With Different Religious Persons in Audience, Govt. Looks Inclined to Spread Trust-Net
Raising the slogan of a “United India where every Indian is safe,” the National Security Advisor Ajit Doval said on Saturday, 30th July, “There are a few people who, in the name of religion or any other belief system, are resorting to violence and creating mistrust between communities.” Speaking in chaste Urdu, he urged people to raise their voices against radicalism and said, “One reason for rising in violence and militancy is the people do not raise their voice as much as needed.”
He was addressing a gathering of “religious” leaders under the banner of, “The All India Sufi Sajjadanashin Council (AISSC).” Syed Naseeruddin Chishti is the founder and the Chairman of his hand-picked outfit with little-known social outreach. His father Syed Zainul Abedin was a Dewan of Ajmer’s shrine in the 1960s. Reports suggest that the duo has no role in the shrine affairs.
As star speaker, Mr. Doval said: “If we have to challenge this atmosphere (of animosity) then the biggest need is to remain alert in our country, our own home, and keep intact nation’s unity.” Invoking the idea of a “Unified Nation”, he claimed that the country is progressing fast and its benefits should reach all.
He lashed out at the forces of “negativism” for “obstructing the pace of nation’s progress.” Indicating the enemies of communal harmony, he pointed out, “There are a few people who, in the name of religion or any other belief system, are resorting to violence and creating mistrust between communities. This affects the whole country internally, as well as internationally.”
To deal with this, he said, “The religious people like you do not raise your voices as much as you should. This makes these voices of (troublemaking) minority feel like the representative of entire India.” He urged them not to remain mute spectators, to work together at the ground level, and strengthen the unity and fraternity. He suggested, “If there are misunderstandings, we need to dispel them,” and “mistakes should be rectified,” he said.
Recalling ideal Hindu-Muslim unity during our Independence Movement, he referred to the creation of the “Provisional Government” in Kabul in 1915. Lauding the initiative of the Ulama under the guidance of Maulana Mahmood Hasan Deobandi, he reminded us that Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh was made its President.
He also recalled that, “different religious communities have cordially cohabited in India for centuries” and that, “we have to make everyone feel that this is our country, which we are proud of and where any religion can be followed with freedom.” So, “It is our collective responsibility to rectify this atmosphere and send this message to their respective communities.”
Undoubtedly, it is our (the state and the peoples) responsibility to rectify the environment. The words he spoke, and his emphasis on “we” and “our” are woven with the “feel good factor”. Noticeably he did not push all burdens upon people, indicating that the state should also do the needful. Let us say the state is duty bound to act against any mischief. We honestly feel and have repeatedly pointed out that the actions, utterances, and approaches of the people in power had emboldened the troublemakers. Had wrongdoers been promptly contained, the situation should not have deteriorated as it is today and we are facing international shame. Silence of the people is also a factor but let us consider who had created the atmosphere of communal disharmony, distrust, and enmity for political mileage and what they are doing with the minority after capturing power. Bulldozing their properties, and pushing them behind bars ruin their future.
Surely, they are few who did vitiate the atmosphere of peace and tranquillity, hampering economic progress. For example, at least six big automotive companies and others have quit India over the last five years. It resulted in at least 64000 layoffs and the dealer’s investment loss of `2,485 crore per official data. In spite of all this, the instigators of lawlessness and abettors of mayhems are getting protection. Threats of “beheading,” “abduct the girls and rape,” and “ethnic cleansing” are going un-checked, while whistle-blowers are being sent behind the bars. People will surely stand up strongly if the state infuses in them the confidence that only the guilty will be punished.
In this perspective, we take NSA’s speech as an indicator of goodness on the state agenda after the shock given by the Nupur episode. As he underlined, the need of the hour is “to assure people that every Indian is safe. And if any Indian is threatened then every Indian will stand with him. We will stay together, or we will sink together.”
We can only hope, that in changing international environment, and deteriorating economy, the state will change its priorities. As a first step it should stop discrimination and treat the citizen equally irrespective of their religious or political affiliation. For instance, recently three people were killed in Karnataka. The State CM visited the family of one Praveen Nettaru, a worker of the ruling party, and gave `25 lakh to support the bereaved family, but ignored the families of the other two: Mohd Fazil and Masood. In Masood’s case, all of the eight arrested accused belong to Bajrang Dal and VHP.
We can assure the NSA, we Indians are hereditary peace-lovers, respect each other, and love to live together. All will stand up in one call if the people in power do not turn away their eyes from mischief. They must suppress their instinct of hatred shown in changing the historical names of cities, roads, parks, and other landmarks like railway stations, not demean legends of the past, and stop distortions in the syllabus. Such acts create feelings of otherness in people and harm oneness. And let our children sing, “Sare Jahan se achcha Hindustan Hamara”.
In his brief inaugural address, Mr. Naseeruddin also stressed the need of protecting and promoting our traditional fraternity. Raising the issue of radicalisation, he said, “We condemn when an incident occurs. It is time to do something. There is a need to rein in and ban radical organisations. They should be banned if there is evidence against them.” Then he suddenly turned in support of banning PFI, an old agenda of Sangh affiliates. He could not muster the courage to name saffron radicals. This raised eyebrows and several participants felt cheated. Those who spoke after him also chose to deliver sermons. What stopped them to call a spade a spade?
Letter briefing to media, Mr. Nasiruddin claimed that the leaders discussed four major issues with the NSA after which the “organisation” passed some resolutions. He said, “We raised the issue of hate speech and slogans like ‘sar tan se juda’. We stressed the need to prosecute such people.”
He said that his outfit has also passed a resolution calling for a ban on the PFI. It said, “We very strongly condemned all radical forces. In the Udaipur incident, investigations pointed to the involvement of the PFI. We have, therefore, said that the PFI, or any other organisation like the PFI, that is involved in such violence or seen to be involved in radicalisation should be banned,” he said.
He also said AISSC will be starting a nationwide movement soon, organising conferences and seminars all over India. He also pointed out social media should also be controlled.
Later at least three attendees of the conference, Swami Sarang, Syed Salman Husaini Nadwi, and Prof. Mohsin Usmani Nadwi claimed the call to ban PFI was not discussed at all. Swami said he was unaware of any such move. However, the demand was part of Naseer’s opening speech. Later he told the media, that the resolutions were cleared by his organisation.
[The writer is chairmen of Forum for Civil Rights. email: email@example.com]