Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

July 2009
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Community Round Up

He set out to be a scholar, was branded a Terrorist
By Saeed Khan
Ahmedabad:
This Kashmiri boy is afraid of staying in Gujarat anymore, because he feels that he might be booked in a terrorism case any moment. Mohammed Khalid Saradna, 17, from Rajouri district is facing charges of terrorist conspiracy and jihadi training in a madrasa for the last three years. But, since he is a minor, he got bail and is now stuck in a small mosque in Dariapur. The court has ordered him not to leave the city. Charges against three persons including Khalid’s teacher Kari Mufidul Islam Shaikh were proved false by city sessions court during the trial that concluded recently. On July 18, 2006, Khalid along with seven other Kashmiri boys, was arrested by the city crime branch from Tadkeshwar Madrasa in Surat district. Khalid was tortured during the initial days of his illegal detention. Police took him on remand after formally arresting him. But, it was only after two months’ ordeal, when he reached Sabarmati Central Jail that he learnt of the case against him. “I didn’t know the two local youths who were also accused in this case. I came to know that my teacher was arrested only when we were made to pose before cameras,” he said. During his police custody he was constantly asked about his elder brother Aslam’s whereabouts, who became a Qari from Tadkeshwar Madrasa. Khalid, who was only 14 when arrested, was proved a juvenile after spending eight months in jail. He was shifted to the juvenile home at Khanpur and then released on bail. He went to the madrasa where he was refused entry. Ultimately, he found refuge in a Dariapur mosque with help of his lawyer Ilyas Khan.

The court also turned down his plea last year to visit his home in Kashmir for Eid. However, this time too, he has moved a similar application. Expecting a clean chit from juvenile court after acquittal of other accused, Khalid said that he would never return to Gujarat if acquitted. “You never know when you are booked here. My chances of studying further are gone,” he said adding that his desire to become a religious scholar was doomed with the incident. Khalid had become a hafiz’ (first stage of graduation) at 13 years before moving into Tadkeshwar Madrasa where he had plans to study for seven years to become a Qari. (TNN)
Indian Dalit Muslims' Voice
Indian Dalit Muslims’ Voice (IDMV) was launched on July 22, 2008 to provide a platform to discuss issues concerning India’s Dalit Muslims. The main objective of IDMV is to secure a constitutional amendment for the inclusion of Dalit Muslims in the SC/ST category, a right which is denied to them under a Presidential order of 1950. The position of Dalit Muslims is no better than that of the Dalit Hindus. Except for congregational prayers, they remain ostracized and isolated. They are economically very poor. Educationally, they are extremely marginalised. Socially, they are despised, humiliated and looked down upon. In some places, the general Muslims hesitate to share food with them even during festivals like Eid. (Reported by Mohammad Shahanshah Ansari) (dalitmuslims@gmail.com or shahanshah.java@gmail.com).
Quest-2009
Bangalore:
The HKBK College of Engineering has brought out the 9th edition of the college magazine Quest-2009". The magazine provides a mirror image of the institution’s academic achievements. For more details, contact Abdul Hameed, Administrator and Trustee, HKBK College of Engineering, Bangalore: Email: info@hkbkeducation.org. Ph: 25441722


Tamil Nadu Wakf Board to redeem property from encroachers
Chennai:
Kaviko Abdul Rahman, Tamil poet and chairman of the Tamil Nadu Wakf Board, has vowed to redeem the properties of the Board from encroachers. Talking to the TwoCircles.Net, the newly-elected Chairman of the Wakf Board said that he would give priority to redeem the properties of the Board from encroachers. “Properties of the Board worth around Rs. 90,000 crore have been encroached all over the state. I plan to redeem them with the support and cooperation of the government,” he said. Kaviko plans to open elementary schools and ITIs. Kaviko said that the Wakf Board had plans to provide financial help to poor students for higher education. There are many educational institutions run by Muslims, but a majority of them are self-financing institutions where the fees are unaffordable for the common people. Kaviko also plans to build hospitals in the four major cities of Chennai, Trichy, Madurai and Kovai (Coimbatore). The hospital in Chennai would be made a centre of heart transplantation.
Almas Sayyad tops Maharashtra HSC Board
Malegaon:
Almas Nazim Sayyad of Nagpur topped the Maharashtra HSC Board exams when the results were announced. Scoring 98.50% marks, Almas stood first in the list of 10,59,261 students who had given the exams in February/March 2009. The second and third positions also went to the girls with Anushari Prakash of Amravati standing second with a score of 97.83% marks and Radhika Daspute, again from Nagpur, coming to a close third with 97.50% marks. Interestingly the fourth position also went to a girl student Rajni Pawale of Latur who scored 96.83% marks. Almas Sayyad who was confident of topping the Nagpur city is now thankful to Almighty Allah who had given her lot more than she had expected. A beaming Almas Sayyad who studied at Shivaji Science College of Nagpur expressed her desire to get into medicine. “I would be seeking admission at any medical college in Mumbai for my further education”, she added.

The admission to any graduation course in Maharashtra is done on the basis of Common Entrance Test (CET). Almas Sayyad is expecting to repeat the same performance in CET also and like her doctor father and gynecologist mother, Almas too is dreaming of a career as a gynecologist.
Distribution of Compensation to Gujarat Riot Victims Skeletons spill out
Ahmedabad:
A scam in the distribution of compensation to the riot victims of 2002 in the worst hit Naroda Patia has come to light. A senior official of the Ahmedabad district administration P R Patel has been asked to look into the scam. The Ahmedabad district administration, instead of issuing compensation cheques to the victims, issued as many as 21 cheques worth Rs. 20 lakh to one Prabhashankar Pandit, an accused involved in the loot and killing of Muslims in this locality. Pandit is out on bail.
Prabhashankar claimed over Rs. 15 lakh as compensation from the state government. The latest cheques issued in his name are from the union government’s compensation package announced for the Gujarat riot victims of 2002 on the pattern of Sikh victims of 1984.

The Muslim dominated Naroda Patia, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad city, had several clusters with Muslim population. One of the clusters was known as Pandit-ni-Chali where 28 Muslim families lived.
When the riots broke out, Muslims left the place to save their lives, leaving behind their home and hearth. Their houses were looted and damaged by the miscreants. When they were still taking shelter in Shah Alam Dargah and were not able to return due to security reasons, the administration began survey of the damaged property.

In connivance with the local land revenue official and the government surveyor, Prabhashankar’s father Shivshankar Pandit forged the documents showing that he was the owner of all the 28 houses in Pandit-ni-Chali.

This helped Shivshankar to get compensation from the state government amounting to Rs. 15 lakh approximately. According to locals, the Pandit-ni-Chali houses were constructed on a piece of land belonging to Dhanush Dhari Mata Trust with Hukumsih Bhagwansinh as its trustee. However, Shivshankar was mentioned as a caretaker in the records. “But after the death of Hukumsinh, Shivshankar declared himself as owner of the land’’, says Nazir Pathan, a riot victim and a school teacher. According to him, the ownership of the land should either go to the government or to the Muslims occupying the houses and not to the Shivshankar. However, the state government officials did not give any attention to these things and paid compensation to Shivshankar after the riots though Shivshankar was not the victims.

When the security situation improved, Muslims returned and occupied their houses after repairing them. But no one could question Shivshankar about the compensation he illegally claimed for their houses because of an undercurrent of communal tension. Meanwhile Shivshankar died. However, the Muslim victims raised their voice when the Ahmedabad district administration handed over as many as 21 cheques of compensation to Shivshanker’s son Prabhashankar after the Gujarat High Court issued an order to expedite the compensation payment to the riot victims recently. The victims are now demanding that the administration must take the cheques back from Prabhashankar.
On June 1, 2009, victims led by Jan Sangharsh Manch (JSM) representative Shamshad Pathan complained to the district officials. City Mamlatdar Mamta Sojitra, in-charge of compensation distribution in Ahmedabad city, told Pathan and victims that the compensation was given to Prabhashankar because the talati and surveyor report mentioned Prabhashankar’s father as owner of the houses.

However, district collector Hareet Shukla has asked additional collector P R Patel to inquire into the matter.
Delhi's plan to modernise Madrasas
By Andalib Akhter
New Delhi:
Delhi is all set to modernise Madrasas to promote education among the Muslims. The Directorate of Education (welfare branch) under the local government invited proposals from the Islamic seminaries for their modernisation. The scheme known as ‘programme for the modernisation of Madrasas’ is full financial backing of the union Human Resources Development ministry. According to the sources in the HRD ministry the scheme is a pilot project in Delhi and after response from here it would be implemented across the country. The Directorate has asked Madrasas to appoint teachers for science, mathematics and other modern subjects and the former would provide salaries to them. For primary section the directorate has decided to give a salary of Rs. 3000/ per month to a teacher while this amount would be Rs. 4000/- for secondary class teachers. It has also decided to provide funds to these seminaries for science kits and maintenance of libraries.

The HRD ministry would also provide grants for strengthening educational infrastructure and physical facilities in the madrasas. There is also a proposal to treat Madrasa education on par with CBSE.
Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin launches re-development project in Mumbai
By M. Hanif Lakdawala
Mumbai:
The biggest-ever re-development projects in Mumbai is spearheaded by not any builder, but the spiritual head of the one-million-strong Dawoodi Bohra community, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin.

The 98-year-old Syedna, initiated the plan recently after witnessing the pathetic living conditions of Bhendi Bazaar’s residents-mainly Muslims of various sects, 75% of whom belong to his community.
The Maharastra state government has already received the ambitious proposal by the Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust, which has submitted a plan to re-develop buildings in the congested Bohra majority Bhendi Bazaar locality roughly measuring over 15,000 sq metres.

Shaikh Abdeali Bhanpurawala, executive secretary of the Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust said the project, which is expected to cost over Rs 1,500 crore, involves re-developing 270 buildings and 2,000 commercial establishments spread over 18 acres. Over 25,000 people are expected to be re-housed in the new buildings.

The trust has submitted a proposal to the state government under the recently introduced cluster redevelopment policy, popularly known as 33(9). The scheme applies to dilapidated cessed properties as well as BMC and state government buildings in the island city. It encourages builders to take up a minimum area of 4,000 sq m (about one acre, which could hold five to six buildings).
The initiative by the Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust in redeveloping the old buildings under cluster redevelopment policy can be an inspiration for the Muslim community throughout India.

The Supreme Court’s move to allow redevelopment of around 13,723 buildings in South Mumbai has opened up a plethora of opportunities for developers, real estate funds and private equity firms.
Memon Co-operative Bank in big trouble
By A Staff Writer
Mumbai:
The Memon Co-operative Bank is once again under Section 35(A) of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, three months after the RBI first restricted its depositors from withdrawing more than Rs 1,000 at any of its branches on January 23, 2009. The restriction was lifted three days later and normal transactions continued after January 26.

Recently, the rumor of the bank going bust started doing the rounds once again and the depositors rushed to all its branches in Mumbai, other cities of Maharastra, Ahmedabad, Surat, Dhoraji and Rajkot to withdraw their money, only to find that they could withdraw only up to Rs 1,000 that too only once.

Following the RBI’s order, the co-operative bank’s head office in Mumbai ordered its branches to freeze all the accounts under Section 35(A). “As per the communication from the RBI, we have accordingly put in place the restrictions,” confirmed P S Telang, general manager of the Mumbai branch.

“We do not know till when the restrictions will last. If the recoveries happen, it might be lifted. But there is no time frame,” Telang said. Bank sources said the financial mess was caused by a majority of defaulters in Mumbai, while the number of defaulters in Gujarat was comparatively less.
The bank is carrying out its operations through 19 branches spread over Maharashtra and Gujarat and had a deposit base of Rs 345 crore.

The RBI official remarked, “The Memon Co-operative Bank had come under the RBI scanner after numerous complaints were made against it and its Non Performing Assets (NPA) crossing the stipulated level. The bank is quite liquid. But there were some under-statements of financial data in the balance sheet and its net worth is not fully reflected. So we have put in some operating directions’’.

The worst sufferers are the numerous Muslim social and welfare organisations who cannot operate their account. The bank has deposits worth crores from Muslim trusts of Mumbai, Surat, Dhoraji and Rajkot . Many of these trusts having an account in Memon bank have stopped disbursing financial aid to the poor and needy.

Also majority of small account holders belong to the most deprived section of the society. Farah Ansari, 63, a widow, with one disabled son to support, is fighting for survival. She has deposited her entire savings in the bank and was dependent on the income from the fixed deposit for her day to day expenses. Currently she has to borrow from her relatives to keep body and soul together.
Many small businessman and hawkers who have accounts in the Memon bank are struggling to manage their business. Anis Shaikh a fruit seller was hospitalized for severe depression as he was unable to manage his business as his account was in the Memon bank.

Since the Memon bank is a small bank, the media is not interested in covering it. So no pressure is built up for the faster resolution of the crises. Till then, the fate of thousands of small and poor account holders hangs in mid-air.