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October 2004
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Community Roundup

Dr. Mumtaz Retires from Public Life
By A Staff Writer
Bangalore
Noted social worker and founder of the Al-Ameen Educational Society, Dr. Mumtaz Ahmed Khan announced his retirement from public life on September 23. The announcement carried by Al-Ameen spokesman, Urdu daily Salar, declared handing over the control of the remaining of the Al-Ameen institutions to his colleagues.

Khan said he would now devote his life to Allah’s worship and thanked all those who joined him in setting up a string of institutions during the last four decades.

The announcement came after month long convulsions within the House of Al-Ameen in Bangalore which saw resignations in early August from Al-Ameen Educational Society by Chairman, Syed Sadaqath Peeran, Hony. Secretary Irfan Razzack, Director (Campus) M. A. Ataulla, Vice- Chairman Atheeq Ahmed and Treasurer, Yunus Sait.

The genesis of the latest turn of events in the Al-Ameen Society can be traced to the financial crisis in the Amanath Cooperative Bank and the Al-Ameen Islamic Financial Investment Corporation (AIFIC), the financial arms of the group of institutions and the money-spinning Al-Ameen Medical College (at Bijapur) which has of late been undergoing crisis. A split between Dr. Mumtaz Ahmed Khan and Mr. K. Rahman Khan, Bank’s chairman for 23 years (and currently Deputy Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha) aggravated the crisis in the scam-tainted bank two years ago. However things seemed to be on the mend ever since the bank and the debt-ridden Medical College at Bijapur were taken over by Bangalore-based business tycoon, Mr. Ziaullah Shariff. Shariff undertook paying off debts, pulling the Medical College out of red and began to wield the broom and clear the cobwebs of corruption and lethargy in both institutions. However, continuing crisis in AIFIC (which has closed its operations in majority of its centres and is said to owe nearly Rs. 18 crores to the depositors) intensified pressures on the existing institutions grouped under Al-Ameen campus. The resignations from the Society followed pressure on members to release Rs. 1.25 crore from the institutions in order to bale out AIFIC. The Society members though yielded, but not before key members put in their papers.

Even while we went to the Press, it was not clear if the ‘sanyas’ statement by Khan would carry any credibility. Senior members within the Al-Ameen Group were sceptical if Khan was feeling the pulse of the Bangalore Muslim elite through such a sudden statement and looking for another opportunity to re-surface again. But pages of Salar a day later were bereft of any emotional reactions to the announcement which used to be the hallmark of such events earlier.

If indeed the sanyas is real, the Bangalore Muslims must honour Dr. Mumtaz Ahmed Khan, who doubtlessly dedicated his best years of life to the service of the community. But for him, the community would have been poorer of some institutions of worth. A brave soul, Khan served the community with selflessness in his initial years and raised a band of social workers who continue to work with vision. It certainly brings down the curtain on an illustrious career, the like of which may be difficult to produce.

In Search of Citizenship
By P. A Muhammad
Kozhikode
The National Commission for Women(NCW) is in the process of preparing a covenant to deal with the problems of women deserted by husbands who are foreign citizens. NCW member, Nirmala Seetharaman, was inaugurating a workshop on ‘Arabi Marriages’ and Muslim Women’s issues organised by NISA,a women’s forum in Kozhikode recently. After the inaugural ceremony, there was an interactive session. The tales of the likes of Asma were heart-breaking. She was born to an Iranian father in Dubai, mother hailing from Kozhikode. She longs to meet her deserted father. But the Citizenship issue is really making her life difficult. Similar is the case of 19 year-old Faisal Abdullah and 15-year old Ahmad Abdullah.They were not granted Citizenship. The marriage of their mother, Amina (Kozhikode) was held in 1984,with an Yemeni citizen. According to the NCW, the issue demands urgent attention in view of the psychological, social and financial burdens these women are subjected to. NISA, the local Women’s forum, will present a report to the NCW, based on the statements of the deserted wives and children of foreign nationals. The Commission held Public hearings of women in Kochi also.

Cyber Café with a Difference!
By Seema Saleem
Hyderabad
Like every city, there are thousands of cyber cafes in every nook and corner of Hyderabad, but Limra Cyber Gate is a café with a difference. Located in Hyderguda, Hyderabad, it’s owner is Mohammed Arif who campaigns against internet pornography. Mohammed Arif started this cyber café a year ago and noticed that most of the youth and some times even the elderly, visit the cyber cafe to browse pornographic websites and waste their time and money. He decided that he will not allow anyone to browse such websites in his cyber café. Arif Mohammed has been implementing the “law against porn” since the last three months and he throws out people who surf porn sites in his cyber café. When you enter the Limra Cyber Gate, you will find boards pasted on the walls with warnings that anyone browsing porn sites would be fined and asked to leave the cyber café. It is high time, owners of other cyber cafes take a lesson from Mohammed Arif and do their bit to cleanse the society from such evils.

The Making of Another Gujarat
By Andalib Akhter
Jaipur
More than 200 Muslim families have migrated from the tribal area of
Rajasthan after they were terrorised by both the police and tribals.

After losing power at the centre, the BJP, is now concentrating on the states where it is in power. The Hindutva agenda is being implemented in these states.

Currently, the reports from Rajasthan are alarming. Despite her image of being progressive and liberal, the chief minister, Vasundhara Raje, is moving with the same confidence and decisiveness as her counterpart in Gujarat. The state government has selectively withdrawn a large number of cases related to communal conflicts filed during the previous Congress government in the state. During the last budget session, the government issued the order for the withdrawal of 122 cases, while the fate of 68 others is under consideration. It does not need much guessing that most of these cases are against the activists of the RSS, the VHP, the Bajrang Dal, the Vanvasi Kalyan Parishad and Shiv Sena. However, cases registered against members of the minority community in the same communal incidents have not been withdrawn. The government has also lifted the ban on distribution, acquisition and carrying of trishuls imposed by the previous Congress government last year. Now ‘Trishul diksha’ programmes are already underway and the VHP has threatened to distribute 30 lakh trishuls in the state. The state. efforts are also on to incite and organise tribals against Muslims. At the provocation of communal elements, a 5,000-strong mob of tribals in Sarada village in Udaipur district attacked two Muslim localities on July 30 this year. A major bloodshed was prevented only due to timely intervention by the police officer in charge of the area. Yet, it was a successful experiment of communal forces to incite tribals against Muslims on the Gujarat pattern. The police had launched a crackdown on the Muslim residents of Sarada after a visit of the state home minister, Gulab Chand Kataria, in the last week of July. More than 200 Muslim families have now migrated from the area. The BJP ministers from all the BJP ruled states, including Rajasthan, declared that the old (the communal NCERT textbooks of the BJP regime at the centre) would continue in their states.