Mulayam Singh Yadav: A Hindutvawadi who pretends to be a secularist

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 22 September 2013 | Posted in , , , ,

By M Ghazali Khan

Only once have I heard Narendra Modi telling the truth and admitting, in a television interview to a British filmmaker few weeks after the Gujarat genocide in 2002 and admitting, indirectly though, that he is not a fool. “Koi moorakh mukhya mantri hi apne rajya men arajakta phelwai ga (only a foolish chief minister will allow rioting and lawlessness in his state).” Modi was denying his role in the dance of death and destruction demonstrated on the streets of Gujarat under his rule. Not that he is now a reformed man and regrets his foolishness in allowing that program. The fact is that, as the old saying goes, “everybody is wiser after a bad experience”, Modi realised the blunders of his strategy only after facing condemnation from all over the world. There is no change in his anti-Muslim stance in the least. He is still spreading the misconception that Muslims are being, “appeased”. Praising and congratulating himself he still insists, as he has been saying in his speeches and interviews that his Gujarat experiment has proved, “appeasement ke baghair bhi sab ko saath le kar chala ja sakta hai” (without being appeased any, everyone can be taken aboard).

The narrow-mindedness and foolishness of Modi and his party hardly needs any comment. However, what is really strange is the lack of vision and wisdom of someone like Mulayam Singh who has allowed his solid Muslim support, especially in western UP to evaporate.

His courtship with Hindutva group — praise for Advani, meeting with VHP leaders, allowing anti-Muslim riots, 104 in his one and half year rule in UP, and now the bizarre display of complete disinterest and shameful unwillingness in controlling one of the most horrific riots in the state—is in sharp contrast to the praise he had showered upon Muslims after his overwhelming victory in assembly elections a year ago. Not only had he thanked the Muslims for their support but had even asked his party workers to keep this fact in mind.

But then there is nothing new about this coquettish behaviour of once “Mulla” Mulayam Singh. Before the elections he hadflirted with Kalyan Singh, much to the annoyance of his party’s Muslim face Azam Khan and making some of his MLAs to say goodbye to his Samajwadi Party. Realising how damaging this courtship could be for his party, Mulayam parted his ways and was accused by Kalyan Singh of being an opportunist. What the readers would, however, be surprised and shocked to learn is that even few days after ordering the shooting on karsevaks in Ayodhya in 1990, Mulayam Singh was seen embracing with great warmth Mr Kalyan Singh inside the parliament building. This was reported by none other than M. Afzal, now Congress’s spokesperson, who used to edit Urdu weekly Akhabar-e-Nau. According to Mr Afzal when he expressed his astonishment at what he was witnessing, Mulayam Singh lost his temper and dared him, “aap ko jo likhna hai likh lena.” (Go on, write whatever you want to write).

His government destroyed all the proofs of Varun Gandhi’s brazenly anti-Muslim speech delivered in Pilibhit in 2009 and thus helped him in being exonerated by the court.

Far from keeping his pre-election promise to release innocent Muslim youths languishing in jails for the fabricated terror charges, his government suppressed the publication of Nimesh Commission’s report on the arrest of Tariq Qasmi and late Khalid Mujahid. His Government went out of its way in protecting guilty officers in Faizabad riots.

Muzaffarnagar riots did not flare up suddenly. Hindutvaites have been busy in polarising the social and political climate in western UP for the last one or two years. Urdu newspapers have been constantly reporting on the provocative activities of Hindutvaites in the region. Few of such events that I can recall are: a maha panchayat and highly poisonous speeches in Manki, a village near Deoband; two Muftis of Darul Uloom Deoband travelling from Roorkee to Deoband, dragged out of a bus and beaten up resulting in tension and violent incidents in the town; two maha panchayats in Deoband and highly provocative speeches made, including by a former BJP MLA; riot between Muslims and Valmikis in Kairana; attack on Tableeghi ijtima in Kairana; a man from Khatauli attacked in a train and his beard shaved off; Muslims stopped from offering Shabeena prayers during Ramazan outside a mosque in Meerut leading to a riot like situation; and students of Darul Uloom travelling to and from Deoband assaulted in trains.

With the only exception that so far there is no proof of Mulayam Singh or his son Akhilesh having directly manoeuvred his foot soldiers to, ‘teach Muslims a lesson’. With certain angles there seems no difference between Gujarat in 2002 and Muzaffarnager in 2013: In Gujarat Sabarmati Express tragedy was used to incite anti-Muslim frenzy and organise pogroms, in Muzaffarnagar eve teasing has been used to polarise communities and commit atrocities; in Gujarat charred bodies of karsevaks were allowed to be taken out in a procession, in Muzaffarnagar rabble rousers were allowed to organise Mahapanchayat; in Gujarat mobile phones were used to coordinate attacks on Muslims, in Muzaffarnagar incitement was spread through social media and distributing fake CDs; to prove his efficiency in Gujarat, Modi controlled any reaction after the attack on Akshdham, in UP Mulayam Singh stopped VHP’s Yatra and tried to re-establish himself as the saviour of Muslims; Gujarat witnessed killings, arson, rapes and forced migration of Muslims, as time passes more and more similar stories are emerging from Muzaffarnagar. While Gujarat genocide 2002 had all the hallmark of being a well prepared pogrom, the manner in which a fake CD, reportedly shot two years ago in Pakistan, was edited and distributed and the manner in which provocation of Muslims had been going on in the area for more than a year gives every reason to assume that Muzaffarnager pogrom was premeditated and well planned.

In this background Mayawati’s comments that, "Every time elections are near, Mulayam Singh and the BJP and its affiliates, come together and plan political strategy," cannot be dismissed.

[M Ghazali Khan can be contacted at mkhanghazali@gmail.com]

Appeal from Aman Ekta Manch: Recognize forces behind flaring of Muzaffarnagar riots

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

IMO News Service

New Delhi: Kaval village is about three kilometres away from Jansath in Muzaffarnagar district. Hindus and Muslims have always lived in amity in this village, whose population is around 15,000. On 27 August 2013, Shahnavaz, a youth from Kaval, had an argument with Gaurav, a Jat youth from Malikpura, a village two kilometres distant. Media reports and rumour have linked this argument with “eve teasing”. However, at this time there is no evidence of any such association. The Uttar Pradesh D.I.G. (Law and Order), Rajkumar Vishwakarma, has said that there is no evidence of “eve teasing” having been the cause.

Around 1 p.m. that day, Gaurav arrived at the centre of Kaval village with his relative Sachin. The argument took a physical form, with Gaurav and Sachin stabbing Shahnavaz, who died in a short while. The two assailants could not run away. A crowd collected to beat them and the two died after sharp edged weapons were used. After the deaths of the three youths, senior officials of the Muzaffarnagar administration came to Kaval and promised an impartial enquiry.

So far, the matter was seen as a fatal fight between two groups. The police registered the FIRs of both sides. Family members of Gaurav and Sachin were also implicated in the death of Shahnawaz. At the same time, the District Magistrate and the Superintendent of Police, Manjul Saini, were transferred out of Muzaffarnagar.

Members of the Hindu community regarded these steps as showing bias. They were further incensed when, the next day, photos of the two Jat youths appeared in the newspaper, with prominence given to the caption that they were killed when they objected to the teasing of their sister.

At this point a video was released by Sangeet Som, a BJP MLA. This video showed Muslims putting to death a youth and was described as a recording made in Muzaffarnagar. It came to be known later that the recording had actually been made in Sialkot two years earlier. However, being said to show Muzaffarnagar it had been sent to nearly all the mobile phones in the area, and the actions of local leaders served to put Hindus and Muslims against one another.

There were small meetings of the Hindu community. The Muslim community had a public meeting on 30 August which was chaired by Qadir Rana, MP of the BSP. The next day there was a large meeting of the Hindu community.Anger grew with every passing day. On 5 September the BJP called a bandh across Muzaffarnagar. Even a week after the incident the district administration had made no attempt to curb the spreading of rumours.

Even without evidence of “eve teasing”, on 7 September and with the aid of political parties, khap panchayats called a Beti Bachao meeting which was attended by many. A crowd of people going towards the panchayat set fire to the car of a Muslim family and beat up another family. When news of this spread, people heading towards the panchayat were attacked in Bassi village. Then a Muslim youth was beaten to death at the panchayat venue. By this time Hindus and Muslims were ranged against one another.

Rumours spread over social media made the atmosphere more anarchic. People believed these rumours and attacked one another. There was much violence in many villages.

Two conclusions are inescapable: the local administration failed to gauge the seriousness of the situation; and leaders put people against one another by the spreading of rumours. Votes have now been polarised not just in Muzaffarnagar but across the whole of western U.P. A small incident has grown into a communal conflagration. Official estimates are that more than ten thousand people are living in government-run refugee camps and around fifty thousand people have been compelled to flee from their homes.

The father of the Hindu boys who were killed said, “We do not want that there should be bloodshed. While the corpses of our sons lay before us we appealed to people to control their anger. We said that no other innocents should be killed.”

It seems that a planned conspiracy was behind the transformation of a minor quarrel into a full blown conflagration. The widespread use of weapons and the looting and destruction of homes clearly tells us that the “riots” had been planned and prepared for and that only a convenient excuse was needed. All this is reminiscent of what happened in Gujarat in 2002.

That the Kaval incident was used as the spark for mass violence makes it clear that so far the government of U.P. has failed to deal with communal conspiracies. Perhaps this is not a mere administrative failure but the outcome of a carefully planned political strategy.

Since the coming to power of the Samajwadi Party there have been more than a hundred instances of religious violence. It is clear that the SP and the BJP are engaged in consolidating their vote bases for the general election of 2014: and there are indications that more such violence may be expected in the State.

We, ordinary citizens, through the Aman Ekta Manch, appeal to the people of Uttar Pradesh and the entire country to recognise the forces behind this fresh flaring up of communalism. We must work towards restoring normalcy to the lives of the people of U.P. We must also be alert and combat the spreading of hatred over the social media and by other means. The responsibility for containing the fire that is spreading from Muzaffarnagar rests with the Central Government and the Government of U.P. It is our duty as citizens.

Election 2014 and the role of Muslim votes

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

Muslims want no special treatment from anyone; all they need is justice and fair share of the pie with dignity in accordance with their numbers

By Aijaz Zaka Syed

What is the reality of the Muslim appeasement by the Congress and assorted political parties? As India girds up for the battle 2014 and two principal parties dip into their bag of tricks, the issue is back in the spotlight. So is the minority community, bewildered at being forced from margins to the centre stage.

While the Congress portrays itself as an inclusive political force representing the resplendent diversity of the nation — a claim hard to ignore despite its myriad flaws and a long history of opportunism — the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is trying to resurrect the familiar ghosts of saffron pantheon. Muslim baiting is back in fashion as the opposition accuses the governing party of resorting to ‘vote bank politics’.

Recently, Narendra Modi, the much-touted prime ministerial hopeful of the BJP accused, the Congress of hiding behind “the burqa of secularism to cover its failures”, targeting both the grand old party and the community it is supposed to be mollycoddling. Congress’s Shashi Tharoor was quick to respond: “Burqa of secularism is preferable to khaki shorts of the Italian fascists.”

For once the party isn’t running away from this ‘secularism versus communalism’ debate and familiar taunts of Muslim appeasement. The Congress rejects the notion that it is either falling into the trap set up by the BJP or is deliberately playing along the agenda set by Modi in a bid to deflect attention from issues such as corruption, inflation and the economy.

The ruling party has finally mustered the courage to confront the BJP on its brand of divisive politics. All these years the Congress has tried to be all things to all people. And often it played both sides preying on the misgivings of the majority and insecurity of the minority. Having ruled India for better part of 66 years, Congress has sort of perfected the art.

In the wake of the Partition, Muslims instinctively rallied around the party and mostly stayed with it because of first premier Pandit Nehru, known for his liberal image, and stalwarts such as Maulana Azad, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai and Zakir Hussain. In dutifully voting for the Congress, Muslims hadn’t necessarily bucked the national trend. If they supported the party, so did the rest of India. After all, it was the party that had led the freedom struggle.

However, Muslims had been little more than a vote bank for the grand old party even as the community’s condition steadily worsened. Under Nehru’s daughter, Indira Gandhi, things went from bad to worse. Even as they faced the combined onslaught of Hindutva forces and increasingly communal administration and police in recurring religious riots across India — from Bhagalpur to Bhiwandi and Maliana to Moradabad — the Congress exploited the community’s insecurity and fear psychosis to keep it forever under its thumb.

Paying lip service to its grievances and demands and using dumb politics of tokenism — an Iftar party here and some ‘Muslim’ dummies in ceremonial positions there — the Congress has presided over the meticulous marginalisation and dispossession of the community all these years. Within six decades of Independence, the minority has been driven to the margins of Indian society.

When the Congress returned to power nine years ago with Muslim votes having played a significant part in its victory, there were great expectations. Under Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh, it was perceived as a different party. Clearly though, the more things change for the Congress and Muslims, the more they remain the same.

The elaborate studies and recommendations of government appointed panels — Justice Sachar Committee and Ranganath Mishra Commission — remain on paper. On the other hand, hundreds of innocent Muslims have been languishing in jails across the country as terrorists or being summarily dealt with as Ishrat Jahan, Qateel Siddiqui, Khalid Mujahid and others have been.

No wonder many Muslims see little difference between the BJP and Congress; one is perceived as an open enemy while the other is seen as playing games forever calculating in terms of political constituencies and electoral profit and loss.

Rajiv Gandhi turned over Ayodhya’s Babri Masjid to Hindutva groups apparently to assuage Hindus’ anger over the Muslim Women’s Bill, brought in the wake of the infamous Shah Bano case. How an issue that concerns Muslims’ family laws affects Hindus is something only Congress pundits can explain.

India has paid and continues to pay a heavy price for those electoral gimmicks. Ironically, it was the Ayodhya agitation that helped the opposition BJP to transform itself from a 2-member outfit into the party of power and one of the two major parties today.

The Congress is too preoccupied with its too-clever-by-half calculations about the minority vote and majority sentiment to notice that it ends up squandering both. But in this cynical game of electoral poker and political one-upmanship, the real losers are the Muslims.

Muslims loathe the Congress for its treachery yet cannot help vote for it to keep out the Hindutva brigade whose raison d’être is their total subjugation.

So this perpetual tirade about the “Muslim appeasement” in Indian media isn’t just unfair and absurd, it’s downright silly. If Muslims had been ‘appeased’ and successive governments had doted on them all these years, would they be in the pathetic state they are in today?

Yet this brazen lie and narrative has been going around for so long and is so pervasive that everyone has unquestioningly embraced it. It’s not just the likes of Arnab Goswami who are forever beside themselves with righteous rage over proposals like fast-track courts to deal with Muslim ‘terror suspects’, more reasonable voices are peddling the same nonsense.

It’s fine if innocents are locked away for years without trial and without due process, as Delhi’s Mohammad Aamir and numerous others have been, but heavens would fall if hope of justice, however faint, is held out to Muslims.

God knows Muslims want no special treatment from anyone. They are not looking for favours and lollipops from governments or politicians. What they need is justice and their just and fair share of the pie with dignity in accordance with their numbers. Is that asking too much?

[Aijaz Zaka Syed is a Gulf-based commentator. Follow him on twitter.com/aijazzakasyed]

(Courtesy: Gulf News)

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