Rahman and Shariah banking

Rahman Khan stokes communal fires by seeking Shariah baanking for Muslims
Faraz Ahmad

Union Minority Affairs Minister K Rahman Khan has raised the pitch for Shariah banking as one of the major demands of Muslims in India. Rahman Khan is facing serious charges of bungling and large scale misappropriation of funds to the tune of Rs 300 crore from Karnataka’s Amanath Cooperative Bank which he presided over between 1998-2002 and where he allegedly distributed unsecured loans to his friends and relatives thereby causing a loss to the financial institution created in the name of aiding poor Muslims keep their hard earned savings in safe banks instead of leaving these in the custody, as was the practice in medieval times, of some “Ameen” (trustee) who would ever so often do Amanath mein Khayanath (Misapppropriate the money put in his trust).

The FIR  against Rahman Khan was lodged by one Shahra Banu in Commercial Street Police Station in 2003. The Police however did precious little to investigate the case. But because of continued protest from the depositors, the government had to appoint an administrator under whom the Bank had to publish a balance sheet which showed Rahman Khan as a defaulter.

Curiously for all his professions and loud proclamations on behalf of the Muslim community he was quite a darling of the BJP and remained well protected in the BJP heydays. But he has started feeling the heat under his collar now that a Congress led government is back in Karnataka. First former Union minister and widely respected Muslim leader from Karnataka C K Jaffer Sharief sat on a hunger strike outside Amanath Bank demanding action against Rahman. Later the newly appointed chairman of the state Minorities Commission Anwar Manipaddy has lodged a formal complaint along with relevant documents with the Lokayukta seeking a thorough probe into the financial misappropriations in this bank.

Quite clearly then Rahman Khan’s access to this bank, set up to protect poor Muslim depositors’ interest, has been blocked and so he now wants to spread his reach. So he has forcefully demanded Shariah banking for Muslims.

This whole concept of Shariah Banking was the brain child of former Pakistan President, the mullah in Khaki, General Mohammad Ziaul Haq, in the 1970s which was happily lapped up by a few Wahabi Muslim states like Saudi Arabia. In any case the sovereign Muslim states still had some right in deciding how they chose to handle their finances. Why should this gentleman suggest something so divisive in a secular country like India? That would imply Muslims banking in Muslim banks and others in the national banks. This is a very dangerous trend. This man is attempting to provoke another Shah Bano debate in India. This will only help the communalists to further communalise the situation and thus help out Narendra Modi. This avaricious Rahman Khan is a threat to the peace and harmony of the nation. He has already managed to get more than he deserved. After being the Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha for two terms. Then in an unprecedented move he moved from the chair to become a minister, without being in the least embarrassed. Its time he should be asked to go and also vacate 28, Akbar Road which he has wilfully continued occupying though like the Speaker, and Chairman Rajya Sabha, Deputy Chairman’s House is also earmarked for the post and should not be allotted to anyone else.
Sonia Gandhi ought to learn from her husband’s past mistakes and remember the whole Shah Bano controversy. First Rajiv Gandhi encouraged Arif Mohammad Khan to defend the Supreme Court judgment in the Shah Bano case, for which both Arif and Rajiv were widely applauded. Then under pressure from the All India Muslim Personal Law Board he capitulated and allowed Ziaur Rehamn Ansari to attack Justice Y V Chandrachud as a “Teli, tamboli, raising the hackles of the entire Opposition and strengthening the Ram Janmabhoomi agitation. The VHP is already set to launch an agitation again later this month. Rahman Khan is only going to provide the spark. Sack him!


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