Islamic Voice
Shaban/Ramadan 1422
November 2001
Volume 15-11 No:179

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Hate Mongering on in Rajasthan
Ban on SIMI: Divisive Agenda to the Fore

Hate Mongering on in Rajasthan

By A Staff Writer

Jaipur : Close on the heels of incidents involving demolition of the places of worship of Muslims in Bhilwara district of Rajasthan, the Sangh Parviar’s calculated attempts to disturb communal harmony across the State has led to a feeling of insecurity in the minority community. The atmosphere is already surcharged after the terrorist attacks in the US on September 11 and the subsequent bombings by US on Afghanistan.

As if the distribution of Trishuls (tridents) by the Bajrang Dal as part of the renewed campaign for construction of Ram temple was not enough, the RSS organised a massive rally, “Rashtra Shakti Sangam” (confluence of national might) in Jaipur on October 13 on the eve of completion of 75 years of its establishment. The route of one of the segments of the rally was deliberately chosen through Muslim dominated Ramganj locality. When the parade arrived in front of a mosque, the Azan for Zohar namaz was on. The marchers stopped for a while and raised provocative slogans. However, the rally passed off peacefully. The Bajrang Dal and VHP have been organizing the “Trishul Diksha” and “Jalabhishek” programmes across the State unabashedly, while declaring that this is the first phase of the renewed Ram temple campaign. The Congress(I) Government in the State is finding it hard to deal with the Sangh Parivar’s activities.

The Bajrang Dal has been active during the last one month in Bhilwara district. The tension following the demolition of a mosque on July 27 and the subsequent desecration of mazaars and mosques continues unabated in the district.

Even the prohibitory orders imposed all over Bhilwara district could not deter Bajrang Dal from distributing tridents among the youth at public functions. The tridents have been designed in such a manner that they can easily escape the provisions of the Arms Act. They are weapons measuring about 10 cm and affixed on handles. The dangerous mindset with which the tridents are being distributed is evident from the pledge the youth take to mark their entry into Bajrang Dal while receiving Trishuls. They take a vow to “defend” their country, religion, culture and places of worship. Whom do they address in the pledge is anybody’s guess. According to the VHP functionaries, these newly recruited young men will form the first batch of Karsevaks to be sent to Ayodhya when the construction of Ram temple begins.

The Bajrang Dal has begun distributing new type of handle-held trishuls to the youth in preparation of the movement for construction of the Ram temple.

Trishul Diksha, Jalabhishek in the Shiva temples, recitation of Sri Ram Vijay Mahamantra and launching of a warning march of saints from Ayodhya to New Delhi are various stages of the Ram temple movement, whose construction would begin - according to the VHP - anytime after March 12 next year. The State Government is in a quandary because of the ostensible national scale of these programmes. Yet, the Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, has urged the Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, to consider imposing a ban on Bajrang Dal in view of its provocative activities. The role of police in the investigations of the communal incidents has also not been above board. Around 10 persons were arrested on charges of taking part in the demolition of the mosque in Asind, while the main accused, Mansukh Singh, was granted anticipatory bail by the Rajasthan High Court. However, not a single person has been arrested so far in connection with the desecration of the mosque in Pander and burning of the Holy Qur’an. Instead, the State police are making an all-out attempt to frame the Imam of the mosque in the desecration case. Police say the statements of the Imam, Maulvi Abdul Qayoom, are contradictory and his conduct immediately after the incident was “unexplainable”. The line adopted in the investigation suggests, rather strangely, that the Imam himself might have indulged in the acts of sacrilege.

Maulvi Abdul Qayoom, who hails from a tiny village in Nepal situated near the Indo-Nepal border, told Islamic Voice that he had fled from the scene for fear of life after hearing some noise from inside the mosque during the night of August 12. He went to the house of an acquaintance who consoled him saying somebody might have taken refuge inside as it was raining and the power was off. When the Maulvi and others came back to the mosque the next morning, they saw the pillage and immediately reported the matter to police.

Role of the police in investigation of the Mosque demolition case has been shameful. Instead of arresting the culprits, the police is trying to frame up the mosque imam.

The newly established “Hindu Sangathan Manch” - ironically launched by a Congress(I) municipal councillor, Gokul Khateek - in the nearby Jahazpur town initially spread rumours that Maulvi Abdul Qayoom was an ISI agent. When the charge was proved wrong by police which inquired into his antecedents, the Manch accused Muslims of the area of indulging in “anti-national” activities by inviting the Mullahs from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar to teach in the local madrassas.

It is obvious that communal tension cannot subside in a surcharged atmosphere like this. The VHP is flooding the area with its offensive literature calling upon Hindus to unite for the cause of building the Ram temple. The administration is helpless and the Muslim community feels jittery and accuses the Government of laxity. The events do not portend well for future and the next few months may witness some new dimensions of communal tension in Rajasthan.


Ban on SIMI

Divisive Agenda to the Fore

The Ban on SIMI is clearly borne out of BJP’s electoral calculations in Uttar Pradesh.

M. H. Lakdawala

The Union Home Ministry’s order banning the Students Islamic Movement of India is such an embarrassing document that one has to wonder about the real intent of its authors. It’s one more decision applied selectively in order to further the political aims of the ruling party.

One of the ‘charges’ in the Gazette notification banning SIMI is that it is “working for an international Islamic order”. Now Home Minister L. K. Advani may disapprove of this goal - as would those who are striving for an international Communist, Hindu or Christian order.

The ban on SIMI seems calculated to drive hundreds of young Muslims towards militancy and polarise the electorate in Uttar Pradesh along Hindu-Muslim lines. With UP’s upper castes upset with the chief minister Rajnath Singh’s reservations for ‘most backward castes’ and the BCs themselves seeing through this electoral ploy, the BJP is hoping that a communal divide will force voters to return to its fold whenever Assembly elections are held. The timing of the ban clearly suggests it is a political decision made with the intention of extracting electoral gains.

If the police have information linking specific individuals to specific crimes such as bomb blasts, they should arrest the concerned persons and put them on trial. But also alarming is the behaviour of the SIMI leadership before the ban. Ironically it seems those who control SIMI through remote were bent upon inviting ban on SIMI for their vested interests.

SIMI was one of the well organized Muslim students body. What went wrong? Consider this: Time and again the leadership issued provocative statements and raised emotive issues, which were beyond its purview.

Going by the general nature of the SIMI’s activities, it appears it had less to do with the students and drifted into emotive issues related with the community.

The interview to the Outlook magazine by its leadership a couple of months ago was highly provocative.In Patna and Lucknow, SIMI activists circulate poems, which eulogise Bin Laden as God’s lion. In Gujarat, they pledge to keep the Babri issue alive. In Mumbai, they venerate Mahmud Ghaznavi as a ‘saviour’.

Attempts were made to whip up sentiments by projecting Bin Laden as a hero. The organisation also launched a month-long campaign to hold meetings in the state. The focus of SIMI was never students and youth and their issues.

Consider the programmes launch-ed by SIMI in 80s and 90s. Anti Family killing week, Ikdame -Ummat meet, active participation in Shah Bano controversy, public meetings for Babri Masjid controversy etc. Shortly after the demolition of the mosque, the SIMI brought out a poster, which called upon Indian Muslims to search for a “new leader” who would take “revenge” for the demolition of the mosque etc. SIMI’s role in Qur’an burning episode put it under the spotlight. These programmes no way suit a students body.

The leadership of SIMI argues, “Campus politics today is so murky. We don’t want to waste our time in this monkey business”. Despite its name, SIMI does not have any branch in any leading university in the country. Nor does it believe in contesting elections. What then is the focus of SIMI’s activities?

SIMI claims that it is interested in character building of Muslim youth on ideological lines. It fights moral decay, sexual anarchy and insensitiveness of the decadent West. What are the student activities that it is involved with?

SIMI contributed to the causes for ban by its own volatile behaviour.

Ideology of the SIMI was “to reconstruct human life in all its aspects in accordance with divine guidance.” But ironically SIMI was banned for “anti-national and destabilizing activities, and making controversial remarks questioning the country’s sovereignty and integrity. It was allegedly found to have links with militant outfits like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen.

The SIMI was founded in 1977 by a group of AMU students led by Dr Mohammad Ahmadullah Siddiqui, presently a teacher in the US. It was initially supported by Jamaat-e-Islami Hind. Barely three years later, serious differences cropped up between SIMI and the Jamaat. They soon parted ways and the Jamaat established another student body named Students Islamic Organisation (SIO). The main reason why Jamaat withdrew active support to SIMI was that the SIMI had started participating in public activities and demonstrations which were beyond the purview of a students body.

With no parent organization to bridle it, SIMI gradually drifted from its original agenda towards emotive issues facing Muslims. Significantly the age limit of SIMI membership is 30 years. That means the organization was run by the group of inexperienced and immature students or ex students. All this however does not justify the ban on SIMI which must be revoked. If banning an outfit is the only solution for the government, its no body’s case that it would lead to a lasting solution. It appears everyone is trying to generate political mileage out of the issue. While some political parties are trying to justify the ban to please their vote banks, others are bound to oppose the move for their political interest. No body is serious about the future of the large number of innocent Muslim students associated with the organization.


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