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Contempt for the truth

Contempt for the truth

Author: Editorial
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: January 31, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/153358/Contempt-for-the-truth.html

Ulema blind to national interest

India's Muslim clergy, or at least a vast section of it, clearly disregards both the truth about homegrown jihadi terror and the danger posed by agitprop anchored in theology. It is equally indifferent to national sentiment and popular mood inflamed by repeated attacks by terrorists who claim their deeds are aimed at furthering their faith. Nothing else explains why the Uttar Pradesh Ulema Council should have organised a rally in New Delhi on Thursday to demand an inquiry into the Batla House raid by the police in which two terrorists, both members of the 'Indian Mujahideen', were killed and their associates arrested. Nor can any sense be attributed to their outrageous assertion that all Muslims are being targeted by the Government in the guise of combating terrorism. For, the facts fly in the face of what was said at the rally. The UPA Government has been cautious to a fault in tackling the menace of terrorism lest it upset Muslims. So much so, this misplaced concern, articulated by inaction as well as appeasement, has made India a soft target for terrorists, not all of whom are of Pakistani or Bangladeshi origin: It so happens many of those responsible for plotting terrorist attacks and carrying them out are from Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh. Had the ulema at the rally, all belonging to a particular seminary, taken on the task of halting this frightening trend and ridding Azamgarh of its Islamist malcontents, then they would have done signal service to the community they claim to represent. Instead, what was seen and heard on Thursday amounts to encouragement of radical Islamism. Linked to this is the misplaced attempt to paint the men who were killed at Batla House as 'innocent victims'. All the evidence that has surfaced since the police raid on the 'Indian Mujahideen' hideout in Jamia Nagar shows they were deeply involved in bombing Indian cities and killing Indian citizens - both Hindus and Muslims. In any event, the case is now in court and there is no reason to pre-judge their innocence, as well as that of those who have been arrested, or otherwise.

If the ulema's demand for a special inquiry by a sitting Supreme Court judge into the Batla House encounter is unacceptable, their other demand for an inquiry into every police action against terrorists in the last 10 years is laughable, not least because it seeks to bring the nation's criminal justice system into disrepute. The ulema's attempt to give a communal twist to anti-terrorism measures is repugnant and deserves to be unambiguously condemned. The law makes no distinction of caste, creed or religion, and the police are not expected to react to criminals on the basis of their religious affiliations. Those who violate the law and perpetrate criminal, anti-social and terrorist acts cannot be allowed to roam about freely only because they belong to a particular community. They must be dealt with firmly and punished in accordance with the gravity of their crime and not according to any spurious criteria, least of all those dictated by ulema who refuse to distinguish between right and wrong, and are hence blind to the evil committed by those whom they seek to protect. At a time when the nation faces the threat of terrorism sponsored by Pakistan and facilitated by anti-national elements within the country, all Indians are expected to - and, indeed, are willing to - stand united. The ulema and the Islamist thugs of Azamgarh are obviously opposed to this unity. It was this that brought them and their followers to New Delhi, not the plight of Muslims for which mullahs, more than anybody else, are to blame.

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