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Indian Muslim

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    By IANS,

    Aligarh : The Ohio State University proposes to launch a pilot project in partnership with AMU to meet the growing need for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) faculty in India.

    US Secretary of State John F. Kerry signed eight MoUs with Minister of Human Resource Development M.M. Pallam Raju to step up collaboration and build partnership between American and Indian institutions of higher education.

    One of these involves the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). Each of these projects will receive an award of about $250,000.

    The AMU programme will be implemented by both institutions to build a STEM-Education and Research Centre at AMU that would be aimed at providing opportunity for education and research in areas of mutual expertise and benefit.

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    By Subhashini Ali

    In the evening of the 24th, June, I visited the home of Khalid Mujahid along with members of the CPI(M) in Jaunpur District. Khalid’s home is in Madiyaun, a qasba of Jaunpur, UP. We arrived in the evening, following a darkening sky. Just as we entered his mohalla, the rain came pouring down and we had to run into the narrow lane that led to his house. Many of his neighbours had collected to welcome us and all of us sat in the small room in the front of the home that he and his widowed mother shared with his Taya (father’s elder brother), Tayi, their son, Shahid, his wife and their two children.

    Khalid’s uncle Zaheer Alam Falahi is an extremely dignified man who seems to have aged because of the burden of grief and despair that he has carried since December, 2007 when his nephew was suddenly picked up by an unknown group of people in an unmarked jeep. This occurred just fourteen days after Khalid’s marriage.

    Funeral prayer for Khalid Mujahid in Jaunpur on May 19th.

    As we sat in the small room, Khalid’s uncle told us about the day when life as they had known it came to a standstill for him and his extended family. He manages a madarsa and library in the neighbourhood and Khalid taught there. It is on record that he attended to his duties on the 16th December, 2007 and was then picked up and whisked away by unknown persons to an unknown place. His cousin, Shahid, accompanied by a large number of people, went to the police station immediately but his FIR was not accepted. This was reported in several newspapers the next day and Khalid’s uncle and others sent faxes to the Chief Minister and other government officials. On the 18th, the police visited Khalid’s house and took away some books and papers including a copy of the Quran. Finally, on the 22nd evening, the police station In charge informed his uncle that he had been arrested that morning from Bara Banki.

    Zaheer Alam said that a living nightmare for the family had begun. When he visited his nephew in the Bara Banki jail, there was little said between them but Khalid managed to give him a small, folded piece of paper. When he returned home, he read the letter which spoke of indescribably torture and abuse. The uncle could not sleep that night or many nights that followed.
    Within a fortnight of Khalid’s arrest, his wife’s family came to take her away. His uncle said that the whole family wept as they saw the same vehicle being loaded with all the belongings that the young bride had brought them in to their house just a month earlier. She left never to return.

    The long battle for justice was joined. Another young man, Tariq Qasmi from Azamgarh, had also been picked up on the 16th of December and then shown to have been arrested with Khalid in Bara Banki. After his abduction, members of a local political group had sat on a dharna in Lucknow and, on the 22nd, the Bara Banki story was made public by the police. Since there were so many who had witnessed what had actually happened on the 16th, there was an uproar and, finally, the Mayawati Government appointed the Nimesh Commission to enquire into the matter. R.D. Nimesh, a retired judge, submitted his report to the Akhilesh Yadav Government in August, 2012 but it has not been made public since.

    Khalid’s uncles travails, therefore, yielded nothing but took a toll on his health. He suffered a major heart attack a year ago and was not able to meet his nephew in jail for many months. He remembers the last time that he met him about 4 months ago. Khalid had given up hope on that occasion.

    On the 18th of June, 2013, Khalid was taken to the Faizabad district court from Lucknow. On the way back, he felt unwell and the police escort with him took him to the district hospital at Bara Banki. Tariq Qasmi was in the police van. Within half an hour he was given the news that Khalid was dead.

    Khalid’s uncle told us that he reached Bara Banki in a matter of a couple of hours and was able to shoot a video of his nephew’s body before the post mortem. He showed us the CD on a laptop. Khalid’s face was swollen and there was dry blood near his nose and ear. His fingernails were blackish. His back showed marks of severe beating and there was a large bruise on one side. After seeing the video, it did not seem credible that he died a natural death. His post mortem report says – Cause of death, uncertain.

    We could not but agree with Khalid’s uncle that an inhumane State was responsible for the young man’s death in custody. Had it responded to the Nimesh Commissions’s recommendations, Khalid would have been released or at least granted bail and would have been alive today.

    Khalid’s uncle then took me to meet Khalid’s mother. How can one describe his mother’s inconsolable grief and unending sorrow? But her quiet dignity in the midst of such tragedy was heart-rending. She told me that she had gone to visit her son once in the jail with her sister-in-law and he had told her that while the world was very cruel, he hoped that in the Next World he would find happiness and justice.

    Subhashini Ali is a leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and a former Member of Parliament.

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    By TCN News,

    Lucknow: As the indefinite dharna of the Rihai Manch completed 36 days on June 26, it demanded that the role in Intelligence agency IB must be investigated by a Judicial Enquiry Commission.

    Rihai Manch (Forum for the Release of Innocent Muslims imprisoned in the name of Terrorism) is on indefinite dharna outside the UP Assembly since May 20 demanding arrest of police officers involved in Khalid Mujahid's murder, issuing the RD Nimesh commission report and action report, and the immediate release of innocent Muslim youth imprisoned in the name of terrorism.

    The suspected involvement of senior IB officers in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case as given credence to the involvement of intelligence officials in terror cases and botched up investigations that often wrongly arrested Muslim youths. Family members of Khalid Mujahid and civil rights groups have been questioning the role of intelligence officials in Khalid and Tariq Qasmi’s arrest as well.

    Khalid along with Tariq Qasmi was arrested by Special Task Force (STF) on 20 December 2007 from Barabanki. Huge explosives were also shown as recovered from his possession. STF claimed that he was involved in the serial blasts which occurred in Gorakhpur, Faizabad and Lucknow. Later, Nimesh Commission was constituted headed by Justice R D Nimesh who in its report raised fingers over STF's claim about the place of arrest.

    Khalid had died under mysterious circumstances on his way back from Faizabad near Ram Sanehi Ghat on May 18. He was declared brought dead by the doctors at district hospital in Barabanki. Later, on the complain of his uncle Zahir Alam Falahi, a case was registered against 42 police officers including former DGP Vikram Singh, ADG Brijlal and others who were on duty during the time of Khalid's arrest.

    Rihai Manch is leading a sustained demonstration against the UP government for last 36days demanding actions on its poll promise of releasing innocent youths languishing in jails in fabricated terror charges. Several rights groups and individuals have also expressed their solidarity with the Manch demonstration and on different days made token participation.

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    By Shaik Zakeer Hussain,,

    Banglore: “Do not forget that while you are writing, you are on a path that is finer than a hair and sharper than a sword,” said Yesari Mehmed Es'ad Efendi (d. 1798) to one of his calligraphy students.

    When as a young school student, he was told that his beautiful handwriting looked more like calligraphy, Muqtar Ahmed; one of country’s most renowned calligraphers and Principal at the Institute of Indo-Islamic Art and Culture in Bangalore, had found his calling.

    Born to a farmer family from Ranjhol in Medak district near Hyderabad, his journey initially began when he was introduced to ustad Zakir al-Hashmi and Gazi Tahiruddin Qaisar, two prominent calligraphers practicing and teaching their art in the city’s Chatta Bazaar, which is renowned for printing invitation cards in Urdu calligraphy.

    After spending some time with them, he left for Bangalore in 1990 and started working for the Urdu newspaper `Salar`.

    “There were no typewriters in Urdu language back then, so newspapers relied on calligraphers,” says Ahmed. “But things started changing when computers were introduced and calligraphers soon found themselves jobless.”

    Shocked, Ahmed decided to master the art, however, it wasn't career which pushed him in that direction, but it was the apathetic attitude of many of his colleagues, who were willing to give up their craft for odd jobs.

    “The situation shocked me and I feared that we might lose the art forever in this country,” says Ahmed, who is the only Indian to obtain an ‘Ijazah’ from the Istanbul based Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA) of the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

    That’s when his mission to save traditional calligraphy and his own urge to learn more led him to Syrian-American master calligrapher and founder of Sakkal Design, Mamoun Sakkal and Mohamed Zakariya, an American master of Arabic calligraphy, who designed the popular Eid U.S. postage stamp.

    “Meeting them changed my outlook towards the art, and introduced me to classical International Arabic Calligraphy,” says Ahmed excitedly. What followed was a four and half years of correspondence study with Master Mohamed Zakariya, from whom he learnt different styles or scripts of calligraphy, including the most visually pleasing of all - Sulus also called the mother of calligraphy.

    Ahmed says when you practice calligraphy; you’re training your heart to be calm. “This art involves your brain, your eyes and your heart to work in cohesion.” His work embodies aesthetic, geometry and rhythms giving birth to poetry in a different form.

    In 2008, he visited Istanbul, Turkey, where he learnt calligraphy from world-renowned master calligraphers Hasan Çelebi and Dawood Biktash.

    His works have sold in many international calligraphy exhibitions, including the one purchased by a former governor of Madina in 2011 in Saudi Arabia.

    Muqtar Ahmed now wants to revive the art form in India and teaches calligraphy to interested students free of cost at his Institute in Bangalore’s Richmond Road, which was setup by Bearys Group in 2010.

    “There is no stipulated time period, which takes to learn calligraphy, so how long can I charge anyone for and moreover my own masters and masters in past never charged their students. I am following that tradition of teaching and learning,” claims Ahmed.

    He recently started teaching calligraphy in city’s Oasis International School and plans to showcase his work at exhibitions and conferences to promote calligraphy in India, and has some events lined up.

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    By Staff Reporter,

    Hyderabad: Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) claims that no courses have been withdrawn from the Polytechnic Bangalore centre, as reported earlier.

    TCN had reported several students find themselves in lurch as the autonomous University has withdrawn courses from its Bangalore polytechnic College in Civil Engineering, Electronics & Communication Engineering and Computer Science, citing non-allotment of AICTE approval to the institute, sealing the future of mostly poor Muslim students.

    However, the Assistant Public relations officer of MANUU, Abid Abdul Wasay has sent a mail making “a small clarification” in response to the TCN story. It says, “MANUU is moving fast towards getting AICTE affiliation for Bangalore & Darbhanga Polytechnics as soon as possible. Both these colleges will also be provided all the necessary infrastructure as required by the AICTE. University is pursuing the matter on priority basis & hopes to get the affiliation very soon.”

    Besides, Bangalore MANUU offers polytechnic courses in Urdu medium at its headquarter in Hyderabad and Darbhanga. It recently started a satellite campus in Jammu and Kashmir.

    Mr Wasay adds, “To facilitate students pursue higher education & to avoid possible difficulties in their way, MANUU started the process to obtain affiliation of these colleges from All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). As a result of concerted efforts by the University, Polytechnic College at Hyderabad campus has been given affiliation.”

    The Public relations office of the University claimed that the Academic Council has decided to withhold the release of admission notification at Bangalore and Darbhanga temporarily to protect the students from potential difficulties. Admission notification will be issued as soon as affiliation from AICTE is obtained, it added. The statement from the university said, “This decision has been made keeping in view the larger interest of the students & their welfare. Once the AICTE affiliation is obtained, students shall not face any problem in future to get employment.”

    Clarifying that those students who were admitted in previous years, will face no difficulties as the Polytechnic classes for II & III year are going on both at Bangalore and Darbhanga College, the University media cell assured that infrastructural and technical requirements of AICTE will be fulfilled and that the admission would be restored soon in these centers as well.

    Mr Wassey further added that to substitute the number of seats MANUU Polytechnic at Hyderabad, which is already affiliated with AICTE, will enhance the number of seats in each trade from 40 to 60, thus taking 80 additional students, as per the decision of the Academic Council.


    Students in lurch as technical courses withdrawn at MANUU’s Bangalore College

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    By IANS,

    New Delhi : There would be no reduction in the 1.25 lakh pilgrims under the government's Haj panel, but the quota of private tour operators would be reduced by 20 percent, the government said Thursday.

    "The quota of private tour operators will be reduced by 20 percent. They will be compensated next year. However, the quota of the Haj Committee of India will not change as mostly poor people benefit from it," External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid told reporters after discussing the issue with around 200 delegates from all over the country.

    "I know there is anxiety (among pilgrims), but there is a need to make some sacrifice," he said.

    The Haj Committee of India welcomed the move.

    "We welcome the government's decision. It will benefit all the Hajis of the panel," chairman of the Haj Committee of India Qaiser Shamim told IANS.

    The problem arose after the Saudi Arabia government reduced the quota of 2013 Haj pilgrims of all countries by 20 percent, and its own by 50 percent, due to construction work going on in the shrine areas, including Mecca and Medina.

    The construction is aimed at expanding facilities for the pilgrims.

    Since then, the Indian government had been concerned over reducing the number of pilgrims, fearing a law and order situation and negative propaganda against it, said Shamim.

    According to government officials, out of India's quota of 1.7 lakh for the annual Haj pilgrimage this year, 1.25 lakh have been selected by the Haj Committee through a draw of lots. The rest are going through private tour operators.

    Mostly poor people go through the Haj panel on a government subsidy.

    Following the decision, the quota of private tour operators, numbering around 45,000 would be cut by 20 percent, said the officials.

    "The poor should get a priority. I have spoken to the attorney general on the legal implications of the decision, if any," said Khurshid.

    He appealed to the delegates to explain the situation to the people and said it was being done to create a good atmosphere.

    Stating that the government was trying to improve travel facilities, the minister clarified that the new rule that a person can go through the Haj panel only once means that others should also be able to benefit from the subsidy.

    Khurshid also suggested the Haj panel should explore the idea of setting up a Haj fund on the lines of Indonesia.

    He released a booklet on Haj guidelines for the pilgrims in nine regional languages, besides Hindi and English.

    Earlier, Shamim said the Indian contingent mostly consists of senior citizens and the government should consider providing some incentives so that youngsters are drawn to the annual pilgrimage.

    "Malaysia and Indonesia send a large number of youngsters to Haj due to the belief that it is better to go on pilgrimage before marriage," he said.

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    By Staff Reporter,

    Hyderabad: Tejram Parmar, an Abhinav Bharat member and alleged Hindutva terrorist accused of planting bomb at Mecca Masjid in 2007 got bail from First Additional Metropolitan Session judge as National Investigation Agency failed to file charge sheet even after 7 months of his arrest.

    Tejram was arrested by NIA from Depalpur 15 km from Indore, Madhya Pradesh on December 26 2012, based on the confession statement given by another Abhinav bharat member Rajender Choudary who was arrested by NIA a week before from Ujjain district in connection to Samjutha Express bomb blast.

    Tejram became eligible for bail as NIA was unsuccessful to file chargesheet in prescribed period of 6 months after arrest. Metropolitan sessions court ordered Tejram who is currently lodged in Chanchalguda jail to file two personal bonds of Rs.25,000 each.

    Interestingly NIA has included the name of Tejram in Additional chargesheet of Samjutha express blast case just one month after his arrest, but failed to do the same in Mecca Masjid blast case even after publicly claiming that Tejram was the one who personally planted bomb at Mecca Masjid on 18 May 2007 during Friday prayer.

    25 year old Tejram was a car driver by profession and was the third alleged consecutive Hindutva terrorist from Madhya Pradesh to be arrested in December 2012 in connection to Mecca Masjid bomb blast and other blasts cases like Samjutha express and Amjer dargha blasts.

    Tejram is the fourth Hindutva terror accused to be granted bail by session’s court in Mecca Masjid blast investigation. Earlier in June 2012 Bharat Rateshwar (blast financer) got bail, Lokesh Sharma and Devender Gupta both RSS members got bail in 27 Nov 2012, in all these cases NIA was nose-dived in filing charge sheet within stipulated period of 180 days.

    NIA has decided to approach Andhra Pradesh High court one more time to challenge the session court order of granting bail to Tejram in Mecca Masjid blast investigation, last year NIA did the same appeal when Lokesh and Devender were granted bail, in April this year High court reversed the session court order and cancelled the duos bail. NIA is expecting the same favorable decision from the High Court in the case of Tejram.

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    By TCN News,

    Aligarh: Four students of the Aligarh Muslim University participated in the ‘International Student Energy Summit (ISES) 2013’ held at Trondheim, Norway. Syed Raza Quadri, Mohammad Atif Aleem, Omar Bashir Wani and Fahad Zeeshan Khan from Z.H. College of Engineering and Technology actively participated in the Conference.

    Omar Bashir Wani participated in ‘Energy for All session’ while Mohammad Atif Aleem was shortlisted amongst 30 students from all parts of the world to participate in the Statkraft Case Competition where he prepared a case for UK’s Energy Scenario in the next 50 years and secured a place among top 6.

    Mr. Omar Basheer Wani at Energy for All Summit in Norway

    Fahad Zeeshan Khan and Mohammad Atif Aleem also won the Lomborg Delegate Pass, which was funded by Prof. Bjørn Lomborg, who is the director of the Copenhagen Consensus Centre and a former director of the Environmental Assessment Institute in Copenhagen.

    The AMU students met various erudite professors, company representatives and diverse student community from across the globe and discussed various aspects of Renewable Energy, Sustainability and Climate Change.

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    By IANS,

    Chennai : DMK president M. Karunanidhi Thursday urged the central and the Tamil Nadu state governments to act to protect the livelihood of workers from the state who have been affected by the new labour law in Saudi Arabia.

    In a statement issued here, Karunanidhi said a large number of Tamil workers have been working in Saudi Arabia, and living with their families there.

    "The central and the state governments should intervene and take steps to protect their livelihood, so they can continue to live there," Karunanidhi said.

    As per Saudi Arabia's new law called Nitaqat, companies have to employ a minimum of 10 percent local work force in their operations. This has resulted in a fear that thousands of Indians may lose their jobs and be forced to return home.

    According to Karunanidhi, around 60,000 Indians will be sent back to India by July 3.

    Karunanidhi said nearly 120,000 Tamils working in Kuwait face a similar situation in that country.

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    By IANS,

    New Delhi : The Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) Thursday said it will be launching a short duration course in Urdu journalism.

    According to an IIMC statement, the course will "promote the proficiency" and the "capabilities" of working journalists in Urdu language media organisations.

    The initiative comes in the wake of Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari's detailed discussions with working journalists and editors of Urdu language newspapers at the recently concluded All India Conference of Urdu Editors.

    According to officials, the representatives of the Urdu newspapers requested Tewari to initiate skill and capacity building measures through short term courses in the medium.

    To be introduced in the next academic session, the course would be non-residential and would be open to all working and freelance journalists in Urdu language and will focus on latest journalism practices, use of technology, copy-writing and writing for TV.

    The IIMC is in the process of finalising the course duration, curriculum, fee structures and other matters, the statement said.

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    By Staff Reporter,

    New Delhi: Guwahati based youth group, MY FACTS (Muslim Youths Forum Against Communalism, Terrorism and Sedition) today submitted a memorandum to the Chairperson of the National commission on minorities, Wajahat Habibullah on the massacre of the Muslim mine labourers in Meghalaya.

    On Sunday night unidentified miscreants killed eight mine workers from Assam in the Garegittim and Nongalbibra areas in Meghalaya’s South Garo Hills district, all of them Muslims of Bengali origin. After the massacre, mass exodus of panic-stricken workers back to Assam has begun. Over 5000 workers from Assam are reported to have left the areas of Garo Hills region in western Meghalaya fearing fresh attacks on non-indigenous workers.

    MY FACTS member Advocate Aman Wadud with NCM Chairperson Wajahat Habibullah at alter's office in the national capital.

    Delhi based lawyer and MY FACTS member Aman Wadud and a Delhi University lecturer Shalim Hussain met NCM Chairperson at his office and handed over the memorandum. Advocate Wadud said, “Muslims of Garo Hills are already victims of systematic extortion by various militant outfits like ANVC, GNLA etc. and numerous so called NGOs. It is alleged that these militant outfits have support from ruling and opposition political leaders. As if it was not enough, now started a reign of terror in the Garo Hills. In the last three days 10 innocent Muslim labourers were brutally killed by Garo miscreants. Hundreds are still missing. This led to an exodus of thousands of Muslims creating a great human misery.”

    Wadud alleged that the massacre of poor Muslim labourers come almost a year after the BTAD violence and added that he saw some kind of conspiracy against poor Muslims, who earn their living by working as wage labourers.

    NCM Chairperson with the memorandum handed over by MY FACTS team.

    Urging the NCM Chairperson for immediate intervention, My FACTS demanded:

    1. Ensure safety and security of native Muslims of Garo Hills plain belt.

    2. Ensure safe passage of Muslim labourers of Assam to their home.

    3. We don’t have faith in local police and administration, which have record of being partisan and biased. We demand immediate deployment of Central Para – Military forces in Garo Hills.

    4. We demand immediate relief and rehabilitation to the victims and their families.

    5. We request your kind attention and intervention in order to stop killing of innocent Muslims in the name of ethnic riots.

    Wajahat Habibullah has assured the MY FACTS team of all possible support and added that he will write to the Meghalaya CM seeking security and rehabilitation.

    According to the police of Meghalaya, a group of around 50 men armed with weapons attacked three coal mines in the Garegittim-Dobakol region of Nangalbibra around 11.30 pm on Sunday with an intention to rob.

    Meghalaya has a Muslim population of about 4%. They mostly reside in the plain belt of Garo Hills and on the Assam – Meghalaya border areas. The socio – economic condition of these indigenous Muslims is very pathetic. Due to discriminatory Reservation policy for Tribal’s (over 98%) Muslims do not have access to Government jobs, institutional loans or skill development. Most of them are engaged in cultivation, small trade and manual labour without any support from the Government. Again, thousands of Muslim labourers from Assam work in the Coal mines, quarries, construction industries, factories and other manual works. Most of these labourers are ‘Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDP) from river erosion prone areas of Goalpara and Dhubri District of Assam.

    Meanwhile, Assam government has wrapped up the Meghalaya government over the killings of Assamese labourers. The Assam government has also announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs. 2 lakh to the keen of each of the victims. The Meghalaya government had also announced Rs 4 lakh as ex-gratia to families of each of the victims.

    In May this year, suspected militant outfit in Garo Hills had killed five migrant labourers at Darangdura, 10 kms away from Nangalbibra in the district. A similar incident had also taken place in 2011, where five coal labourers were gunned down in the Goka coal dumping site in South Garo Hills.


    Justice demanded for the rampant killings of Muslim workers in Meghalaya

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    By Pervez Bari,,

    Bhopal: Vice-President of India Dr. Hamid Ansari conferred to central Indian state Madhya Pradesh the “Change-over Economies Category” award in view of positive commercial activities in the state. The state Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan received the award on behalf of the state.

    The award was presented at Most Competitive State 2013 programme held by Hindustan Times’ business edition Mint with the cooperation of Institute for Competitiveness in New Delhi on Wednesday, an official spokesman said.

    Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan receiving “Change-over Economies Category” award from Vice-President of India Dr. Hamid Ansari in view of positive commercial activities in the state.

    Speaking after receiving the award Chief Minister Chouhan reportedly said that once regarded as a sick state, Madhya Pradesh is country’s fastest growing state now. The State Government has chalked out its policies by setting its priorities for development. Madhya Pradesh’s growth rate was 10.2 per cent during 11th Five-Year Plan. Last year, state’s agriculture growth rate was 18.9 percent. This year, 13.33 percent increase has been registered. He said that only growth rate is not sufficient until benefits of development reach common people. Madhya Pradesh government has taken initiative to reach out fruits of to people who have been left behind in the race of development.

    Chouhan informed that by next month, every village in Madhya Pradesh will start receiving 24X7 power supply. He informed that power generation capacity in the state will go up from present 10,600 MW to 20,000 MW by next year. He informed about river-link project. He said that efforts have been made in the state to extend benefits to last man in the last row of society. The state has contributed considerably in both urban and rural development in the country.

    He said that such an atmosphere for development has been created in Madhya Pradesh that big industrial houses are coming to the state. In view of this, attention has been paid in Madhya Pradesh to development of skilled manpower.

    Union Information & Broadcasting Minister Manish Tiwari, Delhi Chief Minister Mrs. Sheila Dixit, Haryana Chef Minister Bhupindar Singh Hudda, Andhra Pradesh Home Minister Mrs. Geeta Reddy, Maharashtra Forest Minister Padmrao Kadam, Goa Health Minister Shrikant Baraskar, senior officers of Bihar and Gujarat and other distinguished citizens were present on the occasion.

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    By TCN News,

    Houston, Texas: Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) Vice Chancellor will be the chief guest at the XII Annual Convention of the Federation of Aligarh Alumni Associations (FAAA) to be held this weekend.

    The theme of the 2013 convention is "New Generation Alumni & Aligarh Movement" and will be addressed by eminent personalities. Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Zameer Uddin Shah (Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University) will be the Chief Guest and Hon. P. Harish, Consul General of India(Houston) will be the Guest of Honor on this occasion.

    The convention will be held at The Crowne Plaza - Houston River Oaks in Houston, TX on June 28-30, 2013. The convention seeks to bring together a diverse cross-section of AMU Alumni, various alumni associations and well-wishers of AMU to discuss issues related to educational, literary and social needs of the community.

    FAAA's conventions have become an annual reunion for AMU Alumni, their families and other like-minded people that constitute the Indian subcontinent Diaspora in North America. The program will include a series of highly focused sessions on educational and community building projects. The convention will provide a forum for AMU Alumni and well-wishers to get first-hand information on the progress of on-going projects at Aligarh Muslim University and participate in the discussions to prioritize future projects of the federation as we move forward.

    The evening session consists of speech by Consul General, keynote address by the Vice Chancellor, and recognition award presentations. Ghazal singer Udayan Parikh would provide entertainment after the Banquet dinner.

    "There is overwhelming enthusiasm for the convention among the Aligarh Alumni and well-wishers of AMU and we are expecting the representation of all most all the member associations" said Perwaiz Jafri, Chairman of the board of trustees of the federation and organizing committee. Dr. Tariq Haqqi, President of the federation reminded the delegates to pre-register before the convention especially for Saturday night banquet dinner as the tickets will likely be sold out.

    The federation of Aligarh Alumni Associations, a non-profit, secular, non-partisan and non-political organization serving the educational, social, literary and cultural needs of the community, has launched a nationwide campaign to invite concerned individuals and organizations to its XII Annual convention in Houston.


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    By Azizur Rahman,

    For the last couple of years, there has been an alarming rise to the cases of sexual abuse against women. Just pick up any newspaper, and you will definitely come across a number of cases of rape and molestations. Though, there are a host of reasons contributing to this increase in sex crimes, I do believe that the below listed are the key reasons behind it.

    Commodification of women’s sensuality:

    We are living in such a time where there has been an ongoing attempt to associate each and everything with sex. Women are being commodified and used to lure the customers in order to maximize the sale. There would hardly be any example where it is possible to sell a product with the help of women’s sexual appeal, and it is not applied. Be it an office reception desk, be it a workplace, be it playgrounds, be it airlines, be it showrooms and malls, be it restaurants or be it any other shops; young girls and women will abound in numbers to ensure the successful business. No business is complete without selling the products and services through the power of the weaker sex. The world is extremely hell-bent on exploiting women by using them as a commodity. At most of the places, the women are not being used clad in a modest dress, else they are asked to wear in such a way that provokingly reveals their features and beauties to attract the customers.

    The advertising agencies are making the most of women’s commodification. For instance, a perfume is advertised by showing a man spraying it onto his body and the moment a woman watches him, she begins to undress herself for the obvious reason. The Cadbury chocolate has such a magical power that a woman asks for a lift from a car rider that she gets; however, when at the very moment a bike rider comes holding a Cadbury in his hand, her mode changes and she prefers to ride on the bike leaving behind the car rider’s offer. SKORE condom is advertised by a woman clad in panty and bra uttering the wise sentence “It is a naughty world; get ready”. These are only a few examples.

    So, if our society is so sex-saturated and so much is being pumped into sex, how can we expect that it will not have an adverse impact on the psyche of the people and their behavior towards women? However, I am not defending and justifying whatever is happening. The culprits have to be punished unconditionally.

    Toothless Punishments:

    The punishments for sexual crimes enshrined in the constitution are proving ineffective, largely because they are insufficient and flawed and to some extent due to non-application of these punishments in their true spirit. Most of the culprits go scot-free, or if tried in the court, they get bail after some time. So if a punishment is not serving as a deterrent, it is useless and the government has to rethink it.

    Absence of Fear of God:

    With respect to the sex crimes, I believe in most of the religions, there is not a strong concept of punishment in Hereafter and that is why people do not have the fear of God which can prevent them from committing these heinous crimes. So, the people have little or no fear from humans and no fear from God as well. That is why they assume that someday or the other they will be forgiven.

    On the other hand, Islam has outlined the punishments very categorically and has warned of severe consequences in the Hereafter if someone goes unpunished for the crime committed. Islam has not just only formulated the laws but at the same time has also instructed strongly on how the men and women have to live, wear and mingle with each other without violating the Islamic injunctions.

    As long as, there will not be the fear of God among people, these crimes are bound to happen. At a time, when we come across the incidents of minor girls of the age of as low as three years being raped and when many times, mothers, sisters and daughters being raped by sons, brothers and fathers, what is the worldly punishment that will deter them?


    Azizur Rahman works at a technology company in Chennai.

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    By IANS,

    Mumbai : A day after the attack on mafia don Abu Salem in Taloja Central Jail (TCJ) in Navi Mumbai, the state government ordered a high-level probe and suspended four policemen Friday while the gangster's lawyer prepared to get him repatriated to Portugal.

    Salem's lawyer Saba Qureshi will approach Portugal's government to seek Salem's repatriation from India.

    "One of the conditions of Salem's extradition was that he would be protected. This condition has been violated after the attack on him inside the jail. Now we plan to urge the concerned Portugal authorities to get him repatriated from India," Qureshi told mediapersons.

    Salem had been extradited to India from Portugal after a long legal battle in November 2005 with his then girlfriend Monica Bedi.

    Home Minister R.R. Patil, taking serious congnizance of the incident, ordered a high-level probe by Additional Director General (Prisons) of Police Meeran Borwankar.

    "Police or jail officials responsible for the lapse would face stern action after the inquiry report is received," Patil said after discussing the matter with top officials of his ministry.

    The inquiry would, among other things, probe the motive behind the attack, how the weapon came into the possession of the attacker and those found guilty could face dismissal from service, he added.

    "The motive behind the attack, how the weapon reached inside the jail and other related issues are being investigated," Navi Mumbai Police Comissioner A.K. Sharma said.

    Earlier, jail authorities swung into action and suspended a jailor and three jail police personnel for lapses and dereliction of duty, based on a preliminary probe, Borwankar said.

    Jailor Sanjay Sabale and constables Nitin Sawant, Chandu Pathare and Ginesh Randive were on duty at the gate of the high-security prison in Raigad when Salem was shot at twice by inmate Devendra Jagtap. He was wounded in his right arm. The weapon was a crude country-made revolver.

    The incident happened in the high-security Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai, Raigad district, and sent shock-waves in the police and jail security echelons.

    Jagtap, known as JD in mafia circles, is said to be a close aide of Vijay Shetty, rival of the absconding mafia don Chhota Rajan Nikhalje.

    Jagtap was slapped with a case of attempted murder. He is an accused in the murder of lawyer Shahid Azmi, who had represented the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack co-accused Faheem Ansari, who was later acquitted in that case.

    Salem is an accused in several cases, including the March 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case.

    He was treated for a bullet injury at MGM Hospital in Vashi late Thursday night and was taken back to his cell Friday morning.

    "He has been transferred back to TCJ. There is no cause for concern about his health," a police official told IANS on the condition of anonymity.

    Salem was attacked inside a jail the second time in four years.

    He had been attacked in July 2010 inside the maximum security Arthur Road Central Jail in Mumbai by rival gangster Mustafa Dossa with a sharpened spoon.

    Following that incident, Salem was shifted to the Taloja jail as a precautionary measure, and Dossa shifted to Thane Jail.

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    By Zaidul Haque,,

    Kolkata: Aliah University will soon have new Vice-Chancellor. Dr. Abu Taleb Khan, Professor in the Department of Chemistry of IIT, Guwahati has been chosen as the new VC of the West Bengal’s first state minority university.

    He will take charge from Dr. Syed Shamsul Alam, the first VC of the university, whose term is due to end and who too was an IIT Professor in the Department Mathematics of IIT Kharagpur.

    Dr Abu Taleb Khan, New Vice Chancellor of Aliah University.

    Source said that the Governor of West Bengal, M K Narayanan signed the paper on 26 June, 2013 to appoint Dr Abu Taleb Khan as new Vice Chancellor of Aliah University.

    Dr Abu Taleb Khan, a renowned professor of Chemistry of IIT Guwahati got his Phd from Kalyani University of West Bengal in 1990 on `Studies in the phase-transfer catalysed alkylation and (3.4) sigmatrophic rearrangement’.

    When TCN contacted Dr Khan, he informed that currently he is busy with a selection Committee meeting in Delhi, but confirmed that he “got the information.” On the exact date of taking charge, he said that he can decide only after reaching back home.

    Aliah University has a rich heritage of being 229-year old educational and cultural institution, Mohammedan College of Calcutta, popularly known as Madrasah-i-Aliah or Calcutta Madrasah, the first educational institution set up in India in 1780 by Warren Hestings, the then Governor General of India. Thus, one of the oldest centers of higher learning and culture, the institution also had history. Many eminent scholars were associated with this institution as administrators, principals, teachers as well as students.

    Calcutta Madrasah was upgraded to Calcutta Madrasah College and then to Aliah University by the Government of West Bengal through Aliah University Act XXVII of 2007 passed in West Bengal Legislative Assembly.

    Now Aliah University now runs under the Department of Minority Affairs and Madrasa Development, Government of West Bengal.

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    By IANS,

    Srinagar : Did Congress president Sonia Gandhi praise union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad's 2005-2008 tenure as Jammu and Kashmir chief minister for a reason? Her comments have drawn much attention in the state.

    There is speculation that the Congress chief wishes to install Azad as the chief minister, in case the party wins the assembly elections, scheduled for the end of 2014.

    Addressing a public rally in Kishtwar town of the Jammu region after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh laid the foundation stone of the 850-MW hydro electric power project on the Chenab river in Azad's political bastion, Sonia Gandhi said the state was governed well during his tenure as the chief minister.

    The Congress president said it was because of Azad's commitment to development that eight new districts were created in the state during his chief ministership.

    The three districts of Doda, Bhaderwah and Kishtwar in the Jammu division of the state, also known as Chenab Valley, are believed to be political bastions of Azad, who hails from Bhaderwah district.

    The Congress party is eyeing a number of seats from these three districts during the 2014 elections, which party sources say, would improve the party's tally from the present 17 seats in the 87-member legislative assembly.

    "The BJP got 11 seats from the Jammu region during the 2008 elections. This was the first time in the state's political history that BJP had won so many seats. This happened primarily because of the backlash to the Amarnath land row agitation in the valley. We will definitely win a good number of seats from these 11 assembly constituencies," a senior Congress leader said.

    The leader rejected the notion that the elevation of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the star campaigner for the BJP during the next general elections would improve the BJP's lot in the Hindu-majority Jammu region.

    "Their party is faction-ridden and in disarray. Modi would not become a game changer for them during the elections in the Jammu region," the Congress leader said.

    Asked whether the Congress and the regional National Conference (NC), whose coalition government is at present headed by Omar Abdullah, would be fighting the 2014 elections in alliance in the Jammu and Kashmir, Azad said: "It is too early to comment on this".

    Given the extraordinary interest Azad has been taking in the political affairs of the state in the past months, there is rampant speculation that the union health minister is eying the post of chief minister.

    The People's Democratic Party (PDP) headed by Mufti Muhammad Sayeed ruled the state in coalition with the Congress after the 2002 elections till 2008 (The Jammu and Kashmir assembly has a six-year term).

    The PDP pulled out of the coalition in 2008, bringing down the government at a time Azad was the chief minister.

    The PDP withdrawal from the coalition came as a rude shock to the Congress in 2008, although PDP leaders said they had no alternative, in light of the massive public outcry in Kashmir over the allotment of forest land in north Kashmir Baltal area to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), which manages the affairs of the annual pilgrimage to the cave shrine.

    Azad, despite being known as an adept floor manager in parliamentary affairs, could not face a confidence vote in the assembly in 2008 after the PDP pullout. He was forced to resign to avoid a show of strength on the floor of the assembly.

    Since then, there has been complete estrangement between Azad and the PDP leadership.

    It is believed that Azad played a pivotal role in working out the nuts and bolts for the Congress-NC alliance that brought the present dispensation to power in 2009.

    So what happens to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah if Azad succeeds him?

    Given that the NC sees itself as a bitter political rival of the PDP, that opposition to the PDP is widely seen to define the NC more than its alliance with the Congress.

    It is generally believed that if the NC does not get enough seats to stake its claim to the post of chief minister after the 2014 elections, the party would prefer Azad at the helm of government, rather than allow rivals in the PDP to cobble up an arrangement with the Congress.

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    By IANS,

    Thiruvananthapuram : The Kerala government Friday issued a new circular replacing an earlier one issued recently, clarifying that the marriageable age for Muslim girls is 18, and men 21.

    The previous circular that raised a hue and cry directed the local self government authorities to register marriages of Muslim males aged below 21 and females aged below 18, but over 16, and issue them marriage certificates.

    However, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy clarified that the earlier circular was not meant for any exemption for new marriages. It was only for regularising marriages of men under 21 years old and girls below 18 but over 16 that had already been solemnised.

    The new circular issued Friday clearly states that for all Muslim marriages that have been solemnised until Thursday, men under 21 and women above 16 but under 18 would be issued the necessary marriage registration certificates.

    Incidentally, registration of all marriages at the respective local bodies was made compulsory from 2008.

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    By Arif kudroli,,

    Mangalore: According to police reports, wife of a scrap dealer Abdul Rasheed and two others have been arrested for his murder that took place on 21 June, 2013. Rasheed's body was found floating near Thanirbhavi Beach on 21 June.

    The arrested are Rasheed's wife Naseema (36), Imran (32) from Udupi and Imran's friend Saleem (36) from Uppala. An illicit relationship forced this woman to plot murder of her husband. Panambur police who were investigating this murder case have finally solved the murder mystery.

    It is learned that Imran, Naseema's younger sister's husband Saleem, and Naseema had hired two hit-men for Rs 50,000 to kill Rasheed. But the police are yet to catch the other two men who had assisted in this crime- they are Siddiq of Uppala and Abdulla of Manjeshwar.

    Police sources have revealed the murder plan - Naseema had given her husband sleeping pills on June 20, and when Rasheed fell fast asleep, Saleem and Imran assaulted Rasheed with iron rods and later dumped his body in Gurpur river during the wee hours of June 21. Siddiq and Abdulla had also helped in dumping the body in the river. The same day the body of Rasheed was found floating near Thanirbhavi Beach, and police that day day had registered a case as unnatural death.With pressure from relatives and suspicion that Rasheed's death was a murder; the police got deep into the investigation and finally found the exact motive behind Rasheed's death.

    It is also learned that Naseema had a relationship with another man (Imran), who had led to constant arguments between her and Rasheed. She wanted a divorce but Rasheed was not willing for it. Naseema saw Rasheed as an obstacle in her marriage with Imran, hence hatched a conspiracy to murder her husband.

    Police commissioner, Manish Karbikar, deputy commissioners of police, M Mutturaya and D Dharmaiah, had guided the investigations. Assistant commissioner of police of Mangalore north sub-division had supervised the operations.

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    By Kaleem Kawaja,

    As the 2014 parliamentary election approaches I notice that some Muslim activists are starting to ask BJP to spell out what is their program for the Muslims. They are saying that if BJP makes corrections for the demolition of the Babri mosque and the 2002 Gujarat genocide and agrees to give space to Muslims in their reign, Muslims may negotiate an arrangement with them. This is a potentially very harmful and disturbing strategy.

    Muslim community activists should not make the mistake of negotiating deals with BJP people. They must understand that from the beginning and until now BJP is continuing to be controlled by RSS which is an 80 year old right wing extremist Hindu supremacist organization. The games that Vajpayee played with Muslims and that Advani is playing with them now are tactical deceptive traps.

    The core objective of RSS and BJP is to discard the nation's secular fabric, polity and government and replace it with a theocratic, Hindu-dominant one and make India a Hindu theocratic nation. In that non-secular Hindu nation they may give a limited place on their terms to some Muslims; but the nation and all of its institutions will be Hindu, not secular.

    Then India may become a mirror image of some non-secular and theocratic countries in the Middle-East. The Indian nation and society may then become like Israel or Afghanistan and may become ghettoized. In that India a few namesake Muslims like BJP's Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Shahnawaz Hussain, late Sikandar Bakht or the other lesser known opportunist Muslims from BJP's Minority Morcha may be given places of honor, on the condition of them accepting the basic BJP/RSS philosophy of India being a Hindu Rastra - the century old dream of RSS stalwarts like Guru Golwalkar. BJP has never accepted that India is a composite nation.

    BJP's concept of religious and ethnic minorities in the nation is like the Nazi concept of minorities in the Germany of 1930s-1940s, where they did have a limited space for some from the minority communities like Jews, Slovaks, Gypsies at the cost of equal citizenship for all belonging to the minority communities. As we saw during the six year BJP rule (1998-2004) in New Delhi, once they are in power it is not difficult for them to find collaborator Muslims who are willing to accept and applaud that being a Hindu Rashtra and discarding secularism is good both for India and Indian Muslims.

    In those years of BJP rule in New Delhi, the then Education/ Human Resources minister Murli Manohar Joshi launched a massive nationwide campaign to change the very nature of universities, colleges, schools, national television, radio and a whole lot of cultural and educational organizations into theocratic Hindu-centric bodies. The culture and traditions of Muslims and Christians was systematically replaced with Hindu religious elements. In fact BJP degraded the secular practices in the country by labeling them pseudo-secular.

    In its last six year rule BJP did not succeed in removing the secular structure of the nation because of the resistance that they received from about two-thirds of the Hindus. These secular (not irreligious) Hindus do not want India to become a theocratic nation like Israel or Afghanistan, and believe in giving minority Muslims and Christians equal space in the nation. They believe in a composite India and not a one-track India.

    In India Muslims with 15% of the population and Christians with 3% of the population total no more than 180 million Indians. This combined figure has very limited weight in the Indian polity. It is only when they are supported by two-thirds of the Hindus- about 500 million Indians, that their collective number approaches about 700 million. And that is too big an opposition for BJP to surmount.

    But if Muslims start negotiating a separate deal for themselves with BJP, not only the total strength of the non-theocratic, secular forces in the country will dimnish significantly but it may cause many of the secular 500 million Hindus to get swayed to support the Hindu Rashtra lobby. And that may actually result in India becoming a theocratic Hindu Rashtra.

    Once BJP is successful in making India a Hindu Rashtra, they can easily discard all those guarantees of protected rights that some Muslims had earlier negotiated with them. And then Muslims in India will become like Arabs in Israel - a helpless community with no way to resolve their isolation and helplessness, despite promises of equal citizenship.

    Indian Muslims should never negotiate like the pre-independence Muslim League and Jinnah, who were duped by the British into accepting a non-viable and truncated Pakistan comprising of two halves 1,000 miles apart. Jinnah himself said that he had received a moth eaten Pakistan. That kind of country with all the guarantees of sovereignty from India had basic fatal flaws and was bound to fail as it did in just 24 years.

    Muslims should understand that half a dozen major regional secular political parties ruling half a dozen major states (Samajwadi Party or Bahujan Samaj Party in UP; Nitish Kumar's JD- United in Bihar; Mamta Bannerji's Trinamool Congress in Bengal; Navin Patnaik's Janata Dal in Orrisa; Jayalalitha's AIADMK in Tamil Nadu and the Forward Block coalition in Kerala) who have no love lost for BJP are a very formidable bulwark against the emergence of a BJP led government in New Delhi. These parties have come to power with substantial Muslim votes and thus they simply cannot act against the best interests of Muslims.

    Muslims should monitor and manage these parties with tactical voting to ensure that communal forces do not gain power either in the states or at the Center. Muslim Community's' welfare lies in forming coalitions with these secular forces and working with them, not negotiating deals with either sectarian Hindus or sectarian Muslims.


    Kaleem Khwaja is Washington DC based community activist, associated with the Association of Indian Muslims of America (AIM) and can be reached at

    [TCN File photos]

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