Amid Criticism, Muslim Leaders Defend Their Meet with NSA Ajit Doval

NSA Ajit Doval speaks during an inter-religious faith meeting at his residence in New Delhi on Sunday. — PTI

Waquar Hasan | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI — Some Muslim leaders, drawing flak over their presence at a meeting called by National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval on Sunday, defended their action by saying they wanted to convey their sense of disappointment and disagreement over Saturday’s judgement in the Babri Masjid title suit. The Supreme Court order in favour of building a temple at the site where the Babri Masjid once stood brewed anger and grief in the community.

NSA Doval, at his meeting with Muslim and Hindu religious leaders at his residence, pleaded for peace and communal harmony. The meeting was attended by Engineer Salim, vice president of Jamaat-e-Islami, Navaid Hamid, president of All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, Asghar Ali Imam Mahdi Salafi, Shia leader Maulana Kalbe Jawwad, president of the Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadees Hind Maulana Saeed Ahmed Noori, president of Raza Academy Mumbai, Dr. Zahir Ishaque Kazi, president of Anjuman-I-Islam, Pir Farid Ahmed Nizami of Nizamuddin Auliya Dargah, Delhi, Sirajuddin Qureshi, president of the India Islamic Culture Centre,  Mujtaba Farooq, secretary-general of the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, Prof. Akhtarul Wasey, president of Maulana Azad University, Jodhpur along with other religious leaders like Baba Ramdev.

While salient aspects of the Ayodhya judgment were questioned by many experts including two former Supreme Court judges, Justice Markendy Katju and Justice AK Ganguly, Muslims felt their leaders’ meeting with Ajit Doval would be construed as an endorsement of the government’s stand on the verdict. This irritated and upset many community members and leaders.

“As we were stricken with grief and were silenced, it was inappropriate that you opted to attend a meeting with those who backed the verdict. Apparently, the meeting was aimed at conveying a message that the verdict was good for the Muslims. Fact is otherwise. The judgement was questioned by many lawyers including Hindus. If you cannot do anything good for the community, you can at least express your anger and grief. But you are pandering to the whims of others,” said Aalamullah who, on social media, criticised Muslims leaders for their allegedly ill-advised meeting with Doval.

He said media reports gave the impression that these leaders forgot to uphold the community’s causes and stands in relation to the Babri Masjid issue.

Somewhat embarrassed, these leaders issued statements to justify their action. Jamaat-e-Islami vice president Engineer Salim said, “The Jamaat-e-Islami has only one stand on Ayodhya, and it was unequivocally conveyed at all forums, including at the meeting with the NSA. While the timing of the meeting may be criticised, it must be clear that the JIH attended the meeting only to convey our disagreement and dissatisfaction with the judgment and the course of events.”

Navaid Hamid, President of the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM), also defended the meeting with a similar argument, saying he presented the Muslim point of view in a strong manner. “I spoke strongly that this judgement gave a knee-jerk jolt to Muslims. If there is peace in the country, the biggest contribution to this was given by Muslims. This rejects the allegation of extremism which is generally leveled against them,” said Hamid.

He was of the view that a channel of dialogue needed to be opened among communities. “A lack of dialogue and discussions leads to conflict.” Defending his participation, he said “this was the collective decision of major Muslim organisations. I went to the meeting after taking advice from more than a dozen eminent Muslim leaders,” he said, and urged the people to understand there was a “thin line” dividing the RSS and the present government.



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