Convention on Status of Muslims in Contemporary India begins
Submitted by admin2 on 3 October 2009 - 11:59pm.
By Mumtaz Alam Falahi, TwoCircles.net,
New Delhi: What it means to be a Muslim in India today? In different words by different people the answer was same: it means to be vulnerable to state terrorism, to be fit to be treated as second-class citizen, said family members of some of the terror blasts accused from across the country. They were sharing a dais – provided by ANHAD in the three-day national convention on Status of Muslims in Contemporary India in New Delhi on October 3.
The purpose of the convention is to document the continuing ways of discrimination, exclusion, persecution of Muslims in India today, to document overt as well as low intensity violence and the insecurity that they live with, and to prepare a charter of demands for the present government. ANHAD also plans to develop a strategy paper for voluntary organizations who are working for the minority rights.
During the three day meet senior activists, academicians, grass root workers and victims would present and listen to testimonies and reports, and reflect on these conditions.
L-R: Zahid Ali Khan, Hanif Lakdawala, Kavita Krishnan, Ram Puniyani, Zafar Aga
The first day of the convention was devoted to the topic Persecution in the name of Terrorism.
The spectrum of Terrorism is haunting India and all its citizens today. Muslims in India face this menace in many different forms – whether they are exploited in its direct form of being victims of a terrorist attack, or whether they are victimized after a terrorist attack in the form of being persecuted as the perpetrator of these terrorist attacks. The speakers, both human rights activists and victim family members, highlighted victimization of Muslims in various parts of the country – whether it is in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, etc.
Abu Zafar (left)
Opening the session on the theme, Manisha Sethi, eminent civil and human rights activist and teacher from Jamia Millia Islamia, who has worked for a free, independent judicial trial for the Batla House encounter pointed out the loopholes and raised questions regarding the police version of the encounter. She highlighted the fact that the increasing number of trials and charge sheets on the accused are alarming in nature, and there is a need to strengthen the movement for independent free probes and conduct parallel trials and jan sunwai’s throughout the country.
Human rights activists Tariq Shafiq and Rajiv Yadav from Azamgarh, highlighted the discrimination faced by the people of Azamgarh, whether it is in the terms of people being killed in encounters, randomly picked up for arrests without search warrants, students being denied passports, students being denied accommodation in places like Delhi and people being fired from their jobs just because they are residents of the town Azamgarh.
Family of Ishrat Jahan (Musarrat Jahan, her brother and mother) interacting with Harsh Mandar
Relatives of victims from Gujarat including Saleha Khatoon, Shazia Bano, Zaibunnisa Qagzhi and Musarrat Jahan told the audience the horrifying stories of torture that their relatives faced. Bibi Khatoon told about the difficulties faced by her and relatives in trying to meet her sons in jail. Musarrat Jahan, the sister of Ishrat Jehan, told as to how Ishrat worked hard to overcome the financial difficulties faced by her family and had no connection with any terrorist activity. She raised the question – whether it was a crime to be a Muslim in India?
Abu Zafar, a journalist and brother of Mufti Abu Bashar, said there is a conspiracy behind the implication of Muslim youths in terror cases. Given the number of cases, witnesses and thickness of charge-sheets, it can be said that none of these cases will reach their natural conclusion in the life time of the accused. He stressed that this angle alone denotes the conspiracy of state actors against the Muslim community. He pointed out that there have been 18000 encounters in Andhra Pradesh within ten years (1997–2007) and this is not a good sign for the country.
Talking to TwoCircles.net some of the members of victim families narrated their pain, some of them very emotion, a mother broke down before the TCN camera.
On October 4, the second day of the convention two sessions will be devoted to two topics -- Faces of Discrimination (What it means to be a Muslim in today's India, Hate campaigns, Appropriation of Muslim religious and cultural spaces, Negative Images in Media, Rise and infiltration of right wing organizations in the Indian Society, Discrimination against Muslims by law enforcement agencies both Police and judiciary,
Systematic Appropriation of the Waqf properties and Qabristans, Failures to Control organizations spreading hatred, Impunity and Failures to implement Enquiry reports and punish those guilty of Communal Crimes, Ignoring the large scale terror links of the Sangh, Hate Campaigns around Cow slaughter, Politics of symbols and words, Emergence and role of new age gurus) and Communal Violence and State Impunity.
A WELL DEFINED INITIATIVE IS THE NEED OF THE HOUR
Submitted by P.M.Pareethu Bava Khan (not verified) on 5 October 2009 - 1:45pm.
A leadership with a positive mindset, and capable of taking the initiatives for positive and proactive actions to face the challenges before the community is the need of the hour. Sachar Committee Report and the findings of the Joint Parliamentary Committee for Wakf with Jb Rahman Kan as Chairman have been asking every thinking Muslim to wake up and take up the responsibility of an organized initiative for the community, in a systematic and planned manner through a well defined integrated delivery and administrative mechanism under a coordinated leadership, in the field of education, health, self employment, carrier guidance, economic development, empowerment through personality and leadership development etc.
The reasons for the backwardness of the Muslim Community are multidimensional, but the prime responsibility is definitely with the community itself. The lack of unity among the community, and the ever growing approach of creating the grounds for disunity and differences, and finding justification to reinforce the opinions of their own sections, divisions, denomination, organisations etc etc. have been causing the gaps to grow in all directions among the various sections which none of them are found to be ready to compromise for the development of the community.
A well defined and thought out efforts from all quarters and sections of the community, forgetting all differences including the fabricated ones, should be made to bring Muslims into a common flat form for pooling our energy and resources for focusing our attention and efforts to solve our issues with determination and dedication. It is a very sad fact that we Muslims are now finding and discovering issues and non-issues to get them divided at the instigation of some vested interests with very narrow vision and long time motives. It is a fact that unless this is understood in the right perspective we are going to fall from down to down and would not be able to come out at all.
P.M.Pareethu Bava Khan
Unity for Social Development, Kerala
well defined initriative/Preethu bava
Submitted by Shoeb K (not verified) on 5 October 2009 - 3:29pm.
Kudos, Mr Bava. We have to stop the blame game and take responsibility as you mentioned. And I will take one step further - let us take individual responsibility. Toomuch 'community" reliance has taken away the individuals role.
Being a Muslim in India
Submitted by Ghulam Mohiyuddin (not verified) on 5 October 2009 - 12:38am.
Being a Muslim in India may at times mean being vulnerable to state terrorism and being treated as a second-class citizen, but we must also remember that being a Muslim in India means to love India as our homeland, to be a patriotic and a nationalist Indian, to appreciate our polymorphic and multi-ethnic culture, to respect the religions and the rights of others, and to be grateful for our democratic and secular form of government which is not the norm in most Muslim majority countries. It also means taking full advantage of the educational opportunities and to be a full participant in the economic progress of our great country.
We must also be strong advocates of true secularism and not seek any unfair favours for our community. We must put our duties before our rights. As President Kennedy said to Americans, "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country".
I Agree And Lets All Agree To.
Submitted by Dr. Zahid Shafi Ansari (not verified) on 5 October 2009 - 11:50pm.
To everyone. Just know that I agree with all this Mambo Jambo Talks of Rights and Education and Reforms for better world for us. So please let me know When Honestly Gay Rights will be respected by Islam and Muslims. Are we really think this hatred is normal or NATURAL or whatever. Against anyone. Including me, you, colors, sexes, races, religions, this or that. Lets Fight Discrimination By Really Fighting it with honest love and respect for ourselfs.... Lets be one and lets respect all honestly.
ghulam/being a Muslim
Submitted by Shoeb K (not verified) on 5 October 2009 - 2:44pm.
Well said bro. "Second Class citizenry" is something our own leaders have crafted so they have a political issue to cling to.
The key for the progress is to tke advantage of the educational opportunities. Without that nothing will happen.
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