Why is Antulay Being Pilloried?

Union Minster for Minority Affairs Mr. Abdur Rahman Antulay’s demand for an investigation into the circumstances leading to the killing of Karkare has found support from various Muslim leaders and organisations.

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Union Minster for Minority Affairs Mr. Abdur Rahman Antulay’s demand for an investigation into the circumstances leading to the killing of Karkare has found support from various Muslim leaders and organisations. The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM), the umbrella body of the Indian Muslim organisations, is dismayed by the chorus of condemnation and protests faced by the Union Minority Affairs Minister AR Antulay who dared to speak out what is in the minds of almost all Indian Muslims who think that the terrorist attack on Mumbai had to do something with the investigations being carried out by ATS chief Karkare and his dedicated team which was eliminated in the early hours of the attack on Mumbai. It seems that the elimination of the ATS chief was the only goal of the terrorists who, surprisingly, made no demand. The AIMMM itself has passed a resolution during its central committee meeting on 13 December 2008 demanding “a separate high-powered investigation…into the murder of Hemant Karkare and his colleagues in the ATS”.

Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan, President of the AIMMM, said that it is strange that in the world’s largest democracy people, especially Muslims, are not supposed to speak out their minds. A very slight expression of unpalatable facts and ugly ground realities, like the statement of actress Shabana Azmi on how she failed to purchase a house of her choice in Mumbai because of her faith, is enough to send you to the doghouse.

Dr Khan added that he saw no reaction to another statement made same day by the head of a political party represented in our Parliament that the arrested terrorist should be hanged in public without waiting for his trial but there is no uproar against this demand for jungle raj in our country.

Dr Khan said that the margin of democratic freedoms is increasingly shrinking in our country which is a bad omen for democracy and secularism and only strengthens fascist forces whose sinister designs were being uncovered by Shaheed Karkare and his team.

Mr. Syed Shahabuddin, former MP, in a statement on December 19, said: “What Shri A. R. Antulay said is being deliberately misinterpreted. He is being pilloried and pressured to resign. He did not absolve Pakistan nor deny that the terrorists were of Pakistani origin and that the attack was organised in and launched from Pakistan. What Shri Antulay said does not in any way diminish our case on Pakistani responsibility for the terrorist attack.

“No doubt he has brought out the doubts in the public mind about the circumstances of the killing of Hemant Karkare and his colleagues, which have arisen because of inconsistencies in the official and media reports.

“Ever since Karkare had successfully unveiled the face of Hindutva Terrorism he was a target of abuse and vilification. Senior political leaders like Advani and Thakre had even called him a traitor. Obviously the Hindutva groups were rattled by the exposure. He was an obvious candidate for elimination.

“What Shri Antulay has hinted at, and which I endorse, is that there might have been a parallel conspiracy to silence Karkare and an elimination squad may have been following him. When they got an opportunity in the noise and dust generated by the terrorist attack, they killed him.

“In any case the suspicious circumstances must be looked into by high level inquiry and they should not be simply swept under the carpet. As Indians we owe this to Karkare.”

Jamaat-e-Islami Hind president Maulana Jalaluddin Umari alleged that the government was trying to brush the issue under the carpet. “Up till the Malegaon probe, only Muslim names were being named in every blast as suspects. But after the ATS investigation, things that we had suspected for long since the Nagpur blasts would have been backed by hard evidence finally,” he said, adding that Antulay was not wrong but to condemn him was wrong.

Similar reservations on Karkare’s killing were raised by Mohammed Adeeb, independent member of the Rajya Sabha from UP who said, “People with secular credentials have wanted to know about this (the circumstances around Karkare’s death). I don’t understand what the fuss is all about? This is a democracy and we have every right to ask for a probe.”

Others who extended their support to Antulay’s theory include President Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind Maulana Arshad Madani, JD(U) MP Ejaz Ali, Congress leader Digvijay Singh and many others.