The Indian Herald

The Indian Herald

October 31, 2011

RSS seeks Muslim hand to end Mayawati's rule in Uttar Pradesh

The former chief of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) KC Sudarshan and Shia leader Kalb-e-Sadiq on Sunday urged the electorate to shun caste-based politics in Uttar Pradesh.

The appeal is seen as a desperate attempt of the RSS-BJP to forge an alliance with Muslims to end Mayawati's rule, so as to reclaim Uttar Pradesh.

Political experts feel that the former sarsanghchalak has been sent to give feelers to the Muslim community ahead of the UP Assembly elections. The BJP has begun wooing Muslims lately.

They said that Sudarshan's statement asking people to reject caste-based parties is an indication that the BJP wants to go to any extent to end the hegemony of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) that largely gets the Dalit votes in UP.

Due to strong Scheduled Caste (SC) support along with a fraction of Muslim vote, the BSP is in a comfortable position in UP. But the state that has a population of 20 crore and send the maximum MPs to Lok Sabha, is crucial for the BJP.

This is the reason Kalb-e-Sadiq, the leader of Shia Muslims has been extended an olive branch. Shias are considered more inclined towards BJP. But the leaders' meeting has caused a stir in Lucknow, as it LK Advani's 'rath yatra' that had led to the demolition of Babri Masjid.

But the situation has changed. The BJP wants to strengthen itself in the most populous state in order to pose a challenge to Congress. Strangely, the BJP had risen on the national scene due to its religion-based politics but its leaders are now urging electorate to reject caste-based parties.

Even on the issue of political parties speaking about reservation for Muslims, Sudarshan said that it should be on the basis of economic condition, rather than caste or community. For the moment, it seems BJP has discovered that 'caste' is the biggest stumbling block in its way to power at Lucknow.

Unless it gets support from other sections of the society, its Upper Caste, particularly, Brahmin-Bania electorate can't help it regain the power in UP. Thus the top RSS leader has been sent to Lucknow to woo the minorities.

 TIH Bureau

October 20, 2011

Now Narendra Modi refuses scarf presented by Muslim in Navsari

Modi refuses scarf in Navsari
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi landed into a major controversy that could jeopardize his entire exercise to present himself as an acceptable face in Indian politics, as he refused to accept scarf from a Muslim man in Gujarat.

After the last month's controversy when he had declined to take the 'topi' (skullcap), Modi was offered the traditional Islamic 'keffiyeh' (scarf) by a Muslim in Navsari where was observing his 'sadbhav' fast for communal harmony.

Apparently, fearing a backlash from his core constituency and facing the charge of appeasement, Modi didnt' accept the headscarf. Modi is currently on his 'yatra' to project a pro-development face and is travelling across Gujarat, holding similar fasts in different districts.

While Modi is seen as a champion of Hindutva, he needs to change his image for wider acceptability in the country. But the repeat of the Ahmedabad incident, is surely going to hurt Modi's chances. That he took shawls offered by others but can't accept  even an Islamic scarf, is bound to create ripples.

Narendra Modi is already facing the heat after IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt made serious charges against him pertaining to Gujarat riots. After Bhatt was arrested and jailed, the BJP government had faced flak from different quarters for its witch-hunt.

Congress said that Modi's rally is not about spreading peace and harmony but is instead dividing society and ignoring an entire community. The BJP has termed it as non-issue once again. But the incidents in a row are likely to affect Modi's political prospects.

TIH Bureau

October 18, 2011

Sufis, Barelvi Muslims vow to take on Wahabis at Moradabad Mahapanchayat

Sufi leaders seen at the stage in Moradabad
The newly floated All India Ulema and Mashaikh Board (AIUMB) has appealed to the majority Sunni Muslims in India to join hands for the uplift of the community.

AIUMB that chiefly comprises Barelvis, who follow the liberal Sufi tradition in the sub-continent, rued the disproportionate influence wielded by the Wahabi sect in the country.

Maulana Mahmood Ashraf Kachhochhvi, representing the famous Sufi shrine at Kachhauchha Sharif, was the main speaker at the event held in Western UP's Moradabad.

Addressing a large gathering of Muslims, the Sufi leaders lamented that though the Deobandi sect was barely a century old, it had greater influence on policy makers and politicians due to its institutions that include Nadwatul Uloom, Lucknow and Darul Uloom Deoband.

The emergence of the Board is also being linked to the forthcoming Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. Barelwis form an overwhelming majority of Muslims in India, particularly, in North Indian states and more so  in the country side.

Surprisingly, speakers hinted that Saudi money was the cause for Wahabi ideology flourishing in India.
Concern was also expressed over the fact that politicians lent more ear to Deobandi Ulema and the particular school of thought (Deobandis)always got more attention in media.

AIUMB leaders affirmed that 80% Indian Muslims belonged to the tolerant Sufi tradition and in turn close to Barelvis (Jamaat Ahl-e-Sunnat) unlike Deobandis. The extremism linked with Muslims was also termed as a Deobandi influence on moderate Islamic teachings in India.

The Mashaikh Board has the blessings of important Sufi dargahs in India apart from representatives of the prominent Islamic Khanqahs in the country. Issues of madarsa modernisation, police firing in Rudrapur, communal riots in different parts of the country, staged fake encounters, reservation for Muslims in jobs in accordance with their numerical strength in the population and protection of Waqf properties came up for discussion at the 'maha-panchayat'.

Syed Mahmood Ashraf Kichhouchhawi is the president of the AIUMB. However, Mohammad Ashraf is the general secretary. The Sajjada Nashins or heads of the dargahs and Imams attended the programme. More such conferences would be held in different regions in the state and outside, said organisers.

 TIH Bureau

October 16, 2011

NCP demands second language status for Urdu at national level

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has urged the Centre to give the status of second official language to Urdu in the country.

The party leader Tariq Anwar has made the demand regarding the language. Anwar said that Urdu is spoken across the length and breadth of the country and it was high time the language was officially made the second language at the national level.

 While Urdu has been given the status of second language in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand, on ground level this hasn't improved the status of the language.

Recently, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee declared similar status for Urdu in West Bengal also. Anwar, who is currently a Member of Parliament (MP) from Maharashtra, said that Urdu was largely spoken by Muslims. He said that Urdu should be given its due.

However, he also urged the Urdu speakers to ensure that they use the language in their official communication and letters to administration, particularly, in states where Urdu was already declared a second language.

Speaking to journalists in Delhi, Anwar demanded CBI inquiry into the Forbesganj firing in Bihar and the recent communal riot in Uttarakhand's Rudrapur, on lines of the killings in Gopalgarh. He also said that the Sachar panel's recommendations should be implemented.

The NCP leader said that Bihar government must expedite the release of land for construction of Aligarh Muslim University's (AMU) campus in Kishanganj, else the NCP would go for a complete bandh in the state.

TIH Bureau

October 9, 2011

RSS to project Nitin Gadkari for PM's post, ignore Narendra Modi

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) may prefer BJP chief Nitin Gadkari over Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, when it comes to projecting a leader for the post of Prime Minister ahead of 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Gadkari, a Brahmin from Maharashtra, may have greater acceptability and has the potential to forge alliances unlike Modi, whose strong Hindutva image comes in way of the party's electoral fortunes in states other than his home state Gujarat.

There are clear indications now that the RSS, which commands the BJP, likes Gadkari. He took over the party in the times of crisis, and has worked silently to rebuild the organisation, unlike Modi who regularly defies the Sangh leadership.

By not attending the recent party conclave in Delhi, to express his displeasure over RSS' giving responsibility to his arch-rival Sanjay Joshi, Narendra Modi has antagonised the Sangh. The RSS leaders are not comfortable with the personality-centric politics in Gujarat.

For RSS, the idea of defiant leader, even if he takes forwards its Hindutva agenda, is preposterous. After all,  one has to be a 'karyakarta' in a cadre based party rather than an autocratic leader acting as a monarch. While Modi has emerged as strong Hindutva leader, he is not submissive.

The party leaders including the veteran Lal Krishna Advani and the rest of the leadership comprising the likes of Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh and Venkaiah Naidu are also wary of Modi's growing clout and persona.

RSS has never taken snubs lightly and it also wants to send a message that no individual howsoever strong he or she may be, they are not indispensable. Perhaps, skipping the national executive was not the right step for Modi. He has captured Ahmedabad but the road to Delhi is still far.

TIH Bureau

October 4, 2011

Rudrapur Riot: Uttarakhand police face flak over firing on protesters, death toll goes up to four

The Uttarakhand police is facing flak for the allegedly indiscriminate firing in Rudrapur town that had witnessed communal violence after desecration of a religious text.

The State government has ordered a high-level inquiry to ascertain the circumstances in which police resorted to firing that resulsted in the death of four persons.

The District Magistrate BVR Purushottam, DIG Kumaon range Amit Sinha and SSP GS Martolia were shifted on late Tuesday evening for the abject failure in dealing with law-and-order situation.

Red-faced over growing criticism and particularly as images of violence and police shooting people point blank emerged, the State government removed these officers.With the state going to polls soon, the police firing and killings is all set to become a major issue for the political parties.

The trouble begun last week when a section of minority community complained that torn pages of the holy book were found along with flesh. Local groups allege that the administration didn't take the complaint seriously then and no action was taken. This led to growing discontent and tension built up in the town.

A demonstration was taken out subsequently. But the police fired at the protesters, resulting in deaths of two persons. Two more persons succumbed to injuries in the hospital later. The clashes between members of different communities were also reported. The role of Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) has once again come under scanner for the excessive use of force.

Meanwhile, the situation in Rudrapur is tense but under control, especially, after the RAF was pressed into service. Curfew was imposed in the town soon after the clash. Rudrapur is a city in Udham Singh Nagar district of Uttarakhand, which was formerly known as Uttaranchal.

Muslim leaders have criticised administration in the BJP-ruled state for its failure to prevent the communal riot and stop the large scale looting of shops apart from arson and destruction of property. The fact that the state government released just Rs 1 lakh each to kin of those who died in the police firing has also been criticised.

TIH Bureau

October 1, 2011

Mayawati irks Muslims: New UP districts named after Dalit personalities, minorities feel ignored

Just for Dalits!
Discontent is simmering among Muslims in Uttar Pradesh who feel that while newly carved districts in the state were named after Dalit personalities, Muslims were ignored.

Muslim community feels that even though BSP supremo's vote bank chiefly comprises Dalits and Muslims, she hardly pays any attention to contribution of the Muslim leaders in UP.

The formation of three new districts viz. Hapur, Sambhal and Shamli was announced by Chief Minister Mayawati early this week. The demand to declare Muslim-dominated Deoband as a district was however ignored.

The districts have been named as Prabuddha Nagar, Panchsheel Nagar and Bhim Nagar. Muslims leaders say that since her first regime, she has been constantly naming districts after Dalits but never a district, scheme or major institution was named after Muslim leaders of freedom movement or Ulema.

"While 56,000 Muslim religious scholars sacrificed their lives during the war of independence in 1857, Mayawati government ignores the sentiments of Muslims", said legislator and Samajwadi Party leader Qazi Imran Masood, who belongs to an influential political family in the state.

"She just exploits Muslims after dumps them after getting the votes", he charged. Uttar Pradesh now has 75 districts. "I don't understand why none of BSP government's social welfare schemes have been named after a Muslim leader", he roared.

The new districts have been carved out of Moradabad, Ghaziabad and Muzaffar Nagar. Earlier, two districts Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Nagar and Kashi Ram Nagar were carved out of Amethi (Sultanpur) and Etah.

UP has a population of 20 crore (200 million). Dalits form 21% of UP's population while Muslims constitute around 20% of the electorate. UP has 8% Yadav that mostly vote for Mulayam Singh's Samajwadi Party. While BSP large gets Dalit votes, section of Muslims and Upper Castes vote for it.

Upper Castes that include Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Kayasthas form another 15%. The rest are OBCs and intermediate castes. With Uttar Pradesh heading for a poll next year, Maywati is going all out to woo different sections of the society.

She had also written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, demanding reservation for Muslims and Upper castes. But her strategy of naming districts exclusively after Dalit leaders may hurt her electoral chances, feel political observers.

TIH Bureau

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