Volume 15-11 No:179
New Delhi: Once again the deadly TADA is back, this time with a different name the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO). Despite stiff resistance from the votaries of civil liberties and human right activists, the Home Minister and his group succeeded in promulgation of Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO) hurriedly.
The Ordinance clearly indicates that in the ‘new war against terrorism’ the human rights and civil liberties are also going to be a casualty. The law intended as replacement for the Terrorist and Disruptive Activity (prevention) Act (TADA) which was allowed to lapse in 1995 because of public outrage at the manner in which it was being abused by the police.
TADA was also spectacularly ineffective as an anti-terrorism law. According to the Home Ministry, 95 per cent of TADA trials had ended in acquittals by 1994 and only one per cent of those arrested were convicted. By the 1997, the conviction rate climbed to 2.5 per cent. The critics of the new Ordinance believe that it is an old wine in the new bottle and is intended to ruthlessly crush any kind of anti –establishment activities even in the form of peaceful dhranas, picketing, procession etc. In the view of senior criminal lawyer S. Bajaj, the ordinance “sounds suspiciously like TADA through a back door,” The POTO invests police with wide powers, which can be misused in dealing with terrorist suspects. Home Minister L. K. Advani and his brand of leaders had long advocated such an ordinance to replace TADA but in face of stiff oppositions from human right bodies they were unable to get it through. Taking advantage of current mood of insecurity the government decided the timing was just right. The cabinet hurriedly cleared the ordinance, which is likely to be passed in the winter session of the Parliament.
Opposition parties will find it difficult not to play along for fear of being thrown on the wrong side of the divide between those that want to fight terrorism and those that don’t. However, the Samajwadi Party has openly opposed the promulgation of the ordinance and has decided to vote against it in the Parliament. The Ordinance gives the police power to search any vehicle, vessel or aircraft, house, office or building suspected to be used by the terrorists. It defines a terrorist act as action against the unity, integrity, security or sovereignty of India. A member of any banned organisation is also considered a terrorist. It becomes obligatory on citizens to cooperate with investigating officers and provide all information on terrorists. Failure to do so will be an offence. Death sentence or life imprisonment will be the punishment for those convicted of terrorist acts that have led to loss of lives. In any other case, when there is no loss of lives, imprisonment for life. Those harbouring terrorists can be similarly punished by jail terms up to three years, which can again be extended to imprisonment for the life and a hefty fine.
Confession made by an accused before a police officer- not lower in rank than Dy.SP, will be admissible in the court as evidence. Under normal law they are not. There is ample ground for this to be misused. An officer not below the rank of DSP will investigate an offence under the ordinance. Information of ‘terrorist’s’ arrest must be provided to a family member immediately. A lawyer can be present during the interrogation by police but it is not clear if a lawyer is required when a confession is being taken. It may be recalled that the people of minority community have already borne the brunt of the misuse of TADA in previous years. Now it is to be seen whether the new Ordinance will target the same group or interested in tackling the menace of terrorism in true sense.
However, M. N. Ghatate, a member of Law Commission who played a major role in drafting the new Ordinance denies that it is new wine in old bottle. “We have talked to a cross section of people including human right activists before drafting this and have come up with right mixture, a tough but humane law,” he said. It is to be seen how the state acts tough and humane at the same time.
Mumbai: The Haj Committee has decided to charge only Rs. 12,000 for the Haj airfare this year too. It decided to retain the government subsidy for the Haj 2002 and continue to charge Rs. 12,000 for flights between Indian destinations and Jeddah. This is contrary to indications given earlier that the Haj airfare might go upto to Rs. 15,000. It seems the new Union Aviation Minister Shahnawaz Hussain, the lone Muslim MP of the BJP in the Lok Sabha, was instrumental in retaining the fares at the past level despite unviability of such measures in the current aviation scenario. The minister appears to have advised the Union Government in this context in order to mollify the Muslim opinion in Uttar Pradesh where the BJP is facing formidable challenge from the Samajwadi Party during coming Assembly elections. Hussain is likely to be projected in a big way in UP by the party which badly lacks Muslim faces.
There has been growing opposition to Haj subsidy during the last few years from within Muslim community which has been urging the Union Government to make a new Haj Act in order to organise the Hajj on a modern scale in the currently altered air embarkation scenario. Aviation sources point out that Haj airfare should have been pegged around Rs. 30,000 as it involves four flights between Jeddah and Indian cities in which twice the planes have to fly empty. Last year the Government of India paid out Rs. 150 crores towards Haj airfare subsidy to Air India. It is quite likely that the Hindutva forces would utilise the largesse to mobilise the cadres on ‘minority appeasement’ plank in the UP elections.
DD for Airfare: In a press release, the Haj Committee has requested the pilgrims for the Haj 2002 to send a bank draft of Rs. 12,000 drawn in favour of “The Executive Officer, Haj Committee(India),” to the Haj House, 7-A, M. R. A. Marg (Palton Road), Mumbai-400001. The DD should accompany a covering letter indicating the name, address and the cover number. The cover number should be mentioned on the reverse side of the DD too. Last date for receipt of the DD in Mumbai is November 30, 2001.
Mumbai: The Haj pilgrims this years will feel more comfortable as the accommodation area per pilgrim is being increased from 2.5 square metre to 3 sq. metre during the forthcoming season. This was stated by Abdul Rashid Mir, Executive Officer of the Haj Committee in an interview with Islamic Voice. Mir said all building being selected for the Haj 2002 would have lifts, phone connections, fridges and gas connection in the kitchen.
Replying to queries from the Islamic Voice pertaining to complaints received last year, Mir said since Indians preferred to stay within one kilometre area from the Harem Mosque, most houses are congested and lack in civic amenities. He said pilgrims from Turkey, Malaysia, and Indonesia would not mind staying even beyond 1.5 km periphery of the harem Mosque and thereby get good accommodation. This enables them to use transport on a portion of distance from their place of stay to the Harem Mosque. He said the profile of the Indian Hajis would need to be much younger in order to select those areas for residence. Explaining the difficulties, Mir said since most hotels are hired for accommodation of pilgrims, the lifts or bathrooms meant for say 10 persons on a floor have to serve 100 people during the Haj. “This leads to queues and inconvenience to Indian pilgrims”, he pointed out. He informed that even the Saudi Haj norms have laid down that there should be one toilet for 12 pilgrims.
Mir said the Haj Committee had to give up plans to standardise the size of air baggage last year, lest there be charge of corruption. He however pointed out that the Haj committee now plans to ask the Airlines taking pilgrims to Jeddah itself to proivde standard size luggage box and bag. He said colour coding would be introduced for luggage for pilgrims according to their point of embarkation i.e., luggage of pilgrims boarding from one city would be carrying tags of the same colour.
Abdur Rashid Mir informed that the Haj committee has prepared a documentary titled Ek Hindustani Haj ke Safar par to be shown to pilgrims this year as part of the orientation programme. This has been produced in collaboration with the Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi. The Haj Guide Book prepared by the Haj Committee is also being produced in 11 Indian languages.
Bangalore: For the first time 29 Muslim candidates have been selected for the Karnataka Administrative Services (KAS) out of a total 403 posts. Of these 10 are Muslim women. Among the total 403 posts, 99 were taken by women. 18 Muslim candidates were selected under the 4 per cent exclusive quota for the Muslim community under 2B category of reservation for the Other Backward Classes. One candidate came through category 1 while 10 competed through general merit. Category 1 is reserved for certain very backward communities such as dervish, phulera, takkara, chapparband etc. This category also has a lot of castes from the Hindu community. Altogether 160 Muslim candidates had appeared among nearly 5000 candidates. Muslim constitute 12 per cent of Karnataka population. Brahmins who constitute nearly 4 per cent of the state population, took 30 per cent KAS positions.
Several of the Muslim candidates have risen from very humble positions. Akram Pasha, a lecturer, whose father is a driver, has been selected for the Assistant Commissioner of Commercial Taxes post. Shakila Yasmeen, a young widow, who had been appointed at his husband’s position as a first division clerk in the state government service, will be appointed as Assistant Registrar of Cooperative Socities. Wazeer Ali Khan, currently a sub inspector of police in Dharwar, will also take up post of Assistant Commissioner in the Commercial Taxes. Zohra Jabeen whose father runs a bicycle shop in Channapatna has been selected for Tahsildar post. She is currently a teacher. Similarly Aleem Pasha of Mysore will also be a Tahsildar. His father is a retired teacher. Muhammad Ghouse of Manavi will be a Deputy Superintnedent of Excise. His father is a village accountant. Zubaidah Khatoon from Mangalore who appeared from Shimoga will be appointed as a Assistant Controller, State Accounts. Yasmeen Walekar, daughter of a government pharmacist, will be appointed as a Labour Officer. B. K. Saleem, son of a fish seller, will also occupy the position of a Assistant Registrar of Cooperative Societies. Rehsma Tahseen, daughter of a retired lecturer, will be a Block Development Officer. Subhan Baksh of Chintamani, K Raja Bakhsh B. Kittoor of Dharwar will find place in Assistant Registrar of Cooperative Societies. Parveen D. Naik, Naseem Begum of South Canara and Khaleel Ahmed of Chikaballapur will join as Treasury Officers. All these candidates appeared for the KPSC examination in 1999. However, the selections were delayed due to litigation and irregularities.
In 1997 batch of KPSC selections, 26 Muslims were selected out of 390 total candidates. However there was no exclusive reservation in force at that time.
Kollam (Kayamkulam Yoonus from Trivandrum): The Department of Posts has brought out a postage stamp on Thangal Kunju Musaliar, a Muslim philanthropist and founder of Thangal Kunju Musaliar (TKM) College of Engineering at Kollam (Quilon), currently the largest engineering college in the state. Chief Post Master General of Kerala Smt.Vimala Kumar released the commemorative stamp by handing over the album to S. H. Musliar, the President of the T. K. M. Trust. The Rs.4 stamp carries the portrait of a turbaned Musaliar on an ivory colour background. Musaliar possessed rare enterprise and employed 25,000 persons in 26 cashew processing units in Kerala and introduced several labour welfare measures. He was designated as the largest single employer in the world by the Fortune magazine. He set up the TKM Engineering College in 1958. Today the TKM Educational Trust manages a string of institutions. He authored several books on industry and commerce and also brought out a weekly Prabhatam.
The stamp release function was presided over by Babu Divakaran, Minister for Labour and the Philately museum was opened by T. M. Jacob, Minister for Irrigation. Messrs Premachandran, P. Rajendran, P. C. Thomas all M.Ps., Sabitha Begum, Mayor.
Bangalore: Muslims in France who number four million among France’s 56 million people have though emerged as the largest minority, are lowly placed, are educationally backward and do not have any concerted plan to integrate themselves with the mainstream French society.
This was stated here by Dr. Aminah Mohammad, a researcher of Indian origin who has completed her Ph.D from Sorbonne University on “Indian Islam in Diaspora”. Dr. Aminah who was here as part of her post-doctoral research work talked to the Islamic Voice. She said majority of Muslims in France are of North African origin, mainly Algerians, Moroccans or Tunisians and Black Muslims from Senegal, and Mali. Very few South Asian Muslims have taken up residence in France. She said as immigration has stopped since 1974, the numbers are now being added mainly by migration of family members for the unification of family or through illegal immigrants.
Dr. Aminah said Muslims are mainly in the lower social and economic strata due to their low educational attainment and professional skills. She said the educational awareness exists only in certain pockets of Muslim immigrants and there is no concerted attempt to mobilize general awareness. “This is not possible also as Muslims tend to organize on lines of ethnic or linguistic identity or on the basis of their past nationality. This has led to their concentration in same neighbourhood which resemble ghettoes. They mainly work as masons, scavengers and other take up menial jobs”
Asked if the threat of French nationalist movement still being a threat against the minorities, she said, the nationalist movement has weakened owing to three factors: 1-economic situation has improved. The movement was at its peak in 80s as economic situation was worsening. 2- Chief representative of the movement, Le Pen has divided and weakened. And 3- the Muslim’s disproportionately large contribution to France’s victory in world football has enhanced their image. The locals now consider them as part of the French society. Similarly some North African-Arab actors have contributed to Muslim image in French cinema.
Dr. Amina said Arab writers such as Negiub Mehfooz are highly appreciated in France but are disliked by the local Egyptians. She said generally Islam’s image in France is not good but individual Muslim contributions to France earn a good measure of praise. She said writers such as Roger Garaudy (now Raza Garaudy, Opposition leader for several decade who converted to Islam in early 80s and authored several books) has made considerable intellectual impact on the French society but no impact on the local Muslims. She said not much Islamic literature has been produced in French and Muslims tend to have a pan-Islamic approach to issues rather than crafting a response that could take local realities in consideration.
Dr. Aminah said French society is an extremely secular one and religion is a matter of personal choice and part of one’s personal identity. She said France has seven lakh Jews who wield considerable influence on the French society due to their intellectual worth, financial clout and contribution to the local media, literature and cinema etc.
About her own doctoral research, Dr. Aminah Mohammad said South Asian Muslims tend to become more staunch Muslims when they go to the United States in terms of religious practices.
Latur (Maharashtra): An ambitious school projecpt initiated by Madhyamam, a Malayalam daily of Kerala in quake-hit Latur district of Maharashtra seems to be dying due to neglect. The school in Gubial village with 25 children, 10 classrooms, five-acre land and two staff members is supposed to be financed by the Madhyamam Relief Fund Trust(MRFT). But no financial aid has come for the last five years. With the trustees away in Kerala, the locals having no control over the property and the organization, and there being no contact between the two, the school is a picture of utter neglect.
“It has not upgraded despite passage of seven years,” says Sadiq Ahmed who coordinated the project from Latur. Permission for the functioning of the school is yet to be obtained and the local people who are keen to have it recognized, feel that the Kerala based sponsors have forgotten the project after having started it in 1994. The project was inaugurated by the then Speaker of the Lok Sabha Shivraj Patil.
The five-acre plot for MRFT project in Gubial village in quake affected Latur District.
The MRFT project included a hospital, a community centre, and a tailoring centre along with the school complex. But the sponsors lost interest six month after the project began. The local people who monitor this project under Madhyamam Samaj Sudhar Kendra are clearly in a limbo. They are supposed to look after the property but have no say in the management. “None knows why the Kerala based trustees have turned a Nelson’s eye.”said Sadiq Ahmed, the local coordinator.The Kendra barely manages to raise Rs. 2000 every month to pay for a teacher and a watchman. The Madhyamam representative Abdul Majeed based at Mumbai was coordinating with the project for sometime. But he is untraceable for the last so many years. The efforts to call the MRFT at Calicut have evoked stock reply that MRFT Chairman V. K. Hamzah is in Bahrain. (He is also editor in chief of Gulf Madhyamam from Bahrain, sister publication of Madhyamam) The locals have no authority over the property which also includes a jeep. So much for the sympathy generated for the quake victims. But no one knows how it vanished so soon after the launch of the project which has already been invested with considerable amount of publicly generated funds.
Gulbarga: The K.C.T Engineering College here commenced its first academic session on October 6. The courses were inaugurated by Dr. P. R. Patil, Principal PDA Engineering College. The college has been set up by H.S.M.A Kallerawan Charitable Trust headed by Mr. Qamarul Islam, Housing Minister in Karnataka who represents Gulbarga in the Assembly. The college has been named after a local saint Hazrath Shaikh Minhajuddin Ansari Kallerawan. The campus is situated on a 20-acre land in Gulbarga.
Mr. G. D. Minajigi is the principal. The AICTE has approved the college while the Vishveshwariah Telchnological University of Belgaum has granted affiliation. The college has well-equipped laboratories, libraries, hostel and expert teaching faculty.
Engg. Seats without Donations : The K.C.T Engineering College would offer seats to meritorious candidates without donation, states a College press release. Those who have completed PUC with good academic record will be given preference. The college offers 4-year courses in Information Technology, Electronics & Communication, Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science Engeenering. For further details contact Mohd. Yusuf, Joint Secretary, KCT Engineering College, KCT Campus, Gulbarga:585104, Ph: 08472:58551
Trivandrum:The contributions of C. H. Mohammed Koya, the late Chief Minister of Kerala were remembered here in the first memorial lecture held at the Press Club Hall under the auspices of Kerala Sahridaya Vedi. Kerala Governor S. S. Kang, delivering the lecture said Koya was instrumental in educating the Muslim masses of Kerala and bringing them to the forefront of the society. He was a doyen among the politicians having multifaceted personality. Kang said Koya held almost all portfolios in the state cabinet but maintained a stainless character. A prolific writer, traveller and above all he was a humanist to the core. The function was presided over by Minister for Industries P. K. Kunhalikutty. PWD Minister and son of Koya Dr M.K. Muneer, M. Vijaykumar former speaker, Thalekunnil Basheer Ex. M. P., Dr. George Onakkoor, Channamkara M. P. Kunju and Muktha Murali spoke on the occasion.
New Delhi: The Islamic Fiqh Academy will shortly bring out the Urdu translation of the Encyclopedia of Fiqh prepared by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Kuwait. It will run into 40 volumes each with 500 pages. According to a press release from the Academy, the Encyclopedia deals with all the four schools of Islamic fiqh. It also carries the life sketches of leading jurists and introduction of important books on fiqh.
The realease said translation of 35 voumes is ready for publication. Current issues impinging upon the fiqh but still being debated have been included in appendices. For details contact the Academy at: 161-Jogabai, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi-110025, ph. 6821779, 6926106. Website: www.ifa-india.org
Mumbai: Over 500 Muslim hotels in the city have launched a boycott against the popular American beverages Coco Cola and Pepsi in protest against the barbaric bombing of Afghanistan. The boycott call against the American goods was issued by the Ulema and the two cold drinks are bearing the burnt of the popular rage in India. Calls were issued in Bangalore too for boycotting multinational products such as Colgate and Palmolive. The imams urged the Friday audiences to buy Indian products such as Vajradanti and Meswak toothpastes, Rooh Afza and made-in-India soaps, drugs, cosmetics, cars, blades and perfumes. Similar calls have been issued in states like Rajasthan, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Pamphlets in Malegaon urged the Muslims to “Be Indian, Buy Indian”
Bangalore: Meantime newsmagaine will shift its headquarters from Bangalore to Kozhicode(Calicut) in Kerala. The fortnightly was brought out by a Kerala group in February 1999 from Bangalore as a 10-day newsmagazine. Finding the slot less appealing, the magazine was converted into a fortnightly in July 2000. Mr. M. P. Yeshwanth Kumar was heading it as Editor from the beginning. However Prof. Yaseen Ashraf is tipped to be the new editor at Kozhicode.
Former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali visited the ruins of the World Trade Center a few days after the attack. When reporters asked how he felt about the suspects sharing his Islamic faith, Ali responded pleasantly, “How do you feel about Hitler sharing yours?”
The BBC has been criticized for advising its correspondents in West Asia not to describe Israeli killings of Palestinians as “assassination”, and instead stick to the Israeli euphemism “targeted attacks”. “Assassination” is to be used while reporting or referring to the killing of leading political or religious figures or high-ranking Government officials. Palestinian killings of Israelis, however, would continue to be described as “assassinations” or “murder”.
According to The Independent’s West Asia correspondent, Robert Fisk, BBC reporters were “amazed” when they received a memorandum suggesting that there were “lots of other words for death” and the word assassination should be used only for high-profile political murders. He called it “covert censorship” pointing out that so far only the CNN “held the prize for soft reporting on Israel”.
Twentyfive quintals (2500 kgs) of mutton was prepared for the marriage of a boy from an elite family in the Valley recently. Ten poor girls could have been married off with the money spent on mutton alone. In order to flaunt their influence in official circles, the affluent families fix the dates when their areas will have no power (load-shedding is rotated in parts of Srinagar) and then prevail upon the authorities to keep the light on. This is done to impress the in-law side. Newer varieties are constantly being added to waaazwan ( Kashmiri cuisine). The number of chatnis accompanying wazwaan is another status symbol.
All this is telling upon the poor people. It is they who are not able to compete in the market and their daughters remain unmarried. Rewritten and Edited from a report in The Muslim Kashmir, dt. Sep. 23-30, 2000
We welcomed the decision of the Talibans to ban the cultivation of poppy (opium) with the entire world. But unfortunately, this is not their intention. The real matter is that the opium-poppy cultivation had increased so much that it had brought down the prices. The opium smugglers are members of the Taliban government too. They went to the council meeting to ban the cultivation so that the surplus stocks of opium could be sold at much higher prices which will go up with the depleting stocks. Thus they will be meeting their financial needs selling the current stocks at higher prices and once it runs out of stock and if the Taliban continue to exist, I am sure they will reverse the decision and restart cultivation.
Commander Ahmed Shah Masood of Northern Alliance in an interview to the AIM Television on August 13, nearly a month before he was killed in a terrorist attack. The Hindu, September 11, 2001