Modi’s concern for Muslim sisters
By Faraz Ahmad
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s sudden desire to protect his Muslim sisters from the tentacles of their wily exploitative and manipulative husbands and the bloody mullahs is highly commendable and speaks of a real leader equally concerned about the plight of all his subjects.
I feel choked with emotions at Modi’s benevolence towards these hapless women and the concern for securing constitutional and legal rights for his Muslim sisters, his commitment to “duty” towards Muslim women. That’s like a true statesman!
But wasn’t Kausar Bi an Indian Muslim woman? All those Police officers who abducted and then killed Kausar Bi after she was also raped in custody, are all not just free today but duly rewarded–those not reached retirement age reinstated to high offices and their seniority in service restored with retrospective effect. Some even reemployed by the BJP government in Gujarat because they retired while in jail and still others like D G Vanzara their ring leader have announced their intent to contest the Gujarat assembly elections and enter politics. What was Kausar Bi’s fault? Did our Prime Minister express remorse, leave alone any concern for duty as the chief minister of Gujarat over her killing?
And why won’t these officers be rewarded? As they say in colloquial Hindi, Saiyan bhaye kotwal to dar kahe ka? Their mentors Narendrabhai, now holds the highest executive position in the country and his Man Friday, the then Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah is the supreme commander of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Their word is the law of the land. Though let me remind you that the charges of abduction and murder of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kausar Bi against D G Vanzara and his high profile team which led to their arrest, were framed by a senior Gujarat Police officer Geeta Johri during Modi’s tenure, thanks to the court’s intervention at the instance of social activists like Teesta Setalvad.
No tears or empathy for that young, struggling student of Mumbra Devi in Mumbai, Ishrat Jahan in fake encounter? The poor destitute girl was studying in college along with working to support her family after her father’s death. Till date her mother is crying for justice. Instead of any sensitivity towards that victim of fake encounter, she has been branded a terrorist and the Indian state under Modi has gone all the way to make Dauood Gilani, nee David Headly somehow say that Ishrat Jehan was a terrorist and even the former Home Minister is not being spared for standing up for that Muslim girl. In exchange the Modi establishment has showered all the benevolence on Geelani, the main living conspirator and prime actor in the 26/11 terror operation in Mumbai. Such is the desperation to brand a victim of fake encounter a terrorist.
Instead of punishing the killers of Ishrat Jehan we have Teesta Setalvad being hounded and charged with all kinds of framed up cases only to harass her to force her to back out from pursuing the cases of the victims of Gujarat riots like Ehsan Jafri, fake encounters and other extra judicial killings in Modi’s Gujarat tenure. Now Teesta and Javed Anand had a civil marriage and thus strengthen the argument for civil marriages. By Modi’s reckoning Teesta should have been at least spared this ordeal if for no other than this that she is as much opposed to triple talaq as anyone of us and Modi is. But no Modi’s state machinery is out to somehow arrest and obviously torture her in his sinister cells,to punish her for taking up the cause of the victims of the anti-Muslim pogrom of February-March, 2002 in Gujarat during Modi’s rule.
Wish Modi had shown the same concern for his Muslim sister Bilkis Bano, five months pregnant during that massacre who, along with her younger sister and mother was stripped and gang raped in full public view, she can’t remember by how many men with four men holding her hands and legs. Her three year old daughter flung high in the air and smashed to smithereens by the Sanghi goondas and while her sister and mother died, she too was left for dead after being brutalized. Authorised accounts of the genocide put the figure of Muslim women publicly stripped, paraded naked, gang raped and then burnt to death all over Gujarat in that holocaust at more than 250. Did Modi ever show any compassion or concern even once for any of them? Forget about apologizing, when reminded of their ordeal in the relief camps organized by the Muslim community in Juhapura, Ahmedabad seeking some financial aid from his government, to provide basic civic amenities to these victims, what did Modi have to say addressing a public meeting? “Should I help out these five to produce 25” (the famous paanch pachees refrain) implying that Muslim men have four wives and thereby each one of them produces 25 children adding to the nation’s population burden.
That may be history. But the 2013 Muzaffarnagar rape and plunder of Muslims and their women in the run up to the general elections, is not so old. They are still camping away from their homes with no means of livelihood. Why did Modi never ever express a word of concern for these hapless Muslim women?
No, never. Instead we had Amit Shah telling Hindus how Salma had usurped Savita’s due (reservation in employment and education, which actually never happened. The then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s 15 point programme for the minorities aimed at providing some succor to the poor, backward and discriminated Muslims, in particular their women) and that got Amit Shah’s goat. So he egged on the Hindus to give a befitting reply. And here we suddenly find Modi flashing his sword in defence of Muslim women.
Modi’s one time comrade and now his bête noire from Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), equally rabid, whom I would rather not name, but is widely known to all, once told a group of journalists that in those early days of camaraderie he once told Modi that even if he and Modi did Sunnat (circumcision) it would cut no ice with the Muslims.
Then why has Modi suddenly risen in support of Muslim women? Because this is one more card up the Sanghi sleeve to ensure that Muslims rise in protest over the transgression of their so-called religious privileges and the Hindus in turn say how horrible they are, thus creating communal polarization in the run up to the UP Assembly elections, a matter of life and death for Modi and Sangh politics.
I too am opposed to this horrible triple talaq and halala business and insist that it has nothing to do with the basic tenets of Islam as enunciated in Quran and which by the way exists only among a section of Sunni Muslims. But the best way to strengthen the Muslim clerics’ resolve to resist change, is to have Modi and his other Sanghi cohorts seek its abolition.