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Published On:16 November 2012
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

‘Concept of Indian citizenship becoming meaningless in face of racial & ethnic tendencies emerging pattern’

By Pervez Bari

Bhopal: Mr. M. Abdul Raheem Qureshi, Assistant General Secretary of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, (AIMPLB), has said that the recent incidents of violence against Muslims in Assam in the area which has been named as Bodoland, is a warning to the nation that racial and ethnic tendencies are emerging in such a way that the concept of Indian citizenship is becoming meaningless.

Addressing a Press conference here Mr. Qureshi said that it is due to the blunder committed by the central and state administration which put into practice a concept of territorial economy there while the Bodos are encouraged to drive away the Muslim Indians living in their territory. In such a state ethnic, racial and other cultural entities be assured of their cultural autonomy in a way for which creation of any autonomous territorial area does not become necessary. In this the central and state leadership of all the political parties have miserably failed.

Mr. Qureshi argued that if the concept of cultural autonomy with cultural autonomous territory is developed, then it will divide the country into hundreds of autonomous territories causing a great damage to concept of Indian citizenship and cultural plurality of the country.

He said: “Therefore, we earnestly call upon the states and union to rise up to the occasion take steps to develop the concept of cultural autonomy without creation of autonomy territory. The leadership on the other hand should take bold steps for protection and preservation of religion of all communities particularly the minorities”.

In this regard we are thankful and appreciate that the Government of India has made amendments to the Right to compulsory and Free Education Act giving assurance to the Muslim minority that the community institutions of religious structure that is Madarsas, will continue, Mr. Qureshi said.

IB working with mindset of RSS

Mr. Qureshi, who is also national president of Tameer-e-Millat, lashing out at the intelligence agencies with special reference to IB (Intelligence Bureau), alleged that innocent Muslims are being targetted at the behest of Rashtriya Swyamsevak Sangh, (RSS), in pursuance of the saffron agenda.

“Yeh log police wardi mein to hote hain lekin inki mentality RSS ideology ki hoti hai”, he remarked. The IB officials working with mindset of RSS, he alleged.

Mr. Qureshi recalling the incidents of bomb blasts at Makkah Masjid in Hyderabad, Ajmer Shareef mausoleum in Ajmer, a graveyard in Malegaon, Samjhauta Express and several other places, he said Muslim youth have been targetted at the slightest suspicion. They were illegally detained and tortured inhumanly with cases of even burning their private parts because intelligence agencies behaved like RSS cadres while charge-sheeted for these blasts. However, later on it was established authoritatively that no Muslim was involved in these blasts but it was the handiwork of other anti-national forces holding allegiance to the saffron brigade which is bent upon to ruin the communal harmony in the country for their vested interests, he added.

Mr. Qureshi pointed out that similarly targetting Muslims recently several youth have been arrested from Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka by intelligence agencies on the premise of threat to national security to fulfil the RSS agenda. Even after it has become a common knowledge how the intelligence agencies are colluding with saffron forces and working on their lines but still why the secular leadership of the country is silent is intriguing, he wondered.

Suppression of Communal Violence Bill 2010

Meanwhile, the AIMPLB has demanded immediate enactment of the “Suppression of Communal Violence Bill 2010” by both Houses of Parliament so that it becomes an Act and implemented by the law and order enforcing agencies to tide over the scourge of communal virus which has badly infected the society. The AIMPLB has also demanded that the Muslims should be assured that there would be no interference in their religious affairs by the governments of the day and efforts will be made to do away with whatever interference which had taken place so far.

Mr. Qureshi, who is also spokesman of AIMPB, said that National Advisory Council, (NAC), under the chairmanship of UPA chairperson Mrs. Sonia Gandhi has drafted the “Suppression of Communal Violence Bill 2010” but till now no attempts are being made to get this bill passed in both the Houses of Parliament. He said this Bill places the responsibility of maintaining communal peace and of curbing communal tensions on the shoulders of administration and police. The administration and police have been empowered to take action against those who create tensions by word of mouth and misdeeds and the officers of administration and police would also be punished under this bill for dereliction of their duties. If this bill is passed as a law, the situation is certainly going to improve and create a sense of satisfaction in minorities and Dalits of the country which will be helpful in strengthening communal harmony in the country.

Interference in religious matters of Muslims

Referring to the government interference in religious matters of Muslims Mr. Qureshi said Muslims’ personal law i.e. the family law of ‘Shariat’, is an integral part of faith in Islam religion. Therefore, the Muslims be assured that there will be no interference in their religion Islam and attempts will be made to away with the interference which had taken place.

Mr. Qureshi expressing his opinion said: “In our country we feel that the stability of present democratic and cultural polarity structure is at stake and it is imperative and duty of every citizen and every community and group living in India to inculcate the sentiments of truly upholding the principles of secular character of the state’s cultural plurality and duty towards country. For this purpose every effort should be made to keep all those trends and tendencies under leash which aim to destroy the secular character and cultural plurality of our nation.

“For this it is necessary that every group and community should feel that those things which are dearer to their lives are safe, preserved and protected. The first and foremost thing in this regard is religion. As far as Muslims are concerned they feel and there is reason for this feeling that there is interference from the state and its organs in the matter of religion”, Mr. Qureshi added.

Mr. Qureshi said the AIMPLB also demands that either the Direct Tax Code Bill which is pending discussion in the Parliament be withdrawn or the exemptions and concessions for the places of worship, religious and charitable trusts and institutions in the present Income Tax Act should be incorporated in the Direct Taxes Code Bill.

All these demands are rational and feasible and we appeal to the leaders of all the parties and particularly to the Government of India to accept our demands to pave way for strengthening secular and cultural pluralistic character of our great nation India, he asserted.

Media has lost objectivity

Replying to a volley of questions Mr. Qureshi said the media’s role in today’s world has become controversial as it has transgressed the bounds of rightful path and lost objectivity and often indulges in sensationalising of news items. The media should be objective, impartial and unbiased while reporting certain events or incidents giving space to all parties which may be affected by it. He lamented that media cares two hoots when the lacunae, misinformation and misreporting are pointed out in its reports and does feel its responsibility to rectify it by publishing rejoinders and letters send to it by the parties affected. He cited two examples when two leading national dailies failed to publish the rejoinder to the news affecting the Muslim community at large.

He said the Muslim community is very critical of the Waqf (amendment) Bill 2010 as it has been passed in the Lok Sabha and demanded that this bill which is now before the Rajya Sabha be withdrawn and then again introduced in both the houses of the Parliament after making changes as suggested by the AIMPLB and the Joint Parliamentary Committee.

Answering a questioner Mr. Qureshi condemned Taliban and said they are not Islamists. Anyone who has recited the Kalima and vows to follow Islam can neither take human life nor make such attempt, he emphasised. He further said that not only the Taliban, but others too who claim to be follower of Islam but indulge in anti-human action, are not Islamists.

The attack on the child activist Malala Yousafzai is cowardice and we condemn it. He stated that the action of the Taliban is anti-Islamic and also brings a bad name to the religion, he added.

AIMPLB member Arif Masood, who was also present on the occasion, said: “We condemn the attack on the child activist Malala Yousafzai and consider it an act of cowardice.”

[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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