By Zafarul-Islam Khan
Plans for the destruction of our abode have been laid down. The scenario that occurred earlier in 1857 and again in 1947, is emerging in a new form. Only a deaf and dumb would fail to recognise the signs of the storm gathering around us. Some of the indicators are as follows:
1) Muslim Personal Law is under continuous assault and the Government and the Parliament have arbitrarily assumed the right to define the Muslim Family Laws. They did not bother even to consult or seek guidance on such a sensitive issue from any Muslim scholar or organisation within their territory or without. Can there be a greater example of the helplessness, alienation and marginalisation of 200 million Muslims than this?
2) The goons let loose by the party in power have been killing Muslims at will in an ongoing campaign of lynching wherever and whenever they please. Except uttering lip service to the survivors of such assault and its victims, the community has done practically nothing so far. Till date, not even a single demonstration of the smallest kind has been organised.
3) Basic changes are being introduced in the laws of the country under which no household and no neighbourhood would be safe and everyone will have to, under the sheer force of the State, recognise adultery as a right of women and homosexuality as right of men. Now no one will legally be able to stop his wife or children from following a wrong path and if he dares to do so, he will be liable to be sent to prison. Seeing the situation from the prism of the community’s indifference, it seems that for us such a horrible scenario is not a problem.
4) With a simple stroke of the pen, citizenship of four million citizens of a state has been snatched away. Preparations are underway to repeat this in the other 28 states and seven Union Territories. This is the first-ever instance in human history where such a large number of citizens have been deprived of their citizenships in one go. Without citizenship rights, these wretched souls will be forced either to live like slaves in the country of their birth, without any right to basic facilities, or they will have to seek refuge in a neighbouring country to be herded there like animals in relief camps. As soon as there is a change of government in Bangladesh, these hapless Indian citizens would be pushed there with full force. By virtue of their pathetic state, they will have no right to complain to police stations or knock at the doors of law courts against their maltreatment and abuse meted out on them by one and all.
5) In different parts of the country about one fourth of voters have been struck off from voters lists (see the lead story in Frontline, 31 August 2018 — https://www.frontline.in/cover-story/article24200903.ece). According to available information, these people are mostly Muslims while some belong to communities that do not usually vote for a certain party [BJP]. Earlier, through the Delimitation Commission, constituencies with sizeable Muslim populations used to be reserved for other communities. Now our political deprivation is being multiplied through removing our names from voters’ lists. After being disfranchised, no political leader will care to listen to us or talk about us while the police and bureaucracy will mistreat us with blatant impunity.
All of this and more has been going on but our community organisations and our leaders are quiet. They are, instead, appealing to us on a daily basis that regarding the Assam case the community should repose its trust in the Supreme Court. Is this not the very Supreme Court which has brought the issue to this stage? They are silent on other issues too as if these have nothing to do with us. We must not forget that preparations have been made to turn us into “Rohingyas” but the community seems unconcerned. It did not even bother to go to Jantar Mantar over these issues. There has been no effort to liaise with fair-minded Hindus. Indifference with regard to media continues as usual. For all political parties, Muslims have become the new ‘untouchables’. Does the situation, as serious and as threatening as this, not warrant us to sit together and prepare a joint strategy?
The author, Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan, is the Chairman of Delhi Minorities Commission and editor of The Milli Gazette. The views are personal. This is a translation of his recent article which appeared in some Urdu newspapers and portals. (Translated by UrduMediaMonitor.com)