said that the delegates who came to attend the Conference called upon the Popular Front of India to come to the forefront as an organization that strives for the citizens rights to join hands with like-minded organizations in the democratic and non-violent struggle to build the nation on justice.

The Delhi Declaration was read out by Popular Front Vice President, Muhammed Ali Jinnah at the fag end of the mammoth Public meeting which saw the venue Ramlila Maidan overflowing with Popular Front’s cadres and activists here on Sunday .

The Delhi Declaration said the PFI will focus on: 1. Detailed overhaul of the current neo-liberal and pro-rich economic policies with a view to restore the concepts of welfare state where in the state is not merely a passive observer; 2. Development of eco-friendly development programmes which will not contribute to global warming and environmental desolation; 3. Building up of an inclusive people’s movement for the eradication of corruption at all levels; 4. Legislation for proportional representation instead of the existing first-past – the post system; 5. Implementation of Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission report, to ensure proportionate representation in constitutional organs, bureaucracy and public undertakings and 6. Reformulation of the foreign policy with avowed objective of establishing peace and cooperation on the subcontinent and revival of the Non- Aligned Movement to help India become once again the beacon of non-violence and national liberation.

The delegates also reiterated their commitment to the struggle to establish an India of Equal Rights to all Indians, the pledge they made in the Empower India Conference held at Bangalore in 2007, the Declaration said.

The Delhi Declaration said: “Social Justice is the corner stone of our constitution. The people of India, have constituted India into a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic to secure all its citizens, social, economic and political justice. This solemn declaration made in 1950 conveys the spirit, intention and vision of the nation. But after six decades of independence the ground realities leave much to be desired. The concept of a welfare state has been given a go by and the rulers are busy in transforming the republic in to a predatory market state leaving millions of people in extreme poverty and deprivation”.

It said that the red carpet welcome given to the neo-liberal policies has resulted in country- wide socio-economic dislocation and divide. Since independence the successive governments have failed to guarantee a life of dignity and security to the Dalits. The condition of tribals is worse. They were driven away from their dwelling places and multinational mining companies have grabbed their precious agricultural land.

The Delhi Declaration stated that Muslims are now one of the most alienated communities in the country. The reports of Justice Rajinder Sachchar Committee and Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission have been discussed threadbare but they still remain mere academic exercises. The lives of hundreds of innocent Muslim youth and their families have been destroyed by the arbitrary arrests, illegal detentions and media trials. Christians and Sikhs also are the victims of prejudice and discrimination. To a large extent, the pillars of the republic are in the grip of casteism, communalism and nepotism.

Two decades of liberalization has warped the concept of social justice. The unequal distribution of public wealth, the relentless extraction of natural resources and the formation of special economic zones have only increased the misery of people. The lion’s share of the budget is swallowed by the armed forces without parliamentary scrutiny as many poverty alleviation and employment programmes are stalled for lack of money.

The judiciary which often protects the rights of the people have also fallen victim to the current uncontrolled pursuit of material pleasure. There have been many instances of corruption and nepotism in the judiciary which tries to legislate rather than arbitrate.

The recent surge shown by Hindutva politics and the bonhomie between people of extreme right and the business tycoons have reignited the existential fear of the minorities, the Declaration added.

[Pervez Bari is a senior Journalist based at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Madhya Pradesh). He can be contacted at pervezbari@eth.net]

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