DISTURBING TRENDS AMONG INDIAN MUSLIMS
By Shyam Khosla
Mohammed Azam Khan, the Muslim face of Samajwadi Party, has triggered a political storm by describing J&K a disputed territory and questioning state’s integration with the rest of India. He further compounded his crime by stating that Ghulam Nabi Azad, “who is not from India but from Kashmir”, was the only Cabinet Minister in the UPA Government. He made these outrageous remarks at a recent public meeting in Badaun (U.P) during which he claimed that he didn’t know whether J&K was a part of India or Pakistan. His conduct is nothing if not treason. He must be prosecuted for challenging India’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. Having poured venom against the nation to send across a strong message of support to Islamists and separatists in J&K, Khan issued a confusing clarification at Rampur – also in UP – to obfuscate the issue. He is a rabid communalist who was expelled from the Smajwadi Party over a tussle with SP Supremo Mulayam Singh over SP’s alliance with Kalyan Singh of Sri Ramjanmabhoomi fame. Khan was recently brought back to the party in a desperate bid to check the erosion in Muslim support to the party. As for Azam Khan, he is notorious for making outlandish and outrageous statements. A few years ago, he had caused a huge embarrassment to S P and generated a massive Hindu backlash by calling Bharat Mata a “demon” and using extremely abusive language against the Ganga – the most sacred river for millions and millions of Hindus all over the globe. Irrespective of his other faults, Amar Singh spoke for large sections of Indians by raising the demand for the arrest of Azam Khan for treason.
Mulayam Singh’s silence on the antics of his Man Friday is deafening. Understandably, he can’t afford to annoy Khan so close to the Assembly elections in UP because of his perception that Khan can swing Muslim votes to the party. However, Singh is no fool to forget the political price his party had to pay for his anti-Hindu utterances and policies during 1990s. He can ignore the stark reality that Khan’s anti-national utterances are bound to generate a Hindu backlash in the state to his own peril. Hence, his private instructions to Khan not to over-play his hand that led to Khan’s subsequent soft clarification. Union and State Governments have not taken any notice – what to talk of appropriate action – of Khan’s treacherous utterances. One didn’t expect the Congress Government to proceed against the Hindu-haiter because Rahul Gandhi has mandated that “greater danger” to India is from “radical Hindus”. No one has forgotten that neither the UPA Government nor the Congress Government of Delhi bothered to take any action against Arundati Roy, the rabble rouser of the “liberal brigade”, and Syed Ali Shah Geelani – the separatist – for thundering in the national capital that Kashmir was never a part of India. An FIR was filed against the duo only on the orders of Delhi High Court on a petition filed by Sushil Pandit – a nationalist Kashmiri. UP Government led by Ms Mayawati – known to be harsh on people for committing far lesser crimes – has not taken cognizance of Khan’s utterances. Is it because she too is obsessed with Muslim votes?
While the Islamists in Kashmir valley have been demanding “azadi” and even merger with Pakistan on the basis of two nation theory – the faulty concept on which India was partitioned in 1947 – the Indian Muslims had so far refrained from openly coming out in their support. It is a matter of deep concern that Muslim outfits that have a substantial following in the community are seeking to communalize the Kashmir issue by describing it as an issue of deep Muslim concern. While Urdu press carried at length the proceedings of a Muslim conclave, it is most unfortunate that the mainstream media largely ignored the disturbing trend that was visible at a recent conclave of Muslim organizations organized at Deoband by Jamait-Ulema-e-Hind – a Muslim outfit with close links to the ruling Congress. The conclave was attended by several radical Islamist organizations. Provocative speeches marked the proceedings at the conclusion of which the conclave adopted a strongly worded resolution assuring the people of Kashmir (mark, they only talked of Kashmir and not Jammu and Kashmir, as we know the state) that they share their “grief and anguish” and support their “rightful demands”. The resolution didn’t elaborate what these “rightful demands” were, but the tone and tenor of the resolution leaves no one in doubt that the reference was to the demand for “azadi” and “right to self-determination”. The controversial resolution further reads, “We (Indian Muslims) don’t consider the interests of the Kashmiri people are separate from the interests of Indian Muslims”. In short, the conclave declared that Kashmir was a Muslim issue and Muslim interests were different from Hindu interests. Even while Islamists are giving a communal colour to the Kashmir issue, the Congress and other pseudo-secular parties are indulging in minorityism for short-term political interests.
The lengthy resolution adopted at the conclave didn’t merely share the “grief and anguish” of Kashmiris (they had no word of sympathy for the Kashmiri Pandits who have been thrown out of their homes and hearth just because they are Indians first, and Kashmiris next) but went on to support all “major demands” of the Kashmiris, including withdrawal of armed forces from civilian areas, lifting of Armed Forces Special Powers Act from the entire valley, immediate release of all protesters, including those accused of stone pelting, arrested without “viable reasons” and a high level enquiry into human rights violations. The conclave not only supported all the demands of the separatists and pro-Pakistan elements in Kashmir but also threatened to launch a massive agitation throughout India to press their demands. Representative of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board pitched in with its untenable allegation that people of the valley were the victims of ‘state terrorism” perpetrated by the Indian state. Using force against those who attack security forces and help terrorists is no “state terrorism”.
Ironically, the Islamists advised the UPA Government, that is under attack for being too soft towards terrorists and separatists, not to adopt “repressive measures” against “anguished citizens”. They further cautioned that such a course of action would further complicate the matter and fuel “separatist mindset”. Lies and canards are the weapons with which Islamists arouse passions and mislead the community. They project violent crowds and stone pelters as “anguished citizens” and demonize security forces that are fighting nation’s war against terror. Jamat-e-Islami that also took part in the conclave made the preposterous allegation that Kashmir valley had all along been discriminated against in allocation of funds for development. This is another canard. The fact is that Jammu and Ladakh are the regions that are discriminated against economically as well as politically. J&K is the beneficiary of generous allocation of Central grants as compared to other states in the Union. Further, Kashmir valley gets the lion’s share of funds from New Delhi while Jammu and Ladakh are treated as poor cousins.
While moderate Muslims have lost their voice, the Islamists are spreading venom against the State and poisoning community’s psyche. These are disturbing trends. There is an urgent need to mobilize and motivate moderate elements among Muslims to raise their voice against people who have extra-territorial loyalties. Simultaneously, the Government must rise to the occasion to perform its duty of brining to justice persons and organizations indulging in treason. Dealing treason with a heavy hand is the need of the hour.