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GUEST EDITORIAL: Police Brutality in India -- Why? What can be Done?

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 28 May 2013 | Posted in , , , , , , ,

By Kaleem Kawaja

Police brutality towards the powerless segments of population in India has been a fact of life for many decades. Even before 1947 when India became an independent nation, the zulum (brutality) of police towards the poor and powerless in the population has been a fact of life. Indeed Police has been roughing up as many powerless dalits, tribals, backward caste people, poor upper caste Hindus and Sikhs as Muslims.

Mushrooming of Population

Since 1947 the population has continued to mushroom in India. One billion people now live in the land mass space in India where about 200 million lived at the dawn of independence. The many cities, towns and villages are badly overcrowded and congested. When travelling to India as you land at the airport in any major city, you get a feeling of shock at facing such massive multitudes.

Every possible public space, be it trains or buses or roads or markets or shopping centers or parks or movie-houses or schools and colleges, is choked with endless streams of people. Since the Indira Gandhi sponsored Family Planning program that she tried to implement in 1974, and that rebounded on her and the Congress Party in the 1977 general election, there is no credible family planning plan and the population is growing uncontrolled.


Today for instance the population of Uttar Pradesh state that I belong to, is about 200 million people. In terms of population it is among the ten most populous countries in the whole world. Similarly the states of Bihar, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh continue to have huge populations that have grown by about five folds in recent decades.

Mushrooming of crime and indiscipline

Along with this mushrooming of population, the tussle among people for the increasingly limited resources and opportunities has multiplied many folds. Thus public corruption, stealing or acquiring money by coercion, abusing political influence, religious sentiments etc. have grown many folds. Along with that the number of criminals and volume of criminal activities in the public space has multiplied hugely. Another phenomenon that did not exist about thirty years ago is terrorism.

Terrorism is an outgrowth of over-population, scarcity of resources and opportunities, indiscipline in the population, exploitation of the political process and religion, and laxity of government in governing the country on the basis of a set of principles. Today the society in India is many times more chaotic, undisciplined and ridden with crimes than about thirty years ago.


To make such a large, chaotic and anarchic society function, the ruling political elite constantly look towards the police force. The police force itself has grown many folds in the last thirty years. For instance in my home state of U.P., where about forty years ago the police force in each major district was headed by a Superintendent of Police (SP), now a couple of Deputy Inspector Generals (DIGs) divide the top police management. For the U.P. state as a whole, instead of one Inspector General (IG) for the entire state now there are 8 IGs, 18 Deputy Inspector Generals (DIGs), 4 Assistant Director Generals (ADGs) and one Director General (DG) – the top police official in the state.

Despite the significant increase in police force and senior police officers, crime, terrorism and mayhem in the public arena have continued to grow and remain uncontrolled. Unable to control this upsurge of mayhem in society and the inciting to violence by the unprincipled politicians, and unable to solve major crimes like riots and terrorist attacks, the police resorts to high handed measures. Thus police brutality has increased significantly over the last few decades.

Terrorist activities and bad law & order situation

Look at the upsurge of Naxalite and Maoist terrorism in the states of Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Bengal in the last twenty years. These movements resulting from government and social injustice to the tribal and dalit populations for decades have now formed regular militias that are well armed and frequently kill large number of policemen, paramilitary forces, government officials and wealthy people. In Chattisgarh instead of paying attention to the problems of the tribal people, the ruling political party created a rival militia by the name of Salwa Jadum to kill the tribal cadres of Maoists.

Well organized police operations and even paramilitary operations in these states have failed to diminish the widespread terrorist activities of these militias. In the state of Chattisgarh, in 2010 these militias killed about 75 soldiers of the paramilitary force in an ambush, and just last week they killed about 20 senior politicians in another ambush. The government policies in handling the grievances and subsequent militancy of the tribal people has failed completely in these states with significant tribal populations.

Even in In India’s major metropolitan cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, law and order situation is tentative at best. Even in these major cities incidences of molestation of women, rapes, crimes against women have mushroomed and the police is unable to bring them under control. Frequent terrorist activities like bomb blasts in public places, religious congregations, religious shrines, major public events occur with regularity. In very few instances culprits responsible for these activities are nabbed.

Police frustration feeds Police brutality

The senior politicians and major political parties have become very unprincipled in governing the country and the states and cities. They exploit divisions of religion, caste and ethnicity of the people and exploit the democratic polity of the nation to gain power. Once in power they practice corruption, injustice, cronyism to favour a few at the expense of many and implement contradictory policies. When big chaotic problems occur, instead of introspecting their governance and resolving their contradictory policies they pass the blame to the bureaucracy, government officials and their political rivals.


In the end the ruling politicians as well as the society at large is looking at the police force and senior police officers to bring the chaos under control and return the society to the lawful lifestyle that existed fifty years ago. But as explained above the many variables and contradictions that have grown in the government and political process and the society over the years, are thwarting the efforts of the police force, which is a very frustrated cadre of government today. Unable to solve crimes, unable to control the increase in crimes and unable to control the upsurge of mayhem and terrorism in society, the police force resorts to brutality and high handedness at various levels. Thus it appears that in the midst of contradictions and failures to govern, and inability to handle the pressures of the top political bosses, police brutality has become a governing style.

If people from the minority religious communities, who think that police brutality is the result of communalism of the majority community, look at the broad picture of police brutality, they will find that while police force is not free of communal feelings, when it comes to brutality, police often distribute it across the board to all powerless segments of society.

What can be done

Obviously police brutality in handling law and order breakdown situations is a most harmful phenomenon that will seriously harm the nation and will not be able to restore a law abiding society. The solution of the problem lies not in just laying the entire blame at the feet of the police force and senior police officers. Instead the first reform should be in the top political governance class who must be made to eschew highly opportunistic, contradictory and exploitative practices, politics and policies. Only then the ruling politicians will be able to hold the feet of the police force to fire to eliminate brutality in solving crimes and law & order breakdown situations. I unequivocally condemn police brutality and injustice in controlling the law and order problems, but at the same time I believe that unless all rogue practices of all segments of government and polity are reformed and the total picture is corrected, the law and order situation is not likely to improve.

[Kaleem Kawaja is a community activist based at Washington DC. He can be contacted at kaleemkawaja@gmail.com]

Maulana Azad Vichar Manch to organize Muslim Educational Conference at Mumbai on May 29

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

By Our Correspondent

Mumbai: Justice Sachar Committee and Justice Rangnath Mishra Commission have submitted to the Government their reports in respect of educational backwardness of Muslim community. With a view to discuss in detail the educational challenges being faced by the Muslim community and to find credible and long lasting solutions Maulana Azad Vichar Manch has organized Muslim Educational Conference on 29th and 30th May, 2013 at Kalina Complex of Mumbai University.

"The conference will be inaugurated by Vice President of India Mohammad Hamid Ansari. K. Sankarnarayanan, Governor of Maharashtra, will preside over the inaugural function. Prithviraj Chavan, Chief Minister of Maharashtra; K. Rahman Khan , Minister for Minority Affairs Govt. of India; Ajitdada Pawar, Dy. Chief Minister of Maharashtra; Arif (Naseem) Khan, Minister for Minority Affairs of Maharashtra; and Dr. Abusaleh Shariff, former Member Secretary of Sachar Committee and presently Executive Director USIPI, Washinton DC will be the special guests. Several national and International dignitaries from educational field will attend the conference," said Husain Dalwai, Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) and President of Maulana Azad Vichar Manch.


Husain Dalwai
"K. Rahman Khan and Dr. Abusaleh Shariff will deliver the keynote address on Government Policies, Initiatives, Implementations and Challenges by Indian Government for Minorities. In addition topics like “Perspective on Education of Muslim”, “Communalism – an impediment to Muslim Education”, “Utilization of Aukaf fund for Education amongst Muslim” will be dealt with in detail. Dr. G.N. Qazi, Vice Chancellor, Jamia Hamdard University; Dr. Azra Razzack, Director Centre for Dalit and Minorities Studies; Ms Farah Naqvi, Member of National Advisory Committee; Hasan Kamal, reknowned writer and poet; Ms Teesta Setalvad, Indian Civil rights activist and journalist; Dr. Bhalchandra Mungekar, MP and former Member Planning Commission; Dr. Syeda Saiyidain Hameed; Dr. Narendra Jadhav, Member Planning Commission; P.A.Inamdar, Dr. Zahir Kazi and Dr. Farida Lambe will speak on above subjects at the two-day conference," said Mr. Dalwai.

Husain Dalwai also elaborated on the efforts being made by the activities of Maulana Azad Vichar Manch for the empowerment of Muslim community. He also stated that for the development of education amongst Muslims various resolutions will be put up in the Conference which will be followed at the Government level on regular basis. Large number of representatives of educational Institutions, Principals, Professors, Teachers, Engineers, Doctors, Architects, Industrialists, and representatives of women and youth will be present at the conference.

An Open Letter to NHRC to intervene in cases of human rights violation in J&K and North East

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

The Chairperson

National Human Rights Commission

Faridkot House

New Delhi 110001

Subject: Request to act in the cases of human rights' violation in North-East and Jammu & Kashmir

Respected Sir,

With due respect, we request you to kindly consider this as a letter from one human being to another. This is about a situation that NHRC is well-aware of. We know that hundreds of letters, appeals and requests have been sent to NHRC. As members of Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign, we have met you twice regarding this issue. Sir, the issue remains the same - to save the life of people of North east and Jammu & Kashmir from the demon named AFSPA or Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

It is a fact that the world has acknowledged the struggle of eche Irom Sharmila. They salute her for her sustained faith in the democratic and non-violent way of struggle. She has been considered for the Noble Peace Prize. It is also a fact that UN has also questioned India on the validity of this law. The UN had recognised the horrendous lives that the AFSPA has granted to the unfortunate people of these states. The Government-appointed Jeevan Reddy committee had also demanded the repeal of the law. These are all facts. But these are not the grounds on which we appeal to you.

We appeal to you on a humanitarian basis. Sir, we are not from these states. But this cause does move us, for the reason that we are human beings. It is unimaginable and unacceptable to us the horror in which people of these states live. Every day is a struggle for them to save their life and honour. Sir, you know about the horrendous incidents of the Malom massacre where 11 innocent people including a 60 year old lady and a recipient of the Child Bravery award had died, the Kunan Poshpora incident of Kashmir wherein about 100 women were raped by army men, the Shopian case, the case of Manorama Devi but these are only few cases. There are everyday stories of torture. Everyday is a struggle to escape from the clutches of the army men. The landscape in these states is mapped by army check-points and camps which are impossible to pass without being interrogated. In Kashmir, failing to show the identity card can mean torture, rape or killing. But this does not mean that the house is a safe place. Any moment, the army men can come and raid the house. According to news reports and research reports (enclosed), during the search operations, there have been many reported and unreported cases of sexual assault and rape. The night is most dreadful as the armymen begin their search. In the name of searching for "millitants", all they do is to raid into villages, break-open doors of any random house and identify the male in the house as a "suspect". The widows of these "suspects" is also not able to get any state benefit meant for widows because their deceased husband are regarded as militants. We have enclosed several stories. According to a report entitled ‘Manipur: Memorandum on Extrajudicial Summary or Arbitrary Executions’ submitted by the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights in Manipur and the UN to the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Summary or Arbitrary Executions reported that 1528 people, including 31 women and 98 children were killed in fake encounters by security forces in Manipur between 1979 and May, 2012.

Sir, you had said that this is the issue of Government and the Government has to take action but Sir, they are clearly not bothered. The report of the Jeevan Reddy Committee had gone to the Government. The State Governments obviously know the situation but still no-one is ready to do anything. So then what? Where do the common people go? Isin't it the responsibility of NHRC to protect their rights? It is a matter of right to life. Why can't NHRC do anything? NHRC is an autonomous body. If even NHRC will not take any action, where will the people go? It is not acceptable that a certain section of the population should suffer to save the "integrity" of the nation. And which integrity, Sir? And more importantly, at what cost? The people who are suffering every day, are their lives not precious? are they not human beings? What is their fault? What was the fault of those 11 civilians who were shot dead only because the Assam rifles could not shoot down the militants? Their fault was that they were not privileged like you and me and were born in these states. This was their only fault. Sir, is it acceptable?

We are proud to say that our politics has so many women politicians. We are proud to dub it as "women empowerment" but what about the rapists in army uniform who rape our sisters in Kashmir and North East India. What about Asiya, Nilofar, Manorama Devi and thousands of women who have been raped. What about Irom Sharmila? For 12 years, the lady has been on a hunger-strike and no-one cares. She is accused of committing suicide but is that the case? The lady was not even a direct victim of AFSPA but she has sacrificed her life to repeal the cause because she has seen the horrors. Aren't you sympathetic towards her? She could have got married, have kids, would have migrated to Delhi or to some other place but she did not do that. She is under house arrest in a hospital. Today, she can't even talk properly. When she came to Delhi, even though we had only seen her in the photographs, we were traumatized to see her condition. Today, the lady can't even walk. She has become so weak, yet she has not lost hope. Sir, we feel helpless as we write this letter because there is really nothing that we could do for her and for these people who are suffering only because they had a hard luck of being born in these states. They are no different from me or from anyone else in this country, then why do they have to suffer? A kashmiri youth had said that, "While you people grew up playing, we grew up seeing guns." He also said that in Kashmir, there is an increasing no. of blind youths as the army men fire pellets into their eyes if they protest against any extra-judicial killing, murder or rape.

Is this inhumanity acceptable? Should we turn blind to their sufferings? Should we turn deaf to the screams and wails of mothers, widows and children? What about our own conscience?

As about the law, is this the way to "integrate" the nation? By torturing innocent people, destroying their lives, rendering them unemployed, how are we integrating the nation? As about the militants, is this the way to deal? The Government should open talks with them, instead of punishing the innocent people for the crimes of the militants. Torturing innocent people, depriving them of basic rights, underdevelopment are also causes that do encourage people to take up arms. The Government should think of "integration" in more positive and humane ways. NHRC must break its silence and speak out.

Sir, we request you to kindly respond and act strictly and immediately on this issue. Please take action through the following ways:

*Send a fact-finding team to all AFSPA-imposed states to investigate into the cases of violence and the affected everyday life of the people.

*The report of the team should be analysed and a document on the validity of the law on account of the human rights' violation should be made. NHRC can atleast suggest on the basis of evidence.

*The report should be sent to the Government, to the judiciary and other authorities and demand an action. It is not about a law, it is about the lives of thousands of human beings.

Sir, we request you to please intervene to save the life and honour of the people of North East and Jammu & Kashmir. If NHRC will not take action, where will the people go? Please save their lives from this draconian law. Laws can't be bigger than people.
Hoping for a positive and immediate response.

Thanking You

Regards,

Ravi Nitesh and Devika Mittal

Volunteers of Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign

[Devika Mittal can be reached at devikamittal31@gmail.com]

Islamic reformation in India

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

By Tufail Ahmad

Reformist Islamic writer and activist Asghar Ali Engineer, who passed away on May 14, devoted his life to reinterpreting Islam to counter Muslim fundamentalism, strengthen women’s rights and forge communal harmony in India. His writings, invariably based on reinterpretation of Islamic literature from early Islam, are a repository for a new generation of Islamic reformists, who are influenced by democracy and its associated ideas of individual liberty and human rights.

Works of Islamic jurisprudence were written much before the age of democracy, rendering Islamism relevant for modern times. Writing after 9/11, American academic James Q Wilson summed up the wedge between Islam and the democratic age: “When the West reconciled religion and freedom, it did so by making the individual the focus of society, and the price it has paid has been individualism run rampant, in the form of weak marriages, high rates of crime, and alienated personalities. When Islam kept religion at the expense of freedom, it did so by making the individual subordinate to society, and the price it has paid has been autocratic governments, religious intolerance, and little personal freedom.”

Like engineer, Islamic reformists are now breathing in democratic times, inspired essentially by a range of individual rights and political freedoms unleashed by democracy. Symbolically, the democratic age began when America became free in 1776, expelling British colonists and engendering decolonisation which gained momentum after the World War II, leading to freedom for a number of African and Asian nations, including India.

However, it is only in the 1980s, when democracy emerged, in the wake of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, as the only legitimate form of government deemed to be in conflict with all other systems. The tide of people’s opinion began turning in favour of democracy with much force after the fall of Berlin Wall in 1989 and freeing of Central Asian nations, and more so following the 9/11 attacks.

A forceful, though rhetorical, defence of democracy after 9/11 by US President George W Bush, who made it a point to travel to New Delhi in 2006 to stress the message of democracy for Muslims, may have contributed seeds for the Arab Spring. However, the lack of an infrastructure of democratic ideas in the Middle East prevented the Arab Spring from blooming while a strong presence of democratic institutions in India is not only widening the sphere of political liberty for its people but is also seeding a new generation of Islamic reformists and activists. A thriving democracy acts as a bulwark against Islamists: for example, Deobandi madrassas in Pakistan produce extremists, but the same Deobandi seminaries in India do not.

In the history of Islamic reformation in India, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan stands out. After the fall of Mughal rule in 1857, two movements in Islam emerged. One was led by Maulana Muhammad Qasim Nanautawi, who established the Darul Uloom Deoband, which has trained hundreds of thousands of orthodox Islamic clerics. The other was led by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan who founded the Aligarh Muslim University, a centre of modern education. Sir Syed wrote a number of books, magazines and an interpretation of the Koran to stress the need for modernity among Muslims, but he did so in pre-democracy times. And this is the key point: Islamic reformists working in post-independence India are influenced, unlike their counterparts in earlier times, by democracy and its associated freedoms.

In this context, Hamid Dalwai, a Muslim reformer of Maharashtra who died at the young age of 44 in 1977 but his works were recently discovered by historian Ramachandra Guha, stands out as more astute in his thinking than Sir Syed. Dalwai truly represented a democratic age and argued for a uniform civil code as a liberty project for Muslims. He also saw protection of people’s rights in democratic institutions and secularism. Dalwai argued that secularism of Hindus who treat Muslims as a minority encourages the anti-secularism of Muslims; and minorities in a democracy like India have equal rights, not special privileges. His belief that the rights and freedoms of Muslims and non-Muslims alike will flourish in the Indian democracy is actualising.

When compared, India has emerged as the best country for Muslims, offering a range of political freedoms, educational access and economic opportunities not available in other Islamic nations. Indian Muslims experience expanding spheres of democratic freedoms in everyday life, and, just as an example, Muslim actors do not have to change their names to Dilip Kumar, Madhubala and Meena Kumari.

Democracy is also tearing apart prevailing Islamic orthodoxies. In Afghanistan, the Taliban are forced to ponder over the use of referendums and elections, though as a tactic inspired by Egyptian Islamists. With regard to caste, Islam was a total failure in the Indian subcontinent, with Syeds and Khans refusing to marry girls from lower caste Muslims; and in parts of India separate boundaries were marked in graveyards for lower caste Muslims. In fact, even Sufis did not hand over their spiritual orders to those from the lower Muslim castes. Steadily now, the political freedoms guaranteed by Indian democracy are aiding Islamic reformers to challenge obscurant practices and dominant orthodoxies among Muslims.

Notable reformers and activists include Maulana Wahiduddin Khan who has authored scores of books reinterpreting Islam for modern times, Daud Sharifa who thought of India’s first mosque for Muslim women, the brave Shaista Ambar who has challenged clerics publicly, Syeda Saiyidain Hameed who has questioned orthodox interpretations of Islam, Uzma Naheed who works to empower women in Mumbai, and the like. Significantly, their work and activisms are possible in an atmosphere of freedom created by Indian democracy while in neighbouring Pakistan reformists like Javed Ghamidi are forced to leave the country due to Talibanisation. The works of Ambar, Hameed, Naheed and Sharifa denote one thing: India may be witnessing the emergence of a unique brand of Islamic feminism, characterised by attempts to explore the limits of liberty within Islam, as Engineer endeavoured in his life.

[Tufail Ahmad is Director of South Asia Studies Project at the Middle East Media Research Institute, Washington DC.]

(Courtesy: The New Indian Express)

Fifty Years After Nehru's Death, His Philosophy and Family Still Govern India

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

By Kaleem Kawaja

May 27, 2013 is the 49th anniversary of the death of Jawaharlal Nehru, India's great freedom fighter, builder of modern India, man of vision, who died on May 27, 1964. Next to Mahatma Gandhi he is the most revered of the leaders of modern India. Indeed though there was great commonality between the two of them, Nehru's thinking of what India should be like was very different from that of Gandhi. Today Gandhi is a revered point of reference and ideal for India, but Nehru's philosophy, institutions and legacy is actually operating the various avenues of the nation.

Nehru's Legacy vs Gandhi's Legacy

Whereas Gandhi was an extreme and sometimes impractical idealist, Nehru was a pragmatist. Gandhi's genius was in being able to have most people believe in him and follow him, despite the fact that they did not agree with him entirely. Nehru found it far more difficult to have most people follow him and used creative politics to have the country follow his philosophy and sideline his opponents. Remember the Kamraj Plan!

It is a credit to Nehru's ability and skill that in the short span of 17 years as the leader of India which is a country of extreme diversity and contradictions, he put in place so many institutions and policies for India's future that are pretty much still leading India. And he did so by more or less democratic means.

Since independence, two generations have gone by and now the third generation is hitting the threshold. The complexion of the country has changed radically. The population of the country has mushroomed five-folds; the number of states in India have more than doubled; so many political parties based on the castes and ethnicities and religious straits have mushroomed and even have significant following.

Quite a few of Nehru's socialist policies , institutions, public sector industrial infrastructure have been replaced. Yet the new economic order that began twenty years ago in 1991, opening India's economy and society to the Western countries, is not a major departure from the Nehru thought. Because unlike Gandhi who was so much for Swadeshi structure, Nehru always talked about India reaching out to the world and adopting some of their institutions and social styles.

Yet despite so many conflicts and contradictions Nehru's modernistic, progressive and pluralistic vision of going forward, taking every segment of the nation in the mainstream is still thriving in India. Much as Mao tse Tungs legacy and vision for China are thriving, Nehru's legacy and vision are thriving in India. In the same time phase Lenin's vision for Russia has been completely debunked by his descendants who have moved away from Lenin's vision and legacy.

Continuing sway of Nehru philosophy and family on India

What is indeed remarkable about Nehru's legacy is that not only his philosophy and vision for India have survived, his own family has retained its supremacy and control on India , fifty years after his death. Even though Nehru's grandson Rajiv Gandhi did not survive as his descendant in the power echelons of the nation, his daughter Indira Gandhi put the Nehruvian stamp on the nation and managed the nation's contradictions extremely well.

Even when others became leaders of the nation in the interim, they still followed the Nehruvian philosophy faithfully. It is absolutely remarkable that for the last about ten years, Sonia Gandhi - an Italian woman, the daughter-in-law of the Nehru family, has maintained remarkable control on the apparatus and subsets of the vast and diverse nation and has kept pushing the Nehruvian thought process. At this time despite much political and social turmoil, it is difficult to say that the nation will depart from the Nehru philosophy and even his family.

Other icons of freedom movement are only points of reference now

In contrast none of the descendants of Gandhi or Sardar Patel or Maulana Azad or Rajendra Prasad or Subhash Bose or other top freedom fighters remained on the national scene. Indeed just a decade after their demise no one even knows their names or where they are. Today these illustrious leaders of the freedom movement remain the icons of the nation, but not many people know what were their philosophies like.

Where will the Nehruvian vision and philosophy take India in the next fifty years is anybody's guess and extremely hard to say. But the fact that Nehruvian legacy has become an integral part of India's governance, seven decades after independence, is by itself an absolutely remarkable phenomenon.

[Kaleem Kawaja is a community activist based at Washington DC. He can be contacted at kaleemkawaja@gmail.com]

Opposition to a worthy cause

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

Saudi clerics view the White Ribbon campaign, aimed at raising awareness of the issue of violence against women, as an evil tool of the West

By Tariq A. Al Maeena

Taking notice of the growing trend of reported abuse against girls and women, two prominent Saudi social activists took it upon themselves to introduce a chapter of a global campaign by men against violence towards women. Abdullah Al Alami and Samar Fatany started the local chapter of the global White Ribbon campaign, the intent of which was to raise awareness of the issue of abuse and the means to eradicate it.

The campaign originally began in Canada as a reaction to an indiscriminate act of violence and massacre committed by a 25-year-old Canadian, Marc Lepine, in 1989. He had been upset that the École Polytechnique had twice rejected his application for admission, and blamed his misfortunes on the presence of women on the campus.

According to reports, he was resentful about women working in non-traditional jobs, ‘and after separating men and women in a classroom, he shot the women, claiming that he was fighting the evils of feminism. He then moved around the campus targeting women as he went, before killing himself. A total of 14 women were killed, and 10 injured. He left a suicide note blaming feminists for ruining his life.’

It was actually a full two years later when Canadian activists started a campaign to raise awareness about violence against women, defining it as the White Ribbon campaign. Their mission statement says it all:

‘White Ribbon is the world’s largest movement of men and boys working to end violence against women and girls, promote gender equity, healthy relationships and a new vision of masculinity. Starting in 1991, we asked men to wear white ribbons as a pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls. Since then the White Ribbon has spread to over 60 countries. …

Through education, awareness-raising, outreach, technical assistance, capacity building, partnerships and creative campaigns, White Ribbon is helping create tools, strategies and models that challenge negative, outdated concepts of manhood and inspire men to understand and embrace the incredible potential they have to be a part of positive change.’

As the Saudi movement, which started in April, began to gather steam, not all were appreciative of such activities. Blogger Eman Al Nafjan, a Saudi mother of three, was quick to point out that opposition to the campaign has taken shape in the form of clerics who view such movements as evil tools of the West.

She explains, “The most influential shaikh to lash out against the White Ribbon campaign is Shaikh Nasser Al Omar. In a video-taped sermon released on cable TV and social media, he instructs all Muslims to reject Abdullah Al Alami and Samar Fatany’s campaign. He refers to them as advocates of immorality. He says that the White Ribbon campaign compromises the very foundation of the pact between the Saudi royal family and Mohammad Bin Abdul Wahab’s followers. He also mentions national security three times in the 24-minute long video. He objects to the ‘advocates of immorality’ campaign’s mission statement mentioning the ending of child marriages.

“Another issue he takes up with the mission statement is that it calls for laws against harassment at work. He says that that is a call for not segregating the genders, since women will feel safe to work in a non-segregated environment if there are laws to protect them. Shaikh Al Omar actually says ‘they want to extract women from their subordination’ and ‘they want women to be presidents’ as if it were satanic to want that.”

“And then he goes on about how CEDAW (the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women) is evil and a westernising plot to demoralise Muslim societies. The shaikh denies that violence against women even exists in Saudi except for a few exceptions. He ends the sermon with a call to action particularly to Muslim women to reject the White Ribbon campaign on social media. But he does note that these women have to reject it by only written means because their voices should not be heard in public.”

Growing realisation

Eman argues: “You would think that religious clerics would welcome an anti-violence campaign. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. The White Ribbon campaign is about men and boys going public with a declaration of rejecting violence against women. Saudi ultra-conservatives do go public about women’s issues but it’s more about confining women than protecting them.”

There is a growing realisation that many of religious conservatives who take to the airwaves to promote their polarising views are gradually becoming inconsequential. Women are becoming a force to be reckoned with. The shift in Saudi society has many roots, with education being the most dominant force. Granted hard-line clerics do command a lot of followers who view them as the vanguards of Islamic morality. Sometimes their followers take to enforcing their views physically.

Following the airing of such opposition, one of the key figures behind the campaign, Abdullah Al Alami, quipped: “Death threats don’t bother me as much as the increased level of incidents of women abuse in Saudi. We need to stop this in any way legally possible.” In the meantime, the campaign will march on.

[Tariq A. Al Maeena is a Saudi socio-political commentator. He lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@talmaeena]

(Courtesy: Gulf News)

Iowa Town Named for Muslim Hero Extols Tolerance

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

By Samuel G. Freedman

Elkader, Iowa: Amid an expanse of undulating farmland, deep in the steep valley carved by the Turkey River, the town of Elkader sits most of the year in remote obscurity. Population 1,200 and gradually shrinking, it is the seat of a county without a single traffic light.

Improbably enough, this community settled by Germans and Scandinavians, its religious life built around Catholic and Lutheran churches, bears the name of a Muslim hero. Abd el-Kader was renowned in the 19th century for leading Algeria’s fight for independence and protecting non-Muslims from persecution. Even Abraham Lincoln extolled him.

This weekend, for the fifth year in a row, Elkader will welcome a delegation of Arab dignitaries to celebrate this rare lifeline of tolerance, spanning continents and centuries. Coming less than three weeks after the Boston Marathon bombings, which the authorities say were committed by two Muslim brothers, the Abdelkader Education Project’s forum stands more than ever for an affirming encounter between the United States and Islam.

“Our audience is the people who are compassionate already,” said Kathy Garms, 63, a retired human-resources administrator who is the driving force in the Abdelkader project. “But there are so many people who are ignorant or scared or even hateful. We just hope that once they get across the starting line, they will listen.”

Abdallah Baali, Algeria’s ambassador to the United States and an annual participant in the forum, put its impact in global terms. “In our increasingly tormented world,” the ambassador wrote in an e-mail, “Abd el-Kader — a true world hero — is ‘talking’ today to a much broader audience about our shared values and on how humanity could and can prevail over all differences and prejudices.”

The saga began in 1845, when a land developer, Timothy Davis, scouted a site along the Turkey River for a flour mill and settlement. Davis had read of Abd el-Kader’s fight against the French for Algerian independence, which was covered by American newspapers sympathetic to the revolt against colonial rule. So Davis named his new town for the emir.

Over the decades, the profundity of Elkader’s provenance gave way to a kind of exotica — a local college called its student newspaper The Arab Chieftain — and ultimately was all but forgotten. Then, in the mid-1980s, an Algerian liaison at the American Embassy there chanced upon the fact that a town in Iowa had been named for Kader. And that liaison, Benaoumer Zergaoui, hailed from Kader’s birthplace, Mascara.

Through the efforts of Mr. Zergaoui and Elkader’s mayor at the time, Edward W. Olson, Mascara and Elkader established a sister-city relationship in 1984. That endeavor died out in the early 1990s, however, as Algeria descended into a dozen years of civil war between the government and Islamist militants. By the time stability had returned to Algeria, Elkader and the rest of America was living in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Eventually, Algeria’s government reached out to Elkader’s new mayor in 2008. He turned down the opportunity to visit, but the invitation found its way to Kathy Garms, a volunteer in the local history museum. An accidental diplomat, Ms. Garms had been born and reared in Elkader, the daughter of a logger and a secretary. As a young woman, her world extended no wider than San Angelo, Tex., where she had represented Iowa in the Miss Wool beauty pageant.

In middle age by this time, and having seen a bit of the world as a military wife, Ms. Garms seized upon the Algerian offer. With her husband, she traveled there to meet with government leaders, visit Kader’s grave, and attend a conference run by a humanitarian foundation.

Two weeks after she returned to Iowa, the Turkey River flooded, destroying about 30 homes and causing $8 million in property damage. Ms. Garms picked up her phone one day to field an inquiry from the Algerian government about how to wire-transfer some money for disaster relief. A couple of hundred dollars, she figured, how sweet. It turned out to be $150,000.

Serendipity made its next appearance in November 2008 in the form of John W. Kiser, a Virginia author. He had just published a biography of Kader, “Commander of the Faithful,” and wanted to hold a book-launch event in the namesake town. Between them, Ms. Garms and Mr. Kiser brainstormed the idea of starting an essay contest for local high school students and holding a forum to renew interest in Kader.

“Our point,” Mr. Kiser said in a recent interview, “is to inject into the educational bloodstream another view of Islam. We need to balance the narratives that are constantly coming through the media. Fear and ignorance are a deadly combination.”

By now, as the forum prepares for its fifth year, Elkader displays historical artifacts about Algeria and Kader in both City Hall and the history museum. A local restaurant serves Algerian cuisine. Matched sets of poles with the word for peace written in English, French, and Arabic, stand in Elkader and Mascara. This weekend’s visitors will include a prominent Egyptian Islamic artist, Ahmed Moustafa, and a film crew from Al Jazeera. Everyone will dine on Iowa beef at Fennellys’ Irish Pub.

Not that everything has been easy. One of Kader’s descendants, who was supposed to come from Dubai for the forum, canceled his trip after the Boston bombing. Bob Spielbauer, an Elkader native who won the essay contest in 2011, recently heard his college classmates trotting out the Muslim-terrorist stereotype.

“It felt personal,” he said. “I felt like they were attacking me. Because the project helped open my eyes. It helped give me a positive opinion of Muslims. It was like filling in a blank.”

(Courtesy: The New York Times)

NCT Delhi govt begins identification of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan's haveli and birthplace, to be declared National Heritage site

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 26 May 2013 | Posted in , , , , ,

By Our Special Correspondent

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has asked the Department of Archaeology, Govt. of NCT of Delhi, to start Identification of Haveli and Birth Place of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, which would be later on declared as a “National Heritage” Site.

Ms. Sheila Dikshit finally acted on the plea following a meeting with a team of senior AMU Alumni based in Delhi led by P. Mohammad with Mohammad Aslam and Minnat Rahmani, which met the Delhi Chief Minister at her residence on 26 November 2012. Ever since its meeting the three AMU alumuni had been demanding the Delhi government to acquire, restore and declare the Haveli and Birth Place of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan as a “National Heritage Site”.


Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was the pioneer of modern education in India and his role in establishing Mohammmedan Anglo Oriental (MAO) College in 1875 at Aligarh.

Later in 1920 as Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) a central university was a historic step for spreading modern education and scientific temperament among Indians. Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, one of the architects of modern India was born on October 17, 1817 in Delhi.

Sir Syed instituted Scientific Society in 1864 to create a scientific temperament among the Indians and to make the Western knowledge available to Indians in their own language. He got translated many scientific works from English into Urdu.

The Aligarh Institute Gazette, an organ of the Scientific Society was started in March 1866 and succeeded in agitating the minds in the traditional Indian Society.

Presently In the bustling bylanes of Darya Ganj market, a piece of Indian history is gathering dust. A crumbling four-storey haveli, located near the Aulia Masjid, .Where this great educationist Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, founder of the Anglo Mohammedan College, now known as Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), grew up. The grand haveli has now been divided into pigeon-hole apartments. So much so that even identifying the mansion is a near impossible task.

After so many years, only some parts of the former haveli still resemble what it looked like in those times, as no steps were taken to conserve it. According to sources, about eight to 10 families live in the mansion today. With the paint on the walls peeling off, the floor chipped in several places and dust and cobwebs in every corner, the present state of the mansion does not do justice to its historical status.

“Sir Syed stayed at Goodenough House in London for 7 months during his trip to England (1869). The house bears the plate "English Heritage" and that Sir Syed lived here. The great sense of history prevails in UK and still below plate is a reminder of a place Sir Syed stay in London but we Indians are lost our own historical heritage and there is no sign of Sir Syed birth place and haveli in the very heart of Delhi.

Based on this meeting Chief Minister has asked to Department of Archaeology, Govt. of NCT of Delhi look into the actual place identify the actual house where Sir Syed Ahmad Khan lived once as this place is now occupied by many people and the head of archeology department has written a letter to P. Mohammad on 15-May-2013 in this regard. P. Mohammad with the team of Sr. AMU Alumni is working to create a team of experts in this area so that the actual Haveli will be located and the proper support will be provided to Department of Archaeology so that acquiring, restoring and declaring the Haveli and Birth Place of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan as a “National Heritage Site” by the Govt. of NCT of Delhi will be possible at the earliest.

Muslim leaders meet Uttar Pradesh CM in Mumbai, say Varun Gandhi's acquittal in hate speech case worrisome

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

IMO News Service

Mumbai: Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav recently met leaders of Muslim organizations here and assured them that the state government is planning to appeal the acquittal of Varun Gandhi in High Court. He also said that culprits if any won’t be spared for the death of jalled terror suspect Khalid Mujahid.

Earlier, the Muslim NGOs had planned to greet Akhilesh Yadav with black flags and protest during his Mumbai visit. However, at the behest of his office he appealed leaders of Muslim organizations to meet and discuss the issues. UP CM was in Navi Mumbai to inaugurate the Uttar Pradesh Bhavan.

The Muslim leaders belonging to over a dozen NGOs on Thursday met Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Singh Yadav and expressed concern over the acquittal of Bhartia Janata Party (BJP) General Secretary Varun Gandhi in the hate speech case.

Mr. Abdur Rahman Anjaria, President, Islamic Defence Cyber Cell and National Spokesperson of Muslim Personal Law Board (Jadeed) raised the issue of acquittal of Varun Gandhi in hate speech case. He said the way Varun Gandhi has been acquitted in the hate speech case, will be a dangerous precedent for the country. He and other Muslim leaders demanded immediate suspension of the concerned officers and appeal the acquittal in high court. Responding on this issue, Akhilesh Yadav said that Varun Gandhi's acquittal in hate speech case worrisome and his government will soon take next step after consulting legal experts.

Mr. Aamir Idrisi, President, Association of Muslim Professionals, while talking to Akhilesh Yadav said the life and property of Muslims are not safe in the state since the Samajwadi Party came to power in April 2012. Several communal riots have taken place in last one year. There is no law and order in Uttar Pradesh today and Muslims are feeling unsafe.

Maulana Irfan Aleemi, President of Aleemi Movement of said The recent examples of UP government’s failure are many like Death of Maulana Khalid Mujahid, attack on his advocate in Faizabad court premises, clean chit to Varun Gandhi in hate speech case and some big riots which took place in UP in last one year

When Muslim leaders reminded him of his pre-election promise about the release of innocent Muslim youths, Akhilesh Yadav said he is making all efforts for the release of those Muslim youths.

On Muslim reservation, Akhilesh Yadav said his government would soon make announcement that would guide other states.

Other leaders who took part in the meeting with CM included Abdus Salam Khan Qasmi (President, Jamiat Ulema, Mumbai) Siraj Ansari (President, Ansari Foundation), Maulana Qamar raza Ashrafi (Aiyyma Masajid Council) and few others.

E-Book on Indo-Pak Relation on Amazon by Aaghaz-e-Dosti

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

IMO News Service

Amazon has published an e- book on "Indo-Pak relation" jointly authored by two members of Mission Bhartiyam named Devika Mittal and Ravi Nitesh. The title of the book is "Indo-Pak Relation: Memoirs and Emotions".

Devika Mittal and Ravi Nitesh are also conveners of Aaghaz-e-Dosti, a campaign for Indo-Pak friendship. This book is a collection of articles written by these two members on Indo-Pak relations where they have propagated the need to develop and enhance people to people relations.

Devika Mittal in her articles have tried to view the relations through a common person's perspective. Her basic proposition remains that people on both sides are the same and have the same desire. The evidence for which has been provided by Ravi Nitesh through his articles. Ravi Nitesh has shared his experiences from his visit to Lahore, from the interaction with people of Pakistan and experiences attained by working on this initiatives.
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Aaghaz-e-Dosti in a press release conveyed special thanks to all those who are working on Indo-Pak Friendship. Ravi Nitesh remarked, "Though we through Aaghaz-e-Dosti were already working towards Indo-Pak Friendship, but it was really nice and encouraging to visit Pakistan as it gave us more inspiration to work for our goal. We are highly thankful to Dr. Sandeep Pandey (Asha Parivar) from India and Ms. Saeeda Diep (IPSS, Lahore) who had considered me for this visit."

Aaghaz-e-Dosti had also launched a "Calender of Hope" last year and this will now be launched every year wherein paintings from students of both sides of borders will be invited. The selected paintings will be complied into a calendar. Aaghaz-e-Dosti is all set to start some more programs to spread the message of love and more importantly to eliminate mutual misunderstandings, suspicion and hatred from the hearts.

Aagahaz-e-Dosti conveners from India are Devika Mittal, Ravi Nitesh and Shivendra Singh. Shivendra is author of Jnanpith publication book, 'Ye Jo Hai Pakistan' and works as special correspondent for sports activities in a news channel. His book is available at http://www.flipkart.com/yeh-jo-hai-pakistan-hindi/p/itmdffefchnbr24d .

The E- Book 'Indo-Pak Relation: Memoirs and Emotions' can be shopped from Amazon and will be available to read for all Kindle reader, Iphone and Ipad users who have Kindle application. The link is: http://www.amazon.com/INDO-PAK-RELATION-MEMOIRS-EMOTIONS-ebook/dp/B00CDRUYI6. Pubication rights is with Aaghaz-e-Dosti and any part of this book can be republished and used for any non commercial activity.

A History Lesson

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

The death of Khalid Mujahid in police custody, and communal clashes in UP, underscore the urgent need for Akhilesh Yadav-led SP to halt the growing alienation and anger amongst Muslims

By Jamal Kidwai

The death of Khalid Mujahid in the custody of Uttar Pradesh police has once again reinforced the perception that the Akhilesh Yadav led-Samajwadi Party has failed to provide security to Muslims in UP. Mujahid was one of the accused of the 2007 serial bomb blasts in UP. His death triggered a knee-jerk response by the Yadav government, which suspended the nine cops escorting him from Faizabad to Lucknow Jail; a total of 42 police officers, including former DGP Vikram Singh, ADG Brijlal and others who were on duty during the time of Khalid's arrest, have been booked. The UP government has also requested the central government to institute a CBI inquiry about the incident. Within days of that, Mohd Saleem, a lawyer associated with the legal defence of Mujahid was brutally attacked in the Faizabad court premises by fellow lawyers who had earlier passed a writ against defending those accused of terrorism.

Yadav's decision to suspend police officers clearly indicates that his Samajwadi Party government is desperately trying to halt a downward swing in its popularity amongst Muslims, whose votes will be crucial in the 2014 general elections. What would be bothering Yadav most is the near unanimous criticism of his government by representatives of the Muslim clergy, all from the leading seminaries of UP. These include the Darul Uloom Deoband, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind and the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat in UP. Even the Shahi Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid has been critical. These seminaries and the various clerics associated with them have till now had a cosy relationship with the Samajwadi Party. They have often extended official and unofficial support to the SP and they, in turn, have received state-government patronage from various SP-led governments in UP.

UP has been a bitter battle ground for differing political paradigms claiming to be representative of Mandir-Mandal-Bahujan. UP has also been the home to the Babri Masjid conflict and the epicentre of the communalism versus secularism debate. In all this ideological churning, the Muslim vote has played a decisive role in selecting which party would rule UP. Since the days of the Ramjanambhoomi movement, it has become political common sense that Muslims will vote for the candidate who will ensure the defeat of the BJP candidate. In other words, for them, it’s not the ideology of the SP or the BSP or, for that matter, the Congress, that inspires them to vote for a particular candidate. For the Muslims of UP, keeping the BJP out of power is essential and a motivating factor for reclaiming their lost sense of dignity, security and justice.

With the 2014 Lok Sabha elections round the corner, the question is, can administrative correctives like the suspending of police officers and ordering a CBI inquiry halt the growing alienation and anger amongst Muslims against the Samajwadi Party? Unfortunately for Akhilesh, the answer is the negative, unless he takes some urgent political steps. It is important to analyse how, in less than 14 months, the Akhilesh-Yadav led SP is being perceived as one of the most hostile administrations vis-à-vis the Muslims as far as their physical security and issues related to justice and dignity are concerned.

By voting for the SP in large numbers in 2012 assembly elections and ensuring that it got a simple majority, the Muslims of UP reasserted their faith in Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son and hoped that the promises he had made would be fulfilled. One of their major promises, seen as both radical and controversial, was that when they came to power, they would withdraw cases against some 400 Muslims youth who were wrongly arrested on charges of terror. This was welcomed by all democratic and civil rights groups, but, more so, by Muslims. They had been feeling anxious and insecure during Mayawati’s rule, when there were a series of raids against and arrests of Muslims youth for their alleged involvement in terror activities. Overnight, towns with large Muslims population, such as Azamgarh, became associated with madrasas where, it was claimed, Muslim youth were being trained and recruited for terror activities. Even the trail of the now infamous Batla House encounter in Delhi led to Azamgarh. All these incidents, including the arrest of Mujahid, had happened under the chief ministership of Mayawati.

When Akhilesh came to power, he didn’t take any legal steps that would fulfil the promises he made related to the release of Muslim youth. Nor did he launch any policy-related schemes that would address the social and economic backwardness of the Muslim community. What he did, instead, was to nominate several Muslim political figures from conservative backgrounds as spokespersons of the party and give them posts in his government. Many of these individuals, like Kamal Farooqui, T Rehmani and the old Mulayam loyalist Azam Khan have a history of taking positions on Muslim identity that are highly sectarian in nature. Akhilesh has even tried to appease the Imam of Jama Masjid by giving one of his close relatives a position in UP government. These acts are mostly symbolic in nature and by no means have a positive impact on the everyday life of ordinary Muslims.

However, the biggest failure of the Akhilesh Yadav government, one that may cost him dearly in the next Lok Sabha election, is the series of incidents of communal violence and the partisan role played by the UP police during these incidents. To add to this has been the obvious complicity of one his senior ministers, the dreaded mafia don Raghuraj Pratap Singh “Raja Bhaiya” —who is considered to by a close associate of Mulayam-Akhilesh— in the murder of Deputy Superintendent of Police Zia-ul-Haq. Besides the killing of Mujahid and Haq, between June-September 2012, there have been at least six major incidents of communal violence where the police have been accused of acting in a partisan manner against Muslims. Two Muslim youth were burnt alive in Mathura in June and, in the same month, large-scale burning and looting of Muslim houses took place in Raja Bhaiya's constituency Partapgarh. In July, communal clashes occurred in Bareilly over the use of loudspeakers during the Janamasthami processions, two Muslims were killed and there was massive looting and arson. To make matters worse, intermittent clashes continued over several weeks and various Muslims localities remained under curfew for nearly a month creating immense hardships for its residents. In September, six people, including three teenagers, were killed in Ghaziabad during violence over the burning of the Quran. Four of the people killed were reported to have been shot from a distance ranging four to ten feet, once again indicating the high-handedness of the police.

This short history of the Akhilesh-led SP government reminds one of the Indra-Rajiv Gandhi governments of the 1980s when there were large-scale communal violence in UP and the police were accused of indulging in targeted killings of Muslims. The brutality of the police during the Maliana-Meerut and Moradabad violence is still fresh in the memory of people. Instead of making the police accountable and punishing the guilty, the then governments tried to create a sense of balance by appeasing the conservative Muslim clergy. The best example of that was the overturning the Supreme Court judgement by Parliament in the Shah Bano case. This eventually resulted in not only the downfall and complete destruction of Congress in UP, but also gave rise to right wing Hindutva forces, eventually leading up to the tragic demolition of the Babri Masjid.

One of the major reasons for the emergence of Mulayam Singh Yadav and his Samajwadi Party, besides the Mandal Commission, was the support he got from Muslims, who had felt a deep sense of injustice and insecurity during the Congress rule of the 1980s. If Akhilesh wants to survive in UP, he should learn from history and not repeat the mistakes of the Congress. Otherwise, not only will he lose the next election but he and his party might become totally irrelevant in Indian politics. Because, unlike the Congress, his party does not have a presence in any other state of India and relies completely on Uttar Pradesh. But more importantly, Muslims who are the biggest minority of India and a significant proportion of UP's population, will be alienated further, which will be a disaster for India's secular polity and democracy.

[Jamal Kidwai is the Director of AMAN Trust]

(Courtesy: Outlook)

Custodial killing of Maulana Khalid Mujahid by U.P. police under state government supervision highly condemnable: APCR

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

IMO News Service

Mariahu /New Delhi: Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR), a New Delhi-based civil rights NGO, has strongly condemned the suspicious custodial killing of Maulana Khalid Mujahid in Barabanki,Uttar Pradesh by U.P.police under the supervision of state government.

"The statement of SP Bararbanki Waseem Ahmad given even prior to the postmortem that Khalid died on the way in Barabanki when he along with other three accused was returning from Faizabad court to Lucknow jail and the death was natural, seems false and fabricated. While as per Khalid’s advocates when he met Khalid in the Faizabad court at 3:30 p.m he was dressed in kurta pajama and was healthy but when he seen his body after the panchnama in Barabanki district hospital surprisingly the body was dressed in lower and T-shirt having injuries on neck & ankle. There were many dark blood spots on nose and ear of the body and most objectionable thing is that the panchnama was signed by ruling party leaders. Khalid’s uncle Zaheer Alam Falahi also approves the sign of injuries on the dead body. These contradictory facts and statements create suspicion and directing towards a big conspiracy in this custodial death," said Akhlaq Ahmad, Coordinator, APCR, in a press release.

"APCR strongly feels that custodial killing of innocents arrested in the name of terrorism is a set policy of state agencies to save themselves from any legal action. We had seen it in the murder of Qateel siddiqui who was arrested and then killed in Pune Jail in 2012. It seems that killing of Khalid Mujahid belongs to the same chain. APCR contends that this is a planned murder of an innocent Indian citizen who was in judicial custody and belongs to the religious minority community. It is observed that custodial death of Khalid Mujahid is planned and executed by those state players who were named in the Nimesh Inquiry commission report as the culprits of illegal detention and torture of this youth," Mr. Akhlaq said.

The APCR has made the following demands from the state government:

(1.) Terminate & Arrest all the police personnel’s at once named in the F.I.R filed by Zaheer Alam Falahi ,uncle of Khalid Mujahid in Barabanki Police station and start legal action against all of them .

(2.) Start C.B.I enquiry of the incident covering all the state agencies and police officers nominated in the Nimesh Enqiry commission report including the police escort carrying Khalid Mujahid & the District Magistrate, Supretendent of the Barabanki District.

(3.) Release all innocents arrested in the name of terrorism as per the commitment written in the party manifesto.

(4.) Table the report of Nimesh Inquiry commission in the assembly without any delay.

(5.) Pay life compensation to the family of Khalid Mujahid.

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