The Needle of Suspicion Why It Turns towards Muslims Alone?

Inaction against the Rightist reactionaries is a Nehruvian legacy. Giving him margin for the questionable slackness, one is inclined to feel the Architect of modern India felt just helpless before the likes of Sardar Patel, who had his own peculiar views on the ethos of plural Bharat.

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DR. S. AUSAF SAIED VASFI

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Inaction against the Rightist reactionaries is a Nehruvian legacy. Giving him margin for the questionable slackness, one is inclined to feel the Architect of modern India felt just helpless before the likes of Sardar Patel, who had his own peculiar views on the ethos of plural Bharat.
The late lamented, first Prime Minister of Independent India, although took his oath of office as “the first servant” of the country, was never in a position to see to it that his stern directives on communalism were enforced by the erring states as sternly as he and the situation demanded.
That his trusted lieutenant, the late Maulana Abul Kalam Azad had to desperately declare “my life is an open book” and that he had to seek election from a safe Muslim constituency of Rampur, is an eloquent commentary upon Mr. Nehru’s and the Congress’ helplessness.
Therefore, whenever he spoke on the Muslim related issues, he spoke in a general way: The life, honour and property of all citizens must be saved; Urdu must get its due in Independent India. No change should be made in the Muslim Personal Law unless Muslims themselves demand so. Mr. Nehru did not suggest any such concrete policy in the Parliament or his cabinet, with the result his successors, over the years, continue to make similar noises with periodic intervals.
The selective genocide of Muslims in Gujarat was as fresh in 2002 as it is today in 2007. Did the Congress-led UPA Government take any, even pretence of action against the perpetrators of the crime?
STATEMENTS GALORE
Following the Tehelka expose, hard-hitting statements galore: The Congress President said: “The truth that has come to light makes it incumbent upon all Congressmen to struggle against such inhuman activity.” Has this piece of advice not a purely Nehruvian ring? So the Congress Party has done. Party spokesperson, Jayanthi Natarajan said: Mr. Modi had “lost all moral and Constitutional authority to continue in office.” AICC spokesperson Mr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi was somewhat vigorous: “Supposed protectors of Gujarat have become its predators. Modi deserves to be prosecuted for first-degree murder. They have corrupted the entire system including the executive, legislature, the prosecuting system and even some elements of judiciary with rot and decay.”
Much more sincerity is there in the RJD leader Lalu Prasad’s approach. He met the Prime Minister on October 31 and demanded Mr. Modi’s arrest as well as that of Mr. L.K. Advani and fresh FIRs against their supporters. We feel Mr. Lalu in asking for the moon.
LEFT POSITION
So happens to be the position of the Left: The tapes should be taken as prima facie evidence by the Supreme Court and the Centre.
But the problem is the Congress, having no formidable base over there, is foreseeing its future in Gujarat with the help of BJP rebels like Suresh Mehta and Vallabh Kathrina. The Congress alliance with disgusted BJP personnel like Gordhan Zadafia is likely to bleak its prospects. Thus, going soft on Saffron is not going to bring electoral dividends to the party in the oncoming December State Assembly elections.
The Saffron is, nevertheless happier after the tapes. How? The expose is likely to further consolidate the digital divide on communal lines. As a rule, it is the polarisation of voters that catapults the Saffron to power. The Opposition leader, Mr. Advani is gaga and hopes to ride to power not only in Gujarat and Uttaranchal but also in the Parliamentary elections in 2008.
BASIS OF OPTIMISM
This optimism is based upon some hard facts: the Congress-Left bitterness has percolated down to the popular level. Cohesion in governance is conspicuous by absence. Add to it the deft but dishonest use of the Ram Setu issue by the Saffron, which itself had authored the idea of its destruction when the NDA was in power. Further add the anti-Muslim ambience, which remains a permanent feature ensuring the rightists’ victories.
The most noteworthy factor that has created an anti-Muslim atmosphere is the Saffron-inspired mass Muslim arrests in various terrorist activities. These ridiculous arrests by the palpably prejudiced intelligence and police personnel coupled with the torture on MOSSAD pattern have almost successfully alienated Muslims from the Congress and poisoned the general mind. Because in the attacks, even the Muslim mosques or mausoleums were the target, Muslims were arrested. Be it Maharashtra or Andhra, everywhere Muslim is the suspect-youth or Madrasa student. Take the latest report from Andhra – which, is not ruled by the Saffron: a 480-word story in the Indian Express (October 31) informs the nation in detail how educated Muslim youth are being coerced into confession of a crime that they have not committed. Ms Seema Chishti writes: “A representative of the Andhra Pradesh State Minorities Commission was denied access to a prison last week after a fact-finding committee associated with the commission reported details of illegal detention and alleged torture of at least 20 Muslims picked up over the twin blasts which killed 43 people in Hyderabad.
While a forensic expert, sent by the minority panel, confirmed instances of torture and third-degree methods, lead representative of the AP State Minorities Commission, Advocate Commissioner Ravi Chander, was refused permission to meet the detainees at Charlapally Prison to complete his report. In its report the committee says it sees “communal bias in the pattern of detentions/arrests made after the twin bomb blasts. There is sufficient evidence to believe that Muslim young men were picked up at random because they belonged to a particular religion.”
TORTURE DETAILS
Now read some parts of the report dealing with torture: there were allegations of beating on soles of feet by leather or rubber objects. There are noticeable small scars of 1-cm diameter noted on external ears. There are noticeable 1-mm to 2-mm scars noted around nipples indicative of electricity or needle entry.

Hafez Mohammed Bilal Muftahee, 26, was picked up as police wanted to question him about one Rizwan Ghazi whom he had taught the Qur’an, a year ago. He was interrogated at an unknown location, “severely kicked, beaten, hit with sticks on the sole of his feet.” He was later hospitalised and medical records confirm that he was beaten up. Abdul Kareem, 24, told the committee that he had been arrested on August 30 and produced before a magistrate eight days later. “He said that during interrogations he was beaten severely…. He was given electric shocks even in his private parts and that a small electric shaving machine like device was used, which they kept charging. His hands were tied behind his back and he was hung from his hands upside down. Kicked by boots on his face also. Four or five days of torture and ten days in custody, when he would drift into sleep, he would be awakened by water being thrown on his face. The police threatened to make his mother and sister naked, which they said would make him tell the truth. They said things against his religion; asked him why they have so many children and wives, told him that they were all fundamentalists.”

ELECTRIC SHOCKS

Ibrahim Ali Junaid, 25, final-year medical student, BUMS (Unani Medicine), said he was picked up on September 3 and produced before a magistrate five days later. He was taken to an undisclosed location, where he was interrogated. “At night they took off all his clothes, tied his feet together and with a belt beat him on the sole of his feet and other parts of his body. During interrogation they asked him about the Mecca Masjid and Gokul Chat bomb blasts. Legs were stretched sideways and then beaten. Electric shocks were administered on his penis, ears, waist and ankles,” says the report.

For obvious reasons, following these motivated arrests and this Israeli methodology to obtain confessions, the real culprits roam scot-free, ensuring the electoral success of the Saffron not only in the state assembly but Parliamentary elections also.
The Maharashtra Government – again not headed by the Saffron – has, much before the actual prosecution, exonerated Mr. Balasaheb Thackeray. The State Chief Minister, Mr. Vilasrao Deshmukh, while speaking to the press said on October 30: “There is a reference to Balasaheb Thackeray (in the Srikrishna report). But there is no evidenced.”
We ask; is the following paragraph in the report not enough to spur Mr. Deshmukh into action?
NOT ENOUGH?
“There is no doubt that the Shiv Sena and the Shiv Sainiks took lead in organising attacks on Muslims and their properties, from the level of Shakha Pramukhs to Shiv Sena Pramukh Bal Thackeray, who like a veteran general, commanded his loyal Shiv Sainiks to retaliate by organised attacks against Muslims.”
Now an example from a State, where BJP shares power: Ilyas Salim alias Aurangzeb, an alleged chain snatcher, of Bhagalpur, was dragged on the city streets by tying him to a motorcycle on August 27 in Patna. The cops sacked for third degree have now been reinstated by the Standing Committee of the Bihar Legislative Council.
Now from a BJP-ruled State, Rajasthan, which last week, reinstated Mr. Dinesh M.N., a TDS officer involved in the Sohrabuddin murder case. He along with Mr. D.G. Vanzara and Mr. Raj Kumar Pandiyan was arrested for his reported role in the murders.
Now the manner in which some sections of our police keep the case loose so that the favourites may evade total justice. In a comprehensive 1,150-word story, Jaya Menon, quoting the Sessions Judge, who tried the serial blast case of Coimbatore, said it was the failure of the State as one of the reasons for his not awarding capital punishment to 70 of the accused, facing conspiracy and murder charges. Referring at length to a deposition of a key-accused Basit, the bomb-maker who put together improvised explosive devices used in the blasts, the judge quoted him as saying the then Chief Minister’s (J. Jayalalitha) “absolute support” to the demolition of the Babri Masjid had “created a deep wound in the minds of the accused.”
 
POLICE EXTORTION
Six check-posts were set up at the Muslim neighbourhood of Kottaimedu from where many of the accused came. The police extorted money from the poor Muslims, said Basit. He argued that these factors, including “failure” on the part of the State agencies, the police department and the judiciary culminated in the blasts that killed 58, injured 250 on February 14, 1998.
The statement of Basit throws sufficient light on our politicians and police. This is what denies justice, one of the basic problems of Indian Muslims. This, in turn, provides a fertile ground for the Saffron forces.
The inexplicable ambience of hate against Muslims is today a fact of our national life. The trend cannot be reversed by mere panel action, although it is necessary.
CONSENSUS
The consensus of the various political parties, Muslim organisations and social activists veers round the view: That the Supreme Court, our highest palladium of justice, can take a suo moto cognizance of the sting operation which has provided enough prima facie evidence. So can do the Nanavati Commission. The Election Commission can also take cognizance of the operation as its findings may fan communal tension. This much at apex level. At ground level cases against Mr. Modi and those who followed his instructions and enjoyed his latitude can be registered under Sections 120 B and 302.
All said and done one main question remains un-answered: Why the needle of suspicion turns towards Muslims alone – even in cases where Muslims alone are victim.