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Kashmir Monitor - November 1, 2015

Muslims feel more vulnerable in India: Dr Zafar-ul-Islam

.New Delhi: Renowned Muslim scholar and  Indian civil society member Dr Zafar-ul-Islam has said that Muslims all over India including Jammu and Kashmir are concerned about the situation which has worsened after Narendra Modi became Prime Minister. He said that not only Muslims, but Christians are also feeling uncomfortable and there is a dire need to run a campaign to build a sense of confidence among minorities.

Dr Zafar-ul-Islam launched a frontal attack on the Narendra Modi government and said that Muslims ought to start a nationwide campaign to counter right-wing forces. He accused Hindu organizations like the RSS of hatching a "conspiracy" to convert the country into a ‘fascist state’.

“The right-wing forces have become active against the minorities after the formation of new government at the Centre. Hindutva forces are encouraged and have become more active after the formation of the NDA government," he said.

He alleged that besides some BJP Parliament members, VHP leaders Ashok Singhal, Praveen Togadia and Sadhvi Prachi spit venom against minorities, but no action is taken. Subramanian Swamy, a BJP leader from the southern state of Tamil Nadu, declared in a speech that mosques, unlike temples, are not holy places and thus can be demolished.

After that BJP Chief Minister of the northern state of Haryana announced that the teaching of the Bhagavad Gita would become mandatory throughout the state.  He even went on record saying that Muslims can continue to be Muslim, but if they live in this country they will have to give up eating beef.

Before him, Adityanath, BJP MP from Gorakhpur and the leader who directed the party’s campaign for several by-elections in UP in 2014, is on record offering manpower, money and firepower to the cow-protectors. A number of churches were vandalized. A 71-year-old nun in the eastern state of West Bengal was gang-raped.

And the beef-ban movement has been spreading to new states resulting in the killings of innocent Muslims in Dadri, Himachal and Udhampur. From a push to rewrite school textbooks retelling history and science as a glorified Hindu past to the persecution of non-governmental organizations that receive foreign funds, life in India looks increasingly bleak for those who do not toe the Hindu right’s line,” he said.

“Muslims are targeted with the consent of Narendra Modi. Both RSS and BJP are hand in glove. Targeting Muslims is a case of Division of labour between RSS and BJP where one is a labour and other is protector. If the right wing-forces persisted with their agenda against the minorities, it will result in anarchy in India, he said.

Dr Zafar-ul-Islam said that since Modi became prime minister, the news out of India had focused almost entirely on his struggle to open up India’s economy and attract foreign investment.

“But Modi is himself a product of the militant, trident-shaking ideological parent of the BJP known as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). He was chief minister of Gujarat state in 2002 when Hindu mobs killed more than 1,000 Muslims, and he was blamed for failing to stem the violence.

The RSS chauvinists, who dream of a Hindu-dominant India, adore him as their champion. That is precisely what India’s Muslims fear, they feel more vulnerable in Modi’s India” he said adding that communal Hindu’s have not started a movement against beef but movement against Muslims.

Scientists express concern over rising intolerance in India

Dr. Zafarul Islam's interview about the plight of Muslims in India came amid statements by  writers and scientists expressing concern against the spread of intolerance and communal hatred in India.

In a petition to the President, the scientists have warned that this statement may be followed by stronger actions "akin to the award winners of Sahitya Akademi," the Times on India reported.

A group of scientists from academic institutions across the country and abroad have signed a petition addressed to the President expressing their concern over recent incidents of intolerance, polarization and spread of communal hatred resulting in the death of innocent people and rationalists.

The petition was generated based on a web-based campaign. In the letter, the scientists say they "strongly condemn" the atrocities and "join the protest of litterateurs in awakening people and the central and state governments to the dangers of not acting."

They urged the President to take "serious note of these developments" and initiate suitable actions.

The letter has stated that peace and harmony of the country is being "threatened by a rash of sectarian and bigoted acts that have recently escalated."

Comparing a highly polarised community to "a nuclear bomb close to criticality," the letter states that the situation can "explode any time and drive the nation to utter chaos."

The scientists urged the government to take the strictest action against those who are victimising and killing "innocent people for eating beef, sensible people for being against superstition, RTI activists or whistle blowers and many more innocent people with human values."

Describing these acts as "anti-human and anti-civilizational," the letter states that people who even suggest these actions should be dealt with punishment "beyond that reserved for anti-national activity."

Signatories include former director of the Inter-University Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA, Pune) Naresh Dadhich, Varun Sahni of IUCAA, former director of the Harish-Chandra Research Institute (Allahabad) H S Mani, Tabish Qureshi of Jamia Millia Islamia (New Delhi) and scientists and academics from JNU, Institute of Physics (Bhubaneswar), IITs and other leading institutions.

Signatories from Chennai include T R Govindarajan, emeritus professor at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc) in Chennai and Professor at Chennai Mathematical Institute, G Rajasekaran, former joint director of IMSc, Chennai, G Baskaran, emeritus professor, IMSc, and IIT Madras professors Suresh Govindarajan and Dawood Kothawala.
[Courtesy Times of India]