International columnist, political analyst and senior journalist Ahmed Mohiuddin Siddiqui’s articles are published across Asia, Africa and Europe. He writes for The Moroccan Times, The Tunis Times, India Tomorrow, Kohram News, The Etemaad Urdu Daily and for news papers published from Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. You can follow him on Twitter at: @journopolana[/symple_box]
Muscat, Sultanate of Oman— Indian Muslims have been marginalized politically, economically, educationally and socially during the last 65 years after India gained independence from the British in 1947. Muslims ruled India for about one thousand years but have been at the receiving end at the hands of successive governments in New Delhi and in the states because of the infiltration of Hindu extremist elements in the executive, police and the army.
The bad times started in the 90s when the historical Babri Masjid built by the Mughal Emperor Zaheeruddin Muhammed Babur was destroyed in 1992 by the Hindu extremists despite the assurance of the Central Government to the Supreme Court of India that the mosque would be protected. The mosque destruction was preceeded and followed by mass communal violence in which thousands of Muslims were killed and maimed. Muslim businesses were looted and burnt in the presence of the police and other security agencies. No Hindu extremists have been convicted till date for the destruction of the Babri Masjid. On the other hand, Lal Krishn Advani the Hindu extremist leader from the communal Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who led the destruction of the Masjid rose to become the Deputy Prime Minister of India. Last week, Advani was given the Padma Vibushan — second highest award of the land by the Narendra Modi led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in New Delhi. Narendra Modi leads the Islamophobes and he came to power as chief minister in the western state of Gujarat after presiding over the genocide of Muslims in 2002. In 2014, the BJP roused communal passions and communal violence ensued. The BJP came to power because of the Hindu-Muslim polarization. The ministers in the Modi government and the parliamentarians from the BJP have been hate mongering about the Muslims and the government is silent and not taking action against the erring ministers or the Members of Parliament (MPs).
Muslims constitute just 14 per cent of the total population. More than 80 per cent of the population is Hindu. The Islamophobia is generated with extreme hate mongering and communal violence. A Hindu extremist even went to the extent of asking the Hindus to ‘rape even the dead Muslim women.’ There was no action as usual. The Hindu society is riddled with caste system. The upper caste Hindus have been terrorizing and targeting the lowest rung of the Hindu society called Dalits. They have been subjected to untouchability and not allowed to draw water from the village wells. The Dalits, who constitute about 14 percent of the population, are still not allowed entry into Hindu temples in many places. Hundreds of thousands of the Dalit women have been raped though they are considered as ‘untouchables.’
The hysteria of hate mongering against Muslims has reached a frenzy after Muslims and the Dalits started to come together making an impact on the results of state elections. The Hyderabad based All India Majlis Al Ittehad Al Muslimeen (AIMIM) ventured into the neighbouring state of Maharashtra and bagged two seats in the local Parliament. The MIM led by the charismatic London educated Barrister Naqeeb Al Millat Asaduddin Owaisi fielded a candidate in the by-election to a local Parliament seat Bandra (East) in the city of Mumbai in Maharashtra. The results are awaited. An ally of the BJP at the centre and state, Shiv Sena party is a notorious party which had proudly claimed participation in the destruction of the Babri Masjid and instigated, and participated, in many communal riots. It has a strong base in Mumbai and Maharashtra. The Shiv Sena got alarmed after MIM’s Advocate Waris Pathan won the Byculla seat from Mumbai and noted journalist Imtiyaz Jaleel gave up a lucrative career with a national television channel and won the Aurangabad seat in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly (local parliament). The Shiv Sena has been bad mouthing against the Muslims in general, Naqeeb Al Millat Asaduddin Owaisi and his younger brother, and a local parliamentarian in Telangana State Akbaruddin Owaisi, who is known for his fiery speeches for the empowerment of Muslims and the Dalits.
The Shiv Sena crossed all limits 3 days ago when they published in an editorial of the party mouth piece Saamna that the Muslims are used as a vote bank. Hence, Sanjay Raut, editor of Saamna, who is member of the national Parliament, in a hard-hitting editorial, demanded that the voting rights of the Indian Muslims should be revoked. Earlier, Subramiam Swamy, another BJP Islamophobe and hate monger had made a similar demand to disenfranchise the Indian Muslims. Swamy was rewarded by the BJP by inducting him into the national executive of the BJP.
The MIM president Asaduddin Owaisi, who was recognized with an award as the Sansad Ratna (Diamond of Parliament) for being among the top three Parliamentarians in the last Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament) has strongly condemned the outrageous demand to revoke voting rights of Muslims. He challenged the Narendra Modi government in New Delhi and the Fadnavis government, both of BJP, to disenfranchise the Indian Muslims. The sophisticated barrister and Member of Parliament from Hyderabad, declared that ‘no mother has given birth to a child’ who can take away the voting rights of Indian Muslims. He lamented that the law of the land was used against only a particular community. He dared the NDA government to revoke voting rights of Muslims.
As a journalist and political analyst, I have been following Naqeeb Al Millat Asaduddin Owaisi’s political career graph for the past twenty years. The Indian Muslim community and the Dalits see him as their new hope. Naqeeb Al Millat is fast emerging as the national leader. The thought of Muslim and Dalit empowerment make the Islamophobes, the hate mongers from the Shiv Sena, and the BJP, under the patronage of the Hindu extremist umbrella organization the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), jittery.
It may be recalled that the RSS was banned in 1948 after one of its terrorists Nathuram Godse shot dead Mahatma Gandhi, the tallest leader of the Indian freedom movement. The 31 per cent Hindu extremists cannot decide the destiny of the Muslims. The majority of the Hindus are secular and democratic and they will stand shoulder to shoulder with Muslims to safeguard the unity and integrity of India.
Muslims came to India during the time of Prophet Muahmmed (PBUH) through the missionary work of Hadhrat Saad and Hadhrat Abi Waqqaas (May Allah be pleased with them) and their entourage. The noble companions of the merciful Prophet (PBUH) came to the present north-eastern Indian state of Manipur 1500 years ago and later went to China for Tableegh Al Islam. Hadhrat Saad returned to Medina Munawarra but his father Hadhrat Abi Waqqaas passed away in China and his final resting place is frequented by thousands of people these days.
The Islamophobes and the hate mongers must bear in mind that Muslims have lived in India for 1500 years and they will continue to live in their beloved and holy motherland till God decides otherwise. India equally belongs to Muslims just like the other compatriots Hindus, Christians, Sikhs and other communities. Neither the BJP nor the Shiv Sena can take away the voting rights of the Muslims, at least for another 1500 years.