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Inciting Hate: The social media powder keg

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 30 June 2020 | Posted in , , , , , , , ,

By Suhail Ahmad

A recent study by US think tank Pew Research Center revealed that 93 percent Muslims view Hindus favourably, but only 65 percent Hindus view Muslims positively.

The survey titled ‘Attitudes Toward Diversity in 11 Emerging Economies’ may not be conclusive and updated enough, especially as it was conducted between September and October 2018, preceding many important developments which may have a direct bearing on the study findings. However, it’s still relevant and merits an objective assessment.

The survey results beg the question- why don’t the 35 percent Hindus view Muslims in positive light and what about the seven percent Muslims holding unfavorable viewpoint of Hindus? This may be subject of a separate survey, but one can still look into the possible reasons.

One of the reasons, infact, can be discerned from another important finding of the survey about the degree or frequency of interaction. Seventy per cent of Muslims frequently or occasionally interact with Hindus in India, while only 56 per cent Hindus interact with their Muslims counterparts.
As the study points out people who interact more with other religious groups tend to have more favorable opinions of them.

Of the Hindus who said they interacted with people outside their own faith — 71 per cent had a favourable view of Muslims. As opposed to this, just 56 per cent of Hindus, who reported infrequent contact with people of other religions, viewed Muslims favourably.

Let’s now focus on the Hindus who don’t have much interaction with Muslims.  Their beliefs and perceptions are largely shaped by mainstream media and social media and there lies our possible answer about the trust deficit. Social media, in particular, has proven to be a powerful influence on public perception.

A piece by Claire Teitelman (April 19, 2019) in Journal of International Affairs of Columbia University explored the role of platforms like WhatsApp and Twitter in sparking communal hatred and subsequent violence in India.

Before social media, television was the media of the masses. Claire contends that without revenue-generating streams of traditional media like TV, social media companies have had to be more aggressive with advertising, “which includes the development of targeted ads that meets your preferences and prejudices”.

She also quotes Guillaume Chaslot, an artificial intelligence (AI) researcher. “If the AI favors engagement, like on Facebook and YouTube, it will incentivize divisive content, because divisive content is very efficient to keep people online. The longer you retain people online, the more advertisements they see and the more opportunities you have to profit, which is what matters to social media-companies, like any commercial enterprise. The aim of social media algorithms is to keep people angry, engaged, and online.”

India has emerged as the fastest-growing market for Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and YouTube so much so that for many social media has become an indispensible part of life. While the utility of these platforms cannot be denied, the prospect of their misuse remains pretty high. The speed and ease with which rumors spread on social media is frightening. There is a large gullible section of population with poor internet literacy - those who can’t differentiate between fact and rumour.

Claire refers to two incidents- the “Dadri Mob Lynching” in 2015 and the “Kathua Rape Case” in 2018. In both these incidents, protesters were riled-up by viral messages, photos, and videos on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.

Many of the videos were based on alleged cow slaughter or cow meat storage and consumption by Muslims. In an interview with news portal Scroll, the sister of one of the accused Dadri perpetrators claimed that she – and possibly her brother – had been inundated with messages and videos about cow slaughter on WhatsApp. No wonder, hoax WhatsApp messages led to more than a dozen lynchings in 2018 alone.

The Kathua incident that involved the kidnapping, rape, and murder of a young Muslim girl was distorted through social media, contending that the girl hadn't been raped and false claims flooded WhatsApp, including an autopsy report purporting to disprove rape as well as proof claiming the innocent had been framed.

Social media has played a role in accentuating sectarian tensions. It magnifies the communal tensions by rapidly creating national crises out of local disturbances. As Claire argues, “Both the Kathua and Dadri episodes would have remained local events, but social media amplified and polarized them.” The resulting ‘Us’ against ‘Them’ mindset serves the parties who thrive on divisive politics very well.

Unfortunately, there seems to be no end to the social media hatemongering. If the hate and propaganda machinery is not reined in, we may see widening of the gulf between people from different faiths and spike in communal violence. We are sitting on the social media powder keg. Unless defused, it’s just waiting to blow up. 

(Courtesy: The Rising Kashmir)

India grants thousands citizenship rights in Kashmir to dilute Muslim population

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

By Hilal Mir

Srinagar, J&K: As many as 25,000 people have been granted domicile certificates in Muslim-majority Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir since May 18, which local politicians believe is the beginning of disturbing demographic profile of the region.

The certificate, a sort of citizenship right, entitles a person to residency and government jobs in the region, which till last year was reserved only for the local population.

Last year on Aug. 5, when India revoked the semi-autonomous status of the region, it also scrapped the local special citizenship law, guaranteed under Article 35 (A) of the Indian Constitution.

The law was barring outsiders including Indian nationals from settling and claiming government jobs, to maintain the demographic balance.
On Friday, a picture of the domicile certificate issued to Navin Kumar Choudhary, a bureaucrat originally from the Indian state of Bihar, went viral on social media.

In April this year, amid the ongoing coronavirus lockdown, the government notified domicile laws making an unspecified number of outsiders eligible for residency and jobs.

According to the new law, any person who has lived in the region for 15 years, or has studied in the region for seven years and passed his class 10 or class 12 examination is eligible for domicile certificate.

Also, children of Indian government employees who have served in the state for 10 years are eligible to settle and claim local citizenship rights. The law applies even if the children have never lived in Kashmir.

Out of 66, top bureaucrats serving in the region, 38 are outsiders belonging to other Indian states. Many other outsiders serve in various central government institutions like banks, post offices telecommunication facilities, security institutions, and universities.

Majority of new citizens in Jammu region

Kashmiri politicians across the divide have said the revocation of special citizenship rights was aimed at reversing the Muslim majority character of the region.

According to a census conducted by India in 2011, out of 12.5 million total population, Muslims comprise 68.31% and Hindus 28.43% in Jammu and Kashmir.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency on the condition of anonymity, a government official said, since May 18, when the rules were notified, 33,000 persons had applied for the domicile certificates. Out of them, 25,000 persons have been granted citizenship rights, he said.

As many as 32,000 applications were filed in 10 districts of the Hindu majority Jammu region. The highest number of 8,500 certificates has been issued in the Doda district, which has a delicate demographic balance, with Muslims comprising 53.81% and Hindus 45.76%.

As many as 6,213 domicile certificates have been issued in Rajouri district, which has 62.71% Muslim population. Authorities have distributed 6,123 citizenship certificates in Poonch, a border district comprising 90.44% Muslim population.

In the Kashmir region, which is about 96.4% Muslim population, 435 certificates have been issued so far, out of the total 720 applications.

As of now, it is not clear how many outsiders, like Choudhary, have been issued domicile certificates. The 25,000 new citizens also include Hindu refugees, who had settled in the region at the time of partition of the sub-continent in 1947. They had migrated from territories, now part of Pakistan. But due to the state’s residency laws and special status they were not granted local citizenship rights.

Disputed territory

Kashmir is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965, and 1971. Two of them have been over Kashmir.

Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against the Indian rule for independence or unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.

(Courtesy: The Muslim News)

Shibli Academy facing serious financial crisis

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

By Masoom Moradabadi

Vast majority of us, sadly, know very little about the great academic, literary and research institutions established by our ancestors in this great country of ours. Neither we know about the contributions and services of these institutions nor do we have any idea of the crisis they are facing. One of such prestigious institutions, of which our community can be rightly proud of, is Darul Musannefin, Azamgarh, also known as Shibli Academy.

This great institution completed its centenary only a couple of years ago. If I tell you that this esteemed academic and research academy is struggling for its survival, perhaps you will not believe me. But this is a painful truth that this institution is facing financial difficulties of such magnitude that it is unable to pay salaries to its employees. Someone has forwarded me a letter written by its Director Professor Ishtiaq Zilli. After reading this letter my immediate impression was that someone has played a trick and that he is trying to defame a prestigious institution. Several fake items with similar contents keep circulating on social media. But when I found out it to be genuine, I was deeply saddened. I am one of those who have personally benefitted from this institution. Its prestigious and authentic journal, Marif, has played an important role in my mental formation. But as someone with no power and authority, I am unable to do anything more than writing a few lines to help and support this academic institution.

Therefore, through this imperfect writing of mine, I am trying to introduce to you the extraordinary services of this institution in the fields of academics, literature and research, though you know about it more than I do.

Is there any intellectual in whole of South Asia who has succeeded in his career without benefiting from the enduring academic contribution of Darul Musannefin? There was a time when this was the only institution that deserved to be acknowledged as a ‘think thank’. How do you feel knowing that this great institution, that has provided a seminal service by compiling the magnificent history of Muslims, is not able even to pay salaries to its staff and is looking towards you with a silent question?

Let’s now turn to the open letter written, 6 June 2020, to the well-wishers of the community by Darul Musannefin’s director Dr Ishtiaq Zilli. He writes: ‘I am sorry to trouble you in these difficult times. Extreme helplessness has forced me to take this route. You are aware of the financial difficulties being faced by Darul Musanniffeen. During the last few days, due to several reasons, these difficulties have intensified. The lockdown has made the situation more serious. Half of April has passed. We have somehow managed to pay salaries to our staff. Only Allah knows what lies ahead. We need your prayers and advice in this regard.’ [Translated version not original letter]

From the letter of the Director of Darul Musannefin one can easily gauge the seriousness of the financial crisis that this institution is facing. [Bear in mind that] This is the very institution that has fostered our intellectual traditions and whose contributions have been acknowledged by several bigwigs. This is the very institution that a learned person like Maulana Abul Kalam Azad held close to his heart and that had produced a rare Perl like Allama Syed Suleman Nadvi. Why is our Milli self-respect not reawakening even when this academy is struggling for its survival?

Allama Shibli Nomani
What is it if not a communal tragedy that the community in which individuals spend crores of rupees to satisfy their false sense of self-pride and self-importance, in which wealth is wasted like water on weddings, in which money is lavishly spent to build massive houses and everything is put at stake to satisfy a false sense of ego but an institution that serves as the guardian of its cultural and academic heritage is having to beg for help for its survival?

The fact is that the manner in which our community has turned its back on its cultural and academic heritage is a glaring proof of our collective insensitivity. Darul Musannefin is our national and milli heritage that we should be rightly proud of.

Not only has this institution done a great service by compiling the history of Muslims but has also reawakened in them a sense of being immensely culturally and historically rich. No matter how many conspiracies are hatched and executed to erase their very existence and the history of their services to their motherland, the facts shall remain facts and the undeniable fact is that no community has enriched the history and culture of this country as much as has been done by the Muslims.

Ideally some altruist should have come forward and helped this institution in a manner that the left hand would not have known what the right hand had done but, sadly, things have come to such a pass that in order to be able to pay the salaries of his staff, its director had to issue a public appeal and even after ten days no feasible arrangement has yet been suggested.

Maulana Azad may be regarded as one of the founders of this institution. It was him who had first proposed, in his daily Al-Hilal, the idea for the establishment of this institution. Giving the heading to his proposal as Ikhwanussafa he had appealed to the educated and conscientious circles to help and cooperate in this project. Even after its establishment, he remained interested in its affairs. The manner in which he continued to help it after the independence may be judged from the letter he had written on 23 November 1954, four years before his death, requesting the government to continue helping this institution. He wrote:

‘My dear Dr Katju,

‘Darul Musannefin Azamgarh, also known as Shibli Academy, used to get an annual aid of Rs 2,160 from Bhopal state that continued to be paid after its integration [with the union of India] because it was recognised in the conditions of the integration that the grants being given by the state for academic and literary programmes would continue as usual, but, abruptly, this year Shibli Academy did not receive its grant. Thereupon they wrote to the government of Bhopal. From Bhopal they received a reply saying that the issue has been referred to Central government where it is being reviewed.

‘I am forwarding to you the documents related to this matter along with this letter. I would be grateful if you could enquire about further developments in this regard. Shibli Academy is country’s big academy and has been providing invaluable literary services. If the grant from Bhopal is stopped this will harm it hugely. In addition, this will also violate the agreement that we had signed at the time of Bhopal’s integration.’

Darul Musannefin was established in 1914 and was the last great achievement of Allama Shibli Nomani. Having faced several ups and downs since its birth this institution has successfully covered a long and purposeful journey spanning over a century. This is the only institution that — maintaing a distinct style, intellectual integrity and constructive point of view — has given a huge and invaluable treasure of non-fictional prose to Urdu literature and fulfilled the dream of its founders.

The selflessness of the inheritors of the legacy of Allama Shibli, their sacrifices, their dedication to research and academic work and devotion to their mission has served as necessary provisions in this long journey covered by them. After the death of Shibli Nomani, they, under the leadership of Shibli’s great pupil, Maulana Syed Sulaiman Nadvai, took up this journey, notwithstanding the lack of resources. For the formal construction and progress of this institution they did not get any help from the government or a business tycoon family. They spent their own limited and scares resources for this great task. They were fortunate to have been joined by a team of writers and scholars who had the ability to make their ends meet with very little remuneration. But we are not living in that age. In today’s world, for the survival of an institution regular and dependable income is a must so that it does not have to face such a crisis and beg for help and it does not behove to the scholars to have to make such appeals.

Therefore, this is extremely vital that the well-off people in the community sit together and brainstorm to find means for a regular income of Darul Musannefin. If our research and academic institutions fall victim to such a financial crisis this would be millat’s great loss.

[Masoom Moradabadi is a senior journalist and has authored several books.]

Send foreign Tablighi Jamaat members home, appeals Islamic Federation in Tamil Nadu

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 26 June 2020 | Posted in , , , , , , ,

By Syed Ali Mujtaba

Chennai: The Federation of Tamil Nadu Muslim organizations and political parties have vehemently appealed to the state government for release 129 foreign Tabligi Jamat (TJ) members lodged in Puzhal Central Prison complex here.

The Tamil Nadu government has designated the Juvenile prison within Puzhal jail for the detention of 129 foreign TJ members who have violated Visa regulations.

These are 53 citizens from Indonesia, 17 from Malaysia, 14 from Bangladesh, 14 from Thailand, 13 from Myanmar, 8 from Ethiopia, 5 from France, 3 from Cameroon, 1 from Congo, 1 from Belgium.

Addressing an online press conference, the Islamic Federation has asked the Tamil Nadu government to drop all cases against the foreign TJ members and set them free from the illegal dentation and send them to their respective countries. 

The online press conference was addressed by the Islamic Federation's President and Jamathul Ulama Council President, Moulana P.A Haja Moinudeen Hazrath, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi President M.H.Jawahirullah, SDPI President Nellai Mubarak, Coordinators M Manzoor Khasifi, Alhaj M Basheer Ahmed and others.

There were 129 foreign TJ members including 12 women belonging to 9 different countries who were arrested by Tamil Nadu police from the various places of the state following the discovery of coronavirus linkage with TJ members and Nizamuddin Markaz world conference in New Delhi.

The Madras High Court and its subsidiary courts granted bail to 98 TJ members arrested in 12 cases. Similarly, the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court granted bail to other 31 foreign TJ members.

All these foreign TJ members who were earlier put up at Saidapet sub jail but after being given bail, were shifted to Juvenile prison within the Puzhal Central jail complex.

This included 31 foreign TJ members who were arrested from the Southern districts of Tamil Nadu and their bail plea was heard by the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court.

While granting bail to 31 TJ members on June 12, 2020, the Madurai Bench of Madras High court stated that it is not fair to detain them in the Special Camp within Puzhal Prison complex and the government should consider keeping them in any other good place.
The court further stated that “these people have served maximum sentences for violation of Visa rules and there is no proof that these people have spread Coronavirus. In such a situation, if the petitioners execute appropriate affidavits expressing their regret for having violated the visa conditions, proceedings against them shall be concluded by filing final reports recording the same,” the court said.

The Islamic Federation Based on the judgment of the Madurai Bench of Madras High court held a online press conference where it said; “It is contempt of the Judgment given by the Madurai Bench of Madras High court to illegally keep 31 foreign TJ members in Puzhal prison, whose case have been closed and have been acquitted and absolved of all cases against them.”

“Further, those 98 people including 8 women who have got bail from court but their cases are still not disposed of and are still kept in detention even more than 60 days of their arrests are illegal.”

The Islamic federation appealed to the state government to drop all pending cases against the remaining 98 foreign nationals and stop their illegal detention in Puzhal prison complex and house them in some better place.

A member of Islamic Federation and President Manithaneya Makkal Katchi, M H Jawahirullah pointed out that the central government has given clear guidelines about these special camps as to how they should function.

Frist, such a detention center should not be located within the prison complex which is not in this case. Second, the food for such detainees should be prepared in a separate Kitchen but in this case, foreign TJ members are served food meant for the prisoners of Puzhal Jail. Third, the guidelines say the detention place should have proper ventilation for air and sunlight but that’s not there in this detention center, M H Jawahirullah said.

He added; “the Juvenile prison within Puzhal jail can accommodate only 30 to 40 persons but there are 129 TJ members cramped in an inhuman condition in such detention center that too at the times Covid crisis is huge violation of social distancing norms begs human attention.”

The MMK leader demanded that Tamil Nadu government should house these foreign TJ members in a ‘near human’ conditions and suggested keeping them at Jamia Qasmiya Arabic College in Washermanpet locality, till they are sent to their respective countries.

[Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at syedalimujtaba2007@gmail.com] 

Tamil Nadu Muslim body TMMK involved in funeral service of Corona victims

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

By Syed Ali Mujtaba

Chennai: A Muslim group in Tamil Nadu is actively involved in conducting proper funeral rites of dead bodies mostly of Corona victims belonging to different faiths.

The volunteers of Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam (TMMK), a Muslim non-governmental organization have performed the last rights of about 139 dead bodies belonging to different religions commencing from March 25, 2020 till this date.

The funeral rites have been conducted based on the religious beliefs of the dead and many among them are non-Muslims, said M.H. Jawahirullah  TMMK President.

Even when the loved ones of the dead are unwilling to perform their last rites, the volunteers of the TMMK are doing the funeral service based on human concerns, he added.
So far TMMK have done funeral service for 139 people from March to June 2020. Among them 58 who died due to Covid- 19, include 48 from Chennai, 2 from Villupuram, 1 from Pernambut area in Tirupattur district, 3 from Trichy, 1 from Kayalpattinam in Tuticurin District, 1 from Aaarani in Tiruvannamalai district and 2 from Erode.    

Apart from them, there were 81 orphaned people who died during the Corona curfew or lockdown.  These include 63 from Chennai, 2 from Coimbatore, 2 from Udumalaipet and one each from Trichy and Madurai. Besides, there are 12 other orphan deaths from different places of Tamil Nadu whose last rites were performed by the TMMK.

M.H. Jawahirullah said since the first curfew began on March 25, 2020 the TMMK have been actively taking part in rescue and relief operations of those who died of Coronavirus in Tami Nadu. As a part of it, its volunteers actively involve themselves in burying the bodies. They have been doing this with utmost dedication with proper precautionary measures, he added.

In many occasions, the police department has directly approached TMMK to help them in burying the dead bodies. We have readily extended the service to dispose of the dead bodies in a proper way, the TMMK President quipped.  

As of today there have been 67,468 Covid positive cases reported in Tamil Nadu, of them 37,763 have recovered. So far 866 fatalities are reported from the entire state. 

Chennai continues to be the worst-hit district with 1,380 fresh cases in the state capital taking the number of cases in the city to 44,205. Of these, 39,897 patients are males, 24,686 are females and 20 are transgender patients.

[Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist is based in Chennai. He can be contacted at syedalimujtaba2007@gmail.com]

Special Report: OIC reiterates peaceful settlement of Jammu & Kashmir issue

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 24 June 2020 | Posted in , , , , , , , ,

By Danish Ahmad Khan 

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has for the second time in two months raised the issue of Jammu & Kashmir seeking a peaceful settlement of the imbroglio.

A virtual meeting was recently held by the Contact Group of the OIC on Jammu and Kashmir issue on June 22, 2020, against the backdrop of the current situation in the embattled Muslim-dominated border state. The foreign ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Niger, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the Republic of Turkey participated in the meeting.

The virtual meeting was inaugurated by OIC Secretary General Dr. Yousef A.  Al-Othaimeen. He stressed the OIC's resolve and commitment to finding a peaceful settlement for the Jammu and Kashmir issue as per the relevant resolutions of the Islamic Summit, the Council of Foreign Ministers, and the international legitimacy. 

Al-Othaimeen in his inaugural address said, "At the same time, I call on the international community to strengthen its efforts to assist the people of Kashmir to decisively practice their legitimate rights denied for decades."

The Contact Group has reaffirmed its continued support for the people of Jammu and Kashmir and called on the United Nations Secretary-General to use his good offices to make India abide by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and engage in dialogue to calm the situation in the region.

The Contact Group has asked India to halt security operations against the people of Jammu and Kashmir immediately, respect basic human rights, refrain from changing the demographic structure of the disputed territory, and settle the conflict under the relevant UNSC resolutions.
Meanwhile, the Contact Group also highly appreciated the efforts made by the OIC General Secretariat through its Special Envoy to Jammu and Kashmir who visited the region in March 2020.

The meeting concluded with the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir issuing a statement on the recent developments in Jammu and Kashmir region in which it welcomed the efforts made by some Member States to calm the situation between India and Pakistan.

OIC Resolution passed over J&K

Earlier, the premier Muslim World body Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) had expressed deep concern over Hindu right-wing Narendra Modi government's unilateral actions to change the demographic composition of Jammu & Kashmir and undermining the rights of the people. 

The OIC had on 20th May 2020 passed a resolution over the Central government's unilateral action, which has largely gone unreported in the Indian media. Without naming Prime Minister Narendra Modi the OIC in its resolution stressed the importance of complying with UN Security Council Resolutions and allowing no changes to the demographic composition of Jammu and Kashmir. 

The OIC Resolution dated 20/05/2020 says:

"The General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has been following with deep concern the unilateral actions of 5 August 2019 and subsequent measures to alter the demographics of and undermine the rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, a disputed territory as recognized by the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

The General Secretariat reaffirmed the importance of complying with international law and UN Security Council resolutions, considering the recent notification of ‘Jammu and Kashmir Grant of Domicile Certificate (Procedure) Rules 2020’ as baseless, running counter to international law and UN Security Council resolution 122.

Recalling the Islamic Summits’ and the Council of Foreign Ministers’ resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir, the General Secretariat reaffirms its solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir. It also calls on the international community to gear up its efforts to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and as per the aspirations of the Kashmiri people."

India, China face off over Ladakh

The Kashmir situation has further worsened with direct face off between India and China. A clash took place between the armies of the two nations at Ladakh's Galwan Valley on June 15. At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed and over 80 injured. China claims that the Galwan Valley, which is part of the disputed Ladakh region, is located on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) - the de facto border between the two Asian rivals.

Earlier, a report authored by a senior figure at an influential Chinese think-tank was published on June 4 in a recent Chinese publication Global Times, which has linked the current tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) to India’s move last year to abrogate Article 370 and change the status of Jammu and Kashmir, a decision that China had voiced opposition to.

The article, for the first time, described the move as a joint challenge to China and Pakistan, saying the move had “posed a challenge to the sovereignty of Pakistan and China”.

A press officer at the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad was the first to share the report on social media.

Modi Government Indicted

The fact that the Jammu & Kashmir issue has been raised by the OIC for the second time in two months is a serious indictment of the current Hindutva government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. With its unilateral action of abrogating Article 370 through a parliamentary act, Modi government has sought to internationalize the Jammu & Kashmir issue, which was so far bilateral, but has now become tripartite issue with the direct interference of China. It may be noted that Article 370, which granted Special Status to Jammu & Kashmir, was primarily considered to be a bridge between India and State of Jammu & Kashmir.

The status quo until the abrogation of Article 370 had kept the wheel going and thwarted any direct international interference. With the military face off between India and China the Jammu & Kashmir issue has become more complicated than ever threatening a war between the two countries, and probably with Pakistan too, in the near future. The OIC's and other world bodies' interference shows that India has failed on its foreign policy front as far as Jammu & Kashmir is concerned.

It would have been better that Modi government should have maintained status quo and shouldn't have moved ahead with the unilateral abrogation of Article 370. India should have instead focused on building a robust South Asian regional market and steered its economy well, which is currently tottering and in abysmally bad shape. The warning bells have started sounding for the Modi government as it is on course losing its formidable friends both in the Muslim World and its immediate neighborhood. The time has come to give a serious thought for the peaceful resolution of Jammu & Kashmir issue.    

[Danish Ahmad Khan, a Senior Journalist, is based at New Delhi. He is Founder-Editor of IndianMuslimObserver.com - India's First Online Muslim Newspaper. He can be reached at indianmuslimobserver@gmail.com]

Telangana HC concerned over higher number of Muslims booked for lockdown violations

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

IMO News Service

New Delhi: The Hyderabad Police has been pulled up by Telangana High Court over the booking of disproportionately higher number of Muslims for violating lockdown rules. 

The Telangana HC had last week asked the Hyderabad police to explain the conduct of its officials over the booking of a large number of Muslims over lockdown rules violations. The HC acted on a petition filed by Sheela Sarah Mathews bringing to the court’s attention the many incidents of police excess and brutality aimed at people for violating the lockdown rules.

The petitioner, represented by Dipak Misra, had also filed an application in the case under section 151 of the CrPC seeking directions from the court to the Respondents to incur medical expenses of the injured persons as stated in the affidavit filed by the petitioner.

Hyderabad Police Commissioner also filed a counter affidavit addressing the various allegations made in the petition and informed the court about the actions taken against some officials for failure to discharge their duties responsibly.

It was submitted that a departmental enquiry has been initiated against Sub-Inspector B Lingam and SHO of Ameerpet Police station, B Mohan Kumar and ACP of Malakpet Division and the court has directed that the progress of the departmental inquiry be informed to the court.
In the counter affidavit, it is also claimed that Mr. Mohd. Asgar and Mr. Khaleem were not assaulted by the police but injured themselves while running away from the police. Reportedly, Mohd. Asgar, who went to fetch groceries, fell from the top of a building as people began to run to a nearby under construction building as police started lathi charge.

The court, in its June 17 order, observed that the injury report of either individual has not been submitted with the counter affidavit. The police, on the allegation that they had assaulted a handicapped person, stated in the counter affidavit that he was a regulator violator with many traffic challans against him, however, these challans were not submitted to the court.

Further, the court directed the police to submit the name of the police personnel, seen in a video circulating on the internet, abusing locals who had stepped out of their homes to buy groceries. The police have admitted in the Counter affidavit that this incident took place.

Responding to another incident of police excess, whereby it was alleged that the police personnel of Falakhnuma Police station damaged vehicles parked on the road, the counter affidavit said, that the police were checking the vehicles for coronavirus. The court was rather surprised and said there was no need to use lathis to check for coronavirus. The court asked for a complete report to be submitted in this regard.

Further, about the allegation that one Mr. Zaidan was attacked by K Hanumanth Kumar of Golconda Police Station, the counter affidavit stated that Zaidan was intercepted by the police as he was riding a two wheeler without a mask and helmet and in an altercation, the police lathi accidentally hit his spectacles which broke and caused injury under the right eye. The Court, however, observed, “the injury report of Zaidan has not been produced before this Court. Obviously, a single injury to right eye cannot cause an injury requiring thirty-five stitches and a hairline fracture. Thus, it is obvious that the correct facts have not been mentioned in the counter affidavit.”

The court further observed, “although it is claimed that Mr. Hanumanth Kumar was suspended by order dated April 29, and a detailed enquiry has been ordered against him, neither the copy of suspension order, nor the further development in the departmental enquiry has been submitted along with the counter-affidavit.”

In the light of the above observations, the court asked the police to file a fresh report along with requisite injury reports.

The Times of India reported that during the hearing, the court questioned why there was disproportionate charging of people belong to the Muslim community for violation lockdown rules. The bench comprising Justices Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and B Vijaysen Reddy asked, “does it mean that there are no violators from other communities?” The bench also pointed out how nationwide protests broke out in the USA when an African-American man was killed by the cops.

The court sought a fresh report from Hyderabad police by June 29 and scheduled the next date of hearing for June 30.

India warned over violations of religious freedom

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 23 June 2020 | Posted in , , , , , , ,

By Dr Mike Ghouse

The Center for Pluralism and the supporting organizations welcome the Press Release by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and the Annual report released by the U.S. Department of the State (DOS) in June 2020.

The USCIRF made a recommendation to the DOS about the gross violations of religious freedoms in India and listed India as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) and suggested penalties against India’s Home Minister Amit Shah, the man behind the violations.

The CPC designation has severe consequences for India. The major global corporations that are interested in India’s prosperity will hesitate to do business in India due to social and political unrest. Most companies in the world want to do business in a stable nation.

The biggest economic threat to India is the loss of prosperity gained by the employees and the companies in the information technology sector. The employees and employers stand to lose all the gains they have made in the last twenty years. In the end, every Indian stand to lose.
Prime Minister Modi earned the CPC title by his calculated silence. He has a record for letting the bad guys do whatever they want. He had once said at the beginning of the Gujarat Massacre to his men, “You’ve three days to finish the job.” meaning kill as many as you can. It resulted in the killing of over 1000 people in February 2002.

Modi lives on with his three days formula – An 8-year-old girl Asifa was gang-raped and butchered into pieces, Modi did not speak until the whole nation was agitated. Ansari was brutally beaten with crowbars; Modi did not talk until the entire country condemned it. There were 114 such incidents during his six-year reign. In March this year, his men placed the saffron flag on their homes to identify Muslim homes who did not have the flag – they burned several houses and killed nearly 50 people. Modi did not speak or even had the courtesy to visit.

Christians and Muslims are given an ultimatum by a few members of the ruling BJP Party, that they (230 Million) have three options. Convert to Hinduism, live as 2nd class citizens, or disappear. Mr. Modi has not said a word to allay the fears.

Prime Minister Modi needs to repeal the unnecessary Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), and the protests will stop at once, and the nation’s social and political stability will return. The demand for birth certificates is to separate Muslims as the Jews in the Holocaust were pinned Megan David on their sleeves. As per the provisions of the law, if one is a Hindu or of other faith, he/she gets automatic citizenship, but Muslims will go to the detention camps. The great Indian people of all religions have joined the protests, and they have realized, discrimination to one is discrimination to all. The demonstrations are identical to the George Floyd protests across the world.

The Modi government arrested a pregnant woman Safoora Zargar for protesting. She was slapped with false charges. Mr. Amit Shah has extensive experience with making up charges against the people he doesn’t like or, worse, killing them in fake encounters.

Kaleem Kawaja of Association of Indian Muslims of America (AIM) adds, “We hope the Government of India heeds the reports issued by the Department of State and work on correcting the course and save India from the destruction of social structure leading the economic disaster.”

We offer the following solutions to restore sanity and democracy, take back the title of CPC, and recognize all citizens are equal under the law.

We urge the Indian government to issue the visas to the Commissioners of USCIRF to verify the truth and make the recommendations to rectify the wrongs heaped on Indian Citizens, particularly the Kashmiri citizens.

We urge the Prime Minister to speak up and tell the nation that he will not tolerate lynching, cow vigilantes, raping, and harassment of fellow Indians. The calls for Christians and Muslims to convert to Hinduism or live as second-class citizens will be pushed back, and the callers will face serious consequences.

The report in its entirety can be read Here

[Mike Ghouse is the founder and president of the Center for Pluralism. He is a speaker, thinker, author, consultant, pluralist, activist, newsmaker, and an interfaith wedding officiant. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions to the media and the policymakers. He blogs at TheGhousediary.com] 

Do all Lives Matter in India?

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 22 June 2020 | Posted in , , , ,

The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis has evoked a sea of responses globally and shook its conscience. Americans from all walks of life irrespective of colour have come out in large protest rallies to condemn racism and police brutality in US. There were some unfortunate instances of looting and violence during these protests but by and large the protests were peaceful, sparking debate and bringing the focus on the deep entrenched systemic racism in the country. George Floyd was 47 years old Black American who died in police custody when police officer, Derek Chauvin knelt over his neck for around nine excruciating minutes even as Floyd gasped for air pleading with the officer to release pressure from his neck, repeating “I cant breathe”. The imagery of George Floyd’s humiliation and inhumane subjugation at the hands of the unrelenting Derek Chauvin in his final moments has shaken the social and moral consciousness of the individuals the world over, calling for condemnation and police reforms against police brutality and excesses. While George Floyd’s death has exposed the long historically existent fault lines based on race, this incident has triggered a discourse on police brutalities which are targeting the vulnerable communities in every country. There are parallels to “George Floyd moments” to be found worldwide. In India, George Floyd’s death unwittingly conjures the imagery of the biased police action against religious minorities especially the Muslims and the Dalits which is starkly marked by prejudice and systemic targeting of these marginalized groups. This prejudice against the Muslims partly stems from and is patronized by the supremacist ideology at helm. Here the author would like to reflect on the striking differences in the responses of Indian state as compared to United States while dealing with police action vis a vis vulnerable groups.

In response to the outrage and decry in the United States by the protestors, the state has come up with a number of proposals to address police brutality. Two most far reaching responses being discussed are, firstly to “defund” the Minneapolis and second is the drastic step to disband the police department force entirely in favor of the new community led safety model (The Tribune , 2020). Defunding of the police department would imply massive budgetary cuts to the police which the protestors believed were disproportionately used against the coloured community and reallocating them to public health, mental health, education and affordable housing for the poor. The Minneapolis City Council has vowed to go as far as disbanding the entire police force something unthinkable in countries today where the idea of security is intimately intertwined with a lethally overreaching armed police force. These sweeping changes underline the recognition of the systemic bias and discrimination that exists in the institution as of now. As against these measures seen in the United States, in India there has been a visible trend of placing the police in the position of extreme power and privilege, even in the face of compelling evidences.

The most recent example is that of Khwaja Yunus. Khwaja Yunus was a young man of 27 years who died in the police custody in 2003. He was a resident of Parbhani in Maharashtra who was arrested for his alleged involvement in the Ghatkopar blasts on December 2, 2002. He was a software engineer arrested with four other accused. While the police claimed that Yunus had escaped from custody, his then co-accused, Dr. Mohammad Matin who was the first prosecution witness before the trial court in January, had submitted that he had seen Yunus being stripped and assaulted on January 6, 2003, following which, he was never seen again. Based on the complaint of Yunus’ co-accused in 2003, an FIR was filed against the policemen (Modak, 2018). Four police officers were prima facie found guilty and suspended from services. However earlier this month they were reinstated. The High Court in 2004 had directed disciplinary enquiry against the four accused. This enquiry was never carried out and instead the four accused police officers were reinstated in contrary to the orders of the High Court.

The ill treatment and torture of the innocent Khwaja Yunus is not a stray incident. Muslim youth are perceived as “natural” suspects in terror attacks reflecting the stigma and demonization of the Muslim community in India. Many innocent Muslim youth are incarcerated under stringent acts like UAPA or POTA and remain in prison for years and released only after years when no evidence is found against them. Mohammed Saleem Ansari, a mechanical engineer was released from jail in 2016 after the Supreme Court absolved him of the terror-related charges under which he had been in prison for 23 long years. Ansari, along with three other Muslims, walked out of a Jaipur jail on May 17 after the Supreme Court on May 11 acquitted them of all charges, setting aside their life sentence and ordering their immediate release. They were among the 16 who were booked for triggering five blasts on trains on the first anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition, which killed two passengers and injured eight. All of them were charged under the Terrorist and Disruptive Acts Prevention Act (Shaikh, 2016). In another incident, in 2015, Shoaib Khan, 28, from Hingoli, Maulana Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, 30, from Yavatmal and Abdul Malik, 23 from Pusad were arrested by Maharashtra Police and their cases were transferred to Maharashtra’s Anti-Terrorism Squad. In June 2019, they were acquitted of all charges and walked free after a harrowing time in prison. While the media and police painted a picture of radicalization of the Muslim youth in India and alleged that the three were involved in “jihadi” terror acts, Khan narrated a harrowing tale of torture in police custody to extract false statements (Johari, 2019) A 2012 study by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences found that although Muslims account for 10.6 per cent of the Maharashtra population, they comprise over 30 per cent of the prison population. The study observed that the police and intelligence agencies’ bias against Muslims led to a number of arrests under TADA and MCOC Acts, and even the Official Secrets Act.

The common thread running in all these cases is the humiliation and stigmatization that the community faces owing to its religious identity. The years lost in police or judicial custody after undergoing unbearable torture can never be redeemed and are wasted forever. The torture and stigma scars the victims for the rest of their lives. The victimization of Muslim youth in police custody is not a coincidence but one finds a well established pattern of police interface with the Muslim community. This becomes clear in the context of communal riots and mob lynching. There are numerous studies and commission reports which points towards the biased nature of police during communal riots targeting the vulnerable communities. The Srikrishna Commission report (1998) underlines the “built in bias” of the Bombay police force which manifested in the riots in Bombay in 1992 and other places in Maharashtra. The Report of Justice D.P. Madon Commission on Bhiwandi riots (1970) passed severe strictures on the role of police in Bhiwandi riots. On anti-Sikh riots, three inquiry commissions—Justice Rangnath Mishra Commission (1987), Justice Jain-D.K. Agarwal Committee (1990), and Justice R.S. Narula Panal (1994) submitted their reports and all inquiry commissions had unanimously indicted 72 police officers and clearly outline the discriminatory role of the police. Similarly, there are many reports by fact finding committees that give appalling findings on the police’s partisan role in the Gujarat riots of 20021.

In the mob lynching cases that surfaced post 2014, the police is still found wanting at multiple levels- right from protecting the victims from the bloodthirsty mob, to shoddy investigations allowing the perpetrators to walk away free without punishment and to in fact implicate the victims themselves under stringent charges. One can’t erase the image of the police in Hapur escorting the perpetrators who are seen dragging the helpless bleeding victims, Mohammad Qasim and Samiuddin in a hurry (Times of India , 2018). Rakbar Khan in Alwar lost his life due to the fatal casualness of the police who stopped to drink tea for three hours while Rakbar Khan bled to death on the way to the hospital after being lynched by the mob (Goswami & Sharma, 2018). There are many such incidents where the police have proved to be an obstacle in saving innocent lives and delivering justice.

These hair raising incidents must surely compel one to think that inspite of severity and frequency of such incidents, why doesn’t India have the “George Floyd moment” meaning large scale protests or movement on the lines of Black Lives Matter. This is answered with brilliant insight by political scientist Suhas Palshikar who explained that any such protests or voices of dissent are linked to a thriving democracy. The State has steadily delegitimized concern or voices for rights of the marginalized by posing them as threat to order or nation itself (Palshikar, 2020). This carefully constructed narrative has created a barrier for generating empathy in the larger society for the plights of the marginalized no matter how brutally they are violated. This policy is in tandem with the supremacist ideology which hinges on the central idea of constructing a community of second class citizens- the Muslims, Christians, Dalits. Thus while outrage and pain of the protestors reverberated in most of United States where police in some places took to their knee to symbolically acknowledge police excesses and it was their way to offer an apology, the Indian state has most viciously treated protestors.

The recent example was the handling of anti- Citizenship Amendment Act protests by the police. The police have used stun grenades and tear gas on innocent students of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) which led to serious injuries like loss of sight and loss of limb of some students (The Wire, 2019). This is even as Portland and Seattle have temporarily restricted the use of tear gas on protesters. There was a brutal crackdown on the students of Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi for which the police came under criticism. The UP police publicly shamed the protestors by putting up their posters and names warning that their property would be attached to recover against damages to public property. The High Court took up this case and observed that the government was “impinging on privacy, respect and freedom” and called it an “illegal move” (NDTV, 2020). One can gauge how inhumanely the police in India deal with protestors going by the arrest of Safoora Zargar, a Jamia Millia Islamia student who is five months pregnant and booked by the Delhi police under the draconian UAPA where she is denied bail. She along with other students was protesting against the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Register of Population (NRP) (The New Indian Express, 2020).

After George Floyd’s death, California’s governor ordered the state’s police training program to stop teaching neck holds. Other governments discussed new policies for apprehending suspects to reduce the risk of deadly encounters. These steps are to minimize injuries or deaths to suspects apprehended by police and placed in police custody. Instead of such steps, encounters or extra judicial killings are being used as state policy in Uttar Pradesh. Officials have admitted to over 3,500 police encounters and nearly 80 killings of alleged criminals in a period of over two years, forcing the Supreme Court to intervene (Indian Express, 2019). These encounters have mostly targeted Muslim youth and have made the Muslim community fear for their life and freedom.

These issues highlighted above are directly linked to accountability and democratic institutions. For democratic institutions to thrive and function with fairness, on one hand there must be participatory democracy where people have the freedom to actively and fearlessly participate and on the other hand a state which builds, invests and encourages institution infrastructure. Individuals have to reclaim the public spaces as citizens to express their empathy and outrage at the violations of rights of the marginalized sections of the society. These protests or voices cant be delegitimized by the state. The state has to actively and consciously nurture and reinforce democratic institutions for accountability. While world over there is a growing trend of dismantling of monuments of oppression and slavery, in India the statues of Godse and Manu are worshipped under the present ideology and this is a matter of concern when India is hailed as the largest democracy. Hopefully, India too will take inspiration from the support to George Floyd and redeem its own state and people in favor of liberty, justice and fraternity.

(This article first appeared in Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, Secular Perspective, June 16 – 30, 2020) 

Six months since Jamia violence, police brutalities not forgotten

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

As we witness worldwide #BlackLivesMatter protests and criticisms of police brutality in the USA, we also need to take a look at our own police system and how it perpetrates violence.

By Ishmeet Nagpal

Any structure that exists with a clear mandate of placing absolute power in the hands of a few, will inevitably undermine the spirit of democracy at some juncture. From beating up of helpless migrant workers simply trying to go home, assaulting doctors and essential workers, to beating children, the police have shown us time and again they are not our friends (unless we are Members of Parliament whose children get birthday cakes from them).

In December 2019, while analyzing the Jamia violence perpetrated by Delhi Police, I had asked the following question in a Hindi article: “जामिया के छात्रों से क्रूरता क्यों?” (“Who is the target of the Police’s Lathi? This is something we should think about”). Therapist and researcher- Sadaf Vidha answers, “The brutality of the police is meted out towards those most oppressed in the society. In this, it follows the same pattern of discrimination that the larger society follows. In India, we see disproportionate police brutality towards the poor, the migrants, the caste minorities, women, and the tribal population. In a bizarre incident, a lawyer in Madhya Pradesh was beaten brutally and told later, with an apology, ‘We thought you had a beard, so you were a Muslim’. When they have to make split-second decisions in the absence of proper training, with violence as the only method available, the decision is made on the bases of these implicit biases that they learned growing up and were later reinforced at various stages in their lives.” (extracts from researcher’s essay on thechakkar.com)

The indiscriminate and unjustified violence meted out by the police in Jamia Milia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University students, as well as the violent measures taken to curb Anti-CAA protests may have fallen out of the news cycle, but they will never be forgotten.

Any citizen of India should be very concerned if, in the end, the police are not held accountable for their actions. An extremely biased report is already doing the job of whitewashing over the facts of Delhi Pogrom 2020. Similar gaslighting can be expected in the cases of police brutality. Whether they enter our places of education to perpetrate violence or overturn vegetable carts on the street, the police’s abuse of power with impunity needs to be questioned.

The Delhi Police, in particular, has also been perpetrating another form of structural violence by making a series of arrests targeting students, activists, and peaceful protestors including Safoora Zargar who has been denied bail yet again. The Judiciary is supposed to step up and protect the interests of the citizens. Instead, the Delhi High Court has repeatedly adjourned petitions seeking police accountability for indiscriminate arrests.

The Bengaluru police targeting veteran journalist Aakar Patel for posting about a peaceful #BlackLivesMatter protest is the latest in a long string of nationwide crackdowns on journalists and their freedom of speech. If we look at the big picture, the very people we rely on to keep us safe, are the source of fear. The Judiciary and the Government are complicit even in being passive. From the protests that helped us achieve our freedom from the hands of the British, to the online protests that we participate in now from our smartphones during the lockdown, it is our right, as citizens, to voice our criticisms of the law and order system in our country. Our ancestors put this free, independent nation in our hands, and we must nurture this freedom, we must build on it, we must never give it up in any manner. Jai Hind!

(Courtesy: Sabrang

"Visit My Masjid" Programme gets a warm response in Tamil Nadu

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 11 March 2020 | Posted in , , , , , ,

By Syed Ali Mujtaba

Chennai: In wake of discretion of mosques and killing of ‘Imam’ at the recent riots in Delhi, some Muslims in ‘Vaniyambadi,’ a town about 200 km from Chennai, organized a ‘Visit My Masjid’ programme at Masjid-e-Khaderpet on  Sunday, March 1, 2020.

This was done to strengthen inter-faith relations and build a constituency of peace and communal harmony among the people of different faiths in Vaniyambadi, one of the hubs of leather exports at Tirupattur District in Tamil Nadu.

It was for the first time a mosque’s door was opened to people belonging to different faiths. More than 400 non-Muslim brothers and sisters visited Masjid-e-Khaderpet under the "Visit My Masjid" programme. 
They were curious non-Muslims visitors from all walks of life such as students, professionals, politicians and businessmen etc. They were welcomed with open arms by the volunteers, trustees and committee members of the Khaderpet mosque. 

They were taken to the different portions of the mosque and volunteers explained to them about the rituals and concepts of Islam. The explanation started with the water tank (Hauz) where the visitors were told about the way a Muslim perform ‘Wuzhu’ (ablution) before saying the prayers. This was to convey the message of importance of cleanliness in Islam.

Some visitors showed great interest in learning the way of performing the ‘Wuzhu’ and few tried to clean their hands and legs, nose and mouth in the Islamic way of ablution.

The visitors were them taken to the place from where the ‘Azhan’ call for prayer, was given. The Arabic words of ‘Azhan’ were translated and its meaning was explained to the guests.

This was followed by the explanation on the timings and names of daily five time prayers. They were also explained why the timings vary in hours. The guests were then taken to the prayer hall of the mosque. They were explained about the architectural features of the prayer hall like ‘Mihrab’, ‘Minbar’ etc.

They were explained about the ways of prayers in the mosque are performed.  How lining up or ‘Saf Bandi’ in prayer is being done. How “Khutba” or sermon in congregation prayers like on Friday prayers is made. The visitors were also told about the importance of “Imam” in leading the prayers.

Placards were at display in few places of the mosque to help the visitors understand the concepts of Islam and the way Muslim pray in a mosque to add clarity to ‘Visit My Masjid’ programme.
The visitors were then taken to nearby the graveyard or ‘Qabrastan.’ They were explained about the way funeral prayer is performed and how burial is done.  The visitors were also explained about the concept of ‘Aaqirath’ or life after death in Islam.

They visitors very much appreciated the "Visit My Masjid" programme.  They were impressed by the way they were welcomed and treated in the mosque. They gave their feedback in a form and also recorded their experience on video camera about their enhanced knowledge and understanding about Islam and its teachings.

The SIO Vaniyambadi Unit and members of the Masjid-e-Khaderpet deserve special thanks to initiate such a peace loving concept of "Visit My Masjid" programme. The organizers can be contacted at 9500359571 and 8148989402.

[Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at syedalimujtaba2007@gmail.com]

OPINION: Political, religious & demographic dynamics in South Asia & threatened co-existence of people with pluralities

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

By Dr. Firoz Mahboob Kamal

‘Rising Asia’ now runs as a myth in many Asian and non-Asian countries. But such a myth hides many awful realities. The case of ‘rising Europe’ in the past with its mighty economy, military and technology provides valuable insights to analyse the so-called myth of ‘rising Asia’. While Europe showed its fastest economic growth, also showed its fastest morale down-turn. Because of such moral down-turn, Europe could become the fertile breeding ground for evil ideologies like colonialism, imperialism, white supremacism, nationalism, racism and fascism. In fact, genocidal wars, colonial wars, World Wars and ethnic cleansing owe to such moral down turn. In those rising days of the west, the moral down-turn went so low that it couldn’t find any wrong in elimination of Red Indians from Americas, aborigines from Australia and Maoris from New Zealand. And, killings could be done on an industrial scale. As a result, they could kill about 75 million people only in two World Wars. This is why, the worst catastrophe in whole history is not caused by earthquakes, epidemics, cyclones or tsunamis; but by humans.

The same myth of economic development now dominates the socio-political spectrum of South Asia. The economic development has overruled the importance of moral development. And moral ill health or death now shows its own expression. In India, Muslims are being lynched to death on alleged accusation that they eat beef. On such a pretext, 25 Muslims are killed by the Hindu radicals in a period from 2015 to the middle of 2017. (Ananda Bazar Patrika, 2020). In 1992, more than 500 year-old historical Babri Mosque in Ayodhya was razed to the ground on a mythological assumption that Ram –a Hindu deity was born there. The Supreme Court of India declared in its recent judgement that there exists no evidence that the mosque was built on a Hindu temple. Surprisingly, absence of evidence couldn’t prohibit the Supreme Court judges from incorporating the Hindutva motive in their judgement. Therefore, the judges gave the dismantled mosque site to the perpetrators of the crime to build a temple there! Whereas in a previous ruling, the same judiciary condemned the destruction of the mosque as a heinous crime. Therefore, with the Hindutva fascists in power, everything looks changed. The police, the prosecution, the Hindutva politician, the judiciary, the media and the executive branch of the government now work together to promote the same Hindutva objective. Now, appeasement of the ruling Hindutva forces overrules the delivery of fair justice.

The Muslim population of India is about 200 million –larger than the combined population of France, Germany and the UK. The development of a state is indeed the aggregate development of all people of all denominations. Hence hindered access to education and training, employment opportunities for everyone and optimum utilisation of every talent and skills are vital. Any obstruction or exclusion of anyone restrict development. The GDP of country is indeed the summation of added values not only on land and materials but also on every individual. Therefore, if 200 million people are kept out of the value-adding process and employment, how can a country progress? Awfully such a basic rule of development is ignored only to harm Muslims. They also ignore to realize that such a policy immensely harms India. The impact reflects on the economic indicators. In terms of per capita income and hunger index, India stands lower than even Bangladesh –the bottomless basket case of the early seventies.

Currently, Muslims constitute about 15 per cent of the Indian population; but only 4 per cent of them are graduate and only 5 per cent are in the government jobs. (Sachar Committee Report, 2006). The maximisation of economic wellbeing of the Hindus and their access to the government offices are being achieved and sustained by maximum deprivation or exclusion of the Muslims. Such a discriminatory and restrictive policy was first initiated by the British colonial occupiers since they snatched power from the Muslim rulers. But it hasn’t been changed by the subsequent Indian governments. Now, with the Hindutva forces in power, the exclusion of the Muslims has become an overt government policy. More than 44 million Muslims live in Uttar Pradesh –the country’s largest province, but in 2014 election not a single Muslim was allowed to sit in the parliament. It is also worth noting that the Hindutva forces are not happy with the current level of exclusion, they want to put more restriction. In order to put permanent prohibition, they want to deprive Muslims of their citizenship rights. So, tools like National Citizenship Registrar (NCR) and Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) are introduced. BJP’s West Bengal chief told in public that 10 million Muslims will be evicted from West Bengal by deploying NCR. (Ananda Bazar Patrika, 17 February 2020). Millions of Muslims are targeted to make them stateless on the accusation that they have illegally infiltrated from Bangladesh. Bangladesh has already labelled it baseless and has expressed its refusal to take any stateless people from India. Hence such stateless Muslims face no option but to stand de-enfranchised and dumped in concentration camps. Already such concentration camps are being constructed in the state of Assam where 1.9 million people stand stateless because of exclusion from NRC. Such inhuman act stands unique in the whole human history.
The Hindutva fascists want to make India a Hindu state – as envisioned by their guru Savarker. Muslims and other minorities will survive only as second class citizen without any social, political and economic participation. This is why, even the publication of Sachar Committee Report that exposed sheer deprivation of the Muslims is so unwelcome in the Hindutva circle. Their argument is clear. While they do not bother to alleviate the deprivation, why do they need its publication? The Muslim rule in India in the past is being used to ignite the politics of revengeful anguish against the present days’ Muslims. In fact, resurgence of such Hindu vengeance forms the basis of Hindutva politics in India and gave birth to world’s largest NGO called Rastriya Shevok Sangha (RSS). The sole objective of RSS is to make India a Hindu state.-(Andersen, Walter; Damla, Shridhar, 1987). In the early days of independent India, RSS leaders opposed the Indian constitution for three main reasons. These are: 1). its secular character, 2). non-inclusion of ancient law of Manu, 3). equal rights for people of all clasts and religions. (Hadiz, Vedi). They also opposed tricolour Indian national flag. Instead, they wanted a saffron flag as an icon of ancient Hindu identity. For 52 years since independence, they didn’t hoist tri-colour Indian national flag in RSS head quarter; for the first time they did it in 2002. (The Times of India, 2002)

While M.S Golwalker became the RSS President in 1940, he set it a goal not to fight against the British. (M.S Golwalker, 1974). Muslims were stipulated as the number one enemy and not the British occupation. Hence, from day one of its inception in 1925, RSS was focussed on mobilising and strengthening the Hindutva recruits to fight against the Muslims. In 1927, within two years of its creation, the RSS launched its first Muslim cleansing operation in its birth place in Nagpur in Maharashtra. Its militants launched an organised attack against the local Muslims and the campaign went on for 3 days and forced the Muslims to leave the city. The creation of Pakistan in 1947 infuriated the RSS cadres; as if Pakistan has cut into pieces their mother India. Now they take the revenge from the captivated Muslims those who didn’t migrate to Pakistan. They consider every Indian Muslim a traitor cum termite and a Pakistani insider. (Ashish Nandi, 2002). For its terrorist activities, the RSS was banned 4 times in the past: in 1947, in 1948, in 1975 and in 1992.  During British raj, it was banned for its communal terrorism by the provincial government of Punjab in 1947. In 1948, it was banned for killing Gandhi. In 1992, it was banned for destroying the historic Babri Mosque. Since Norendra Modi -a lifelong member of RSS, became the Prime Minister, everything changed. The RSS is no more alone in its mission; the whole state apparatus, the media, the police and the army are now working hand in hand to attain the Hindutva objective. The policy of political and economic exclusivity and even cleansing operations against the religious minorities gets sanitised in the name of the democratic rights of the majority. Thus, the Hindutva majority has established marginalisation of the minorities and deprivation of their basic rights as the new normal.

The NRC project was first started in the north-eastern state of Assam. Because of it, 1.9 million people became stateless. Contrary to the Hindutva expectation, more than 70% of the victims turned out to be Hindus. Since exclusion of Hindus has never been the agenda of the ruling Hindutva extremists, the Citizenship Act was quickly amended to award them citizenship. But the door is kept closed for the stateless Muslims. A Hindu – even if born outside India, can get citizenship because of his religious identity, but a Muslim born in India needs to submit documents for that. Thus, NRC and CAA are being used as the discriminatory instruments against Muslims either to evict them as foreign intruder or dump them in newly built concentration camps as de-enfranchised and de-humanised alien creatures. 

Cross-party epidemic

Like virus, toxic ideologies never stay confined within the premise of a single political, religious or terrorist outfit. It shows a cross-party, cross-country and cross-border epidemic. Hence, what is happening in India, Myanmar and Sri Lanka against the Muslims shows the similar symptoms and signs. This is why, the anti-Muslim hatred in Indian politics is not a monopoly of RSS-BJP axis, and the parties like the Indian National Congress and many others have also been infected with the same toxicity. The spell of the Hindutva venom over the politics of Indian National Congress was exposed during the election campaign of 1989. To appease the Hindu voters, Rajiv Gandhi –the Congress Party’s incumbent Prime Minister attempted to snatch the Hindutva mantra from RSS-BJP family by outplaying the issue. He started his campaign from the district of Faizabad –known for its historic Babri Mosque. Dispelling the previous secular stand of the Congress, Rajiv Gandhi took the banner of Hindutva agenda in his own hand. He promised inauguration of Rama Rajya –the rule and the kingdom of Rama, in India.-(Pradeep Nayak, 1993). It was a clear departure from declared secular ideology of the Congress. He even opened the door of the Babri Mosque for the Hindu worshippers –which was strategically avoided by every Congress and non-Congress government in the past. By adopting such a communal agenda, Rajiv Gandhi enhanced Hindutva radicalization of his own party the Indian National Congress. He preferred getting more votes over higher human values, secular ideology, justice and respect for the minority rights. Such a policy of sliding towards the Hindu majority vote bank and turning a blind eye towards the Muslim minority, prompted the Muslims –the party’s traditional vote bank to quickly leave Congress. Along with the loss of Muslim votes, his hoax to amass Hindu votes didn’t work either. He failed to defeat the old and original vanguards of the Hindutva outfit like BJP. As a result of losing Muslim votes, the Congress Party ceased to exist as an electable contender of power in Indian national politics. It could show up only as a partner of regional parties to share power in some smaller states.  

However, Rajiv Gandhi is not the only Congress leader to embrace the Hindutva ideology. Even, Mr. Nehru -the first Prime Minister of independent India didn’t prove different either. Nehru couldn’t hide his affinity towards Hindutva extremism while he embraced Shyama Prasad Mukherjee as his first post-independence cabinet colleague. Incorporating a leader in the cabinet doesn’t go alone, it needs to accommodate his ideologies, too. Mr. Mukherjee is known as one of the most original gurus of Hindutva radicalization of Indian politics. He was the former President of Hindu Mahashava and the founder of Jana Sangha –the parental organizations of today’s BJP.

Nehru’s policy towards the Muslim rule in Hyderabad and the Muslim population in Kashmir –the only Muslim majority state in India, also proved terribly sinister. The first post-independence genocidal massacre of the Muslims that took place in Hyderabad in 1948 wasn’t the crime of RSS-BJP goons. It happened under the watch of Congress Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. His government didn’t bother to do a body count of the dead. The lowest estimate of the Muslim death has been reported to be 40, 000 (Komireddi, 2019). In other estimate, it is 200, 000. (Noorani, 2001). Muslim houses were looted and thousands of Muslim women were raped. Thugs and rapists were let loose to commit the crime; and hardly anyone was punished for such a horrendous crime.

Under Nehru’s rule, a massive genocide also took place in Jammu – a southern district in united Kashmir. Prior to Indian occupation in 1947, Jammu had Muslim majority population. The genocide was carried out under the direct command of Dogra Maharaja Hari Singh of Kashmir -as a part of the desperate move in his last days of rule, to make it Hindu majority area. Since there was no body-count, there exists gross variation on number of the death. It is stated 20,000 to 100,000 Muslims were killed and many more were evicted from their home. (Snedden, Christopher, 2015). But most the researchers agree that RSS cadres were brought in to conduct the genocide under the direct watch of Maharaja Hari Singh. (Chattha, 2009). Although Prime Minister Nehru considered Hari Singh guilty for the massacre, but gave him a safe sanctuary in Mumbai. (Praveen Swami, 2007). Because of signing the ‘Instrument of Accession to India’, Hari Singh has not only been exempted from legal prosecution but also his genocidal crime was airbrushed from history. (Komireddi, 2019).
Mr. Narasima Rao – Congress Party’s another former Prime Minister also showed anti-Muslim sentiment from his early career. He joined an armed group to fight against the Muslim ruler in Hyderabad. (K.S. Komireddi, 2019). While he was the Prime Minister, he allowed the destruction of Babri Mosque by his visible inaction. His government showed utter failure to prosecute those Hindutva extremists who committed such a heinous crime. Mr. Pranab Mukherjee – a former President of India and leader of the Congress Party also couldn’t hide his affinity towards RSS. He visited Nagpur –the birth place of RSS, to pay his deep homage to the RSS founder Mr. Hedgewar in 2018. The issue didn’t stop at his homage; Mr. Mukherjee exulted the RSS founder as “great son of Mother India” in the visitor’s book. Only a man with full endorsement of Mr. Hedgewar’s Hindutva ideology could write such a high eulogy. On behalf of RSS, it was acknowledged that after Mr. Pronab Mukherjee’s homage to Hedgewar, there was an upsurge in RSS’s membership. It is worth noting that Mr. Pranab Mukherjee is not alone to show the affinity to Hindutva ideology. Congress Party – the so-called secularist outfit proved to be embedded with many more like Mr. Mukharjee. In 1954, a Congress MP named Seth Govind Das moved a resolution in the Indian parliament for imposing a total ban on cow slaughter. Mr Vasan Sathe -another leading Hindutva fan in Congress, threatened to resign from the party if the party opposes the installation of a portrait of Mr. Savarkar – the original guru of Hindutva politics in India, in the parliament. (Naqvi, 2019).

Mr. Hedgewar’s ideology and his political objective were never hidden. Mr. Hedgewar proclaimed that India is a land only for the Hindus; and consistently loathed the Muslims. He could never swallow the six hundred years’ Muslim rule in India. He considered Muslims’ rule as a disgrace for the Hindus; and showed his obsession to take the revenge. Like Savarker, Golwalker and other Hindutva ideologues, he couldn’t think of Muslims as equal citizens. His obsession to take the revenge prompted him to form the RSS. His successor, Golwalkar, was an admirer of Hitler and his policies towards the Jews. He even wrote that Nazi Germany provides a “good lesson for use in Hindusthan to learn and profit by.” In such writings, Golwalkar’s implied message is clear. The Germans had the Jews and the Indians have the Muslims. Hitler had nothing to teach Indians on Hindutva ideology; but had a lot to teach how to carry out genocidal cleansing of the Muslims –as he did against the Jews. Hitler could also teach how he was successful to mobilise and motivate the German people to commit one of the ugliest crimes on earth like taking Jews to the gas chambers. Mr. Golwalkar was highly impressed by Hitler’s quick success; hence asked his Hindu compatriots to apply the same methodology against the Indian Muslims. How a man with an iota of morality can endorse or appreciate such a toxic ideology? But Mr. Pranab Mukharjee travelled to Nagpur to pay homage to the icon of such ideology. A Muslim can easily understand how dreadful to live amidst hordes of such indoctrinated people. In a conventional war, fear of death runs only through those who are in the battlefield. But for Muslims, the whole India had turned into a fear mongering corrosive battlefield.
                                                                                                 Deployment of more than 700,000 troops in Kashmir – the only Muslim majority state in India, tells another story of ongoing marginalisation and persecution of the minority in India. Kashmir is now the most militarised zone in the whole world. Because of recent abrogation of Article 370, Kashmir no more exist as a state; it has become a federal territory directly under the rule of Delhi. The whole state has turned into a prison. As a part of the punitive measures, curfew has been imposed for months after months. To disconnect them from the outside world, the internet services are either cut-off or given restricted access. Thousands of people are taken to prisons outside Kashmir. Such state-run killing, oppression, injustices and marginalisation only could work as the precursor of social unrest and militancy among the victims. As usual, such state-ran terrorism gets cover-up in the name of keeping stability and fighting the militancy. Because of similar punitive policy of the Myanmar government against the minority Rohynga Muslims, the country could become the “text book case of ethnic cleansing”. The situation in Sri Lanka is not different either; it only differs in severity from that of India and Myanmar. There too, the Muslim and Tamil minority suffer in the hand of the Buddhist Sinhalese majority.

All RSS compounds in India indeed work as training centres to make the party cadres ready for a Hindutva victory over the whole South Asia. The division of the sub-continent into India, Pakistan and Bangladesh has never been accepted by them; Gandhi –the father of India’ independence was murdered for accepting the division. The map that is displayed in RSS central office in Nagpur doesn’t show Pakistan and Bangladesh. (Al Jazeera English documentary). Accepting the RSS project to make India a Hindu state is projected as a marker of patriotism. Failing to fall in line with such a RSS vision is labelled as a Pakistani insider; and gets subjected to public lynch, rape, torture and mass slaughter on streets and also in domestic premises.

Muslims aren’t the only target

Muslims are not the only target of the Hindutva fascists. Non-Hindus like Sikhs, Christians and the untouchables also became the victims. What happened in Delhi in 1984 in the aftermath of the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Ghandi is indeed an organised slaughter of Sikh men, women and children abetted by the state. By official estimate, 3,000 Sikhs were murdered. The unofficial figure is much higher. Surprisingly, the Government ruled by Congress didn’t intervene – as was the case in 2002 in an anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujrat under Modi’s watch.  Two weeks later Rajiv Ghandi used a clarifying metaphor: when a big tree falls, the earth shakes a little. (Komireddi, 2019). The bloodbath of Sikhs appeased the Hindutva radicals so much that in 1984 election, the Hindutva activists like RSS cadres campaigned for Rajiv Gandhi. He was elected with 416 out of 543 seats in the parliaments. It was indeed one of the greatest electoral victory in the history of Indian National Congress. So, it ratifies the reality that if politics gets polarised with vitriolic hatred and massacre against minorities, brings land slide electoral victory to the perpetrators. In a milieu of such ideological intoxication, perpetrators of innocent men, women and children of the minority community never get prosecuted; rather receive honour with electoral triumph. In fact, Mr. Narendra Modi and his party BJP are the perfect example of that. Because of the heinous atrocities against the minorities in Gujrat, Muzaffarnagar and other parts of India, Mr. Modi and his BJP could quickly jump up in the popularity ladder. In such politics of populism, higher values or principle doesn’t work. This is why, it is the political strategy of the extremist forces to invent more pretexts to scale up atrocities against the minority. In Kandhamal in Orissa, Dalit converts to Christianity were the target of two and a half months of violence that left at least 16 dead and 40, 000 driven out of their homes. (The Hindu, 2008).  It is worth mentioning, that Christians were persecuted even by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in his early days of rule. He authorised the bombing of the north-eastern Christians majority state of Nagaland for demanding the same independence that India got from the British. (Komireddi, 2019).

Right to rule as if the right to murder      

Appointment of Mr. Narendra Modi as the chief minister of Gujarat tells a lot about the political objective of the Hindutva forces in India. He was groomed as an obedient RSS cadre. To give more time and commitment to Hindutva mission, he even left his newly married wife. In 1992, he played a key role in mobilizing the RSS cadres to destroy Babri mosque. Such a role enhanced his credential among the key stakeholders of the party. In early October 2001, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee summoned Norendra Modi to his residence and offered him the chief minister’s job of Gujrat. (K.S. Komireddi, 2019)
Mr. Vajpayee is usually projected as moderate leader in the RSS-BJP camp. But how a moderate man can be compatible with an extremist man who could engineer destruction of a mosque? People of opposite intention and ideology can never work together. They need ideological match. Later on, Modi as a chief minister of Gujarat revealed not only his own color, but also the color of Mr. Vajpayee. That moment came within 4 months of his appointment.  In 2002, a train carrying Hindu extremists returning from the site of demolished Babri mosque caught fire. Fifty-eight people were burned to death. Mr. Narendra Modi didn’t wait for the police enquiry, rather grab it as an opportunity to do what he wanted to do. He instantly called it the work of the Muslim extremists. Modi’s announcement was enough to incite genocidal massacre against the innocent Muslims in Gujrat. In one Muslim neighborhood, a mob of about five-thousands Hindus made their way through a slum and hacked ninety-seven Muslims to death and a mosque was blown up with liquefied petroleum. Across the road from the scene of carnage, stood a reserve police quarters. But no one from there lifted a finger. (Human Rights Watch, 2002). In a civilized country, police reach within minutes if a house is under attack by a killer or robber. But Modi proved that India hasn’t reached to that stage. Under his rule, the state of Gujarat turned into a deep and distant jungle; no police appears in the site of carnage -not in hours, and not even in days. So the killing, the mass rape and the arson continues unabated. Thus, as a chief minister, Modi showed his own complicity in the crime. He need not kill or rape anybody himself; but his robust inaction worked as huge encouragement for the killers, the rapists and the arsonists to commit such crimes in thousands.

In an anti-Muslim pogrom, social position or contribution of a Muslim makes no difference to make him the worst victim. Mr. Ehsan Jafri -a former MP of Indian Parliament, was a very prominent Muslim leader of Gujarat. He had close acquaintance with Sonia Gandhi –the leader of Congress and personally known to Prime Minister Mr. Vajpayee. Mr. Jafri was sheltering about 250 helpless Muslims in his residence. He spent hours making desperate calls to Chief Minister Modi’s office, but received no help. Modi turned deaf. At the end he urged the attackers, “Whatever you want to do with me, do it; but please don’t kill those who have taken shelter in my house.” But his appeal felt on deaf ears. Mr. Jafri was dragged out of his house by the Hindu mob, tortured with all possible cruelty and sliced open with swords. At the end, he was burnt alive. Sixty-nine people of those who were seeking refuge inside Jafri’s house were killed in broad daylight over seven hours. But during the long period of seven hours, the state police didn’t bother to show up in the scene to stop this preventable massacre. (Vinod Jose, 2012)

The calamities of unequal development

Social, political and economic calamities in South Asia also owe to highly unequal development of people and the society. Indicators like per capita income, GDP (Gross Domestic Product), life expectancy and purchasing power of the people can’t capture information on all indispensable elements of inclusive development. The issues like moral and spiritual development, crime prevalence, per capita feeling of peace and sense of security, per capita access or deprivation of social, educational, economic and democratic rights, rule of law, state of access to the judiciary, and the state of persecution, deprivation and marginalisation of the weaker community still stay out of the focus. In fact, the UNDP’s indicators like life expectancy, education and purchasing power parity appear more narrow and restrictive to reveal any real state of the people. How one can give an estimate of human development without a proper estimate of the development of humans in humane parameters. The highest importance is given to security of the state, economic prosperity, infrastructural development and purchasing power of the people. As a result, moral failures like state-run policy of discrimination, persecution, deprivation, fascism, concentration camps and even genocide against minorities stand unrecorded in a maze of so-called economic development. India is labelled as an economic tiger; but basic human rights of millions that are consumed by these tigers stay ignored and unrecorded. Robbery, thievery and persecution against other people can’t be labelled as economic work. Similarly, development at the cost of deprivation of others can’t called as real development either. Such an asymmetrical and unjust developmental priorities were first seen in Europe and proved catastrophic for the whole mankind. Because of wrong parameters, the lethal ideologies like racism, nationalism, fascism, colonialism, imperialism and the projects like ethnic cleansing, lynching of the minorities, slave trading, colonial wars, World Wars could find foot-soldiers to carry out the vicious plans.

It is true that the South Asian countries have made some economic progress. But the newly gained economic strength is enhancing the political ability of the ruling elite to execute their evil agenda. The fascists always thrive on political polarisation based on hatred against the people of other faith, land and ethnicity. The multi-ethnic and multi-religious demography in India, Myanmar and Sri Lanka prove fertile for such polarisation. The majoritarian fascists could easily label a people of dissimilar ethnicity or religion as the enemy to perpetuate massacres. The German fascists could put a tag on the Jews fit for gas chambers. The fascists of India, Myanmar and Sri Lanka could also put a tag on Muslims for discrimination, persecution and elimination. The ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, lynching and genocidal massacre of Muslims in India and attacks on the lives and properties of the Muslims in Sri Lanka tell a lot about the horrors that are being inflicted on the minorities in South Asia. In a hype of Islamophobia, such crimes usually get sanitised, belittled or ignored by the global players only to promote their business interests. Therefore the travel ban on Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India for alleged complicity in the massacre of about 2,000 – 5000 Muslims couldn’t survive longer. It was lifted by the USA and the EU; and his evil motive was ignored and sanitised to access a market of about 1.3 billion Indians. In such a permissive and opportunistic world-order, China could construct the largest concentration camp on the planet for more than a million Uighur Muslims. So-called rising Asia indeed moving fast to that end.

Conclusion

The fate of a people is not decided by mere economics; rather more decisively by dominant ideologies. While two World Wars caused terrible havoc on earth, the economy wasn’t bad either. Persecution of people and peace can’t go together. Therefore, toxic ideologies like fascism, racism, must nationalism, colonialism and imperialism that promote persecution of people must not exist anywhere on earth. Otherwise, peaceful co-existence of people with diversity become impossible. Then, war may not be on the frontiers but enters into cities, villages and houses to kill innocent men, women and children. Because of Hindutva fascists in India, military racists in Myanmar, power-grabbing fascists in Bangladesh and ethnoreligious opportunists in Sri Lanka such wars have already done a great damage against the prospect of peace in South Asia. It is indeed a huge humanitarian as well as social science issue. Economy can’t fight toxic ideologies; it needs an ideological fix. Strong economy can even strengthen the lethal power of evil ideologues –as German’s strong economy did to fascist Hitler. It is indeed the most responsibility of the social scientists to bring social pathology to the limelight so that the political activists, the social engineers and the reformist philosophers can take cues to make an appropriate treatment plan. Only this way the growth and sustenance of human civilization can be influenced positively. Otherwise, in this global village, peaceful co-existence of people with pluralities will survive only as a dream. 

[Dr. Firoz Mahboob Kamal is a post-graduate Diploma in Dermatology from University of London; physician in Pakistan, Iran, Bangladesh & the UK; researcher in social sciences and presented research papers at international conferences of IUSSP (International Union of Scientific Studies of Population) at Beijing in 1997 and in Brazil in 1998; writes articles, newspaper columns & books in Bengali and English on various social, political, cultural, educational and international issues. He can be reached at firozkamal@gmail.com]

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