Posts Tagged ‘Markazul Ma’arif Education and Research Centre’

A People’s Manifesto for the 15th Lok Sabha Polls – By M. Burhanuddin Qasmi

March 23, 2009

A People’s Manifesto for the 15th Lok Sabha Polls

 

 

By M. Burhanuddin Qasmi

 

The present UPA government promised to take firm initiatives to address Muslims’ backwardness and insecurity issues in its common minimum program. The much hyped Sachar Committee set up by UPA for evaluating socio-economic conditions of Muslims was not even put to discussion in the Parliament. Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission constituted to recommend constitutional and legal solutions following the Sachar findings was also not tabled in the Parliament.

 

In about two years since the Sachar report was handed over to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2007, other than some perfunctory paper works like madrasa ‘modernization’ and scholarship schemes for minority students by way of the HRD and Minority Affairs ministries, no practical steps have been taken to bring the findings of the report to fruition. In Bihar, central scholarship meant for Muslims was distributed among Jain students and people responsible for the execution said they were not aware about the specific beneficiaries. In Maharashtra a Muslim cabinet minister responded by saying that he was unaware of the handsome central funds allotted for minorities which lie unutilized till date.

 

To have a comparative look at the balance sheets of the major political parties with the promises they made four years ago in lengthy manifestos, before one casts one’s vote, must be of key concern for Muslims if they wish to make any impact of their democratic rights in the forthcoming elections. As a community with common issues of equity of opportunity, empowerment and security it has to assess the role of the UPA, NDA or so-called third front in addressing Muslim issues.

 

The Center for Minorities’ Empowerment (CME) of Hyderabad, Jamat-e Islami Hind (JIH), Movement for Empowerment of Muslim Indians (MOEMIN) and other Muslim NGOs have outlined issues of interest for Muslims to be dealt with as the community’s agenda in the 15th Lok Sabha elections. Here is the ‘voter’s manifesto’ with inputs from different demands by Muslim organizations. 

 

The Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission has recommended 15% reservation for minorities and 10% of it should be for Muslims other than by de-linking religion with article 341 of the constitution. The commission has come up with various positive recommendations. The first demand should be its implementation.

           

The contentious Waqf properties, meant for Muslims’ educational and social upliftment, have been misused by both government and the community. The Waqf issue must be urgently resolved by revising the National Waqf Council Act 1994 on par with endowments act and the Sachar interventions calling for Central Waqf Services. This can be the second demand.

 

Police reform has been awaited by all concerned citizens of the country for decades and mainstream media has been genuinely discussing the issue. But the calcification at the policy level has made the ruling dispensation consider it political suicide to implement the recommendations made by various commissions about reforms. A transparent system of accountability in the policing and constabulary would deprive the political masters of their age-old myrmidons to do their bidding.  Urgent police reform should be the third demand.

           

It was proposed to give constitutional status to the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) at the beginning of the UPA regime through the 103rd amendment under section 340 but the UPA repealed the existing NCM Act of 1992 and did not introduce any new law.  Similarly the Minority Educational Institutions Act of 2009 passed in Lok Sabha has quibbled with the specific definition of the word ‘minority’ as anybody in the country is a minority either by religion or on linguistic grounds. The definition of the term minority and the constitutional status of NCM through required amendment should be the fourth demand.

           

As the government is facing technical difficulties in providing reservation for Muslims, it should provide ‘special budgetary assistance’ to address the backwardness of Muslims as its budget allocation on par with dalits as such assistance is under the charge of the executive. This ‘Special Component Plan’ will be helpful in providing financial assistance to the majority of Muslim youth who are in the unorganized, semi-skilled and self employed sectors. Thus a special budgetary assistance to Muslim minority should be the fifth demand. 

           

The two draconian laws– NSA and UAPA were undemocratically enacted by the UPA government in a rush without allowing a debate in the legislative houses. These laws have to be revised and the criminal justice system be made accountable to avoid discrimination. This can be the sixth demand for the 15th Lok Sabha polls by Muslims along with common sarak, bijli and pani issues with other Indians.

           

The smaller and regional political parties may gain political mileage should they widely discuss and debate on the issues during election campaigning and vigorously make all national parties clarify their position on these issues. Democracy is all about equity in empowerment. A single push over the EVM button can bring about historic changes.

           

Thus, wisely vote for ‘your manifesto’ and decide the political destiny of the candidate of your choice, keeping in mind the pre-poll and post  poll combinations that upset the voter’s trust and honest intentions about those they seek to propel to power.

 

M. Burhanuddin Qasmi is editor of Eastern Crescent and director of the Mumbai based Markazul Ma’arif Education and Research Centre. He can be contacted at manager@markazulmaarif.org

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Combat Terrorism : Faces of Terrorism in India – By M. Burhanuddin Qasmi

August 22, 2008

Combat Terrorism : Faces of Terrorism in India

Fri, 2008-08-22 01:28

By M. Burhanuddin Qasmi

Terrorism is a political virus. Greed for power, injustice and intolerance breed terrorism. No one in the world is immune from the direct or indirect affect of terrorism now.

History of Terrorism

According to sociologists and experts on terrorism the French Revolution provided the first uses of the words terrorist and terrorism. The use of the word terrorism began in 1795 in reference to the ‘Reign of Terror’ initiated by the Revolutionary government in France during the French Revolution. The agents of the Committee of Public Safety and the National Convention that enforced the policies of “The Terror” were referred to as ‘terrorists’.

The French Revolution provided an example to future states in oppressing their populations. It also inspired a reaction by royalists and other opponents of the Revolution who employed terrorist tactics such as assassination and intimidation in resistance to the revolutionary agents. Systematic use of terror as a policy is first recorded in England in 1798.

The words terrorism and terrorist were first used as political terms to describe atrocities of an occupying establishment – say colonial government.

Researches done on the history of terrorism reveal that ‘terrorist’ in the modern sense dates to 1947, especially in reference to Jewish tactics against the British in Palestine – while earlier it was used for extremist revolutionaries in Russia (1866). The tendency of one party’s terrorism said to be another’s guerilla war or fight for freedom was noted in reference to the anti-British actions in India (1857), Cyprus (1956) and the war in Rhodesia (1973). The word terrorist has been applied, at least retroactively, to the Marquis resistance in occupied France in World War II.

The Britain has first used the terms ‘terrorism and terrorist’ to describe anti -establishment forces or those who used hit-and-run practices against British colonialism.

It is relatively hard to define terrorism albeit it is not a new phenomenon for the world. A Western writer argues, ‘Terrorism has been described variously as both a tactic and strategy; a crime and a holy duty; a justified reaction to oppression and an inexcusable abomination.’ Obviously, a lot depends on whose point of view is being represented. Terrorism has often been an effective tactic for the weaker side in a conflict. As an asymmetric form of conflict, it confers coercive power with many of the advantages of military force at a fraction of the cost.

Definition of Terrorism

World’s popular online encyclopedia — Wikipedia, notes ‘The word “terrorism” is politically and emotionally charged, and this greatly compounds the difficulty of providing a precise definition. A 2003 study by Jeffrey Record for the US Army quoted a source (Schmid and Jongman 1988) that counted 109 definitions of terrorism that covered a total of 22 different definitional elements. Record continues “Terrorism expert Walter Laqueur also has counted over 100 definitions and concludes that the ‘only general characteristic generally agreed upon is that terrorism involves violence and the threat of violence.’ Yet terrorism is hardly the only enterprise involving violence and the threat of violence. So does war, coercive diplomacy, and barroom brawls.”

The lack of agreement on a definition of terrorism has been a major obstacle to meaningful international countermeasures.

Faces of Terrorism in India

The media and and law inforcement agencies’ onslaught with assumptions and deliberate repetitions of Muslim names after each terror attack in India made a penetration into common hearts and it ultimately implies that terrorism is a Muslim specialty in the country.

In India, the terrorists in Kashmir are Muslims. But they are one of several terrorist groups operating in the country. The Punjab terrorist are Sikhs. The United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) is a Hindu terrorist group. Tripura has a history of rise and fall of several terrorist groups, and so have Bodo terrorists groups, mostly Christians which killed hundreds of Muslims in 1993 for autonomy, some of them are now in Assam’s Tarun Gogoi’s cabinet as ministers. Christian Mizos mounted an insurrection for decades, and Christian Nagas and Manipuris are still heading militant groups. They have bombed trains, assassinated hundreds of innocents men, women and children. This year they called a boycott in at least five states out of seven northeastern states of India to disrupt 15th August (Independence day) celebrations of India.

But most important of all are the Maoist terrorist groups that now exist in no less than 150 out of India’s 600 districts, according to a report in a national English daily. They are attacking police stations, and killing and razing innocents villagers who oppose them,and there is nothing Muslim about these groups.

In September 2, 2006 another national English daily published from Mumbai reports elaborately about few dozen ‘Hindu Mujahideen’ working with Hizbul Mujahideen of Kashmir for years in Jammu and Kashmir. The newspaper publishes statistical information with real Hindu names, age and year of attachment with H M along with their native locations in Jammu region. Similarly in some other non-Muslim outfits such as ULFA in Assam, Muslim members are not barred from joining theedir resistance.

On 24th February 2008, bomb blasts occurred in the RSS office and the Bus Stand in Tenkasi, Tamil Nadu, one of India’s southern states. The media carried big stories about the blasts. The Sangh Parivar organised demonstrations in various parts of the state, demanding the arrest of Muslim ‘terrorists’, who according to them had committed the crime. However the Tamil Nadu police acted sensibly. A special team led by Mr. Kannappan, DIG, Tirunelveli range made a thorough investigation and arrested 3 persons S Ravi Pandian (42), a cable TV operator, S Kumar (28), an auto driver, both from Tenkasi, and V Narayana Sharma (26) of Sencottai, all Sangh Parivar activists. The last accused had assembled 14 pipe bombs in the office of Ravi Pandian, as excposed in press reports.

A Mumbai daily newspaper ‘Urdu Times’ reported (18 April 2008) about Malegaon police raid in a patho-laboratory which is situated in basement of a private hospital and recovered revolver, RDX and fake currency note of one thousand rupees. Police have arrested 3 terrorists, Nitish Ashire (20) Sahab Rao Sukhdev Dhevre (22) and Jitendar Kherna (25). The last one is the owner of Smith Pathology Laboratory which is situated at the basement of More Accident Hospital of Camp Area. One pistol, 5 live RDX bombs, 3 used RDX cases, four fake notes of one thousand rupee, laptop, scanner, 5 thousand cash rupees and 2 mobiles were recovered during the raid, detailed the newspaper report.

After the Jaipur serial blasts on 13th May the police were reportedly on the hunt for a woman who allegedly promised Rs.100,000 to a rickshaw puller to carry out the terror attacks.

“We are looking for a woman, identified as Meena, who tried to lure a rickshaw puller, Vijay, to carry out the attacks,” a police officer said on the condition of anonymity, according to a report in the press.

Vijay, allegedly a resident of Mumbai, said before Ajtak TV channel camera, “Stop the lady (Meena) or she would explode bombs at Katwali”. By that time a bomb was already exploded at Katwali area. Vijay was detained just hour after the Jaipur blasts who also told the police that Meena lives near one of the blast sites.

What happened to Meena and Vijay, and what the police later got from Vijay is still unreported – the Jaipur case is still unsolved.

The Maharashtra Police on 16th June arrested two people from Navi Mumbai in connection with a series of bomb blasts in the area in which seven people were injured. The Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) reportedly swooped down on the Sanatan Ashram and nabbed the two men, identified as Hanumant Gadkari (50) and Mahesh D. Nikam (35).

Mumbai ATS chief Hemant Karkare said the duo belonged to the Hindu Jan Jagriti Manch (HJJM) and between February and June were responsible for three bomb blasts in the Navi Mumbai area.

Two bombs exploded outside a theatre June 4 on the eve of T20 Indian Premiere League finals. Two others were exploded in Navi Mumbai May 31 and in Panvel February 20. The ATS also seized a motorcycle registered in Ashram’s name and the vehicle’s logbook entries enabled the investigators to zero in on the prime accused. The motorcycle had been extensively used in January-February for reconnaisance trips in Navi Mumbai and other areas for identifying sites to set off the explosions.

The HJJM, led by Jayant Athavale, had also protested in 2002 against celebrated artist M.F. Husain’s paintings of Hindu deities.

In July 2008 Mumbai High Court freed the accused in Nanded blast for insufficient evidence where two Bajrang Dal activists were killed in April 2006 while preparing bombs. Later, one of the survivors of the Nanded episode during narco-analysis asserted, “We Hindus should also do the acts of terror”. The same statement was publicly reconfirmed by Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackery and his shivsainiks through his mouth-piece ‘Samna’ and posters in Mumbai appeared in June after the arrest of Hindu Jan Jagriti Manch activists for Navi Mumbai blasts.

In late July 2008, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Surat were struck with exploded and unexploded serial bombs. The police investigating the case, which killed at least 42 and injured more than 200 people, traced an email claiming responsibility to a Mumbai apartment.

But at the address, rather than seizing terrorists from the ‘Islamist’ group which said it carried out the attack, they found an American — 48-year-old Kenneth Haywood– a Christian preecher in Mumbai high profile society.

The IP address for the email claiming responsibility for an obscure group called the Indian Mujahideen was traced by police to Haywood’s laptop. “He has never been detained, but we have called on him and questioned him as part of the investigation,” said Parambir Singh, a senior officer in the anti-terrorism squad. Now Haywwod has already flown from India even after a ‘No-go’ warnning from Mumbai’s ATS!

If the same laptop had been in possession of a Muslim, would the ATS officers demonstrate the same caution, a genuine question every conscious person should ask?

The hunt for those behind the blasts in Ahmedabad and Surat should be centred on Mumbai. Since some of Mumbai’s politicians have given a green signal to terrorism a month ago in June this year. And more so the police also believe the plot was hatched in the suburb of Navi Mumbai, from where four cars used in the attack were stolen.

Terrorism is a political virus. Greed for power, injustice and intolerance breed terrorism. No one in the world is immune from the direct or indirect affect of terrorism now. Terrorists have a common goal — attack and create fear — in whichever way that easily leads to their nefarious ends. Their religion is terrorism and nothing else. This one formula can at least lead Indians to a solid counter terrorism measure.

M. Burhanuddin Qasmi is editor of Eastern Crescent and director of Mumbai based Markazul Ma’arif Education and Research Centre.

– Asian Tribune –