P Communalism Combat cover Story October 2001 Why be shy about simi? The objection to the selective ban on simi may be valid. But Muslim religious and political leaders cannot run away from the question why never in the nearly 25-year-old history of simi, have they spoken out publicly against an organisation that is a declared enemy of 'democracy, socialism, nationalism and polytheism'. By javed anand most Muslim religious and political leaders from India have condemned the september 11 terrorist attack on the us as "unIslamic" but there is a widely held perception among non-Muslims that the public pronouncements notwithstanding, Osama bin Laden is a "hero" for. The near universal protest of Muslim religious and political leaders against the september 26 decision of the government of India to ban the Students Islamic movement of India (simi has, if anything, reinforced that feeling even among many secular nonMuslims. On the face of it, this seems really unfair to India's Muslims.
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Words from the inimitable mirza ghalib, penned in a different time, a different age. So apt, when we talk of simi today. Notwithstanding how Chaudhury"s me, for me, too, the credentials of the investigating agencies are highly suspect. So pending a verdict from the courts, we have no means of knowing whether simi is already walking its talk: armed jihad writing and martyrdom. But let the English- speaking middle-class make what it will of my article. My prime concern is the Indian Muslim, whose already-tortured existence is rendered even more precarious by simi's self-destructive, pan-Islamic hallucination. My concern is the conspiracy of silence vis-à-vis simi of Muslim religious leaders and the Urdu press. It's a concern I share with millions of Muslims across the country. What a pity that even tehelka, a journal I hold in high esteem, does not know they exist. (Anand is General Secretary, muslims for Secular Democracy) From Tehelka magazine, vol 5, Issue 37, dated Sept 20, 2008 p?
What if it was my brother, my father in jail? my deepest respect for the sentiment embedded in this statement. My great database fear however, is that in today's India, while sahi, his father and brother are reasonably safe, someone with a muslim tag is not. The latter, therefore, had better beware of the simi label. It's a label that claims to speak for him, its a label that can unfairly damn him, his brother or father. Chaudhury worries over the fact that my article would reinforce the already existing "general English-speaking middle-class consensus on such issues". I would urge both Choudhury and Sahi to ponder a moment over the fears of Indian Muslims. To" sikand again, "Muslim organisations realised, as never before, that the aggressive confrontationist stance of groups like the simi could hardly serve the community. Rather, it had only made their situation as a beleaguered minority even more precarious." "Bigdi hai bahut baat, banaye nahi banti/Ab ghar ko baghair aag lagaye nahi banti" (The situation is so bad; no solution is in sight/What else can one do, except set one's.
The very thought horrifies. "Scholarly Internet sites holding forth on the organisation do nothing more than parrot the charge of the intelligence agencies says Sahi. He surely couldn't be talking of Irfan Ahmed, an anthropologist from the University of Amsterdam, who, beginning in October 2001 spent a lot of time in India talking to people from the jamaat-e-islami and simi as part of his PhD research? Or of Yoginder sikand, who lives in India and who has spent long years researching and writing high quality books, papers and numerous articles on Indian Muslims, their institutions and organisations? Both are easily accessible, in cyber space. In a significant paper titled, Erosion of Secularism, Explosion of Jihad: Explaining legs Islamist Radicalisation in India, available on the Internet, Ahmed wrote: "simi's radicalisation unfolded in direct response to the rise of virulent Hindu nationalism or 'hindutva' as the assault on secularism by hindutva —. Simi activists put up posters in several towns appealing to god to send down another Mahmud to take revenge for attacks on Muslims and their places of worship." What is obvious is that the radicalism statement of groups like simi, on the one hand, and Hindu. At a poignant moment, sahi writes: "As i interviewed countless Muslims so weathered, i couldn't but ask myself, 'what if this was me?
Why, then, does tehelka continue to fight shy, constantly prevaricate when it comes to 'judging' simi in the 'court' of public opinion? Why is Sahi molly-coddling the "simi brave-hearts" in his piece, terror has two faces? Why Chaudhury's helpless lament: "It is impossible to entirely know what simi's ideology was or has evolved into."? "It may perhaps never be known for sure what simi's character and activities before the ban was — or what it has been since, for that matter writes Sahi. An hour's google search, a little walk outside the halls where the tribunal sat in different cities, could have taken Sahi to the conclusion that enough about simi is already known. There is simi and there are the investigating agencies in Sahi's account. Because, a third party, the Indian Muslim is missing, the story effectively ends up making simi synonymous with Muslims.
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No one, neither simi nor Bajrang Dal, neither Narendra modi nor Bal Thackeray, can or should be banned or pronounced guilty without a fair trial. For whatever it is worth, the prime concern of good the journal that I have been co-editing for the last 15 years — communalism Combat — and the organisation that has been fighting for justice since the genocide in Gujarat in 2002 and of which. Again, for what it is worth, i have seen myself as a human rights defender for threedozen years. In all humility then, while one lives and learns, i don't really need lessons in basics. But as far as i am concerned, what I have said above is no different in substance from what I wrote in The Indian Express: you can't ban or pronounce simi guilty of terrorism without proper evidence and due process. It is not for nothing that i am so full of praise for Sahi and tehelka. That takes us to the second issue.
We are talking now of the 'court' of public opinion where you and I pass 'judgments' of a different kind all the time. Surely, it does not need extraordinary imagination or intellect to appreciate that the rules of the game here are different? Have we not 'judged' the congress Party and the delhi police 'guilty' of the carnage of sikhs in Delhi in 1984 and rightly so? Have we not pronounced Bal Thackeray guilty of the pogrom against Muslims in Mumbai in 1992-93? And do we not hold Narendra modi responsible for state-sponsoring the genocidal killing of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002?
After the recent Kanpur blasts, add up to the list. Why also the deafening silence of the state in response to Shiv sena chief Bal Thackeray's call for Hindu fidayeen (suicide bombers)? If this is not shameful double standard, what else is? Having said that, i also have something else to say. Had I written my piece after reading tehelka's expose, i would have started my piece with huge compliments to sahi and tehelka as I do now.
But I would have proceeded to say all that I did in my article of August. And ended with deep regret that Sahi's otherwise excellent investigation was sadly, and particularly from the Indian Muslims' point of view, dangerously incomplete. To begin with, both keep collapsing two separate issues into one. In the process i am accused of something that, if anything, they are guilty. Are we talking of a court of law, whether a tribunal examining the legitimacy of a ban, or a trial in a court? If yes, it goes without saying that due process and the rule of law must be the only criteria for arriving at a judgment.
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Evidently, judge gita mittal of biography the delhi high court who headed the special tribunal was of the same opinion. Why else would she slam the ban order in such transparent disgust? The supreme court was quick to stay the ban on simi presumably on the basis of fresh evidence produced before. What the apex court decides in due course remains to be seen. But for now, the investigating agencies must answer tehelka's charge that scores of Muslims and their family members from across the country were subjected to midnight knocks, illegal detention, humiliating beatings, torture and jail: all on false charges and without a shred of evidence. To this, i would add the charge i made in my article. Secular India practices discriminatory justice for which only one explanation is possible: anti-muslim bias. Why else are the bajrang Dal and other Hindu extremist outfits not under the antiterrorism scanner? In the last two years activists of these outfits have literally been caught red-handed, holding or accidentally blown up by "Hindu bombs" in several towns of Maharashtra, tamil Nadu, and.
It not only claimed to have uncovered clinching evidence against simi activists in the Ahmedabad case, but also indicated that the same outfit was also involved in the earlier blasts in Bangalore and jaipur. This conjunction of coincidences lent extra charge and meaning to both tehelka's exposé and my article. A war of positions — so, whose side are you on? — is now raging in cyber space, a plethora of e-mail networks and sections of the Urdu media. While the tehelka report is being gleefully reproduced, to some of my detractors i am now a "so- called secularist". The unkindest so far is the 'editor's Cut' by Shoma Chaudhury in tehelka of September. But first things first: my huge compliments and a hundred salaams to Ajit Sahi and tehelka for holding a mirror before the mainstream media, offering yet another outstanding example of courageous journalism. Sahi's detailed report, case-by-case, is a highly credible, damning account of the questionable conduct — shocking inefficiency, callousness or rank anti-muslim prejudice? — of our saving intelligence agencies.
a way with words. This is what I learnt from him two years ago when we found ourselves holding two ends of a common problem: "you know, i have learnt from experience that it is not always the case that opposite a truth stands an untruth. Sometimes it can be one truth face-to-face with another." tehelka's exposé of our intelligence agencies vis-à-vis simi hit the newsstands on August. As luck would have it, my article on simi too appeared in The Indian Express the same morning. Later the same day, the gujarat police claimed to have made a major "breakthrough" in the Ahmedabad blasts case in July.
M presents below a short collection of articles by javed. Anand, yoginder sikand, Praveen Swami, sultan Shahin, etc. That would leave no doubt in the minds of any objective reader that simi has at the very least been the pursuing a terrorist ideology for quite some time now. It's time muslim Press engaged in serious introspection and correctly reflected the revulsion Muslim community feels against serial terrorist acts possibly perpetrated by people in its own midst. Some mosques have already started expressing this revulsion and asking. Muslims to inform authorities about the people among them who may be engaged in such nefarious activities. It's time the Press also started at least condemning simi's terrorist ideology and exhorting Muslims to help the authorities foil any terrorist plans they may suspect. It's only an aware populace and a united one that can save the country from terrorism.
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Permalink, raw Message, rethinking Islam, tuesday, august 4, 2009, muslim Press must introspect, give voice to muslim revulsion against. Simi terrorism, islam, Terrorism and Jihad, m, muslim Press must introspect, give voice to muslim revulsion against. Simi terrorism, despite serious efforts made by secular, progressive muslims concerned with simi's radicalism recently, the muslim Press refuses to introspect and take a clear stand on the issue. It is claimed that there is no evidence against simi's terrorism and the police version cannot be taken seriously. We all know how difficult it is for evidence "beyond a shadow of doubt" to come. Even the best-equipped police forces in the world are seldom able to collect such evidence. One can with even argue as some people do that even the United States with all its resources has not been able to provide clinching against Osama bin Laden and Al-qaeda for the evil perpetrated against it on 9/11. But there can at least be no doubt that simi has a terrorist ideology. Is it right for Muslim intellectuals, journalists, clerics, therefore, to keep quiet and thus support a terrorist ideology and terrorist ideologues, even if they believe that there is still no evidence against their terrorist acts and thus they cannot be branded terrorists?