Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

December 2005
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Community Round-Up

Five Get Life Term for Godhra Killing

Five persons owing allegiance to the BJP and the VHP were sentenced for life by the Godhra Fast Track Court on October 26 in a murder case related to the 2002 communal carnage in Gujarat. The five had been named in a police complaint for leading a mob on March 1, 2002 to the Referral Hospital in Halol and burning one, Samir Ayub Delolia. Ayub’s friend witnessed the murder from a distance and lodged the complaint the same evening. The judgement termed the murder ‘a pre-planned and consciously carried out act’ and held each accused individually liable for the crime. In all, 35 witnesses were examined who supported the prosecution. The Superintendent of Police for Panchamahals district, Raju Bhargav was also examined in the case. The court found the plea of the accused councilor Rathod, who claimed he was not present during the crime, unacceptable. Rathod had produced a doctor’s certificate in support. But on cross-examination of the doctor, it was not found convincing by the court and he was convicted. Those who were convicted by the Fast Track Court Judge R. D. Thaker are Pramodsinh Rathre, Vikramsinh Jadeja, Arunsinh Chauhan. Bhavesh Patel and Gopal Patel. In another case pertaining to rioting, 23 persons, some of them village level leaders affiliated to the BJP and VHP, were convicted for 10 years imprisonment and slapped a fine of Rs. 17,500 by a Godhra Fast Track court on October 11. The court judge F. U. Malek, observed that the accused have been handed down strict punishment as the victims had no connection with the Godhra train carnage and were made to suffer for no fault of theirs. Public Prosecutor, Piyush Gandhi said that the prosecution examined 24 witnesses, most of whom stuck to their statements made before the police, leading to the convictions. The convicted persons belong to villages in Kalol region. The complaint was lodged by Ahmad Haji Mohammed Hathida on March 21 from a camp organized for the riot victims in Godhra. The complaint said that rioters looted or burnt properties worth Rs. 10.63 lakh. The accused were nabbed and subsequently bailed and the case was committed to the sessions court in August 2004. Following the October 11, sentence, the accused were jailed.

Mumbai University Collects Data on Muslims
By A Staff Writer

The Mumbai University is collecting information on the number of students, teaching and non-teaching staff who are Muslim, affiliated to the varsity, on the basis of an order from the Prime Minister’s Office. (PMO). A circular from the PMO available with the varsity, asks for information on the status of Muslims, in the social, economical and educational field.

“A circular has been sent to all the colleges for collecting the data on Muslims. The information should reach us in 15 days. The statistics department would be tabulating the information,” said a university source. A high-powered committee of 15 members led by Rajendra Sachar, former Chief Justice Delhi High Court, was set up by the PMO to put together the information. The PM’s official website says that the committee would be taking steps based on the information collected to empower Muslims economically and socially and widen education and employment opportunities for them in the private sector. What’s on the agenda? Also on the agenda, is a 15-point programme for the welfare of Muslims. The fact-finding committee would be basically collecting the information and submitting it to the office. However, the Principals are not aware of any specific information asked about the Muslims. “The university normally collects information on all the reserved categories, which is required by the government every year. I do not remember any such specific information asked this year,” said T. S Shiware, Principal, Hinduja College, Charni Road. The university official also agreed that the circular may not have been received by all the principals due to the ongoing vacations and that it might take some time to collect the data.

Proposal For Reservation For Minorities in IITs and IIMs
By Andalib Akhter
New Delhi

The Committee of Minority Education today gave its recommendations to Union Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh, asking for reservations in IITs and IIMs. The Committee has complained that the number of minority students is falling drastically in prestigious institutes. Hence, it has asked the HRD ministry to make reservations on the same lines as those for SC/ST and backward classes. While the HRD Minister has decided to consider the recommendations, he will give a final decision only after consulting the concerned bodies. “We will talk to the institutions and talk to people and see what we can do. These are recommendations from a respected body, so we will consider them for discussion. We will have to look at the political and legal boundaries,” Singh said. “We have said everything we wanted to. Now the minister will see what can be done within the legal political boundaries,” said Committee chairman Zafar Ali Naqvi.

Other recommendations by the Committee are, setting up of a Central Madrassa Board, which should establish Madrassa Schools on the lines of Central Schools, looking into schemes like Sarvashikhsha Abhiyan, as they are not benefiting the minorities, especially in UP and Bihar. The recommendations came just days after the HRD Ministry received flak for its decision on reservation in Aligarh Muslim University. The HRD Minister, therefore, will have to tread carefully before he takes a final decision on the proposals.

Modernise Delhi Madrasas
New Delhi

The Delhi Minorities Commission has asked the Congress ruled Delhi government to pay attention to modernisation of madrasas in Delhi. The Commission said that there has been no response from the Education Department despite its efforts to draw the attention to the need to include madrasas in Delhi in the modernisation scheme of the central government. Waqf Board Chairman, Mateen Ahmed upheld the recommendation of the Commission and said that the city had about 2,000 madrasas which were doubling up as homes for destitutes and poor children.