Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind chief urged the government to initiate dialogue with the people of Kashmir by releasing their leaders and activists
Abdul Bari Masoud | Caravan Daily
NEW DELHI — Seeking the introduction of an anti-mob lynching law and restoration of basic rights to the people of Kashmir, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind president Maulana Syed Arshad Madani said here on Wednesday that it would not be good for the country if people from Kashmir to Kanyakumari lived in a state of fear. Addressing a press conference, he slammed home minister Amit Shah for his prejudices and double-standard in the implementation of the national register of citizens (NRC).
Maulana Madani said it was a matter of serious concern that people, particularly Muslims, lived in a state of fear. Referring to the recent incident in a madrasa in Nalasopara (Thane), he said mob-lynching has become a norm in the country, as there existed no law to rein in the perpetrators of such heinous acts. “It is believed that these goons enjoyed the tacit supports of the ruling BJP. If the BJP is serious about ensuring an end to such actions, its governments should enact a stringent anti-mob-law. Notably, most such cases were happening in BJP-ruled states,” he said.
The Maulana said these forces first used cow to target certain communities and now they raised the “Jai Shree Ram” slogan to whip up religious hatred. “If these goons are not arrested and punished, they will one day turn against their protectors, namely the Sangh Parivar, and target even the majority community,” he warned.
The Jamiat leader said the communal situation in the country was worse today, compared to the time of Partition. “Attempts are being made to undermine the rule of law and the Constitution, and erase the fair traditions of justice and fairness. If we do not uphold the rule of law, it would be bad for the country.”
DIALOG AS WAY FORWARD IN KASHMIR
On Kashmir, he took a line different from that of the faction led by the Mahmood Madani-led Jamiat Ulama, and said the government must initiate dialogue with the people of Kashmir and also release the Kashmiri leaders and activists. “After the unilateral abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, normalcy has not returned to Jammu and Kashmir. We are worried the population in Kashmir continues to be deprived of their basic rights, and have no access to even healthcare facilities such as dialysis, as also treatment to heart patients. Courts remain closed there, as also schools, colleges, markets and other facilities. Daily-wagers are on the brink of starvation and hundreds of youths have been arrested and put in jails outside the region, and their harried families do not know of their children’s whereabouts,” the Jamiat leader said.
He said political problems could be solved only through negotiations. The government should take the people of Kashmir into confidence and open the door of dialogue for resolving the Kashmir problem.
Referring to what happened to the erstwhile USSR which invaded an improvised country like Afghanistan and of the US overpowering Vietnam, Maulana Madani said the lesson from such actions was that people’s movements cannot be crushed by use of force. After the occupation of Afghanistan, the USSR disintegrated and split itself into 16 states. He said the Jamiat would never hurt the unity and integrity of the country and it considered Jammu and Kashmir as an integral part of India.
Recalling RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s statement to the international media, that he would ask the Modi government to convince the people of Kashmir about the benefits to them from the revocation of Article 370, Maulana Madani said the Jamiat wanted the government to take measures without delay to restore peace and normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir. “The revocation of Article 370 has been challenged in the Supreme Court and we hope that the people of Kashmir will get justice from the court,” he said.
NATIONAL REGISTER OF CITIZENS
Maulana Madani criticized home minister Amit Shah’s recent statement that Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist and Christian refugees will be given Indian nationality by amending the citizenship act, and said such a stand smacked of religious prejudice and proved that only Muslims were being targeted by the BJP government through the NRC exercise in the eastern states.
“We have condemned the home minister’s statement through our organisation’s working committee resolution, which saw Shah’s stand as part of the BJP’s politics of polarization. Shah’s statement is against Articles 14, and 15 of the Constitution, which guaranteed that no citizen will be discriminated against on the basis of his/her religion, region or language. The home minister’s argument that Hindus have only one country while Muslims have many is unacceptable. We would like to inform Shah that Europe, the US and Africa as well as many Gulf countries offer citizenship without any discrimination on the basis of one’s religion,” he said.
On perceptions about India being turned into a theocratic state, Maulana Madani said India as a hugely diverse country will defeat such attempts. “I am of the firm belief that this country cannot accept the supremacy of any religion or ideology, and it cannot be run on such basis. India’s diversity is its strength. ”