October 2011

Afghanistan to support ‘brother Pakistan’ if US or India attacked: Karzai


Reading between the lines, are Muslim organizations in India changing their stance towards Narendra Modi (just in case he does end up becoming a more important person in the lives of Indians, beyond Gujarat)?

Are Muslims finally able to see through the ill-effects of vote bank politics, that most political parties of India have catered to them as minorities, ever since Independence?

For too long, the “Muslim victimhood” sentiment has been projected and propagated by political parties and their leaders for vested interest. Likewise, the fire of the post- Godhra riots of 2002, has been carefully kept burning with periodic fueling by these Modi-haters including the overtly partisan Indian print and news media.

The fact, as per the Parliamentary statement of the former Congress Union Minister of State for Home, that 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were killed in the riots does not quite reveal a picture of Muslim genocide or pogrom as Modi-haters have tried to paint. Similarly, the fact that “126 persons were killed in police firing, of which 77 were Hindus”, according to the National Minorities Commission Chairman, John Joseph, also does not bear testimony to an alleged religiously biased police force, supposingly rendered inactive by orders of the CM to ‘let Hindus vent their anger’, as accused by so called whistleblower supercop, Sanjeev Bhatt. Investigations and court cases are still going on, but nefarious designs of bogus activists and vindictive opponents are getting exposed, eroding the credibility of the anti-Modi brigade. 

In the meantime in Gujarat, Muslims are reported to be drifting towards Modi and his party. “A stage has now been reached where the development oriented initiatives of Narendra Modi are drawing the Muslim community towards the party“, claimed Babi Sama,  who is the first Muslim woman to be elected on BJP ticket in the Municipal corporation elections in 2010.  Muslims have increasingly voted in favour of BJP  in those Gujarat elections as they also did in Bihar, a BJP alliance ruled state.

Muslims in Gujarat are reportedly joining the mainstream to be part of developmental politics, overcoming the years of anti-Modi rhetorics heaped upon them. And the message is spreading beyond Gujarat. The acknowledgement came earlier from former Deoband chief Vastanvi (though he had to pay a price for that).

Perhaps now others are also recognizing that nurturing the perceived victimhood image, hankering for privileges or heeding to appeasement policies has done more harm to the Muslim community over the decades.  Just as a reform in education is needed so also is a reform in mental attitude.

A demand for apology from Modi for a alleged crime that is still sub judice may thus actually be an face-saving attempt of cozying up.


Will accept Modi if he apologises: UP Muslims

Moradabad: Ahead of UP elections next year, Sunni Sufi Muslims have come under an umbrella to back reforms in madarsa system of education. The group which claims to have support of over 80 per cent of Muslims in India oppose deoband system of education calling it regressive.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was on a token fast for peace and harmony in Dwarka in Gujarat on Monday and over thousand kilometers away in Moradabad in west UP, a section of Muslims coming together to make themselves heard. What’s the connection between the two?

Sunni Sufi Muslims have come under an umbrella to back reforms in madarsa system of education. All India Ulema and Mashaikh Board, which claims to have support of over 80 per cent of Muslims in India oppose deoband system of education calling it regressive.

President All India Ulema and Mashaikh Board said, “Sufi Muslims can conditionally accept Narendra Modi. If he says what happened was a mistake and would never happen again. Anybody who is ready to apologise, we will be soft on them.”

Deoband’s chief cleric Ghulam Mohammed Vastanvi was the last prominent Muslim who dared to come out in praise of Modi and he had to pay a heavy price, being forced to retract his statement, the over lakh Sufi Sunni Muslims who gathered here are aware of just how difficult it is to position themselves as in a liberal sense.

Ulema and Mashaikh Board say that the Sunni Sufi Muslims form nearly 80 per cent of the total Muslim population of India. Renouncing the deoband system of madarsa education as regressive, the Sufis say that wahabis in India promote views that poison young Muslim minds.

Distancing themselves from the hardliners within the community, the group with a sizeable support of Muslims favours reforms in madarsas.

With an attempt to redefine the agenda for Muslims, and the road ahead, this gathering with its eye on UP elections next year made it clear they cannot be treated as a single block of vote bank anymore. 

Why is this woman still not behind bars?  Are activists and NGO’s beyond the law?

How come the media still pampers her and dances to her tunes?

Is ‘narco tests’ only reserved for alleged ‘Hindu Terrorists’ ?

What if it is true that ‘nine were awarded life term’ based on her false  testimony? Is that not enough for Manmohan Singh to spent sleepless nights?

Best Bakery case: Teesta’s former aide demands retrial

October 13, 2011 14:30 IST

A former aide of activist Teesta Setalvad has moved the Bombay high court seeking retrial of the 2002 Best Bakery case alleging that the latter not only fabricated evidence and falsely implicated innocent persons but also “managed” the witnesses.

Rais Khan Aziz Khan Pathan, in an affidavit, urged the high court to direct an appropriate court in Mumbai to conduct retrial of the case and record his evidence.

Khan, former coordinator of the Citizen for Justice and Peace, the Mumbai-based non-government organisation headed by Teesta, requested that notice be served on Teesta to explain her conduct and clarify allegations of fabricating evidence in the case.

Khan even demanded lie detector and polygraph tests on himself and Teesta to “bring out the truth”.

The affidavit assumes significance as in April 2011, Shaikh Yasmeen Banu, a key prosecution witness in the case, had also filed an affidavit in the high court alleging she was “lured and misguided” by Teesta into giving false testimony against the 17 accused, of which nine were awarded life term by a Mumbai court.

Fourteen people who had taken refuge in the Best Bakery owned by the Shaikh family in Vadodara in Gujarat were killed by a mob on March 1, 2002, during the post-Godhra riots.

The appeals filed by the nine convicts in the sensational case are pending in the Bombay high court. Khan contended that on instructions of Teesta, he had in the past met Yasmeen in Baroda and requested her to shift to Mumbai where the retrial of the case was in progress.    

Yasmeen in her affidavit had accused Khan of cheating her and other witnesses for personal gains, which was denied by him.

Khan contended that he used to get funds from Teesta to organise press conferences for riot victims and meet relevant expenses. He alleged that getting payment for the victims was never Teesta’s priority as she was only concerned to ensure that the witnesses get money.

While witnesses used to get Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh, the victims were getting only Rs 5,000 (by Teesta),” Khan said. He further stated in the affidavit that he was put up at Sagar Hotel in the Nagpada area of South Mumbai by Teesta for eight months when the trial of Best Bakery case was in progress and was directed by her to keep a close watch on the witnesses.

“After the court issued summons to witnesses, she (Teesta) asked me to bring all of them to Mumbai even before police approached them”, he said.

“Throughout the trial, witnesses were paid Rs 100 a day and the payment was made to them every weekly. Although the court order was to keep witnesses at Vasava Government Hostel in Worli, they were kept at Mariam apartment in Bhindi Bazaar”.

“Neither the police nor the prosecutor ever inquired or asked how these witnesses were so punctually coming to the court for deposition and who is funding their expenses,” he added.

It was stated further in the affidavit that police used to escort every witness to the court and back to the police guesthouse in Worli and during this period nobody was allowed to meet or speak to them.

“As per Teesta’s instructions, I used to provide a mobile phone to each witness so that she can be in touch with them and guide them during their stay in Mumbai,” he said.

“When the Gujarat police were searching for prime witness Zahira Shaikh, Teesta directed me over phone to reach an address in the Alkapuri area of Baroda. When I went there I found she was at a residence of a Muslim woman journalist working with a national daily,” Khan said, adding “Muslim reporters were roped in sentimentally”.

Khan said he had learnt that some of the victims and witnesses like Yasmeen had recently retracted from their earlier statements or affidavits prepared by Teesta’s organisation and that they blamed him for cheating and manipulation.

“These witnesses have put me in a very awkward position and I am afraid that I might be prosecuted by the court for helping the witnesses to give false deposition in the court, which was actually not done by me at all”, he added. out of total 73 witnesses, including Zaheera Shaikh, had turned hostile, saying they had seen nothing the night of the attack.

In February 2006, a Mumbai court had awarded lifer to the nine accused.

Zaheera and other witnesses who had turned hostile were later convicted for perjury.