Muslim Role in Freedom Ignored : Qazi Islam
By A Staff Writer
SRIRANGAPATNA :(Karnataka): The Milli Council launched its Caravan-e-Azadi from the tomb of legendary hero of Mysore, Fateh Ali Tippu Sultan on September 21 to highlight the role of Muslims in the Freedom Struggle of India. Nearly 5000 people joined the caravan at the point of origin, the Tippu Sultan Waqf Estate in the small village of Ganjam to proceed to Mysore where a huge crowd gathered in Meelad Bagh to hear the leaders.
Speaking at the launch ceremony Milli Council President Maulana Mujahidul Islam Qasimi said the innumerable sacrifices made by Muslims for the cause of India’s freedom were ignored by the media and historians in the backdrop of the partition. He said the entire religious leadership and considerable section of political leaders stood opposed to the partition of the country in 1947. He recounted the events from the lives of Maulana Mohammad Ali, Shaukat Ali, Asfaqullah Khan, Barkatullah Khan, and traced the history of Khilafat Movement, Reshmi Roomal Tehrik etc, while arguing for the balanced projection of the freedom movement. Council general secretary, Dr. Manzoor Alam, urged the youth to take up constructive work and to draw inspiration from the lives of stalwarts of freedom struggle. He said the country will need to discover the virtues of federalism very soon. Sikh leader of Akal Takht, Tasbir Singh Rode, accused the Congress(I) of following Divide and Rule policy, a legacy of its British predecessors. He said the foundation stone of the Golden Temple in Amritsar was laid by Meyan Sahib Meer, a Muslim saint and that the two sons of Sikh guru Gobind Singh were sheltered by a Muslim nawab. He recalled that foreign and defence ministers under Maharajah Ranjit Singh’s rule were Muslims.
Most significant speech of the occasion was made by Delhi based renowned columnist Rajinder Puri who said the criminalisation of politics had robbed the people of the fruits of freedom struggle. He said the course of freedom struggle needed fresh probes as those who claim to have earned the freedom for the nation manipulated the politics in such a way that India had to lose two wings, viz. four western provinces and East-Bengal. He said two large linguistic groups, Punjabis and Bengalis, were divided on the basis of religion and were pushed into a corner so as to unwillingly become part of Pakistan. He said the concept of Pakistan was first mooted by Lala Lajpat Rai of Arya Samaj who wrote about a separate ‘Homeland for Muslims’ in The Tribune in 1928 when Muslims had not thought of it even in their wildest dreams. He said Gandhiji was forgotten soon after 1947 and with the advent of Pandit Nehru a ‘dynasty’ took over the reins in Delhi. He linked the Indira Gandhi era to ‘coterie rule’ and Rajiv Gandhi era to ‘mafia rule’. He said politicians from all parties were involved in hawala scandal but only a few non-political youth were suffering under detention. He warned against criminalisation of politics and over centralization of the polity. He said in 1947 the country became free but people were yet to be empowered.
Dr. Sheik Ali, Ibrahim Sulaiman Sait, Mufti Ashraf Ali, etc. also spoke. The caravan set out for Calicut the next morning from where it had reached Kolar in Karnataka via Chennai on September 30. Reports of warm reception all along the route were pouring in till the Islamic Voice went to the press. The caravan is slated to reach Dargah Hazrat Nizamuddin in New Delhi on November 7.
By A Staff Writer
Four precious lives were lost, property worth millions was ravaged or burnt and normal life was disrupted for a couple of days following violence over a piece of Eidgah in South Bangalore on September 17. Though all this became known the very evening, what has remained unsaid is that the violence stemmed from an attempt to bypass the law, the authorised committee and the recognised norms to achieve ends which appeared noble but were motivated by greed and fame. All this led the two groups of Muslims to bring upon the whole community infamy and violence in a tranquil town.
The scene of the initial burst of violence was Jayanagar Eidgah, a piece of land measuring five acres and 33 guntas in the commercial hub of the City’s oldest among the new extensions which is known as Asia’s largest colony. Having come to Muslims as a gift from the erstwhile rulers of Mysore in 1935, the large piece of land had been in use as a burial ground till 1971 and as Eidgah all along. The Basavanagudi Mosque Committee had been managing the property and is the recognised owner of the property, be it with the corporation authorities or the courts. However, a portion of the land measuring 40 feet and 90 feet juts into a main thoroughfare and has been a bone of contention. The Municipal Corporation has been requesting the Managing Committee to hand over the piece of the land for straightening of the road and smoothening of the traffic flow. The Managing Committee, without contesting the legitimacy of the demand, has been requesting the corporation to release the Khata (registered deed) and Kandaya (the receipts) for the property together with permission for construction of a Muslim educational complex and a Mosque. However, for reasons best known to the Government, the promises to this effect have never been translated into action. Even Chief Ministers were unable to get this done. One wonders if this is the case of ‘Government proposing and bureaucracy disposing’.
While the authorised Managing Committee, with its office just a kilometre away in nearby Basavanagudi, had been awaiting official action, several local Muslims formed an unauthorised managing committee called Muslim Forum which put up an improvised Mosque at the site which is recognised as an unauthorised structure by the authorised committee as well as by the Municipal Corporation. None however denies the necessity for a Mosque in the area.
On September 17, the unauthorised committee and the local office of the Municipal Corporation entered into a verbal mutual ‘agreement’ to hand over the obstructing piece of the land by demolishing the compound wall in lieu of ‘permission’ to dig a bore-well in the compound of the Mosque. The ‘deal’ was brokered between the two parties reportedly by a general secretary of the Janata Dal who had defected to the party from Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) a few years ago and the traders of the Jayanagar Commercial Complex. The local Corporation office has, however, been denying any deal following the eruption of the violence. Now everyone recognises that the digging of the bore-well, was as unauthorised an act as the removal of the compound wall.
As the two sides were engaged in putting the ‘deal’ into action, a section of the traders who had appointed agent provocateurs began taunting the members of the community. Meanwhile, a bulldozer of the Municipal Corporation had arrived at the site to expedite the removal of the compound wall. Arrival of the bulldozer led to the apprehension among the men mobilised by the Muslim Forum in collusion with the politicians that while the obstructing piece of the land would be taken away speedily, the members would not be able to raise the new compound wall. Nor would the digging be completed in the appointed duration. This created a rumpus and led to pelting of stones at the bulldozer. Then all hell broke loose. A gang of miscreants joined the fray and a pitched battle of brickbats took place. This however led to rumours that the ‘Mosque was demolished’. The sight of the bulldozer was itself enough to reinforce the rumours.
Then on, the rumours flowed thick and fast and enraged mobs set aflame dozens of vehicles, and some shops. The traders of the commercial complex had however downed their shutters well in advance and were spared of the mob fury. However, the shopkeepers in the nearby Tilaknagar bore the brunt of the miscreants. A police constable Satyanarayana was brutally murdered by the mobs. Later in the evening, firing on furious mobs in Guruppanpalya killed two boys who were buried the next day amid high tension.
The police acted swiftly and brought the situation under control by night. Tension however subsided after the burial of the victims. The unauthorised agenda of the Muslim Forum remained unfinished. But the Muslims learnt a lesson as to how the bypassing of the law could make them walk into the trap set up by a communal lobby which operates everywhere. The improvised Mosque stands intact with some scars of attack and brick-batting.
The city’s prominent Muslims and the Ulama appealed for peace and assured the misled masses of the Mosque’s safety. The imam of the City’s Jama Masjid, Riyazur Rahman, played a leading role by pinpointing the complicity of the anti-socials.
The legal dispute however stands where it was. There is no word from the Municipal Corporation as to the sanction of the construction of a Mosque and educational complex. Nor the road free from the obstructing piece of land. It is for the Government and the administration to find out what and who blocks the promises from materialising. Meanwhile, the Court’s status quo bars both the parties from meddling with the current status. Unless reason prevails on both sides, nothing can alleviate the suffering of the people.
1936: Five acres and 33 guntas of land of Byasandra village (now Jayanagar Extension) was gifted by His Majesty the Maharajah of Mysore through Municipal Corporation to Muslims of Basavanagudi Masjid Committee for the purpose of burial ground and Eidgah. The place remained in continuous use of Muslims for the two purposes till 1957.
1958 : City Improvement Trust Board (CITB), now re-Christened as Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), forms the Jayanagar 4th Block Layout. They want to take out road through the Eidgah land but are not allowed to do so following objections from Basavanagudi Mosque Committee.
1970 : The Municipal Corporation passes the order that burial be stopped. The Mosque Committee took the case to the Court and gets the stay. Burials continue. The case moves from civil court to sessions court to High Court.
1972 : The Municipal Corporation files a writ petition that the property belonged to the Corporation but fails to establish the claim when the High Court says that the Basavanagudi Mosque Committee is in possession of the property since 1936. “If any dispute”, the Court directs the Corporation, “appropriate civil court may be approached for the adjudication.” As of now no authority has challenged the land’s ownership.
1974 : The High Court orders the burial to be closed but use as Eidgah to be continued.
Meanwhile, the Government of Mysore Waqf Survey identifies the property as Waqf property and the Government declares it as such. No authority challenges the notification within the specified six months period.
1975 : Chief Minster Devraj Urs declares before the Eid congregation that if the Mosque Committee agrees to giving of a piece of land measuring 90 feet X 40 feet, he will issue orders for construction of Educational Complex and the pucca Mosque under Waqf property.
Immediately afterwards, the Government Order for widening of the road (on the Edigah’s land) was issued but no simultaneous order for educational complex was issued. Subsequent Chief Ministers also promised the quid pro quo but none did the needful.
The disputes stands here legally.
1990 : A Muslim Forum was formed in Jayanagar Fourth Block and registered three days later. An improvised Mosque was put up on the Eidgah land near the obstructing piece of land.
1997 : Water for ablution was being supplied by a Muslim property owner in the vicinity. When this property was sold to a non-Muslim, the question arose about the future of the water supply even though the new owner continues to supply the water. This property is however not registered yet. The Muslim Forum contacted some donors for digging of the bore-well. As the digging started, objections were raised by non-Muslims who referred to the Court’s stay against altering the status of the property.
17th September 1997: Violence erupts when the two sides enter an agreement bypassing the authorised committee. The Mystery remains as to how Municipal corporation bulldozers were used.
HYDERABAD : The death of Editor, Radiance Views weekly and senior leader of the Jamat-e-Islami Hind, Moulana Syed Yusuf here on Tuesday sent waves of shock and grief. His funeral on Wednesday evening was attended by thousands of people as prominent Muslim personalities from the cross sections of the society paid their respects and tribute to a sincere and dedicated activist of the Islamic movement in India. Apart from being the Assistant General Secretary of the Jamat-e-Islami, Syed Yusuf was also associated with a number of organisations including the Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat and Muslim Personal Law Board. He was also among the founder members of the Forum for Democracy and Communal Amity (FDCA) along with the top intellectuals like Justice Krishna Iyer. Kudlip Nayyar and Amrik Singh. After playing an active role in the Jamaat in Andhra Pradesh he moved to Jamaat Headquarters in New Delhi as the secretary (Public relations). Later he also took the responsibility as the editor of the Radiance Views weekly.
Apart from being a good orator Moulana Yusuf was also a good writer, both in English and Urdu, articulating the Islamic point of view on developments and issues confronting the country and the community. 58-years-old Moulana Yusuf, a post graduate in law and graduate in journalism and public administration, quit the state government job in the State Legislative Assembly to become a full time worker of the Jamaat. He was suffering from liver disorder for quite some time. After coming to Hyderabad last week, he died after a serious but brief illness on Sept.30. He is survived by his widow, six sons and six daughters. His funeral was attended by Ameer-e-Jamaat Moulana Sirajul Hasan and Secretary General of the Jamat Moulana Mohammed Jafar and a number of other office bearers of other organisations.
An ever smiling person, Syed Yusuf encouraged the youth to engage in diverse social and constructive activities. He had few qualms in reaching out to people from other ideological denominations to strive for peace, harmony, prosperity and progress.
By A.B. Masoud
NEW DELHI : Three Muslim political parties have formed a political front under the name “Milli Tamhoori Mahaz” on the pattern of the United Front, in a bid to arrest their study decline. Mr. G.M. Banatwala MP was elected as the first Chairman of the Mahaz.
The Mahaz, comprising Indian Union Muslim League, (IUML), All India Majilis-e-Ittehadul Muslemeen (MIM) and All India Muslim Majilis (MM), has set up a steering committee. Besides, Mr. Banatwala, President IMUL, Mr. Sultan Sahabuddin Owaisi MP President MIM; and Mr. Mohammad Samiullah, President, MM, the Steering Committee comprised of three members from each of the constituent parties.
A joint meeting of these parties held here on September 17 expressed deep concern and dismay at the lack of effective efforts by the various political parties to face the fascist forces. The meeting has termed Kalyan Singh’s takeover as Chief Minister of UP as a serious affront to democracy.
Though for the namesake all these parties project a Pan-Indian picture, they are more or less regional or sub-regional outfits. The IUML is confined to Kerala and has 13 MLAs and 3 MPs. The MIM has only a father-son team maintaining a token representation in the Lok Sabha and Andhra Pradesh Assembly. In fact, its splinter, the Majilis Bachao Tehrik has better representation in AP Assembly with two MLAs. The IUML and the MIM suffered splits in the wake of demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992. The third constituent, the Muslim Majilis lost its Shine following death of its founder Dr. A. Jaleel Faridi. It has only a marginal presence in the state.
In a press note the three parties said that “they have decided to come together under one umbrella to protect secular democracy, safe guard minority rights, defend cultural pluralism promote communal amity and to work for balanced development with justice to all sections of the people.”
Addressing a press conference, Mr. Banatwala said the appalling over-all backwardness of Muslims and their lack of due representation in the various spheres of national life, need urgent attention of the central and state governments. When asked why the Indian National League (INL) was kept aside from the front, he said the doors were open to everybody and further expansion of the Mahaz was on the card. Mahaz’s strategy and details of functioning are under consideration, he added. However, Mr. Owaisi told the Islamic Voice that the Front’s Constituents will be free to chalk out their own political strategy according to their respective states political scenario.
Earlier, in a conversation with this correspondent, Mr. Ibrahim Sulaiman Sait, President INL, said that creation of Muslim Parties forum would force the secular parties, not to take the Muslims for granted. He also suggested convenership of such forum should be on rotational basis.
Besides Mr. Banatwala, Mr. Samiullah, and Mr. Owaisi the meeting was attended by Mr. E. Ahmed, MP, Mr.Alam Badi Azni, MLA; Syed Shakeel Miyan; mohammad Wasim Siddiqui, Khalique Ahmed Moulana Kausar Hyat Khan and others.
LUCKNOW : A team of lawyers pleading the Babri Masjid case in the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court, have charged the central and state governments with adopting delaying-tactics to stretch the dispute. Despite repeated pleas for the expeditious hearing to settle the long standing dispute; the court is proceeding at a snail’s pace.
Advocate Zafaryab Jilani told the Islamic Voice that defendants sensing the weak nature and contradictory claims in their case, were leaving no stone unturned to stretch court proceedings in the hope that once the BJP comes to power at the centre it will enact a legislation to build a temple. “So far only 10 witnesses of plaintiff have deposed before the three-judge special bench”, said Mr. Jilani. To top it all, the head of the bench, Justice A.P. Mishra was transferred to Delhi High Court as Chief Justice in June. His replacement is yet to be announced. Other judges on the bench are Justice Rafat-Alam and Justice I.P. Bashisht.
The testimony of witnesses began in July last year by producing a key witness Mohammad Hashim (76) a resident of Ayodhya, also a plaintiff. The depositions of a wide-range of witnesses’ account runs into 1076 pages. The statement of Mr. Hashim alone runs to 192 pages. Being the main witness in the case, he was cross-examined for about three hours.
Another key witness, Farooq Ahmad (78), was examined in September last year. He had locked the gate of the Mosque on December 22-23 might in 1949. His father was a member of the management committee of the Babri Masjid. He claims that he had first got the inkling of some foul play that day from Daroogh of Ahodhya Police Station. The last witness was produced in April this year.
A total member of 15-20 witnesses are expected to appear before the court on behalf of the plaintiff. However, Mr. Jilani noted that judging the pace of proceedings the recording of statements would take more than a year.
The Other witnesses, who appeared before the special Bench, were Mr. Mohammed Yaseen, who offered Namaz at Babri Masjid. Hafiz Abdul Rahman; a resident of Faizabad, led the Namaz Traweeh in 1946, Advocate Mohammad Yunus Siddgui, Hafiz Syed Aklaq Ahmad and Mr. Hashmutullah Ansari. The 10th witness Moulana Mohammad Idris was produced as Islamic Jurist. His testimony was concluded in April this year.
It may be recalled that all the four title suits regarding Babri Masjid were restored for adjudication following the Supreme Court Judgement of October 24, 1994. The apex court had ordered that all the cases should be transferred to Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court. But, the hearing in the Bench started as late as July last year.
There are four title suits pending before the High Court. Two cases were filed in 1950. The first one by Mr. Gopal Singh Vishard claiming the shrine was never a Mosque. Second by Param Hans Ram Chandra Das in the Court of Civil Judge of Faizabad. However, he later withdrew the case.
The third suit was filed by Nirmohi Akhara arguing the Muslims have stopped performing Namaz in the Mosque since 1934 and Hindus have been performing ‘Pooja’ in the Shrine since then.
A retired high court judge Devike Nandam Aggrawal filed fourth suit claiming that the Masjid was built on the ruins of a temple demolished by Mughal Emperor Babar. He further claims that the Shrine was never used as a Mosque.
On behalf of the Muslims, Sunni Central Board of Wakf, established in 1960, filed a suit in the high court of judicature at Allahabad, Lucknow Bench, in 1961. Mohammad Hashim alongwith Wakf Board claimed in the suit that the shrine had always remained a Mosque and prayers were being offered there upto 1949, when the gates were locked by local administration after some miscreants with the connivance of officials, put the idols of Lord Ram surreptitiously inside the Mosque. Besides, Mr. Jilani, advocate Abdul Manan and advocate Mushtaque Ahmed Siddiqui, are the other lawyers who are pleading the Babri Masjid case.