Muslims and the Indian state since 1947

I COULD not resist the desire to write on this subject after the violence at Azad maidan on August 11, 2012, in Mumbai, and the competitive politics this event led to among rightist and identity seeking political parties in Maharashtra.

Now is the most appropriate time to analyse why certain sections of Muslims indulged in violence. What motivated them and why they directed their anger against state institutions and media?

First and foremost, I condemn the violence in the most strongest terms. Now comes the question, as to why it happened. On the surface it appears that certain sections of Muslims are unhappy with state institutions in the way they handled Bodo-Muslim clashes in Assam. Thousands of Muslim homes were burned by Bodo militants in order to drive them away. Many innocent people died in the clashes and government of Assam was lax in taking action against culprits.

In Burma, too, there was a massacre of Muslims and the government of India stood silent. Continue reading “Muslims and the Indian state since 1947”

“I’ve been wronged”, says the man who could have stopped the Godhra carnage

FOR somebody beginning his political career in 1997 and in a space of 15 years changed four parties, (joining one twice, before being expelled again earlier this month) is surely a seasoned politician. To top it all Shahid Siddiqui is also the chief editor of an Urdu weekly. A potent combination indeed!

So Siddiqui’s sudden journalistic urge to hear Narendra Modi’s point of view (a decade after the Gujarat riots) should not come as a surprise. He dedicated full six pages to the man who more than welcomed the interview. Inspite of this Siddiqui claimed that Modi didn’t answer many questions. The interview looked more like a story to halt the plunging fortunes of Siddiqui, and for Modi another opportunity to project himself as the right man for the top job of the country. Continue reading ““I’ve been wronged”, says the man who could have stopped the Godhra carnage”

Haj subsidy continues despite Muslim opposition

THE Union Cabinet has gone ahead with the Haj subsidy for 2012. It has approved the following-

(i) 125,000 haj pilgrims would be covered by the Haj subsidy scheme.

(ii) Apart from statutory taxes like PSF, UDF,  ADF and Saudi airport fees, each pilgrims would pay Rs. 20,000 as air fare. The balance cost of air travel arrangements would be borne by the government.

(iii) The pilgrims would depart from 21 embarkation points in India. Gaya as an embarkation point has been introduced in place of Patna due to technical difficulties presently in operating direct flights from Patna.

This year the Haj flights would start on 17.9.2012.

The element of cost of air travel arrangements in excess of the fare paid by the pilgrims is the Haj subsidy borne by the Government, which is called Haj subsidy. Untill 2009, the pilgrims were carried by Saudi Arabian Airlines on negotiated fares and by Air India on cost basis. From 2010, the government decided to select the airlines through a tendering process. Sealed bids are invited from all eligible airlines and the airline offering the lowest fare from an embarkation point is engaged to carry the haj pilgrims.

It’s noteworthy that the practice has received considerable criticism in the past from Muslim leaders, both on grounds of inflated air fares and being un-Islamic.