They said we split India, then called us communal, now terrorists: Imam at Malegaon Eid

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/they-said-we-split-india-then-called-us-communal-now-terrorists-ima…/368891/

 

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They said we split India, then called us communal, now terrorists: Imam at Malegaon Eid

 

 

Smita Nair

 

Posted: Oct 03, 2008 at 0128 hrs IST

Malegaon, October 2 Two days after a bomb blast killed five Muslims in Maharashtra‘s communally sensitive town of Malegaon and briefly sparked mob violence, the state police had said on Wednesday that it was nervous about namaaz on Eid as tens of thousands of devout were expected to gather and emotions could once again flare. What they got instead on Thursday were tears.

“First you pointed fingers at us, saying that we divided the country. Then you told us that we are communal, and now you tell us we are terrorists,” one of Malegaon’s most prominent clerics, Mufti Mohammed Ismail, said as he led 1.5 lakh (150,000) people at namaaz at the Idgah Maidan in the textile town. And then he broke down in full public view, after condemning Monday night’s blast which hit the town after Muslims had broken their fasts.

His words struck a chord with many in the crowd and brought tears in their eyes too. While urging Muslim youth to have “better sense and a conscience”, the imam asked the Government and the police to ensure that innocent people were not rounded up as suspects.

Speaking of “secular politics”, he said, “Kaan khol ke sun lo, jo qaum tumhe takhto taj pe bitha sakti hai, wohi qaum tumhara janaaza bhi nikaal sakti hai.” (A community which can place you on a pedestal can also take out your funeral procession).

Hundreds of policemen guarded the venue as the imam touched on “callous investigations”, “innocent Muslims identified as terrorists” and of the lack of justice for the 2006 serial blasts which killed 37 people.

The idea of “an educated Muslim”, the imam said, was lost today as educated young men were picked up without evidence and then shown as involved in Terroractivities. The prayer session ended with the imam asking the community to remain alert and help a “just investigation” if they get leads.

Meanwhile, the Collector visited the families of the five killed in the blasts and handed them compensation cheques of Rs 5 lakh each.

 

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