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Indian Muslim

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    By IANS,

    Lucknow: The CBI would Wednesday interrogate former Uttar Pradesh minister Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiyya for his alleged role in the killing of Kunda deputy superintendent of police Zia-ul-Haq, sources said.

    The independent Kunda legislator was asked by the Central Bureau of Investigation late Tuesday night to be present at the CBI camp office at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, CBI sources said.

    The development comes amid reports that the agency has found no "direct wrong doing" on part of the former minister. Parveen Azad, the widow of the slain police official had accused Raja Bhaiyya of involvement in the murder.

    Following the allegations and his name surfacing in the first information report (FIR), Raja Bhaiyya was asked to resign from the cabinet by Chief Minster Akhilesh Yadav.

    Raja Bhaiyya held the food and civil supplies portfolio in the Akhilesh Yadav government. Several close aides of the former minister, including his legislator cousin Akshay Pratap Singh has already been questioned by the CBI team investigating Haq's murder.

    Haq was killed March 2 in Kunda in Pratapgarh after an angry mob ran berserk following the murder of Balipur village head Nanhe Yadav and his brother Suresh Yadav.

    The mob chased and beat up Haq even as his security guard and other policemen left him alone to face the fury of the crowd. Four cases have been registered by the CBI for the triple murders. The CBI is expected to file a report on the probe by May end.


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    By Pervez Bari, TwoCircles.net,

    Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly Deputy Speaker and senior Congress leader and ex-minister Harvansh Singh died in the wee hours on Tuesday following a cardiac arrest.

    Singh, 65, who is survived by wife, two sons and a daughter, was consigned to flames with full state honours at village Chhapara Khurd in Seoni district on Tuesday . He was elected from Keolari assembly seat.

    The BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and large number or political leaders and common people attended the funeral. The Chief Minister placed a wreath over the body of late Harvansh Singh and shouldered his funeral bier. The Chief Minister participated in the funeral procession for 7 kilometers from village Barra to Chhapara Khurd.

    Addressing a condolence meeting, Chief Minister Chouhan paid tributes to late Harvansh Singh reportedly saying that he was above political affiliations. He was a symbol of sober and courteous politics. He had good knowledge of legislative affairs and was an able administrator and organiser. He always showed impartiality while donning the chair of Vidhan Sabha Deputy Speaker. The state has lost a dedicated leader in his death. He prayed to Almighty to grant peace to the departed soul and strength to the bereaved family to bear this loss.

    Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee President Kantilal Bhuria, former Chief Minister Digvijay Singh, Leader of Opposition Ajay Singh “Rahul”, Shri Rameshwar Neekhra, Nakul Nath, Commissioner Public Relations Rakesh Shrivastava, other senior officers and large number of people attended the funeral and paid tributes to late Harvansh Singh.

    Those who attended funeral of late Harvansh Singh included Vidhan Sabha Speaker Ishwardas Rohani, Animal Husbandry Minister Ajay Vishnoi, Health Minister Dr. Narottam Mishra, PHE Minister Gaurishankar Bisen, Minister of State for School Education Nanabhau Mohod, Minister of State for Agriculture Brijendra Pratap Singh, MPs K.D. Deshmukh and Basori Singh Masram, Rajya Sabha MP Faggan Singh Kulaste, MLAs Mrs. Neeta Pateriya, Shashi Thakur, Sanjay Pathak, Deepak Saxena, Kamal Marskole, State Finance Corporation Chairman Naresh Diwakar and Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation Indresh Gajbhiye.

    Meanwhile, the state Governor Ram Naresh Yadav along with many others also condoled the death of Harvansh Singh and paid tributes to him.

    General Administration Department of Madhya Pradesh Government had announced holiday in government departments in Seoni district on May 14, during which flags on the government buildings in the district remained at half mast. (pervezbari@eth.net)


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    By IANS,

    New Delhi : A day after Gulab Chand Kataria was charge-sheeted in the Sohrabuddin murder case, the BJP Wednesday said politically motivated cases were being framed against its leader.

    In an aggressive defence of its leader, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh, Rajya Sabha leader of opposition Arun Jaitley and former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje said the party would stand by Kataria and will "expose" attempts of the CBI and the Congress both "legally and politically".

    "The booking of Kataria is not based on facts. It is a political conspiracy by the UPA to defame our leaders," Rajnath Singh told reporters at a news conference here.

    "We will fight the case both politically and legally," he said.

    Raje added that the party was with Kataria, and would support him by all means. "We believe he is innocent," she said.

    The developments follow a supplementary chargesheet.

    As the BJP has maintained that the CBI is controlled by the government, Jaitley said that the group of ministers formed by central government to look into the issue of the autonomy of CBI was an "eyewash".

    Kataria is the leader of the opposition in Rajasthan and former state home minister.

    Kataria, from Rajasthan, is the second high profile politician to be named in the alleged fake encounter case after former Gujarat home minister Amit Shah, considered close to Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

    Besides Kataria, the others summoned by a Mumbai court include Andhra Pradesh Indian Police Service officer N. Balasubramaniam, police inspector Shrinivas Rao and R.K. Marbles director Vimal Patni.

    "In the Amit Shah case as well, there was no evidence. The story of Sohrabuddin has changed. They now have a marble mafia angle," Jaitley said.

    Jaitley also questioned how the CBI did not have any evidence against former railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal.

    "There was a time people believed that if CBI carried out a probe, it would have some some merit. There is much more evidence in the Railway Board member appointment case, but the CBI director tells the press we have no evidence. Here, they are framing charges without evidence," Jaitley said.

    Claiming that the Congress was using the CBI to frame BJP workers, Jaitley said the agency has one rule for Kataria and another for Bansal.

    The Supreme Court had Sep 27 last year ordered the sensitive case ot be transferred to Maharashtra after the CBI said that witnesses were being threatened and the trial could not be conducted in a free and fair manner in Gujarat.

    According to the CBI, Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kauser Bi were allegedly kidnapped by the Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad from Hyderabad and killed in a "gunfight" near Gandhinagar in November 2005.

    A year later, Tulsiram Prajapati, a prime witness to the incident, was allegedly killed in another staged gunfight in Chapri village of Gujarat's Banaskantha district.


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    By TCN News,

    Washington DC: The Association of Indian Muslims of America (AIM) have expressed their profund sorrow and grief on the demise of Dr Asghar Ali Engineer, renowned Indian Muslim scholar, reformer and community leader, in Mumbai.

    In a press statement AIM noted, “For many decades now Dr Engineer was continually engaged in a
    crusade to fight for justice for the suffering Muslims of India, to bring about social reforms in the community, to improve communal harmony between Muslims and other Indians, and to write very
    meaningful essays on these subjects very frequently in the Indian and International media.”

    AIM too had hosted Dr Engineer's lectures in Washington DC during his many visits to USA, starting in 1990 when he was the keynote speaker at our Association's convention.

    AIM statement further observed, “His penchant to reform the Muslim society in India to make it more correctly follow the guidance from Quran and Hadith, and to give better equal rights to Muslim women
    within that context are remarkable achievements that very few Muslim leaders in India can match.”

    They prayed that God gives Indian Muslims the ability to follow in his footsteps to become better Muslims and better Indians. They also extended their condolences to his family and prayed for the salvation of his soul.


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    By Ravi Nitesh,

    Respected Sir,

    I would like to draw your attention towards the increasing number of deaths of infants of tribal area due to malnutrition in Palakkad District of Kerla.

    It is reported that:

    In last 16 months , approx 37 deaths reported due to malnutrition.
    Many are still undergoing treatment and no effective steps taken to prevent such tragic deaths.
    It is reported that at present approx 500 pregnant tribal women are there in 192 helmets of Attapaddy hills area of Palakkad district and many of these are anaemic and not getting any nutritious food and medical care.
    People there are also complaint about huge corruption by contractors and aaganwadi workers who were engaged there in providing nutritious food supply as they did not supply at all, and also corruption of crores of rupees in implementing various projects including drinking water supply.
    It is reported that still there was no gynecologist until the death of 35th infant on Thursday and only after that a gynecologist appointed that is also on contract.

    It is when the Government of India is concerned over 'malnutrition' and Prime Minister also expressed his concern over malnutrition. It raises questions about the concept of equality, right to life, right to safe drinking water and right to food. It also raises questions about proper implementation of state and center governed policies by officials and contractors.

    Sir, It is requested to you that you must take its cognizance and to provide adequate measures to prevent such things. It is the time, when you and all other political groups must think above the political gains and therefore must bring the food security bill. It is the time for all leaders to think beyond the nuclear capability of country. When we are still unable to provide drinking water and food to our countrymen, we really do not need nuclear fitted and armed lased country.

    For most of us, a country means a place where we all can live together happily without discrimination and with surety of water, food, cloth and roof. Our country's focus must not be on getting the things for those who can bear the cost or for those who are rich, instead it must be towards Gandhi's last citizen and should be such that even a last citizen can afford it and can survive its life equally at least on the level of basic amenities.

    Our right as countrymen is as equal on our land as yours and it is also as equal as anyone else belongs to this country. Our policies and roles must not be governed with the will of 'majority', instead it must acknowledge the needs and necessities of all small groups, deprived and downtrodden too whose rights are in continuous phase of violation. It must be towards getting the things done for a society as a whole in view of the prospects of coming generations and future society and in context of the concept of our constitution that values equality at all levels.

    An urgent action is hereby sought through this appeal as we all believe in importance of life that must not get lost due to insufficient food supply in this country as it will not only defame the country that is believed to be agriculture rich and be responsible for deaths due to malnutrition, but also point out the inequality of society at all levels and careless approach of governments in providing safe living conditions.

    (Ravi Nitesh, is a Delhi based professional and is the founder of Mission Bhartiyam and runs a campaign Aaghaz-e-Dosti, for Indo-Pak peace and friendship. He can be contacted atmissionbhartiyam@gmail.com.)


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    By TCN News,

    Aligarh: Renowned scholar and social activist, Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer’s death of is not only a great loss to nation but also a setback for secular forces said Prof. Razaullah Khan while addressing a condolence meeting at Media Centre Aligarh organized by the Forum for Muslim Studies & Analysis & Millat Bedari Muhim Committee (MBMC) to mourn the death of Dr. Engineer. He said that Asghar Ali Engineer devoted all his life to strengthen the secular forces in the country and his place cannot be filled for now.



    Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer

    MBMC Secretary, Jasim Mohammad emotionally said that the multi faceted personality of Asghar Ali Engineer cannot be confined to a specialized area. He was a humanist and fought throughout his life for peace. He also contributed much to the women liberation and empowerment. Paying rich tributes to Dr. Engineer, he said that we have to complete the mission of Dr. Engineer.


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    By TCN News,

    Hyderabad: Popular Front of India has condemned the arrest of Professor Jaya Vindhyalaya, AP State President of Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) on the allegations of posting defamatory information about the ‘Chirala’ MLA on Facebook.

    Popular Front’s AP State President DS Habibulla told in a statement that the arrest of Professor Jaya Vindhyalaya is the suppression of her right to freedom of expression of thoughts. He reminded the statement of Prof. Jaya that she had posted the information furnished by a fact finding team of PUCL.

    Popular Front has demanded from the State Government to withdraw cases against Prof. Jaya Vidhyalaya and make judicial enquiry about the remarks furnished by the fact finding team of the PUCL.

    They also urged the State Human Rights Commission to intervene the matter as the “arrestee is a renowned human rights activist of the state.”


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    By IANS,

    Dubai : The India government has exempted Indian workers in Saudi Arabia, seeking to leave that country, from paying fees for issue of emergency certificates (ECs) for one-time travel to India, according to the Indian embassy in Riyadh.

    However, the waiver is applicable only for those EC applications made during the grace period announced by the Saudi government, which is currently under way and will end July 3.

    Indian workers are thronging the embassy in Riyadh and the Indian consulate in Jeddah after a new labour policy was implemented in that country.

    The "Nitaqat" or Saudisation policy makes it mandatory for all Saudi companies to reserve 10 percent of jobs for Saudi nationals.

    There are around two million expatriate Indians in Saudi Arabia, many of them blue collar workers.

    The embassy had earlier appealed to Indian workers to either rectify their residency status or leave that country.

    According to the latest statement from the embassy, those who want to avail this waiver scheme should have to fill up an additional application form expressing their desire to avail this scheme.

    The application format has been uploaded on the embassy website www.indianembassy.org.sa, and those who have already applied for ECs can fill this new form at the time of collecting their ECs, the embassy said.


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    By IANS,

    New Delhi : Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde will visit the US next week to discuss internal security and cooperation between the two countries on issues such as cyber security.

    Asked if India will seek questioning of Tahawwur Hussein Rana, sentenced in the US for helping David Coleman Headley, one of the masterminds of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, Shinde said: "When we talk, such things come in."

    However, he added that the home ministry does not usually take up issues which have already been taken up by the Ministry of External Affairs.

    Home ministry officials said Shinde will visit Washington May 20-22.

    They said the two sides were expected to review progress of existing mechanisms such as the working group on counter-terrorism.


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    By IANS,

    New Delhi : Hitting out at the BJP, the Congress Wednesday said the opposition party should explain how it could term as a "conspiracy" the CBI charges against its Rajasthan leader Gulab Chand Kataria in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh shootout case.

    Addressing a briefing here, Congress spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed wondered how the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was terming the CBI charges against Kataria - who was Rajasthan home minister when Sohrabuddin was killed in 2005 - as not correct, while calling the charges against former railways minister P.K. Bansal as "right".

    Bansal had to quit as railways minister last week following allegations that his nephew took a bribe of Rs.90 lakh to fix a post in the plum railway board for an official.

    "This is puzzling, that the BJP thinks it is right when the Congress takes action on its own minister for corruption, but when its own people are concerned they say it is witch hunting by the CBI. They should explain," said Ahmed.

    "The CBI has made a certain claim against P.K. Bansal, and the BJP is saying what the CBI says is true, but when it concerns Kataria, then they say something else. I am at a loss to understand this," he added.

    The CBI Tuesday filed murder and conspiracy charges against Kataria, Andhra Pradesh IPS officer N. Balasubramanyam and two others in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh shootout case of 2005.

    Kataria is the second prominent BJP leader to be charged in the case after Amit Shah, a former minister of state for home in Gujarat.

    BJP president Rajnath Singh said Wednesday that the party stands behind Kataria and it will "expose the attempts" of the CBI and the Congress both "legally and politically".

    Arun Jaitley, BJP leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said the case was part of a "well-planned conspiracy" and "there is not a shred of truthful evidence against him".


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    By Abdul gani, TwoCircles.net,

    Guwahati: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh filed his nomination papers for his fifth Rajya Sabha term from Assam on Wednesday amidst protest from different parties and organizations.

    Several bodies including political parties protested alleging the Prime Minister who has been representing the state since 1991 as a failure. However, the 80 year of Singh, who was accompanied by AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh, left for New Delhi after filing his nominations.



    Activists of All Assam Students Union (AASU) protesting against PM Manmohan Singh on his arrival in Guwahati to file nomination for the Rajya Sabha seat by wearing his mask on Wednesday 15th May 2013. Different political and non political organizations of the state also protested against the Dr Manmohan Singh. [Photo: Abdul Gani]

    “During the two-decades of time, our prime minister has done nothing significant for the welfare of the state which he represents in the Rajya Sabha. He has not given importance to our basic problems like NRC, illegal infiltration and others,” said Samujjal Bhattacharyya, advisor of All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) after the arrival of the PM.

    Political parties including BJP, CPI, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) also staged protest against the filing of nomination for the fifth consecutive time.

    “We oppose Dr Singh nomination as his contribution to Assam is zero. Dr Singh has never taken up any Assam issue and has turned a blind eye to the problems of people of Assam. His repeated candidature has blocked actual citizens of Assam aspirations to get elected to the Upper House over so many years. Dr Singh has been silent on NRC update, and advocated transfer of Assam land to Bangladesh without a process of consultation with the people of the State he represents,” alleged Pranjal Bordoloy, state coordinator of AAP.

    Even media persons staged a dharna in front of Assam secretariat when the PM refused to address the press. Later, however, he appeared before the media. He expressed his gratitude to the people of Assam for making it possible for him to file nomination for the Rajya Sabha for the fifth time since 1991.



    Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh submits his nomination as Rajya Sabha candidate to the Returning officer at Assam Legislative Assembly in Guwahati on Wednesday,15th May 2013.Also seen in the picture, Tarun Gogoi, Assam Chief Minister,Digvijay Singh, Assam Incharge AICC. [Courtesy: DIPR/ASSAM]

    “Assam has done a great service to me by sending me to the Rajya Sabha for which I’m grateful to the people of Assam. I shall endeavour to accelerate the development of Assam so that poverty and diseases are eliminated from the state in the next 10 years,” Singh told the reporters.

    The Prime Minister's Upper House term expires on June 14 and polls for two Rajya Sabha seats from Assam will be held on May 30.


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    By TwoCircles.net Staff Reporter,

    Lucknow: CBI officials are interrogating former minister Raghuraj Pratap Singh Raja Bhaiyya in the triple murder case of Ballipur in Pratapgarh. DSP Zia-ul-Haq was also martyred in the incident on March 2. Raja Bhaiyya was then cabinet minister in Akhilesh Yadav government and had to resign after Parveen Azad, the widow of Zia-Ul-Haq named him in the FIR.

    CBI had summoned Raja Bhaiyya and his associates through a notice for interrogation in camp office at Pratapgarh on Wednesday. Raja Bhaiyya arrived with his cousin Akshay Pratap Gopal ji who is MLC, Gulshan Yadav, Chavinath Yadav and his driver Rohit Singh. The interrogation started at 10:30 am and was continuing till 3 pm. During the interrogation, Raja Bhaiyya and Gopal ji were interrogated separately while Rohit Singh, Chavinath and Gulshan Yadav were seated in another hall.

    Large number of supporters of Raja Bhaiyya had gathered outside the CBI's camp office at Kunda in Pratapgarh while interrogation was going on for several hours.


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    By IANS,

    Srinagar : There was a 36 percent decline in militancy-related violence in Jammu and Kashmir during 2012 as compared to 2011 and 54 security forces' bunkers were removed from public places here in 2012, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said Wednesday.

    Abdullah was speaking at a meeting of various departments under his charge.

    "Under the amnesty scheme devised for youth involved in stone-pelting, orders to withdraw 196 cases involving 1,432 persons have been issued by the government. Eighty-six percent of 184,330 cases received during last three years for passports have been cleared till March 14. The Draft Jammu and Kashmir Police Bill 2013 was uploaded on the website of the department in January for inviting suggestions from the public," the official brief said.

    The consultative committee was told that the government has plans for harnessing an 9,000 MW of electricity during the 12th and 13th Five Year Plans. By 2016, another 450 MW will be put into the system through Stage II of the Baglihar power generation project. Thirteen projects of 712 MW have been awarded and approved for allotment in 2012-13.

    "The state government provides subsidy to people on electricity in Jammu and Kashmir, which is the cheapest in the country after Sikkim," Abdullah added.


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    By IANS,

    New Delhi : The central government has sought from all states the number of Muslim youths involved in terror cases lodged in jails, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said Wednesday while favouring fast track courts to deal with such cases.

    Responding to a query on the need to set up fast track courts to deal with cases of Muslim youths held on terror charges, Shinde said his ministry has sent an advisory to states to find out how many such inmates were in prison and for how many years they had been there.

    "We are trying to find out. It will take some time," Shinde said, adding that the centre was in favour of states setting up fast track courts.

    Answering a query, he said the ministry was keen on operational control over Assam Rifles.

    He said the force was deployed 20-25 km behind the international border and noted that its operational control was with the defence ministry.

    "We are demanding control. Talks are being held though no final decision has been taken," he said.

    On the proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), Shinde said the draft of the proposal would be placed before the chief ministers for discussion at a conference in June.

    "We have removed the operational power from the IB (Intelligence Bureau)," he said and hoped that the move would help address apprehensions of the states that have concerns over possible encroachment of their powers.

    Asked about his assessment of cross-border internal security issues in the wake of new government coming to office in Pakistan, Shinde said it would not be appropriate to make full assessment.

    He said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh congratulated Nawaz Sharif when his party was in the lead and the Pakistan Muslim League (N) leader extended invitation for his swearing in. "Such initiatives help remove doubts," he said.

    On demands for commuting death sentence of convict Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar, Shinde said he had received number of representation from people. "We are looking into it," he said.


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    By Ram Puniyani

    The events of last over two decades have shown us, more than before that the efforts of dividing the nation by communal forces have been a major obstacle to social peace and process of development. In India while the communal violence began with the Jabalpur riot of 1961, it is from last couple of decades especially from 1980s that the divisive politics has tried to drive a wedge between different communities along religious lines. The regret is that it is only few social workers and scholars who took this issue in all its seriousness and Asghar Ali Engineer can be counted amongst those few. He also spent major part of his social efforts to fight against the ideology and machinations which led to communal violence and the victimization of minorities, time and over again, year after year.

    Engineer was a student when Jabalpore riots took place. It clearly left a deep mark on him. The imprint of this tragedy got reflected in his social engagement with the issues related to communal violence and communal politics all through. His talks and articles reflect about the impact of Jabalpur violence, its impact on nation and its influence on the conscience keeper of the nation, Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru. Engineer’s work on the issue of communal violence, communal ideology and communalization of society spans on a vast canvass and will easily fill volumes.

    His work, to be referred below, shows that he took a serious interest in understanding the dynamics of communal violence, he must have spent days in and days out, investigating the communal riots, their aftermath and their impact on the social and political affairs. He can easily be credited with being the major scholar-activist who pioneered this area of investigation. He spent enormous energy to investigate and analyze the communal violence in India. He can also be regarded as the foremost scholar-activist who not only commented on the issues related to communalism, but also gave his forthright opinion on the range of those, against the heavy odds. He has been criticized by the communalists of both the religions for his opposition to the politics of violence in the name of religion.




    L-R - Shabnam Hashmi, Vrinda Grover, Farha Naqvi, Asghar Ali Er., Harsh Mandar in 2010

    This article takes an overview of his work in the area of communal violence investigation and his contribution to campaigns for promotion of secular values. It is based on understanding his work from the vantage point of a close working relationship with him as a friend and associate. I have also tried to take the overview of his massive contribution from the point of someone who not only witnessed his work from close quarters, with awe admiration and some criticism, but also tried to learn from him to give direction to my own work.

    Communal Violence

    The communal violence of Jablapur (1961) shook Engineer very deeply, the very concept of violence in the name of religions was anathema to him as he was steeped in the spirituality of Islam right from his childhood. He was taught that Islam does not preach violence, and no religion teaches violence, so why this violence in the name of religion. This is the point when he decided to devote his life to promote communal harmony. It was an event which was to shape the course of life and work. He not only intervened after the events of communal violence to douse the fire of the violence but made it a central part of his initial life as an activist to investigate the acts of violence in depth. Starting from Biharsharif riots to Gujarat carnage, he spent time in unraveling the truth of the violence mostly by field studies. His reports on these events are a landmark in the area of riot investigation, in understanding the underlying machinations of this phenomenon. Biharsharif was a stronghold of CPI due to its following amongst the Bidi workers. Dr Engineer could unravel that RSS in order to spread it hold in the area, used the dispute between Yadavs and Muslims over the land for cemetery, to instigate the violence (1981).

    Godhra witnessed riots on and off during 1980-81. Engineer investigated these riots as a part of a team. The conflict here was mainly between Sindhis and Ghanchi Muslims. While Sindhi immigrants were looked down by other Hindus, for various reasons but those Hindu groups supported them against Muslims. The material reasons of poverty of Ghanchi Muslims and growing demands of Sindhis for facilities was the root cause of the trouble which assumed religious color. The report pointed out that rumors played a lot of role in this violence.

    Engineer also studied the Ahmedabad violence of 1982. Extensive field investigation was done for this. In this case the poor Muslim locality of Kalupr and Daryaganj face the brunt of the violence. An incident over kite flying turned into stone throwing and violence. Just prior to this VHP had started its work in these areas and prepared the ground for the skirmishes. VHP virulently talked against the conversions of Harijans to Islam. The communal forces resorted to heavy propaganda, especially through distribution of leaflets in the area. These leaflets used a communal version of history, demonization of Muslim kings, and emphasis on singing Vande matram, and opposing those who kill cow. Some people drew the attention of Gujarat government to this virulent propaganda, but there was no response to those appeals.

    Pune and Sholapur were in the grip of violence in 1981-82. These were precipitated in the aftermath of Ahmedabad violence and VHP as usual had been at the forefront of spreading the communal venom. It was a period when VHP had launched a Jan Jagaran (People’s Awakening) campaign all over India. This campaign was based on demonization of Muslims as foreigners, beef eaters, etc. This was also a riot which took place in the aftermath of Meenkshipuram conversion of dalits to Islam in 1981. Dr. Engineer makes a very pertinent point while relating the communal violence to the core issue of atrocities on dalits. He points out, “VHP is raising the hue and cry of conversions of Harijans in Meenakshipuram so that people do not pay attention to the screams of dalits burning in the pyre of discrimination.” (Communal Riots in Post Independence India, P 265)

    The aggressive campaign of VHP intimidated the Muslims. VHP took out a procession with portraits of Golwalkar and Manusmiriti, along with those of Gandhi and Ambedkar. The procession tore down the hoardings with Muslim names, including the one of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and shouted anti Muslim slogans. The procession changed its permitted route and entered Muslim locality, attacked Muslim hotels and shops were stoned.

    In Sholapur also situation was similar. Here they propagated the myth of rising Muslim population to provoke the people. Here also trouble began with VHP procession on 15th Feb. 1982. The procession when it came near Punjab Talim Mosque, it started giving anti Muslim provocative slogans. There was attack on small shops owned by Muslims after which Muslims were attacked.

    Meerut riots have also been a big sore on our polity. Meerut a city with great syncretic traditions also suffered the violence. Here the main goal was to co-opt the dalits, to give them liquor etc and to use them for violence against Muslims. Here the riot had more political reasons than economic ones. The riot was instigated on the issue of some piau (where one gets water to drink). One Muslim advocate and another trust were involved. Tension mounted in April 1982 and the provocative propaganda was stepped up. Biased attitude of police and communal slant of newspapers added to fuel to the fire. Similarly Vadodara Hyderabad and Assam riots were also studied by him.

    His major observations have been that a small incident is taken advantage of by communal forces, the rumors add havoc to the situation and communalized state apparatus, police in particular, plays a partisan role, worsening the plight of minorities.

    Apart form these riots of Mumbai 1992-93 (Report of EKTA Samiti, 1993) Gujarat carnage has also been studied by him (Sowing Hate and Reaping Violence, CSSS 2003). The studies by him have been used as a base by many a scholars to make interpretations and conclusions about the phenomenon of communal violence. He does interpret every riot on its ground and the specificities of the particular violence are well reflected in his studies and reports. Another aspect which emerges from his studies and reports is that gradually the intensity of communal violence is worsening, and it did peak in Gujarat violence. He has vividly presented the failure and complicity of police machinery in this violence. It seems that the deeper process of communalization has been going up in last three decades. And now even the other minority Christians have also been brought under the chopping block of communal forces.

    He also draws our attention to the fact that these episodes are not sporadic or spontaneous. There is a deeper motive behind these. There is a good deal of planning in such episodes. His other studies-reports show that popular perceptions about minorities lay the base for violence, the propagation of myths and biases against Muslims and Christians make the job of the communal group easier. What is undeniable is that communal forces take advantage of every conceivable opportunity to strengthen them, first by instigating the violence, then perpetuating it and in the process they increase their political power.

    Apart from his own book-reports on the violence he has edited several volumes on the issue Communal Violence in Post Independence India, Communal Violence after Independence, Bhivandi Riots, and Communalism and Communal violence to name the few. He continues to chronicle the communal riots on regular basis and these are published as Issues in Secular Perspective, the January issue of this periodical carries his compilation and analysis of Communal Riots of the year past. ( Also posted on CSSS-ISLA.COM)

    Communalism-Secularism

    Activist’s scholars in India have faced a challenging task of understanding, defining and intervening in the situations related to communal violence. How does one understand the phenomenon of communalism in Indian society? Why India is plagued with this problem? These must have been the issues dogging his mind when he began his parallel study of Indian history and analysis of contemporary issues.

    While unraveling the Indian history, the communal interpretation of which is major component of communalization of social thinking, he focused on overcoming the communal interpretation of history and presented the view of looking as history of kings as battles for power and wealth. He understands lives of people as an ongoing journey of interaction, some frictions and major synthesizing tendencies resulting in syncretic traditions. His major book on this, Communalism in India (Vikas, 1995) gives a good reflection of his thinking on the issue. He tried to evolve his workshops with different sections of society on these lines. Later he came out with many articles and books on this issue.

    In his work the medieval history is presented not as a battle between Hindu and Muslim kings but as battles between kings for power and wealth. He draws heavily from original sources and from the works of national Historians. The issue of temple destructions, Jijia, policies of Muslim kings, spread of Islam and other aspect of social life during that period gives a good reflection of those times and is an effective tool in breaking the myths and misconceptions in peoples mind about it. The traditions of Sufis, Bhakti saints and their emphasis on values of love and amity is brought out effectively. The mixed traditions of society do convey that Hindus and Muslims were good companions and religion was not the cause of discord, the social interests were, and sometime surely these interests did come in the garb of religion. But communalism as a political phenomenon was introduced here after the coming of British rule.

    He takes up the vexed issue of role of Muslim leadership in freedom movement and the role of communalists, Muslims and Hindus both in aggravating the communal violence even in pre-independence India. He handles the issue of partition of the country very delicately to focus that the main responsibility of partition lies on the head of British, while Congress leadership and Jinnah’s obstinate nature added to the issue. He seems to agree more with Maulana Abul Kalam Azad on this point that partition could have been prevented had Maulana’s suggestion of sticking to Cripps Mission proposals been accepted.

    As a part of dispelling myths about Muslim minorities he has written on the ‘Role of Muslims in Freedom struggle’. Fascinated by the approach of Gandhi in politically uniting different communities and emphasizing on non-violence and peace he has also compiled volume on Gandhi and communal harmony. His fascination for Gandhian approach to communal problems is seen in his work all through. His sense of Gender justice is very strong and he has shown how Islam gives equality to women, and highlights how women are the worst victims of communal violence. The list of his contributions and web site gives and ample insight into his concerns and how he has handled them in a humane manner. His regular publication, Secular Perspective has a good circulation and is reproduced in many a websites and newspapers across the globe.

    Secular Intervention:

    It is difficult to decide as to which aspect of Engineer’s work is more important than other. There is a deeper integration in different facets of the work and one can see the deeper connection between different facets of his work.

    His intervention in social issues began with his concern for communal harmony. His urge to study and understand the communal problem began with the tragedy of Jabalpur violence, later his study led him to intervene and undertake the campaigns and awareness work to promote communal harmony work. In Mumbai from late sixties he brought together like minded friends in to groups, Awaz-e-Biradaran. This group started talking about communal problem and raising the awareness about need for harmony through taks in schools and colleges. As Engineer had deep interest in Urdu literature also, he did come in contact with prominent writers who also got involved in helping in the harmony work. With outbreak of Bhivandi riots, 1970, he camped in Bhivandi, along with Balraj Sahni the renowned actor, for two weeks, going to villages and talking to the victims and helping them. His group also involved prominent writers to issue the message of peace through All India Radio.

    In Mumbai he also became part of Indo Pak friendship movement. At the same time he came in contact with the Sampradayikta Virodhi Committee (Committee against Communalism) in which doyens like Subhadra Joshi and D.R. Goyal were associated and Engineer started contributing to their work.

    The response of Muslim leadership to the issue of Ramjanmbhumi disturbed him immensely, he held that Muslim leadership should be in the background, and the issue should primarily be tackled by secular activists and scholars. He also brought to the notice of Muslim leadership that it is important to agitate on the issues of Muslim poverty and backwardness. The Gopal Singh Committee report, which was lying in the cold storage, needs to be implemented. He himself involved many secular activists to issue appeals for peace.

    He took initiative to form EKTA Committee in the wake of Meerut riots in 1987. This became the platform for trade unions and other progressive people of Mumbai to campaign for peace and to oppose the rising tide of communalism.

    I witnessed his work directly mainly from 1992-93. During the Mumbai riots he undertook many a peace marches in troubled areas. The lasting impression in my mind is that of a sincere, honest and committed scholar activist. During the Mumbai violence, his office became a natural place for all the activists to meet and during those meetings over hundred activists used to throng to his office, standing in different corners of the small office, even balcony of the office used to be full to the brim. He used to sit in the middle, on the floor and used to conduct the meting and make the plans for action. Most of the planning’s were peace marches and community work. Behrampada, a area near Bandra was given special attention for work, peace marches. Peace marches were also organized in different part of the city.

    These marches had important effect on the psyche of society and these gave lot of hope to the victims. As a peak of these efforts on 26th January 1993, in the thick of communal violence looming on the horizon, he organized a Peace march into the main areas of Mumbai. These activities were supplemented by the investigation into the Mumbai riots and the report brought out by EKTA Committee was remarkable for its in-depth work. This brought him face to face with the reality that police; the arm of the state to control the violence itself is much communalized. He decided to approach the police authorities for conducting workshops for communal harmony. It will be impossible to count the number of these workshops scattered in different parts of Mumbai, Mahrashtra and all over the country. He was faced with the challenging questions based on the biases against Muslims, their food habits, violence nature, Muslim Kings destroying temples, polygamy and what not. To his credit he has been conducting this difficult workshop with dignity and modesty coupled with deep scholarship of the issues.

    Center for Study of Society and Secularism

    Meanwhile he took up the task of formalizing the awareness programs and was instrumental in laying the foundation of Center for Study of Society and Secularism, which has emerged as the premier center for spreading awareness about secular issues. The CSSS, as we refer to it in brief, has also undertaken research on the contemporary issues relating to the National Integration. On awareness front CSSS began experimenting with various modules for different sections of community. Its workshops ranged from half a day affair to seven day in depth workshops for serious activists and teachers. These workshops cover the theme starting from History to the contemporary issues, terrorism, Islam and peace, values of freedom movement. I can guess that thousands of activists and others must have benefited from these workshops. CSSS has also set up Institute of Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution to formalize the training of activists into secular values. Plans are also foot to initiate the longer training for activists, teachers and students.

    His own engagement with multiple lectures and accepting infinite invitations from all over the country and globe are another facet of his work. What needs a mention here is his membership of National Integration Council during the UPA regime (2004-2009). He forthrightly raised the issues related to harassment of minorities in the name of terrorism amongst other issues. His interventions, along with the similar one’s from other important members and the efforts of tribunal on the issue, did affect the Government policy. With these interventions the routine pursed by Police authorities to arrest large number of innocent Muslims youth in the wake of blasts anywhere, came to halt.

    He has also been a major part of the process to bring together all the activists working for the cause of secularism. Groups working for communal harmony all over the country have come together as a platform from last few years, All India Secular Forum.

    Touching Moments

    While one is talking on the social contribution of a person of high stature, there are some anecdotes which have been very touching at personal levels. I have shared lot of meetings and travels together along the course of our work. The interaction during these periods has been another learning and sharing experience for me. One is privy to sharing his thoughts and ideas on most of the issues.

    I cannot help but recount an anecdote, which has left a deep impression on me. One of the mornings we were standing in the Mumbai University campus hall. The seminar was to begin in another 10-15 minutes or so. As we were waiting one of the speakers came in a taxi and we welcomed him. As we were talking to the speaker, the taxi driver got down, did a respectful namaste (greeting) to Engineer and said, Sir please continue your work, your writing, it is a source of peace for the society. I am sure there must be innumerable persons around the globe with similar sentiments.


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    By Pervez Bari, TwoCircles.net,

    Bhopal: The Bharatiya Janata Party, (BJP), ruled Madhya Pradesh Government’s Cottage & Village Industry Department has been honoured with the United Nations Public Award for the year 2013.

    This award will be conferred on state’s Cottage & Village Industry Department for novel initiative of rural "haats" (weekly markets). The United Nations will bestow this award on Principal Secretary Cottage & Village Industry Mrs. Kanchan Jain at Bahrain’s capital Manama on June 27, 2013.

    It may be pointed out here that the United Nations honours outstanding public welfare works at international level under various categories every year.

    It was decided to hand over management of rural "haats" to women’s self-help groups set up for women’s empowerment with the objective of strengthening the groups and help the establish their access to resources. The decision to hand over management of rural "haats" to women’s self-help groups (SHGs) increased their economic self-reliance and participation of women in social decisions was ensured due to which continued to become stronger and continued their activities constantly during the project period.

    Rural "haats" were started, which are still being run even after 11 years without any external cooperation. It is noteworthy that savings of some of these SHGs is more than Rs.90,000. Such "haats" were also started in other places of the state and are still being run.
    The management of rural "haats" has proved to be very effective in women’s empowerment. Innovation in the form of rural "haats" was entered in United Nation’s award category “Initiative to make public delivery system gender responsive”. United Nations found this entry worthy of award after keen examination.


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    By Shamsul Islam

    On this May 14, 2013 falls the 70th anniversary of the martyrdom of one of the greatest freedom fighters of India, Allah Baksh. He lived and sacrificed his life for a free and all inclusive India. Allah Baksh was the Premier (those days chief minister was known by this designation) of Sind during the eventful days of ‘Quit India’ Movement of 1942 as head of the ‘Ittehad Party’ (Unity Party) which represented all sections of Sind and did not allow Muslim League to have any foothold in the Muslim majority province of Sind. Allah Baksh and his Party were not part of the Indian National Congress but when British Prime Minister Winston Churchill made a derogatory reference to the Indian freedom struggle and the ‘Quit India’ Movement in a speech in the British Parliament, Allah Baksh renounced in protest all titles conferred by the British Government.

    While announcing this renouncement he stated, “It is the cumulative result of the feeling that the British Government does not want to part with power. Mr. Churchill’s speech shattered all hopes.” The British administration could not digest this dissent of Allah Baksh and he was removed from office by the Governor, Sir Hugh Dow, on October 10, 1942.




    Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad (left) with Allah Baksh Soomro. Photo copyright by Doc Kazi.

    The fact that Nathu Ram Godse, closely associated with Hindu Mahasabha, VD Savarkar and the RSS killed Gandhi on January 30, 1948 is known by all but how many of us know that Allah Baksh a great fighter for the independence of a united India and prolific opponent of the idea of Pakistan was murdered on May 14, 1943, in Sind by professional killers hired by Muslim League? Allah Baksh needed to be liquidated because he was able to muster massive support of common Muslim masses throughout India against Pakistan. Moreover, Allah Baksh as a great secularist with massive support in Sind and opposed to the formation of Pakistan could prove to be the greatest stumbling block in the physical formation of Pakistan as without Sind, the ‘Islamic State’ in the west of the country just could not have materialized.

    It is a well-known fact that dismissal of Allah Baksh Government in 1942 and his murder in 1943 paved the way for entry of Muslim League in Sind. Many may not be familiar with the shocking fact that after the dismissal of Allah Baksh government in 1942 in Sind, the British Governor appointed a coalition of Muslim League and Hindu Mahasabha (led by VD Savarkar) as new government in Sind. In fact, Muslim League and Hindu Mahasabha ran coalition governments in Bengal and NWFP also in the same period. In Sind one could see the open ganging up of the British rulers, Muslim League and Hindu Mahasabha in achieving the political and physical liquidation of Allah Baksh and his kind of anti-communal politics.

    Perhaps the greatest contribution of Allah Baksh against communal and two-nation politics was when he joined hands with Muslim leaders like Mohammed Ibrahim, Hifzur Rehman, MA Ansari and Ishaque Sambhali in organizing lower and backward caste Muslim organisations on one platform named as Azad Muslims’ Conference (Independent Muslims’ Conference). It held its session in Delhi from April 27-30, 1940 with 1400 delegates from almost all parts of India attending it. The then British press which was mainly pro-Muslim League had to admit that it was the most representative gathering of Indian Muslims. This highly significant conference was presided over by Allah Baksh and passed the resolutions affirming that ”India would have geographical and political boundaries of an indivisible whole land and, as such, was the common whole land of all the citizens irrespective of race or religion.”

    The conference also resolved that Pakistan scheme was, “impracticable and harmful to the country’s interest generally, and of Muslims in particular.” The conference called upon Muslims of India, “to own equal responsibilities with other Indians for striving and making sacrifices to achieve the country’s independence.”

    Muslims like Allah Baksh who opposed the Muslim League and challenged its communal politics had done thorough home work as will be clear from the contents of presidential address delivered by Allah Baksh in 1940 Delhi Conference. He advanced historical facts to counter postulations of Muslim League and invited its leadership to respond to the ideological issues raised.

    While decrying the concept of a theocratic state itself he said that “it was based on a false understanding that India is inhabited by two nations, Hindu and Muslim. It is much more to the point to say that all Indian Mussalmans are proud to be Indian Nationals and they are equally proud that their spiritual level and creedal realm is Islam. As Indian nationals-Muslims and Hindus and others, inhabit the land and share every inch of the motherland and all its material and cultural treasures alike according to the measure of their just and fair rights and requirements as the proud sons of the soil…It is a vicious fallacy for Hindus, Muslims and other inhabitants of India to arrogate to themselves and exclusively proprietary rights over either the whole or any particular part of India. The country as an indivisible whole and as one federated and composite unit belongs to all the inhabitants of the country alike, and is as much the inalienable and imprescriptible heritage of the Indian Muslims as of other Indians. No segregated or isolated regions, but the whole of India is the Homeland of all the Indian Muslims and no Hindu or Muslim or any other has the right to deprive them of one inch of this Homeland.”

    He made it clear that communalism was the creation of ruling classes among Muslims and Hindus. “These feelings and ambitions among those who hope to constitute the ruling caste among Hindus or Muslims, as successors of the present Imperial Rulers, revive and invent excuses for popular consumption from historical or other sources, and by securing the support of groups, manoeuver themselves into a position to play the political chess, which promises a possible prospect of success in their aim of becoming the rulers of the masses either integrally of the entire country or of a delimited region.”

    He asked Muslim Leagures, “Had the imperialistic structure of society been a guarantee of the prosperity of the Muslim masses and had empires not carried the germs of their own decay in them, then the mighty Omaiyad, Abbasid, Sarasenic, Fatimide, Sassanic, Moghal and Turkish empires would never have crumbled, leaving 1/5th of the human race, who live by Islamic faith in the condition in which they find themselves today-disinterested, and destitute in the bulk. Similarly those Hindus who entertain similar dreams, and who out of tendentiously written pages of history or out of the stimulating examples of the modern imperialists select ingredients for the nourishment of their imperial dreams, or dreams of exploitation, imposition and domination will be well advised to discard such ideals.” He reminded both the protagonists of Hindu Rashtra and Islamic Nation that if all Muslims were one nation then why they were divided in so many countries and if all Hindus were one nation why India and Nepal were two countries.

    He was right in complaining to Congress that, ”Indian Mussalmans have a legitimate cause of complaint against the Congress on the ground that it has not found it possible so far to confer with them [Azad Muslims] for a settlement of the communal issue.” It is true that Congress like the British rulers believed that Muslim League represented all Muslims. Congress led by Gandhi was cold to the idea of listening and accommodating anti-two-nation theory Muslims lest it offend the Muslim League.

    Allah Baksh in his address defended greatly the composite Indian culture, “When they talk of Muslim culture they forget the composite culture which the impact of Hindus and Muslims has been shaping for the last 1000 years or more and in which is born a type of culture and civilisation in India in the production of which Muslims have been proud and active partners. It cannot now merely by creating artificial States be withdrawn to segregated areas. To art and literature, architecture and music, history and philosophy and to the administrative system of India, the Mussalmans have been contributing for a thousand years, their share of coordinated, composite and syncretic culture which occupies a distinctly distinguished place in the types of civilisations which hold a prominent place in the world. It would be a disastrous loss to civilisation if it was proposed to withdraw all this to two corners of India and leave nothing behind the ruins and debris of this contribution. Such a proposal can only emanate from defeatist mentality. No, gentleman, the whole of India is our motherland and in every possible walk of life we are co-sharers with other inhabitants of the country as brothers in the same cause, viz., the freedom of the country, and no false or defeatist sentiment can possibly persuade us to give up our proud position of being the equal sons of this great country.”

    Allah Baksh, while calling upon to guard against communalism, declared that the goal of the anti-communal movement must be, “to build up a vigorous, healthy, progressive and honoured India enjoying its well-deserved freedom.” These prophetic words of Allah Baksh hold key to the salvation of India even today. But from people in corridors of power to people on the street nobody remembers Allah Baksh or bothers about his concerns.

    It really needs a serious inquiry that why political trends like led by Allah Baksh among Muslims got pushed to oblivion. It suited the British masters and Hindu-Muslim communalists fine. They saw India as a land of perpetual conflicts among religions especially Hindus and Muslims. It is natural that in Pakistan Allah Baksh is treated as pariah and enemy of Islam. But the Indian secular state, which has the name of Sind in its National Anthem, remains totally unmindful to this legacy which stood for a secular, united and democratic India. Allah Baksh spent all his life countering communal politics of Muslim League and its two-nation theory. In fact he laid down his life for this cause. This great sacrifice of a Muslim leader for the freedom of the country remains unknown even today.

    On the contrary it is really shocking that we have Savarkar’s picture in Parliament who was an ideological pal of Muslim League; they ran coalition governments in post 1942 period. Savarkar who begged for mercy from British rulers and came out from Cellular Jail after only completing 1/5th of his sentence, who championed Hindutva politics which wanted to replace the Indian Constitution with Codes of Manu, who believed in Casteism and Racism, who organized killing of Gandhi has been elevated to the pantheon of great freedom fighters, but no place for Allah Baksh. It is only a living testimony to the communal political structure which secular India is forced to live today.

    --
    Shamsul Islam teaches Political Science at Delhi University, he can be reached at notoinjustice@gmail.com


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    SP Govt should stop political gimmick, act on Nimesh Commission report, said Mohammed Shoaib, senior advocate and President of Rihai Manch.

    M. Reyaz, TwoCircles.net,

    Lucknow: The Samajwadi Party government should stop the “political gimmick” and instead act on its promises, says Mohammed Shoaib, senior advocate and President of Rihai Manch, a non-government ‘Forum for the Release of Innocent Muslims imprisoned in the name of Terrorism.’

    “The intention of the SP government does not seem right. There is huge gap between their words and their actions,” Advocate Shoaib told TCN over phone.
    Freeing Muslim youths who are languishing in jails for years on fabricated terror charges was one of the poll manifestos of the Samajwadi Party.



    Advocate Mohammed Shoaib of Rihai Manch.

    Referring to the case against Khalid Mujahid and Tariq Qasmi, who are in jail in connection with seizure of explosives after the 2007 Gorakhpur blasts, Advocate Shoaib alleged, “The state government evaded facts, and instead played with words to misguide Muslims.”

    He did not mince words in condemning “some selfish clergies who do not mind comprising the interests of the community for their narrow gains,” and who are often seen hogging limelight with Mulayam Singh Yadav and other SP leaders. Certainly it has not helped the community as a whole, he lamented.

    Referring to the Nimesh Commission report that has raised suspicion on the police versions of arrests of Khalid and Tariq, Advocate Shoaib accused the government of “trying to save the skin of the erring police officials.”

    Nimesh Commission had finally submitted its report, after several extensions, in August, 2012. However, the state government has not yet tabled it, although it has been leaked in media.



    L-R: Hakeem Tarique Qasmi and Khalid Mujahid (TCN Archive).

    “Clearly there was blast, and if doubts are being raised on those arrested, that implies that real culprits are still at large. The government should not only punish the erring police personnel, but should also initiate a fresh investigation in the whole case,” said Advocate Shoaib, whose Rihai Manch has been fighting for the release of innocent Muslims imprisoned in the name of terrorism.

    A local court in Barabanki on Friday had rejected the State government's application to withdraw case against Khalid Mujahid and Tariq Qasmi. The state government had pleaded in the court that it has decided to set the two accused free to “promote communal harmony and public interest".

    Criticizing the government’s ill-preparedness in withdrawing the case, a dejected Shoaib added, instead of putting forth the report and explaining the doubts raised in it, the government is playing petty politics in the name of secularism.

    If the government is really honest, they should immediately table the Nimesh Commission report and act on its recommendations, he added.

    Related:
    UP Govt application to withdraw cases against 2007 blasts accused rejected


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    By IANS,

    New Delhi : BJP general secretary Varun Gandhi, who was exonerated of all charges of making hate speeches before the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, is now being accused of "brazenly subverting the entire judicial process to get his name cleared", a report by news magazine Tehelka said.

    An expose by Tehelka magazine Wednesday said that its "investigation proves that not only did Varun make the venomous speeches he is accused of, he has compounded the original wrong by brazenly subverting the entire judicial process to get his name cleared".

    Varun Gandhi was appointed a national general secretary of the BJP in the recasting of the party's his national team after Rajnath Singh took over as BJP president.

    Varun Gandhi was accused of making hate speeches while campaigning for his first election to the Lok Sabhha from Pilibhit constituency, which was earlier represented by his mother Menaka Gandhi.

    Tehelka said: "He has also indulged in anti-party activities, deliberately making his own party candidate lose an assembly election in Uttar Pradesh in 2012 so that a Samajwadi Party (SP) leader sympathetic to him could win and help him fix the cases against him."

    Eighty-eight witnesses that turned hostile during the trial were caught on hidden cameras in the sting operation. They admitted that "they were coerced or bribed into changing their testimonies. They speak of how Pilibhit Superintendent of Police Amit Verma and other police officers threatened witnesses."

    "In one instance, a witness claims he received a call directly from Varun's office," says the magazine.

    "The witnesses", Tehelka says, "also speak of how the judicial process was turned completely on its head; how their testimonies were taken in the absence of the judge; how their statements were crafted by the lawyers and their thumb impressions or signatures taken; of how they were not cross-examined, often not even summoned to present their testimonies".

    Tehelka says that its "investigation also found that Public Prosecutor MP Verma - tasked with upholding the law of the land and bringing the guilty to justice - and the court itself were suspiciously negligent in following due process in bringing the high-profile leader to justice."

    Tehelka says "18 witnesses were examined in a span of just two days. They all turned hostile, but neither the public prosecutor nor the court raised any flags. They failed to object even when other witnesses gave blatantly contradictory statements."


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    By IANS,

    New Delhi : Jamia Millia Islamia Vice Chancellor Najeeb Jung has been nominated to the expert committee that will prepare a report on backwardness in Indian states, officials said Thursday.

    "The vice chancellor, Jamia Millia Islamia, has been nominated to the expert committee for evolving a composite development index of states, which has been constituted by the (union) ministry of finance," a Jamia statement said.

    "The expert committee will consider backwardness of the states when compared to the national average under criteria such as per capita income and other human development indicators and for evolving a composite development index of states," added the statement.

    The committee has been given two months time to submit its report.


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