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BBC, Modi and the Ever Obliging ‘Sarkari Muslim’ Intellectuals

Abu Anam | Clarion India

The Indian Muslim community has historically suffered at the hands of the elites known as “Sarkari Musalman,” right from the time of Mrs. Indira Gandhi to Narendra Modi. These elements, people like ABA Ghani Khan Chaudhary, Muhammad Hidayatullah, Hamid Dalwai, to a certain extent A R Antulay, Arif Muhammad Khan, MJ Akbar, Shahnawaz Hussain, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Najma Heptullah,  et al, were consciously projected as the voice of Indian Muslims. A new entrant to this chequered list of “Sarkari Musalmans” is Tariq Mansoor, Vice Chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University.

Call them progressive, liberal, left-wingers, reformers and by any monicker you deem fit, the fact remains that for petty pelf, power and perks these “Sarkari Musalmans” either sold their conscience or were/are devoid of this virtue.

It is not clear if AMU Vice Chancellor Tariq Mansoor had any, if at all there could be one, compulsion in penning that “masterpiece” (White Media’s Burden: Indian Express, January 21) in negativism condemning the meticulously researched BBC report directly blaming Narendra Modi, the then chief minister of Gujarat, for his express role in the anti-Muslim 2002 pogrom in his state which killed over 2,000 Muslims, maimed and displaced thousands and thousands more and ultimately catapulted him onto the Delhi throne. In doing so, Mansoor has made an unsuccessful attempt to defend the indefensible deeds of Modi, who is alleged not only to have not made any effort to contain the anti-Muslim violence but is also accused of abetting the savagery. 

It is crystal clear that the vice chancellor chose to pander to his lust whereby he could visualise sitting in the cozy VC office at AMU for a year or two more, and perhaps sharing some lighter moments in the Rajya Sabha with former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, or better still, serving as a governor or ambassador. That way Mansoor would savour the luxury of spending his old age in style.

Mansoor is wrong and dead wrong. What if what has happened to Bilkis Bano had happened to his wife, sister, daughter, or any of his close female relatives? Would he tell her to “move on”? Like he has tried to make us believe that “Indian Muslims want to move on from the past — we do not live there anymore!”

At the end of his article, the Vice Chancellor has poured scorn on the BBC claiming it has “merely used Muslim issues” to build its brands.” Can he dare write the same on Modi or BJP?

The Vice Chancellor has the temerity to write that “the mindless targeting of the Prime Minister of the world’s largest democracy fails several tests. First, the series shows utter contempt for the Indian judiciary. The 2002 riot cases have been heard at virtually all levels of the Indian judiciary; they have been heard in different states as well. The highest court of the land, the Supreme Court, constituted an SIT to investigate the case. The results are for everyone to see. After thorough judicial and administrative findings by men and women of high professional standing, Narendra Modi was given a clean chit. Different review petitions have also been found untenable.”

So he has opted to stand by the same judiciary which has made a mockery of fair play, honesty and integrity by acknowledging that idols were put in Babri Masjid surreptitiously, conceding that there was a criminal conspiracy behind the razing of the mosque, and accepting that the land belonged to the Muslim litigants? And then handing over the Muslim land to the Hindus just to gratify the majoritarian psyche and get a Rajya Sabha berth in the bargain.

He is standing by the same judiciary which has been the target of bitter criticism ever since the BJP government came to power in 2014. 

The Modi government has, more often than not, consciously demonstrated that it is not averse to penalise those judges who have shown independent thinking or whose values are not aligned with those of the government.

A recent People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL) report mentions the transfer of Justice Rajiv Shakder from the Delhi High Court to Madras High Court (2016), Justice Abhay Thipsay from Bombay High Court to Allahabad High Court (2016) and the denial of elevation of Justice Jayant Patel as Chief Justice, leading to his resignation.

 Justice Muralidhar was earlier transferred to the Punjab High Court from Delhi High Court immediately after he had directed the Delhi Police to take a decision on filing an FIR against Union Minister Anurag Thakur and BJP leaders Parvesh Verma, Kapil Mishra and Abhay Verma for making allegedly inflammatory speeches during the recent Delhi riots, the PUCL report said.

And how can one forget the mystery surrounding the death of Justice Loya? 

Why has the Vice Chancellor remained silent and turned a blind eye to the extrajudicial bulldozing of hundreds of houses, mostly of Muslims? Why does he keep mum on mob lynching under the pretext of “love jihad” and cow slaughter, heart-wrenching scenes of veil snatching and unmitigated harassment of burqa-clad Muslim students by Hindutva groups? We all know who is at the helm of affairs of the country and has chosen to maintain a stoic silence. He did exactly the same when Gujarat burned in 2002. 

How many more Gujarats and Delhis one needs to prove the BJP agenda of marginalising and dispossessing the Muslim community? How long will the Vice Chancellor and people of his ilk continue to bury their heads in the sand like the proverbial ostriches?

The views expressed here are authors’ personal.


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