Posts Tagged ‘Mahatama Gandhi’

The SIMI Question: The Underlying Farce – By Amaresh Misra

August 23, 2008

The SIMI Question: The Underlying Farce 

 

                                                          By Amaresh Misra

 

 

          Shri Yogendra Yadav has responded to my article `The SIMI Question: Indian democracys acid test with a plea for a debate on the issue: what should be our stand on SIMI? I do welcome a debate on this issue and there is no doubt in my mind about Yogendra Yadavs integrity or his genuine concern for secularism.   

          However I would like to raise a counter question: is this question relevant at this juncture? In my previous article I made it clear that one can disagree vehemently with SIMIs ideologybut is disagreement enough for physical persecution of Muslims or even SIMI? Can one persecute for a crime under IPC sections someone who merely discusses, in private meetings, some abstract jihad, or says things like `secularism: NO; nationalism: NO? By that measure all Left parties can be taken to task for advocating at some point or the other overthrow of the Indian ruling classes or the Indian State.

          Application of constitutional law is not based on utterancesto persecute someone, first a charge has to be fixed. Like in the 1993 Mumbai I discovered a legal monstrosityapparently the Mumbai Police had booked several individuals who had the intention of taking revenge for the 1992-93 riots. But these individuals were not responsible even by the polices own charge-sheet of executing the bomb blasts on 12th March 1993. Legally, you cannot book someone for expressing the `intent, or `imagining a crime.

          Let me give an example: there were four or five different conspiracies to kill Mahatama Gandhi; but only Nathuram Ghodse committed the act of pulling the triggerwere all other individuals involved in other conspiracies booked for that one particular act of Nathuram Ghodse? Of course notbooking others for expressing the intent of doing what Ghodses did would be a legal joke.

          But the same legal joke was played on Muslims arrested for the 1993 blastsseveral were tortured; their lives were destroyed. Later, even the TADA court found `fantastic Mumbai Polices attempt to create several `chains that led to the blaststhe TADA court questioned that how could people involved in `other chains, who were unable to even execute their `designs were booked for a crime committed by a different `chain?

          Sorry to say thisbut Javed Anands comments and observations are plainly sillyand this is not a personal comment. It is a political commentin all examples given by Javed Anand there is not one, I repeat not one, instance where SIMI members are seen or heard by eye witnesses as planning specific bomb blasts or terror attacks. Eyewitnesses, merely record SIMI members as praising Bin Laden or vowing revenge for Gujaratbut since when has this become a crime in Indiawhere is the evidence that these utterances led to specific terror incidents?

          Javed Anand has failed to cite one instance of specific evidence for a specific act. One is really amazed at his naivety or deliberate attempt to mislead people when he writes that are the blasts after blasts, in city after city of India in recent years, part of the “jihad” espoused by SIMI? The investigating agencies obviously believe this to be the case. Why else would SIMI activists be routinely detained, arrested, interrogated, charge-sheeted and put on trial? Admittedly, they have yet to establish the terrorism charge against SIMI activists before any court of law in any of the blast cases.

          Note the lines I have underlinedhere Javed Anand is actually making a case that Indian agencies should be trusted Why else would SIMI activists be routinely detained, arrested, interrogated, charge-sheeted and put on trial? He writes

          Javed Anand would have retained some credibility had he at least distanced himself from security agencies. Even the Government of India is skeptical about the `secularism of its security forcesonly the RSS and the BJP and the Sangh Parivar hail security agenciesknown for persecuting, killing and torturing Muslims in particularas `heroes. So where, in which camp, does such a statement take Javed Anand?   

          Shri Yogendra Yadavs plea for a debate on SIMIs ideology shall have to wait for the right timeor it can be done in private gatheringsit cannot be made into a public issue by Indian patriots and secularists not because it will `weaken the fight against Muslim persecution. I am not in favor of such arguments. SIMIs ideology should not be made an issue simply because it is a non issue. A person is dying on the streetare we going to determine ideology before trying to save him or her?

          Another thing: the RSS would have been harmless if it had just spoken about Hindu Rashtra and the likebut since its inception, then in 1947 and then now, the RSS has worked to kill people systematically. The RSS stands in a league different from SIMI. Those disagreeing with SIMIs ideology must understand thisSIMI cannot be compared with Bajrang Dal.  Javed Anand writes that the first ban was slapped on SIMI in 2001, the chief ministers of Maharashtra, MP and Rajasthan made a strong case before the NDA for a simultaneous ban on SIMI and the Bajrang Dal. And rightly so…”

          SIMIs utterances are verbal and defensive in nature; Bajrang Dal has killed women and children and boasted about thiscan they be placed at par?

          Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru categorically said that while Hindu communalism is dangerous and on the offensive, Muslim communalism is defensive in nature. Here the father of Indian secularism is clearly stating that both cannot be placed at par.

          It is the issue of placing Bajrang Dal and SIMI on one platform that is disquieting. This is not only a legal travesty but a political travesty as well. The RSS since its inception as been opposed to the creation of a secular Indiathey are the number one force responsible for partition. New research, recently declassified British secret records and documents reveal that in 1947, the `communal riots of Delhi, in which tens of thousands of Muslims were massacred, was not a riot at allit was an armed uprising staged by the RSS to kill the new Indian nation-State in its infancy and proclaim a Hindu Rashtra. The Indian army with the active backing of Nehru was used to crush this revolt.

          Now see the pattern of recent actions against SIMI activists for the Ahmedabad Blasts and the so-called `cracking of the case by Gujarat Police and Narendra Modi: in March 2008, Safdar Nagori, the supposed `head of SIMI organization is arrested by the Madhya Pradesh Policenote that the BJP is in power in Madhya Pradesh. Nagori `confesses to the existence of armed camps in Gujarat. Amongst others, he `gives the names of Zahid Sheikh and Usman Agarbattiwala as SIMI associates to the MP Police.

          Now, according to a pro-Modi report written for rediff.com by some Sheela Bhatt, and corroborated by other reports in the Times of India and the Indian Express, after the July 2008 Bangalore and Ahmedabad blasts   “the Gujarat police’s databank of SIMI members in Ahmedabad had some names including that of Zahid Sheikh. They picked him up and started interrogating him extensively.

`He is a fanatic. He is not a Gujarati, he is not an Indian. He claims he is merely a soldier of Islam. These accused don’t belong to even their own families,’ said a source in the police.

`You will have to understand the identity of the perpetrators of the bomb blasts’. Their `transnational identity itself is an anti-national act’, says one of the interrogators”.

          Just note the pattern here—the Gujarat Police just picks up the databank they have on SIMI members and arrest Zahid Sheikh because his name was given by Safdar Nagori during his March interrogation! Just that! No other evidence! Sheikh is presumed guilty and `transnational’ only because he says `he says that he is a soldier of Islam’!

          Similarly, a Baroda officer of the Gujarat Police   got from the databank a file on SIMI activists living in Baroda. The blue file had a professionally prepared dossier on SIMI activists, and the opening page featured Usman Agarbattiwala complete with his photograph.

Asthana went through the accompanying details like Agarbattiwala’s telephone numbers, his work, background and the names of all his relatives that were in the dossier.

Immediately, details of Agarbattiwala’s telephone calls, both made and received, were procured. It took relentless work through day and night to make the chart of the most frequently made calls from his phone. They were then narrowed down and owners of those numbers were detected and, in turn, the printouts of those phone calls were procured. A professional hard work done with the help of computers in the police headquarters in Kothi area yielded fantastic results.

Asthana’s team created a cluster of cell phone movement among select persons. These movements were finally narrowed down to Agarbattiwala, Kayamuddin Kapadia, Imran Sheikh and Iqbal Sheikh. In no time Agarbattiwala, Imran and Iqbal were picked up. Along with others Joint Commissioner of Police Pravin Kumar Sinha and inspector Karimbhai Polra played an important role in Asthana’s team.

The first copy of the interrogation report was sent to the Ahmedabad team which was narrowing down on local SIMI activists including Zahid Sheikh. Agarbattiwala’s cracking proved very crucial. Bhatia and Chudasama cracked Zahid Sheikh as much as they could. In Baroda, Iqbal was a new entrant to SIMI ranks but some of the detainees were tough nuts to crack who had undergone special training to withstand police methods. On the basis of the early lead provided by the interrogations in Baroda and Ahmedabad, teams of Gujarat police travelled to Kerala, Mumbai, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka to collect a variety of documentary evidence.

By August 8-9, Modi knew his state police was just days away from success that has eluded the police in other Indian states wracked by terrorism”.

          This fawning, pro-Modi article, a farce in the name of journalism, lets the cat out of the bag. In every case, Police officers just had to check the SIMI databank or connect phonecalls and presto—they had their culprit! How much more ridiculous can you get? The fact remains that even Safdar Nagori’s confession to the MP police is suspect—Nagori was tortured and his appeal is lying before the courts. So how can the police arrest Zahid and Agarbattiwala?

          Then the Gujarat Police goes to UP—and picks up Abu Bashar—because he too is linked with SIMI! And now Abu Bashar is the mastermind!

          The kind of story the Gujarat Police has made up makes one’s head spin—the Maharashtra Police did the same thing after the 1993 blasts and several blasts hence. They have not been able to prove even one, repeat even one, of their stories in a court of law.

          Now while Muslims are being picked up in SIMI’s name, the lead shown by the email sent through Ken Haywood’s email is allowed to go cold—in fact the Gujarat Police says that SIMI activists hacked into Haywood’s system!    

          Who is this Haywood? The mail sent by `Indian Mujheedin’ claiming responsibility for the Ahmedabad blasts, came from his computer. The investigative agencies knew of this on 26th July—what was the need to give a clean chit to Haywood? Why was he allowed to flee India? Why was his passport not impounded?

Here is a profile of Haywood’s background and that of his Company, issued by an American website: “Campbell White is the name of the Company…Campbell White’s MD is pastor Dan Rubianes, the head of the Door Christian Centre…a church with origins in Arizona in the US but relatively new to India. Door Christian Centre is a part of the Pentecostal Christian Fellowship Ministries, also known as the Potter’s House. Haywood is a functionary of the Potter’s House in Mumbai”.

Moreover, the Indian Express found that the Mumbai office of the MNC is located in two small adjoining rented rooms on the ground floor of Sanpada railway station complex in Navi Mumbai. The two rooms also serve as prayer rooms on Sundays and Thursdays for the Potter’s House. A notice pasted on the wall says the community service has been cancelled until further notice and is signed by Haywood.

The Express continued, explaining that “physical and Internet-based checks on other past and present employees of Campbell White like Scott Grabowska, a former Mumbai-based international protocol trainer, David Curwen-Walker, a senior operations manager, and Jonathan Heimberg, a senior information services manager, both in Bangalore, have shown links to the church. For instance, Curwen-Walker and Heimberg head the Door churches at Kammanahalli and Koramangala in Bangalore.”

The American website asks: “this is all very good stuff, but if the Indian press had been doing its job it could have circulated this information on the day that Haywood was linked to the Ahmedabad bombs. Still, the American press has been even worse, with the only coverage of Haywood’s curious case being a short piece in the Kingman Daily Miner.

          I would ask Shri Yogendra Yadav—what is all this? Is it not becoming apparent that there is a dubious company with a dubious foreign-Christian-evangelist-American background somewhere linked to the terror attacks? Now in India things have come to this—that Indian Muslims will be persecuted on imaginary links with SIMI but foreign nationals will be let off! The Haywood angle at least ought to have been investigated.

          By saying that despite disagreeing with SIMI, the organization cannot be put at par with the RSS or the Bajrang Dal, I think I have made my position clear on a vital issue on which Mr. Yogendra Yadav wanted some discussion; but what about Haywood and the ridiculous manner in which Zahid Sheikh, or Agarbattiwala or Abu Bashar were picked up?

          It would be of great service to the nation if Shri Yogendra Yadav picks up his pen or his laptop, and conducts his own investigations to write a detailed story of the ongoing `SIMI being terrorist’ farce in any one of India’s national newspapers or magazines. 

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Embedded comments on IndianMuslims.in Blog:

June 3, 2008

Embedded comments on IndianMuslims.in Blog:

 

Sudie on June 2nd, 2008 2:33 pm

Mr Ghulam Mohammad

 

We had a MK Gandhi arriving 80 Years earlier through grassroot support before someone started screaming “Change”….this frail man said “Quit India” and moved masses before there was a CNN. Of course as far as you may be concerned he was a fake Indian also, as much as the entire Indian democracy and constitution.

 

[You stole my words. If you recall Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi had settled in South Africa, founded an ashram around his creed of non-violence. British colonialists, always looking ways and means to pacify their Indian colony, right from the days of the first Indian Mutiny, chose Gandhi as a pacifier, organised his transformation from a European dude to an Indian ‘fakeer’, managed his homecoming in a big way, by getting Mohammed Ali Jinnah, (another British choice to further orderly political affairs in restless India – Jinnah never took to the street – once a lawyer always a lawyer.) to organise a grand reception in Bombay. The rest is history. GM]

 

 

I guess being genuine as per you is a prerogative of Muslim rule – the one that we see under the Taliban and under Aurangzeb.

 

[Sudie should focus on the current discussion on India, its democracy and its current ethnic divide between Hindus and Muslims and the extreme alternatives of Hindu or Muslim Raj. By meandering over space and time — citing Taliban and Aurangzeb — he is running away from serious discussion. He has every right to ask what will be the future shape of a Muslim state, organised and run like a modern state or a repeat of the old story. But using pent up fury to overtake his common sense; he is not contributing to a very serious and productive discussion.]

 

Let me assure you that the very fact that people like you can make statements like this under the guise of “Freedom of Speech” is proof enough that we at least respect democracy, if not, have implemented it.

 

[There is no doubt India of today has a great show of ‘freedom of speech’. Muslim news and views is always papered over and thrown in waste basket. Read last week’s Indian Express interview of Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendera Modi. He is seething at the very use of the word Muslim by the IE interviewer:

 

http://www.indianexpress.com/story/317409.html

 

•While B S Yeddyurappa did acknowledge your role, he also inducted a Muslim minister into the Karnataka cabinet. Should other BJP governments follow suit?

 

Our party has leaders from all sections of society.

 

•But five BJP states don’t have Muslim representation. Should Gujarat have a minister from the Muslim community?

 

It is time you stopped seeing people in terms of Hindus and Muslims. Let Indians live as Indians.

 

[For Modi, Muslims should be acknowledged as Muslims only for killing — so they can be wiped out from Indian soil. GM]

 

•How does one deal with social tensions arising out of caste-based privileges?

 

I come from a backward community, so I would not like to comment on this. But the pie must be expanded by inclusive growth so as to enable everyone to have their share.

 

•Would that include the Muslims as well?

 

This is a stupid question. Does developmental work differentiate between a Hindu and a Muslim?

 

•Does Gujarat need a healing touch after the post-Godhra riots?

 

The cases are in the Supreme Court and then there is a commission constituted for them. It won’t be proper for me to say anything that might affect the cases one way or the other. Also, why this obsession with this Hindu-Muslim thing? Didn’t our party take the initiative for a Muslim president?

 

[For one Muslim nominal  ceremonial president, how many Muslim lives will become free for arrests, torture, kill? How many Muslim communities will be strangled to die in their poverty and lack of economic opportunities? Is this a fair tradeoff and who is to judge on that. A known Muslim-baiter like Modi! GM]

 

Another current example of ‘freedom of speech’ in India that Sudie is so proud about:

 

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/afp/080602/world/india_media_times_gujarat_sedition_1

 

Times of India faces sedition charges from police

 

Mon Jun 2, 7:07 AM

 

AHMEDABAD (AFP) – The Times of India said Monday it is facing sedition charges from the police for allegedly questioning the competence of a senior officer in volatile Gujarat state.

 

Editor Bharat Desai and a senior reporter with the Ahmedabad edition have been charged along with a photographer for the Gujarat Samachar newspaper, the Times told AFP.

 

The leading English-language broadsheet was seeking legal advice after being informed of the charges, although they had “not yet got copies of the charges filed against Desai and (Prashant) Dayal,” a journalist said, asking not to be named.

 

Ahmedabad police declined to comment when contacted by AFP.

 

The charges, which include criminal conspiracy, stem from a series of investigative reports questioning the alleged links of new Ahmedabad police chief O.P. Mathur with a mafia don and his ability to guarantee security in the city.

 

Mathur was appointed to the job just last month in Ahmedabad, the western state’s commercial capital, which is reported to figure high on the hit-list of several Islamic rebel groups.

“As a leading responsible newspaper, it was our duty to highlight the past of the man who is the new commissioner,” Desai told NDTV news channel.

 

The daily wrote on its front-page Monday that “the reports essentially were a scrutiny of the track record of the top cop in view of the challenge posed by terrorists.”

 

Hundreds of journalists and rights activists protested Monday outside Mathur’s office, chanting slogans against attempts to “muzzle the media.”

 

“This is a conspiracy against freedom of the press and we want that everyone across the country speaks up against this,” said Rathin Das, a senior journalist with the rival Hindustan Times.

 

Rights activist Cedric Prakash said the charges were “symbolic of the fascist mindset of an administration which does not care about the constitutional rights of its citizens, especially freedom of speech and expression.”

 

Gujarat, ruled by Hindu nationalists, witnessed widespread rioting in 2002 when mainly Hindu mobs rampaged through Muslim neighbourhoods killing at least 2,000 Muslims.

 

The rioting followed a fire in a train carriage that killed 59 Hindu pilgrims.]

 

 

 

 

 

If your perception of justice to Muslims is about Feudal lords enjoying harems, exploiting poor peasants and seeking Jehad; I guess India then will never be your country.

 

[This harangue is not worth responding to.Feudalism worked across religions.]

 

India wants to be a where hard work, perseverance pays.

[Hard work, intelligence, merit are all tools

of exclusion by the previllaged classes. Welfare states have other more humane inclusive criteria to sustain a peaceful and harmonious society.]

Yes, we have our problems – a multi-cultural, poverty stricken population but we are moving in the right direction with our eyes towards the stars. Where as you seem to be focused on past g(l)ory of “Muslim” Rule revisiting India.

 

[About the past glory: Note this quote from Lord Macaulay’s speech in British Parliament:

 

“I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country ….”

 

Can Sudie compare India of the past with India of the present? Lord Macaulay had traveled in India, in the aftermath of Mughal rule.]

 

I will be interested to know what as per you is genuine secularism. Saudi Arabia, Taliban, Pakistan or Iran perhaps?? Of course the success of “fake” muslim professionals coming from middle classes (and not feudal landowners) under this “fake” democracy is not a factor worth considering.