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Resist Islamist pressure

Resist Islamist pressure

Author: Balbir K Punj
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: February 24, 2006

In December 1998, comedian Johnny Lever was sentenced to seven days of imprisonment by Additional Metropolitan Magistrate of Mumbai under Section 2 of Prevention of Insult's to National Honour Act for caricaturing the national anthem and the Indian Constitution at a private function in Hyat Regency Hotel of Dubai in 1990.

Sleuths of Intelligence Bureau were entrusted the task of recovering his performance's videotape, which was then presented to the court as evidence. The Johnny Lever episode was recently refreshed in public memory after a private channel recently showed a video recording of Bollywood stars performing at the wedding of Dawood Ibrahim's nephew.

Contrast this with the universal condemnation in the country of Prophet Mohammed's cartoons but dodging the issue of MF Husain's obscene painting of ' Bharat Mata'. Old-fox Husain has gone beyond his limits of denigrating Hindu gods and goddess; and in the process demeaning India . You do not need to engage any IB sleuth to procure a graphic evidence from beyond borders to prove this. Then why should there be one standard for Johnny Lever and another for MF Husain? Nor is protecting the honour of India the sole responsibility of the BJP or the Sangh Parivar.

Do not the so-called secularists from Congress sing 'Vande Mataram' - the hymn in the honour of Mother India and our national song - at AICC sessions? How can they sing paeans to Mother India and tolerate its 'graphic vilification' at the same time ? If defending 'Mother India' becomes an act of 'Hindu communalism' today, then we are not far from 'Pakistanisation' of the country!

Last Monday BJP's Ravi Shankar Prasad raised the twin issues of Prophet's Mohammed's cartoons and Husain's painting portraying 'Bharat-Mata' in Rajya Sabha during zero hour. But Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Pachouri of the Congress, while explicitly condemning the Prophet's cartoons, did not mention Husain. It forced me and other Rajya Sabha members of the BJP to rush to the well of the House and demand unanimous condemnation of Husain as well.

Only persistent shouting of 'Bharat mata ki jai' for about 15 minutes could elicit a specific condemnation of the painter. Is it credible for the Indian Parliament to unequivocally condemn insult to Prophet Mohammed but maintain silence on the insult to Bharat mata, let alone Hindu deities?

After the Gujarat riots, some 'secularists' were suddenly reminded of Kashmiri Hindus languishing in camps for over a decade, only to show that they were not partial while sympathising with Muslim riot-victims huddled in camps in Ahmedabad. Had Gujarat tragedy not occurred, they have would not even paid lip-service to Kashmir. Had the cartoon controversy not erupted, the 'secularists' would have been happy to support Husain's right to freedom of expression as they have been doing so in the past.

India I am afraid, is turning into a camp following Islam's jihad for world conquest. Our 'secularists' are behaving like stewards who used to follow Aurangzeb in his jihadi campaigns. Demographically, India forms the lone significant hurdle between two concentrations of Islam in West-Central Asia and South-East Asia (Indonesia, world's largest Muslim country). We are flanked by two regions with the largest concentration of Muslim population on our immediate left and right. If India goes down, the caliphate is a certainty, for whose establishment Islamists all over the world are working overtime.

If Indians - or Hindus - succumb to this Islamic pressure, then our civilisation runs the risk of collapsing. It might appear surprising that Muslim protest rallies in Hyderabad, Muzafarnagar, and Lucknow against Prophet's cartoons published in European dailies should lead to looting of Hindu shops, stoning Hindus, shouting slogans against Hindu deities and ransacking the BJP office.

No Indian newspaper has published or rather dared to publish the cartoons. Even then why have the Hindus been at the end of Islamic ire? It is because to Islam one kafir (non-Muslim) is as good as another. This was proved during the Solapur riots in Maharashtra in 2002. A critical comment on Prophet Mohammed by American evangelist Jerry Falwell led Muslims of Solapur to vent their ire upon Hindus.

But is this not what happened in Mopla riots (1920)? BR Ambedkar in his book Pakistan or The Partition of India says, "The outbreak was essentially a rebellion against the British Government. The aim was to reestablish the kingdom of Islam by overthrowing the British government...As a rebellion against the British Government it was quite understandable. But what baffled most was the treatment accorded by the Mopla to Hindus of Malabar.

The Hindus were visited by a dire fate at the hands of Moplas. Massacres, forcible conversions, desecration of temples, foul outrages upon women, such as ripping of pregnant women, pillage, arson and destruction-in short, all the accompaniments of brutal and unrestrained barbarism, were perpetrated freely by the Moplas upon the Hindus .

Islamic behaviour is atavistic. Thus, I was not surprised when Uttar Pradesh Minority Welfare Minister Hajji Yakoob Qureshi put a price of Rs 51 crore (plus incentive in gold) on the heads of Danish cartoonists. Refusing to acknowledge it as 'supari' (contract killing money, as BJP's Lalji Tandon described it) he defended his decision, on a private television news channel, as deriving legitimacy from Islamic law. Or in other words, the UP Minister was implying, "damn your constitution, damn your law of the land, I recognise only Islam."

One finds an analogy in another description by BR Ambedkar -"Nathuramal Sharma was murdered by Abdul Qayum in September, 1934. It was an act of great daring. For Sharma was stabbed to death in the Court of the Judicial Commissioner of Sind where he was seated awaiting the hearing of his appeal against his conviction under Section 195, IPC, for the publication of a pamphlet on the history of Islam...The leading Moslems, however, never condemned these criminals.

On the contrary, they were hailed as religious martyrs and agitation was carried on for clemency being shown to them. As an illustration to this attitude, one may refer to Mr Barkat Alli, a barrister of Lahore, who argued the appeal of Abdul Qayum. He went to the length of saying that Qayum was not guilty of murder of Nathuramal because his act was justifiable by the law of the Koran. This attitude of the Moslems is quite understandable. What is not understandable is the attitude of Mr Gandhi"

Thus when a senior member of All-India Muslim Personal Law Board Zafaryab Jilani defends Haji Yakub Qureshi's Rs 51-crore prize money or Maulana Mufti Abul Irfan issues a fatwa on behalf of two 'Sharia courts' Idara-e-Sharia Darul Qaza and Ifta Firangi Mahali Taksal of Lucknow it does not come as a surprise. They are revealing something important about 'Islam, the religion of peace, mercy and benevolence'. But what is not understandable is how 'secularists' are trivialising Haji Yakub Qureshi's threat that constitutes a cognisable offence under Indian Penal Code.

Samajwadi Party's Amar Singh looked ridiculous when he said Qureshi did not have enough money to foot Rs 51crore bill. UP Chief Secretary Alok Sinha (his script apparently prepared by UP Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav) says that those cartoonists are not citizens/residents of India. The IPC makes no distinction between a citizen/resident of India or otherwise. It means the fatwa is acceptable; the quibble is only over money.

I fear US President George Bush, who is not a citizen/resident of India, may receive a prize on his head from Indian Muslim organisations. Will the Indian Government twiddle its finger over citizenship status of George Bush in such a scenario? It is heartening to learn that a criminal case against Haji Yaqoob has finally been filed in Ghaziabad. It proves we are yet not living in a land dictated by Sharia.

(The writer is a Rajya Sabha MP and can be contacted at bpunj@email.com)

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