“Are we re-entering into the era of terror? Whether things are going out of control by Chief Minister Anandiben Patel? Why VHP is being given free hand and why is it that Gujarat police has started sheer discrimination against Muslims and turning a blind eye towards their pleas”?
These and many more questions, doubts, allegations and observations with specific cases were briefed by prominent civil rights activists to the media at a press conference in Ahmedabad recently.
Focusing their talk on “Religious Hatred and Discrimination against Minorities”, Muslim professionals including Kaleem Siddiqui (Editor ‘Tarkash’); Abdul Hafiz Lakhani, Secretary of All India Milli Council – Gujarat, and Editor of a Gujarati fortnightly ‘Gujarat Siyasat’; and Shamshad Pathan, a promising advocate in Ahmedabad, put forth few cases and explained that the law and order situation in Gujarat was fast going back to the days of fear and scare for the minorities. specially the Muslims.
Serious allegations and grievances of discrimination echoed at the press meet. Siddiqui said, “It looked as if the ‘era of terror’ was round the corner. With the tainted cops and seriously accused top police officers being taken back to jobs by the state government gives a clear message to the unjust and unfair as to there is government patronage for you. Of late we are witnessing a silent terror like atmosphere in the air of Gujarat especially in Ahmedabad and Vadodara where a kind of ‘Vanzara era’ of 2003-05 is glaring into the eyes of Muslims”.
Siddiqui stated that on 30th August 2014 at 8 pm during a show on Zee News, Mahamandleshwer Naval Kishor Das made a hateful speech against holy Quran and Islam. When I went to Bapu Nagar police station to register an FIR against Mahamandleshwer Naval Kishordas and Sudhir Chowdhary (Editor – Zee News) it was not accepted”.
“Another instance of a Jain RTI activist Roshan Shah was booked for sharing photos but Zee News and Naval Kishor were not booked, after all what kind of law is this,” argued Siddiqui questioning the governance of Gujarat.
Similarly, Siddiqui pointed out that one Viral Desai who is an activist of VHP (Bharuch), has been hurting the feelings of Muslims but no action has been taken against him while a tea vendor Zakir Hussain Shaikh a tea vendor in Juhapura area was grilled by ATS and Crime branch.
Siddiqui pointed out that before elections the then Chief Minister and now Pime Minister Narendra Modi had tried to pose that Muslims were rolling in money with Rs 700 crore kite business whereas it is not the truth. Siddiqui said a common man can also see the plight of people living in Jamalpur and such areas who make kites for 2 to 3 rupees. If they are so well off why does their life style change. Go and see the plight of Muslim areas of Gujarat?” argued Siddiqui.
Siddiqui also made it clear that Rajdeep Sirdesai was and is a respected and reputed journalist, and he was humiliated recently by Zee TV and blatantly accused of hurting the sentiments of Indians. In fact, when summons were issued to the Prime Minister and protests against his visit was marked when he was busy in a private programme, this was in fact more hurtful for us, the Indians.
Shamshad Pathan observed that of late Muslims were being deprived of their basic rights. The police was refusing to take their FIRs. In fact there were cases wherein those who went to lodge a complaint were humiliated, chased with lathis or even detained illegally.
The trio said there was a clear rise of fear and scare among Muslims in Gujarat sepically in Ahmedabad and Vadodara
Siddiqui questioned the role of police which nabbed Thasra’s Maulana for his alleged statement against garbhas, but paid no attention towards several messages floating across provoking Muslims and hurting their statements, even when the attention has been drawn with names and details yet no action has been taken so far.
“What does it explain?” Siddiqui asked. Prime Minister’s silence over the police discrimination against Muslims in Gujarat was also very painful. Siddiqui said during his time as Chief Minister he could at least control VHP like fundamentalist elements who were now upsurging with evil designs. On the other hand police is turning a blind eye on Muslims’ pleas. After all, where should Muslims go for getting justice and to lodge complaint.
Prominent journalist Abdul Hafiz Lakhani said, “I welcome and congratulate the recent statement of Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi regarding the Muslims. I am very glad if he has had the change of heart. But, he must put it in action and visit the 2002 riot affected areas of Gulmarg Society and Naroda Patia and nab the real culprits and give justice to the victims’ families.”
Lakhani added that the Prime Minister had promised us that ‘achhe din aane wale ahi. But, for Muslims here in Gujarat is it not correct that “ache din chale gaye’? He questioned further making a point that slowly the terror and violence against Muslims who are already so backward and financially so poor in Gujarat it looks the much acclaimed ‘Vibrant Gujarat is turning out to be ‘Violent Gujarat’?
When asked about the forthcoming Bakrid festival, Siddiqui and Lakhani stated that why does the government not arrange an open market for the Muslims and help them buy animals at fair prices, why cows birth and complete records are not maintained. They feared that it is actually a big business of the VHP which is hand in gloves with the bootleggers handling the slaughtering issue and made it a business for money and also to terrorise Muslims and spread the religious hatred against Muslims. All this is taking place in the new ambience of police discrimination.
They said that they were soon going to organize a bigger programme to put forth the cases in public.
By Our Gujarat Bureau