New Age Islam
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The War Within Islam ( 25 Jul 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Why Gujarati Muslim Oppose Maulana Vastanvi as head of Deoband despite his admirable modernisation of madrasas

By J.S.Bandukwala for

26 July 2011

The opposition to Maulana Vastanvi in Gujarat was primarily due to his insensitive remarks that there was no discrimination against Muslims in Narendra Modi's Gujarat, and therefore Muslims must move away from the 2002 trauma and take part in the economic development going on in the State. This comment coming right after his appointment as the Vice Chancellor of Deoband in January 2011 gave a huge boost to Modi and the BJP. But it demoralised all the victims and those fighting on their behalf. His comments were totally wrong in facts, both on the issue of discrimination as well as on economic development. The gross injustice suffered by Muslims since 2002 genocide is horrifying. About one hundred Godhra Muslims were arrested under POTA, and were denied bail for nine years, until the judgement on Sabarmati train burning. Sadly 11 were sentenced to death, 20 to life and the remaining released as innocents. What about the nine years they suffered in jail?  Note that the Banerjee Commission gave a report in which the Godhra people were innocent.

 On the other side, Modi has done everything within his powers to see that no RSS / VHP/ Bajrang Dal activist/ or any police officer is disturbed for the approximately 2000 murders of Muslims in that period. The lower judiciary, the prosecution and the police are in league with saffron forces. The only justice we have received so far is due to the Supreme Court which shifted the Bilkis Banu and the Best Bakery cases out of Gujarat. The Maulana sees no injustice in Gujarat?

 Consider the case of  Babu Bajrangi ,a RSS  activist who  confessed in the Tehelka sting operation that he slit the stomach of the pregnant Kauserbau, killed her and then pulled out the unborn baby on his sword. The murderer says in the interview that he felt he was Maharana Pratap. This same Bajrangi has not spent a day in Court. His bail was granted by Justice Mehta, without even going through the details (this is as per Bajrangi's comments to Tehelka). Imagine our shock when this same Justice Mehta of the Gujarat High Court is appointed to the Nanavati Mehta Commission to investigate the 2002 riots.

Can we expect any justice from such a tainted Commission?

 And what about the fake encounters of innocent Muslims carried out by Modi's blued eyed police officer Vanzara?  Sohrabbuddin, Ishrat Jahan, Sadik Jamal, and so many other innocents were picked up, often from their homes and murdered in public, without any legal process, under the pretext that they wanted to kill Narendra Modi. Is it a crime to be a Muslim in Gujarat?

 I am deeply pained that prominent and rich Muslims such as Maulana Vastanvi have gone out of their way to rehabilitate Narendra Modi, and make him acceptable to Muslims. This has resulted in the weakening of the Supreme Court monitored cases. This is the time to fight for justice. This is not the time for personal benefits from Modi. Allah will never pardon you, however high a Maulana you may be in the eyes of Modi.

Maulana Vastanvi is a very gifted man. He has build up an educational complex that is admirable. He receives huge amounts of donations and zakat, which he has utilised to the modernise the madrasa system. That is why we feel so bad about opposing him. But we had no choice. The Modi remarks and the manner in which the BJP used those comments, has caused much damage to the demand for justice in Gujarat.

Eminent academic J. S. Bandukwala is Vice-President, People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL). He lives in Vadodara, Gujarat.