AN OPEN LETTER TO PRIME MINISTER MANMOHAN SINGH, CHAIRMAN OF NATIONAL INTEGRATION COUNCIL — FROM PROF. IQBAL A. ANSARI

AN OPEN LETTER TO PRIME MINISTER MANMOHAN SINGH, CHAIRMAN OF NATIONAL INTEGRATION COUNCIL — FROM PROF. IQBAL A. ANSARI

 

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          Minorities Council

                  

4/1703,Syeda Manzil, Muzammil Compound, Dodhpur, Aligarh,202001

           

                 

                Dr. Manmohan Singh

                Prime Minister Of India./

                Chairman Nationa Integeration Council.

                New Delhi. 

                Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

               

                    You are presiding over the destiny of a Nation which claims to be the largest democracy without rule of  law,and a secular state  without secular justice, which gets illustrated by anti-Christian violence in Orissa and other states which has made your head hang in shame before the international community.However you and the political class in India and sections of media are trying to project as if the bomb blasts in recent months are the only threat to the state and nation, in spite of the fact that the Administrative Reforms Commission in its fifth report on Social Order as well as the Supreme Court twice during the hearing of the Gujarat cases has stated that communal violence is a greater threat to the society and state than terrorism In our view both are diabolical acts whose victims being innocent outrage our conscience However gangraping women including nuns, ripping open the abdomen of a pregnant woman and smashing the foetus and burning alive of people in the presence of the police must be considered , if not more, at least as outrageous by any standards as killing of a child by the splinter of a bomb, as the hate motive is more intense in communal violence than in

    the terrorists act .

         While focusing attention on terrorism,the NIC will be well advised to keep in view the linkage established by the inquiries by Justice Srikrisna and Justice Gokula Krishna between  serial blasts like those in Mumbai ,1993,and Coimbatore,1998 and frustration caused among a section of Muslim youth by partisan role of the Government and loss of hope in the justice delivery system.In Coimbatore even the trial judge who recently convicted the accused took cognizance of the fact that in Dec 1997 riots,police had done targeted killing of Muslim..Such targeted killings of Muslim by state forces   have not been rare.However, the worst case of state terrorism against Muslims with hate motive  has been the cold-blooded murder of more than 40 Muslims  of mohalla Hashimpura ,Meerut on 22 May ,1987 by the UP State’s PAC.It was charachterised as a “Nazi pogrom to terrorise,nothing but terrorise an entire community” by Nikhil Chakravarty and other eminent leaders.The officers who conspired for the crime and ordered firing the next day in Maliana are enjoying promotion,and trial of 19 lower rank  indicted  PAC personnel has yet to conclude even after 20 years.The sad part of the Maliana case is that no cases seem to have been properly filed;even sadder is the fact that the next of kin of those killed in Maliana have received no compensation tll date except for the relief money of Rs.40000/ initially paid to them. 

    Another forgotten massacre of Nellie,Assam needs to be recalled and noted by secular class in the country and the world community.Three thousand Bangla speaking Muslims were butchered in February 1983,just because they responded to Mrs. Indra Gandhi’s call not to boycott elections.Tribals were armed and incited to kill them.That this crime of genocide,committed without the provocation provided by the assassination of Mrs.Indra Gandhi in Delhi in 1984,enjoyed police support was convincingly documented by Arun Shorie,then General Secretary of the PUCL. 

    Mr.Prime Minister d o you know that some of the cases filed against the culprits were dismissed for lack of proper investigation-prosecutiion and others were withdrawn when Assamese parties came to power.to reward their voters. 

    Dr. Manmohan Singh do you know the amount of compensation given to the families of those killed? It is Rs.5000/ yes,just five thousand  .,After July 1996 Delhi High Court judgment by Justice Anil Dev Singh holding the Govt. of Delhi Administration responsible for violation of right to life guaranteed under Art.21 to Sikh victims  as citizens of India  in 1984,and making it liable to pay  adequate compensation for each loss of life ,our efforts to make this law applicable in all cases of killing in all disturbances caused by failure of governance as it was based on a Constitutional guarantee of fundamental right,which in the case Ahluwalia vs Delhi Administration has received endorsement of the Supreme Court has not had any success for the obvious reason that most ,thouh not all ,other victims are Muslims.

    When you apologised to the Sikh community for the carnage of 1984 and announced a package of more relif and rehabilitation measures,we not only welcomed it,but asked for enhancement of the amount .However our plea to make its application secular by appointing a tribunal to determine the factor of failure of governance and settle claims of all sufferers irrespective of faith at least in cases like Nellie1983,and Hasimpura /Meerut-Maliana did not find any takers,one reason of which lies in your reported observation before a delegation of Muslim leaders that 1984 anti –Sikh carnage was the only case of. one sided killing…………even maharajas of yore would have asked for report about  compensation paid by governments in all riots and explanation for wide disparities,so that his praja may not consider him applying double standards in such case of justice.

    I would like you and distinguished members to note that former Chief Minster of U.P who had earlier turned down my request to enhance the amount of compensation to Hashimpura victims of the worst state terrorism  changed his mind just on the eve of last state election in UP ,ignoring Maliana as too remot and poor to find any political support.In this case of compensation to Hshimpura victims even the higher judiciary has not covered itself with glory 

         In this regard I would like to draw  your attention  to the reported distribution of compensation of Rs nine lakhs for eachloss of life in Marad ,Kerala where victims happened to be Hindus. 

       What explanation do you have for making all possible effort to get Dawood Ibrahim ,allegedly involved in Mumbai blasts of 1993,but not punishing even belatedly all indicted officers and leaders including Bal Thackeray?The first step towards secular justice,which is irreducible minimum requirement of any secular state, will be taken ,if your Government publishes a)all information about ex-gratia compensation/relief paid to all sufferers of  disturbances at least since 1980-81;b)all information on riot related cases filed,investigation/prosecution and cases dismissed /withdrawn with reasons of dismissal and withdrawal since 1980-81;c) all information on targetsed killings /encounter killings of Muslims and custodial crime against them with hate motive. 

    It is unfortunate that our police and justice system do not fulfil the minimum requirements for upholding rule of law r.Apart from cynical  calculation of the political class in the game of power , any strong tradition of equal justice for all persons irrespective of caste and religion,is just lacking in India,which makes exclusion of others nd even violence against them acceptable as normal .

    How seroiously members of the entire political class take the most vital issue of citizen-centric governance,which requires basic reform of the police and justice system,is obvious from the fact that even after three years, the direction of the Supreme Court to reorganize the police system on the model of the National Police Commission and as drafted by the Sorabjee Committee ,is not being implemented.It may be a news to some of the members of the Council,whose meeting you are chairing,that even the most elementary reform about the accountability of the district administration and police officials for maintenance of peace, and amending S153A on hate speech to make it more effective as suggested by this august body in 1961and 1968 has been ignored by all secular as well as pseudo-secular parties.The police reform is not being attempted or demanded as control over police ,provided by the 1861 Act and culture of governance ,is part of the struggle for political power for political,social and economic benefits of the parties in power or seeking power ,including the left. 

    The  timing of the session  may arouse false hope that all parties are ready todo their best to rid the countryt of riot and terror.But it will not amount  to more than a cosmetic exercisesi ,as those responsible for demolition of Babri Masjid are posing as the most fervent and dedicated peacemongers,not realizing that it was this’ act of national shame ‘ which,as testified by Justice Srikrishna, has been the mother of all acts of homegrown terrorism by isolated and till recently unorganized Indin Muslim terrorists.You will be sharing the table with Shri L.K.Advani and co. who betrayed their pledge to the NIC and the Supreme Court to maintain the status quo at Ayodhya. 

    I am reminding you and the members of the NIC this obvious fact ,because it is impunity enjoyed by perpetrators of crimes against humanity which is responsible for rise of leaders like Narendra Modi.If your Congress Government of Maharashtra had effectively prosecuted Bal Thackeray for most obnoxious writngs in Saamna in Dec.Jan. 1992-93 it could have resulted in his conviction,as attested by Seervai that it was the fittest case to be tried and convicted under 153 A.But there was not only obvious collusion between the prosecution and the accused ,but the learned bench was also  indulgent to the great leader,who and the family are still terrorizing people on flimsiest grounds of language and region besides religion. 

    Your failure to enact a comprehensive law on genocide in compliance with the UN. Convention on Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide ,1948,is betrayal of the trust of the people who elected you to power in 2004.

    You failed to dismiss the Govt. of Gujarat  covering your shame with the fig leaf of his reelection,ignoring that apart from the earlier May 2002 NHRC Report holding Narendra Modi Govt responsible for the massive loss of innocent life and property,the Supreme Court had severely indicted the Gujarat Govt. for subversiuon of justice,and the NHRC had further indicted the Govt. of Gujsarat for non compliance onrehablitation measures.,which provided sufficient grounds for action under Art.355 if not under Art.356. 

    It shoud be taken as mockery of justice that the same Govt whose complicity results in genocidal killings enjoys power under the law to appoint commission of inquiry with members having dubious background and motive .It needs to be recalled that Justice Nanavati had absolved Modi of all guilt soon after the appointment of the Commission

    .

    Dr.Manmohan Singh,  the fact  that I am writing to you,on coming to know about the meeting during my travel,is proof of my faith in your ability to rise to the occasion to initiate reforms like a wise,humane statesman,irrespsctive of electoral calculations.I am submitting below some specific proposals,including on National Peace Council/Community Relations Commission for all ethno-religious conflict resolution/management.: 

    1.Empower the National Commission on Human Rights to carry out its mandate of protection and promotion of human rights, especially right to equality and non-discrimination, more proactively and effectively,  for   which   the   existing   National  Commissions on  Minorities, Linguistic  Minorities,  Women,  SC &  ST  and  Children, Disabled and for any other identified disadvantaged group, may function as Sub-Commissions for the purposes of  ensuring  equal  opportunities/non-discrimination  to  the  concerned  groups.  It  will  require  suitable amendment of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, though even under the existing provisions of clause 12(d), (f), (g) it can perform all the functions of the EOC. To give the issue of equality special attention, the NHRC may be called ‘Equality and Human Rights Commission’ as in the UK.

    2 .The amended Protection of Human Rights Act (1993) should provide for socially diverse composition of chair and members as well as the administrative staff and all other bodies under the Commission.

    3.Implementationof the recommendations of the NCM Committee on ‘Communal Riots: Prevention and Control’ (1999), especially those of Section I related to preventive measures.

    4Establishing statutory National/State Community Relations Commissions (CRC) for monitoring and resolution of inter-community group conflicts especially on ethno-religious issues as recommended by the NCM Report 1999. Alternatively establishing a statutory National Peace Council, having inter-community relations as one of its major concerns.

    5.Under the amended protection of Human Rights Act (1993) [vide clause 1], provision to be made for appointment of a permanent mechanism of inquiry under NHRC’s authority, fixing responsibility for any major social/communal violence which causes loss of more than ten lives and continues for more than 72 hours, of all State actors who are entrusted with the responsibility and who have powers of maintaining law and order, including the Chief Minister and Home Minister and district administrative and police officials. It will also inquire into the role of (i) leaders of political parties (ii) religious/social-cultural organizations (iii) other organized groups and (iv) media, in spreading hatred and causing communal tension.

    6 Enactment of a central law creating an Independent Authority to exercise defined powers under Article 355 of the Constitution for maintaining social order and keeping peace in the concerned State in the event of violence continuing beyond 72 hours and causing considerable loss of life (10 to 20) and destruction of property. The Authority under the central law shall take charge on the recommendation of the NHRC to the Government of India after its inquiry, for fixing responsibility of State authorities as provided under clause 6(1) reveals dereliction of duty. The Authority will function under the supervision of NHRC-NCM, without declaring President’s Rule under Article 356.

    6 (1)The central law should provide for trial by Special Courts of all such Constitutional authorities, officials and political and religious leaders, who are held responsible for acts & omissions causing such mass hate crimes. It shall have retrospective effect from 1980, which may be taken as the beginning of the dangerous period of ethno-religious violent conflicts causing carnages, pogroms and crimes against humanity.

    6 (2)(1) Provision of special courts for trial of all mass hate crimes cases, incorporating certain provisions of the Communal Violence (Prevention, Control And Rehabilitation of Victims) Bill, 2005 introduced in the Rajya Sabha in December 2005.

    6 (3 The law shall provide for investigation and prosecution of hate crimes under the Independent Authority to function under NHRC-NCM.

    6 (4)Enactment of a law providing for rights of victims of grave social/communal violence for victim/witness protection and reparation, rehabilitation and adequate compensation, to be enforced retrospectively, incorporating certain provisions of the Communal Violence (Prevention, Control And Rehabilitation of Victims) Bill, introduced in the Rajya Sabha, in 2005.

    7. Implementation of the directions of the Supreme Court (September 2006) for reorganization of the police on the model suggested by the National Police Commission (1979-81), provided for in the Model Police Act (2006), especially the direction for constituting: (i) Central/State Security Commission/ Board (ii) Police Establishment Board and (iii) Police Complaints Authority/ Accountability Commission (The other reform measures like separation of the investigation and law and order functions may be implemented at a later stage, if the excuse of insufficient number of police personnel is found to be genuine). (iv) Provision of adequate minority representation in all wings of the Police, as recommended by NPC and other Commissions & committees as well as by the Sorabjee Model Police Drafting Committee (2006).

    8. Enactment of Social Diversity of Institutions Act with the following provisions:

    (a) All Boards, Commissions, Panels & Committees entrusted with the powers and functions of selection, appointment and nomination of public employees of all ranks to have socially mixed composition ensuring adequate Muslim representation of underrepresented minorities. (b) Requirement under law of positive measures for recruitment of any underrepresented minority by all public institutions adopting a graduated scheme of targets for 3,5,7 and ten years to reflect social diversity. (c) Earmarking certain percentage of seats and posts for OBC and SC Muslims and Christians. (d) Yearly and periodic publication of community composition of the employees at all levels/ranks, with liability of institutions to explain any consistent underrepresentation of any recognized group/community, especially Muslims including OBC and Dalit Muslims.

    (b) A special provision to be made under the Act, making it mandatory for institutions of law-enforcement and justice system to ensure adequate share of minorities, especially Muslims in all wings and all levels, especially at command positions of the police, paramilitary and armed forces, and the judiciary, and National and State Human Rights Commissions as recommended by most official Commissions and Committees and by Durban Declaration & POA. (2001)

    9. A Multiculturalism Act providing effective protection of minority languages and other areas of minority culture and religion, which require stronger protection than are provided for in the Constitution as the shadow of Partition cast reflection on the politics of Constitution making, causing scrapping of all political and economic safeguards, necessary for ensuring fair share of minorities, especially when inter-community relations are not cordial.

    10. Introducing measures within the existing electoral system providing for effective representation of Muslims and other underrepresented minorities in legislatures and other elected bodies and decision making forums. This neglected issue raised by NCRWC and more forcefully by Sachar Committee needs special attention of those who are raising the issue of 33 per cent reservation for women, as without any device of ensuring fair share of Muslims, the empowerment of women is bound to increase Muslim deprivation in legislatures 

    Yours sincerely

    Prof.Iqbal A.Ansari 

    Secretary General                                                                                       13 October,08

                 

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