Muslims: India (after 1947)
This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.
The issues explained by Lt Gen Hasnain
The writer is former Commander of India’s Kashmir based 15 Corps
Without comprehensive rebuttal, Pakistani propaganda dupes the gullible across the board
Standing between Pakistani propaganda and the Indian nation can be a full time job, especially when it comes to issues about Indian Muslims. It is an enshrined doctrine in Pakistan that India’s fault lines will remain its Achilles heel. The recent controversy – generated by crude video clips inserted into social media networks and reinvigoration of a Pakistani media article of March 2010 – is nothing but a ham handed but potentially mischievous campaign by Pakistan’s Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR).
It’s an issue very few in India know much about: Indian Muslim presence in India’s armed forces and issues concerning alleged disloyalty to the nation, on which across the board gullibility is very high. The essence of the Pakistani disinformation is that a Muslim Regiment existed in the Indian Army till 1965, but was disbanded because in that conflict 20,000 Muslims refused to fight Pakistan.
Thereafter not a single Muslim participated in the 1971 conflict (another lie). Secondly, the percentage of Muslim servicemen as per the article is drastically below the ratio of Muslim population in India. The March 2010 article is more academic, highlighting research by an Indian Muslim scholar in the US who finds no rationale for this or for absence of reservation for Muslims in the armed forces.
Such projections obfuscate reality on the ground. Post-Independence, majority of Muslim officers and soldiers migrated to Pakistan, leaving a minuscule minority as the core or seed element of Indian Muslim servicemen distributed in different regiments and units. In that context new Muslim, Christian or Buddhist regiments made no sense as ethnic and regional identity took priority over faith as entities of representation. However, sub units comprising only Muslims do exist in many units of the Grenadiers, the Rajputana Rifles, Rajput Regiment and some cavalry regiments.
There was no Muslim Regiment ever and certainly not in 1965. But Muslims fighting as part of multi class regiments proved their absolute commitment and worth. Abdul Hamid’s Param Vir Chakra, although a legend, is insufficiently recalled today. Major (later Lt Gen) Mohammad Zaki and Major Abdul Rafey Khan both won the Vir Chakra, the latter posthumously even as he battled the Pakistani division commanded by his uncle, Maj Gen Sahibzada Yaqub Khan.
Such were the legends of Muslim warriors in 1965. The same followed in 1971. In later years Muslim bravehearts of the Indian army proved their mettle in Kargil and in fighting terror groups in J&K. Three army commanders, three corps commanders and a number of two star generals make up the community’s share of achievements in higher ranks.
The public needs to be educated on two aspects of manning in the Indian Army to counter Pakistani ‘psyops’. First, officer ranks. A commissioned officer goes to any regiment or unit irrespective of his ethnicity or faith or that of the regiment. He could be in command of mixed ‘All India All Class’ troops or of a sub unit comprising a single ethnicity.
I, a Muslim, was commissioned in Garhwal Rifles, a pure Hindu regiment with recruitment base only in Garhwal in Uttarakhand. Simply put, the faith of my troops became my faith; similarly their culture, language and food habits have never left me. Indian army officers uniquely remain comfortable with this arrangement, as do their families; it is an ethos not many Indians understand let alone Pakistanis who have never shared a bench or a tiffin box with people of another faith.
Manning below officer ranks is slightly different. Based upon social parameters each state has a recruitable male population (RMP) index. This is based upon the age profile and educational qualifications of the male population among other parameters. There is no reservation based upon profiling by faith, class, caste or ethnicity.
Rightly, in a diverse society the percentages by profile are not revealed as these will always become a subject of controversy which the close brotherhood of the uniform can ill afford. No doubt the Muslim representation at both officer and below officer level may not match its percentage of the population. But efforts to improve that are an ongoing phenomenon as education profiles and awareness improve.
In the officer cadre in particular, since it is open competition, regions with stronger education and awareness profile do have greater population percentage qualifying to be officers. Awareness makes a major difference and that is where the system may have erred in insufficient confidence building among some segments.
In my tours to educate various backward classes on opportunities i have been stumped by Muslim response, when they refuse to believe there is a place for them in the Indian army. Even the case of my own family, where father and son both became generals, is not easily believable by many Muslims.
This perception is exploited by Pakistan, with the additional misperception that it is not easy for them to follow their culture and faith in the forces. Exactly the opposite is true. The essence of India’s plural faith and culture is best symbolised by the armed forces but the projection of that to the recruiting base has been insufficient.
The ease with which Pakistan’s ISPR can exploit non-issues and half truths to advantage for its ‘psyops’ is a reflection of our studied weakness and longtime inability to develop a better communication strategy. More awareness among Indian Muslims and garnering the clergy in social outreach about the opportunities that India has to offer will go far in neutralising Pakistan’s intent.
The writer is former Commander of India’s Kashmir based 15 Corps
Budgetary allocation for Muslims
[ From the archives of the Times of India]
After the Sachar Committee report in late 2006 unequivocally showed that the Muslim community in India suffers from stark educational and employment deprivation, the UPA government announced a slew of measures targeted at mainly 66 Muslim concentration districts spread over 4 states. These measures included earmarked allocation in various schemes, multi-sectoral development plans (MSDP) scholarships etc.
How have these programmes fared? A detailed analysis done by the Center for Budget and Governance Accountabilit (CBGA), a Delhi-Based advocacy group, throws up a dismal picture. Not only has the government not allocated enough resources for the plans, even the money earmarked has not been spent.
Only 64% of the Rs 8,690 crore allocated to the ministry of minority affairs were actually spent between 2007-2011. Of the Rs 3,632 crore earmarked for the multi-sectoral development programme, just 33% was actually spent. Among the four states with significant Muslim population that is shackled by under-development — West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Assam — only West Bengal managed to spend about 51% of the funds allocated for the MSDP. UP spent about 33%, Bihar 31% and Assam a meager 20% of the funds.
The results are obvious: key targets for setting up anganwadis, health centres, schools, handpumps etc. have not been met. For instance, in UP, 84,730 low-cost houses were to be built for below poverty line Muslim families, but only 54,045 (64%) were built. Only 5,203 handpumps were installed in Muslim localities against a target of 11,984. In Bihar, just 17% of the low cost houses, 21% of the health centers, 10% of anganwadis were built. In West Bengal and Assam too similar performance is reported, according to the CBGA analysis.
While pre-matric scholarship distribution appears to have exceeded its target, in post-matric scholarship, out of a target of 2.55 lakh, only 37,000 students were actually given. Poor awareness generation among the parents, cumbersome procedure of application and lack of administrative costs being earmarked for implementation are the main reasons for this failure, says the CBGA.
A new programme — the Prime Minister’s 15-Point Programme — has now been initiated to tackle problems. However, it may also flounder unless the grievous lacunae dogging earlier schemes are not corrected, says the CBGA. This includes providing special central funds to states for meeting their obligation of implementing schemes, creating institutional infrastructure at the ground level, providing for administrative costs, targeting mohallas and bastis rather than wards and districts, etc., according to the CBGA.
2014-16, priority-sector loans for Muslims
The Times of India, Mar 14, 2016
During 2014-15, 2015-16; Muslims got only 2% of 6 PSBs' priority sector loans: RTI
If there were any doubts about low lending by banks to Muslims - one of the reasons for the community's financial exclusion - an RTI disclosure conclusively lays them to rest. Answers received through Right To Information applications to half-a- dozen banks by Mumbai-based activist M A Khalid show that of all priority sector loans, Muslims got a little over 2% in both 2014-15 and till September 30 in 2015-16. The revelation may strengthen the feeling within the community that it is getting further marginalised under the NDA dispensation. Although there are no specific guidelines about granting loans to Muslims, the banks agreed that 15% of the total priority sector loans should go to the minority community. Muslims constituted 14.2% or 17.22 crore (as per the 2011 census) of India's population of 121.09 crore and scholars and community representatives feel their share in bank loans should be much higher. Among the six public sector banks - Punjab & Sind Bank, Allahabad Bank, Corporation Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, Vijaya Bank and Andhra Bank - from which Khalid got information, only Allahabad Bank showed an encouraging trend. It said the share of Muslims in priority sector credit of the bank was 7.07% as on March 31, 2015, which increased to 7.19% on September 30. The bank showing the lowest disbursal of loans to Muslims was Corporation Bank - 1.90% (as on March 31, 2015) and 1.95% (as on September 30, 2015).
"The data clearly shows no extra efforts are being made to increase Muslims' share in loans for minorities under the priority sector. It exposes the hollowness of PM Narendra Modi's 'sabka saath sabka vikas' slogan," said Khalid. TOI sent email queries seeking clarifications to Punjab & Sind Bank, Allahabad Bank, Bank of Maharashtra and Andhra Bank. None replied. However, an official from BoM said over phone that "we are increasing our presence in Muslim pockets by opening more branches".
Dr Abdul Shaban, deputy director, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, said: "In a survey done a couple of years ago it was found that one of the reasons for Muslims' financial exclusion is the negligible presence of banks in Muslim-concentrated areas."
The Sachar Report had observed that many Muslim-concentrated areas were marked by some banks as 'negative' or 'red' zones where they were reluctant to give loans. Since the panel also found that many Muslims are self-employed, an increase in loans to the community will help them become financially strong.
1961-2011; 2019 estim.
[February 25, 2020: The Times of India]
Jaisalmer, other border areas of Rajasthan/ 2018
BSF: Spike In Number Of Muslims In Jaisalmer Dist
The Border Security Force has flagged concerns over increasing radicalisation of Muslim population in the border district of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan with rising prevalence of “Arab customs” even as Hindus and Muslims admit to a shrinkage in dialogue between the communities.
A BSF study that examined demographic changes has found a departure from traditional Rajasthani culture in terms of personal grooming such as hairstyles and dress. The study also found a high 22-25% growth rate in Muslim population as compared to 8-10% of other communities. There is a rise in religiosity with higher attendance of children at mosques for more frequent namaz.
While warning of radicalisation, the study says there is no evidence of any “anti-national” activity and there is no discernible soft corner for Pakistan among the minority population. Also, both communities have not had any problems so far and they conduct business and are cordial to each other, the BSF states.
BSF study also talks about an increase in the membership of Hindu right-wing organisations, which are opposed by Muslims. “The activities of Hindu right-wing organiastions have made Hindus in the village of Mohangarh, Nachna and Pokaharan more concerned about their religion. The membership in such organisations is increasing and they are extending their horizons at different spheres of religious activities ranging from training, monetary and communal support to education. However, no direct confrontation with other community has been noticed”, the report says.
The “study of demographic pattern in the border areas of Rajasthan and its security implications”, notes that areas like Pokhran and Mohangarh of Jaisalmer have seen frequent visits of Muslim clerics, especially from Deoband, Uttar Pradesh. The clerics are reported to “preach fanaticism and (seek to) unite Muslims as a separate identity with feeling of paramountcy of religion”.
There is also an aggressive investment in land, which has now become a bone of contention for the Hindu community, BSF asserts. The growing communal divide is reflected in the “Hindu community believes that unbalanced rate of Muslim population increase is disturbing the communal harmony of their village.”
The BSF study also names a personage of Jaisalmer (name withheld), who often travels to Pakistan, has business interests there and has emerged as an influential political influence. “(The) involvement of Muslim population in anti-establishment activities and surfacing of anti-India sentiments on his call can’t be ruled out...”
It has recommended a check on activities of clerics, a task force comprising police, administration, intelligence and BSF, to assess any rise in the communal temperature.
Asked about the report, BSF chief Rajnikant Mishra said that the force “regularly prepares these reports based on demographic, social, economic changes in border areas and shares it with sister agencies”.
BSF surveyed six villages — Mohangarh, Nachna, Bahla, Bharewala, Sam, Tanot and the town of Pokhran — in the border region of Jaisalmer district.
Upper vis-à-vis working class Muslims; and vis-à-vis Hindu counterparts/ 2019
The 3 main ethnic groups within Indian Muslims
There are three broad groupings of Muslim castes — Ashrafs, Ajlafs and Arzals — which approximate to upper castes, OBCs and Dalits respectively. However, Dalit Muslims don’t self-identify as Scheduled Castes in survey data as they don’t enjoy reservation. Their castes are usually listed in the OBC category. OBCs constitute about 60 per cent of Indian Muslims, followed by 38 per cent of upper castes and the remaining 2 per cent constitute SC/STs. These groups, however, are unevenly distributed geographically. Pasmandas, comprising OBCs and Dalits, constitute 76 per cent of Muslims in UP and Bihar, for instance.
Drawing on the latest All India Debt and Investment Survey (AIDIS) and Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), we use multidimensional variables — wealth consumption, access to jobs and educational attainment — to evaluate social inequalities among Indian Muslims and to compare them with the situation prevailing among Hindus.
Per capita wealth
The average per capita wealth among Hindu upper castes was Rs 8,64,984 in 2019, as against Rs 4,27,149 for OBCs, and Rs 2,28,437 for Dalits. The figures for upper-caste Muslims and OBCs were Rs 3,43,014 and Rs 3,10,922, respectively. In other words, on average, the wealth of Hindu upper castes was more than three times that of Dalits and twice that of OBCs, while this gap was just 10 per cent among Muslims. In Bihar, where Pasmanda Muslims are in large numbers, wealth inequality among Muslims is insignificant — just 2 per cent — and in Madhya Pradesh, Pasmanda Muslims do better than Ashrafs in wealth accumulation by 14 percentage points. By contrast, the gap is 43 per cent in UP, where there are remnants of landed Muslim aristocracy. However, if we compare the wealth gap among the Hindus of UP, on average, the Hindu upper castes own almost twice as much wealth as OBCs and three times as much as Dalits.
A similar trend can be observed in consumption, too. In 2021-22, the average per capita monthly expenditure among the Muslim upper castes was Rs 2,180, as against Rs 2,151 among Pasmandas, a margin of 1.4 per cent. The corresponding figures for Hindus were quite different: Upper castes, with Rs 3,321, consumed 40 per cent more than OBCs (Rs 2,180) and 57 per cent more than Dalits (Rs 2,122). The gap among Muslims was rather small in UP (6.2 per cent) and Bihar (10 per cent), while it stood at, respectively, 48 per cent for the Hindu upper castes vis-à-vis OBCs and 60 per cent vis-à-vis Dalits in UP, and 27 per cent and 48 per cent in Bihar.
In terms of educational attainment too, Ashrafs and Pasmandas are not so different. In 2021-22, the percentage of upper caste Muslim youth (18 to 23 years) attending higher educational institutions was the same as the Pasmandas: 19.8 per cent. By contrast, the percentage of Hindu youth in higher education among upper castes was as high as 46.5 per cent, while it was 36 per cent for OBCs and 26 per cent for Dalits. Interestingly, in UP and Madhya Pradesh, Pasmandas do even better than their upper-caste counterparts. In fact, in UP, Muslim upper castes are experiencing negative growth in educational attendance. As a result, their enrollment came down to 12 per cent in 2021-22, as against 14 per cent in 2011-12 — an unprecedented development in the history of India so far as we know, simply because every group, so far, has experienced greater access to higher education.
Muslims’ lower access to education gets reflected in access to regular jobs. The percentage of salaried workers among Muslims is 19.3 per cent as against 21.5 per cent for Hindus. But, again, there is no difference between Muslim upper castes and Pasmandas. In contrast, the percentage of salaried workers among Hindu upper castes is 33 per cent as against 19.9 per cent for Hindu OBCs and 21.5 per cent for Dalits. In states such as UP, Bihar, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, Pasmanda Muslims do better than their upper-caste counterparts, whereas Hindu upper castes still control most of the coveted jobs.
In UP, during the recent  local body elections, the BJP nominated 395 Muslim candidates and 61 won. Three-fourths of these 395 candidates were Pasmandas. By contrast, in the previous local elections, the party had fielded only 180 Muslim candidates, with only one winning.
Kalaiyarasan is assistant professor at the Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai. Jaffrelot is a senior research fellow at CERI-Sciences Po/CNRS, Paris, professor of Indian Politics and Sociology at King’s India Institute, London
West Bengal, c.2014-15
The Hindu, February 15, 2016
Muslims in West Bengal more deprived, disproportionately poorer: Amartya Sen
Amartya Sen released the report of the survey carried out in 325 villages and 75 urban wards.
Muslims, who form 27.01 per cent of West Bengal’s population, “constitute a very large proportion of the poor” in the State, Professor Amartya Sen said.
He was releasing a voluminous report on the condition of Muslims in West Bengal titled ‘Living Reality of Muslims in West Bengal.’
“The fact that Muslims in West Bengal are disproportionately poorer and more deprived in terms of living conditions is an empirical recognition that gives this report an inescapable immediacy and practical urgency,” Prof. Sen said, releasing the report with long chapters dedicated to education, health, economic conditions and gender of Muslims of Bengal who constitute a majority in 65 of 341 blocks in the State.
The survey — the most extensive one on Bengal’s Muslims — was carried out in 325 villages and 75 urban wards from a sample of 81 community development blocks and 30 municipal bodies. The 368-page report was produced by two Kolkata-based research organisations, Association SNAP and Guidance Guild, in association with Prof. Sen’s trust, Pratichi India.
Low literacy rate
The report points to little improvement in areas such as literacy, health or participation in work. For example, Muslims have a literacy rate seven per cent lower than the State’s average.
“Around five per cent of those who discontinued education admitted lack of motivation as the factor behind dropping out of school as they did not see any future benefits from education,” the synopsis said. However, the report has not named any political party or held any government institution responsible.
In the health sector, the condition of, Muslims is no better and the report observes on the basis of State government data and field-level survey that “when Muslim population percentage increases in the blocks, the hospital facilities dwindle down.”
As a result “almost double the number of hospital beds is available in blocks with less than 15 per cent population share of Muslims in comparison with blocks having 50 per cent or above of (Muslim population).” Such discrimination is underscored in nearly every page of the report.
Out-of-school Muslim kids rise in 12 states
[ From the archives of the Times of India]
Himanshi Dhawan TNN
Out-of-school Muslim kids rise in 12 states: Study
Delhi’s boast of being a world-class city starts to ring hollow when it comes to social indices, especially education. Studies show that the number of out-of-school Muslim children has increased from zero to 46,073 in the national capital between 2005 and 2009. Delhi is joined by 12 states, including Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand, in this hall of shame.
This comes at a time when the average number of out-ofschool Muslim children have come down from 9.97% in 2005 to 7.6% in 2009.
A study done by International Marketing Research Bureau (IMRB) for the HRD ministry to assess the number of out-of-school children found that the estimated number between ages of 6-13 years declined from 134.6 lakh in 2005 to 81.5 lakh in 2009. Of these, the number of out-of-school Muslim children have come down from 22.5 lakh to 18.7 lakh in the same period. However, in Delhi, the number of children outof-school increased from none in 2005 to 46,073 in 2009.
UP saw a sharp increase in the four year period from 7.8 lakh students out-of-school to 10.4 lakh. In Uttarakhand, the number increased from 1,161 to 35,353 while in Rajasthan, Muslim kids who were not in school increased from 26,671 to 38,360.
In Arunachal Pradesh, the number of children out of school jumped from none to 357 while in Chhattisgarh the number increased from zero to 1,045. Gujarat witnessed a hike from 19,678 to 26,285 students while Jharkhand also recorded an increase from 2,798 to 18,167.
Concerned over this trend and a lack of Urdu teachers, the HRD ministry has set up the National Monitoring Committee for Minorities Education and five sub-committees on girl’s education, promotion of Urdu language, mapping of educational requirements of Muslim minorities and implementation of schemes aimed for minorities.
The Hindu, October 29, 2016
Mohit M. Rao
Partition cleaved the littoral Nawayati community of Bhatkal from their kin in Karachi. Between visa delays, citizenship hardships and the need for approval to venture anywhere out of town, the community faces hardships.
In the small town of Bhatkal, over 14 ‘Pakistani’ wives are currently married to Indian Nawayati men — a tradition that has lasted centuries despite the post-Partition rhetoric.
A passage to India
“Whatever you write, please say that getting the visa is very difficult. As the wife of an Indian, they should let us stay here in peace,” she says for the third time in the brief conversation we have. She stands at some distance in the living room, while we are restrained at the porch. She is one of the few women of Pakistani citizenship in Bhatkal who has consented — albeit reluctantly, and with much persuasion — to talk about her experiences of living in India.
A high wall and metal gates completely cut off their houses from the main road. Their lives are confined to the compound.
The Home Ministry has enquired about visa violations in Bhatkal, and eventually, a head constable of the police station was suspended, while charges under the Foreigners Act, 1946 were filed against some wives who had left the town on an emergency.
The terror tag
The rhetoric against Pakistan, which is reaching a crescendo in political offices and media newsrooms across the country, cuts through the air and lands uncomfortably in Bhatkal where a centuries-old relationship of the scattered Nawayati Muslim community is gradually dissipating.
The town barely stretches six km between the highway and the sea. The skyline is dominated by minarets of mosques (more than 90 estimated to be in the town), while large mansions dot the area — many of them owned by West Asia-based businessmen.
Much of Bhatkal wakes up to the first prayers, when the air is still cool and a slight mist hangs around the distant mountains and on small rivulets that make their way lazily to the sea. Fishermen leave at dawn, following the Chowtani river and out into the open Arabian Sea. Not too long after the last call of prayer ends in the day, Bhatkal goes to sleep.
But in the undercurrents of mosques and coconut trees, shopping streets with ‘Dubai goods’ and restaurants serving the famous Bhatkali fish biryani, there is a palpable nervous energy. Sulaimani tea (spiced black tea) flows here as freely as rapid speeches that attempt to defend the reputation of Bhatkal: a town that heaves under the heavy tag of “terrorism” and “radicalisation”.
The town had shot into infamy in 2010 when the Indian Mujahideen, supposedly founded by three Bhatkal youth — Yasin, Riyaz and Iqbal — were blamed for bomb blasts in Bengaluru and Pune. The notoriety seemed to strengthen as Abdul Kadir Sultan Armar from the town was believed to be recruiting for the Islamic State; Anwar Husain ‘Bhatkal’ is believed to have died fighting alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan; and, early last year, three persons were arrested and “bomb-making” material found at their homes in Bengaluru and Bhatkal.
Nawayati, the language, is evidence of their roots:
It sounds like Persian and Urdu, with smatterings of Marathi and Konkani. Conservative and insular, the community of barely 60,000 is prosperous, having found their fortunes as traders and businessmen in Bhatkal, Karachi, Dubai and Saudi Arabia. Though separated by sea and rigid borders, the pockets of Nawayatis continue to remain in contact. This year, police records show at least 15 persons have visited Bhatkal town from Pakistan — a number remarkably down from the hundreds who would visit before the “terrorism tag” descended on the town.
The Home Ministry’s office in Bengaluru has more than 60 applications for citizenship are pending since 1992, a majority of them from the Nawayati community. Many have left the “stressful” citizenship procedure halfway and migrated to West Asia, an option taken primarily by the younger generation. Some, including the mother of a 10-month-old child, are in Karachi awaiting visas that would allow them to stay with their husbands in Bhatkal. The local qazi, who requests anonymity to stave off any “trouble” — local intelligence men were at his office when The Hindu reporter entered — repeatedly asserts that Nawayatis do not marry ‘Pakistanis’. “It creates an issue if we say that. We have only married those from our community who happen to be in Pakistan due to Partition. We do not seek Pakistanis, we seek Nawayatis.”
Punishment by paperwork
Many of those seeking citizenship narrate the complex journey involved: from dingy rooms of the local police station to the Superintendent of Police in Karwar, to Room No. 224 in Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru where the Home Ministry has a regional office, and to New Delhi — to the Pakistani embassy to renew their passports (without which Indian visas will not be given) and to attend camps organised by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. Apart from this, the wives have had to travel to Karachi every two years to renew their identity cards without which Pakistani passports will not be renewed.
Permission for movement is usually given from the SP office in Karwar and is given late. The seven-year-old son of a Pakistani woman fell violently ill and was in ICU in Mangaluru for a week. As permission had not come, she could not attend to her son through his hospitalisation. Similarly, the local police refuse to move files of the citizenship seekers. “They do not even want my money. They are scared of the file, as there is a sense that the might of the Central government will fall on them if the file is signed,” says a citizenship seeker. Another says his application for citizenship had been rejected as the “reports” of different intelligence departments did not tally on minor details.
Visa restrictions as well as the rigmarole of obtaining long-term permission (one to two years at a time) are seeing fewer cross-border marriages now. A local maulvi remembers officiating around 15 weddings in the past decade. All have involved Nawayati women coming from Pakistan as there is a strong belief that Indian authorities will not give visas to Pakistani men. Just three months ago, a wedding of a Bhatkali man to a Karachi bride had to be shifted to Pakistan after the bride’s family was denied visas.
This was not so before the 1990s — when the communal colours of Bhatkal had exploded — and when visa regulations were more relaxed. “In 1965, there was an article describing the region as ‘mini Pakistan’ as many Pakistanis used to visit here.
They would come here as Bhatkal was their home town, and in this mingling of families, marriages would happen,” says M.M. Haneef Shabah, an old-time doctor, who firmly believes that the “terrorist tag” for the Nawayat community was part of a larger conspiracy. “Now, visas are difficult to get, and families do not get it for more than a month. People do not want to visit, and even the weddings have reduced.”
As we scour around Bhatkal, we reach a shop, tiny bottles of homoeopathic medicines lining its cupboards. Syed Anwar (name changed), the owner, narrates the hardships he endured before getting a passport for his wife. Though married for 22 years — and they have had three children — his wife was granted an Indian passport only seven years ago. “We could get the passport done because I had sought political influence. The process is slow and stressful. One has to keep answering the same questions repeatedly to multiple agencies — as if we are all suspects,” he says in a low voice that barely rises from the sounds of the busy bazaar. Did he ever believe that the passport would come? “If I had known getting married to a Pakistani would cause so many visa problems, I would not have married. But it is our fate,” he says plaintively.
The town could soon see another second Pakistani bride getting Indian citizenship if all goes well.
Kerala: Flowers for deities farmed by Muslims
The Times of India, Jun 07 2015
Flowers for Kerala deities bloom in Muslim farms
It is known to very few devotees that the lotus blooms used in all major temples across the state including Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple, Sabarimala, Kodungalloor Bhagavathy Temple, Paramekkavu Bhagavathi Temple, Thriprayar Sri Rama Temple and Parshinikkaadavu Muthappan Temple are all farmed by Muslim families.
On an average, the village collects and distributes around 20,000 blooms every day. “Our business has thrived only because of the blessings of the deities and the revenue from temples,“ says a supplier flowers to Guruvayur and Paramekkavu temple in Thrissur from his 85-acre farm.
The flowers are handed over to members of the Warrier community , who handle floral decorations in temples.“The Muslim families of Thirunavaya have maintained a good relationship with all temples,“ says Unni Varrier of Kadambuzha Bhagavathy Temple Devaswom.
But lotus farming is becoming increasingly difficult for farmers. “Water hyacinths pose a major issue. Also, water levels have been receding over the years. Sometimes it is difficult to continue farming, especially with nil government aid,“ he says.
Muslim votes, Assam, Kerala and West Bengal
The Times of India, March 8, 2016
Muslims can not be SC
Muslims not entitled to SC status, says HC
The Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday ruled Muslims were not entitled to benefits reserved for the Scheduled Castes (SC) while cancelling the 2012 election of Congress MLA Mohammad Sadiq from Punjab's reserved Bhadaur constituency.
Justice N K Sanghi said Sadiq was not qualified to contest from the SC reserved seat as he is a Muslim and had failed to prove he had converted to Sikhism.
Sadiq had claimed before the court he was an SC Muslim before he had converted to Sikhism. He had pleaded he should be considered SC Sikh after his conversion.
The high court order came on the petition of ex-IAS officer and ruling Shiromani Akali Dal's Darbara Singh Guru, who had lost the election to Sadiq by nearly 7,000 votes.
"...the court has found that since he is a Muslim, he cannot get benefits of SCs. The reverse has also been clarified thorough this case," said Guru's lawyer, Satya Pal Jain.
Jain said this is the first judicial pronouncement on who can be considered an SC. "The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950, states that only Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists can avail benefits as SCs. This is because the caste system is prevalent only in these religions."
Sadiq had told the court his mother, Prasanni Devi, was a Muslim who never followed Islam and that he had "always professed Sikhism and was an SC".
He claimed he belonged to the Doom community, which the Punjab government had notified as SC.
Sadiq, a well-known Punjabi folk singer, claimed he had converted to Sikhism in 2007, but Jain contested this stating he had not follow the prescribed procedure, including notifying the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee.
Guru, a former principal secretary to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, had accused Sadiq of misleading the Election Commission. He contended Sadiq was still a Muslim.
Guru had filed his petition on March 30, 2012 and the high court had reserved its judgment in January. Barnala-resident Badal Singh had earlier moved the Punjab Scheduled Caste Commission before the assembly polls demanding cancellation of Sadiq's SC certificate that Ludhiana administration had issued in 2006.
Muslims in jail
The Times of India, May 04 2016
Muslims in lock-ups: 1|3rd of India's total in Gujarat
India has 82,190 Muslims in its jails and police custody . These include 21,550 convicts, 59,550 undertrials in prisons and 658 in lock-ups.
Gujarat has 58.6 lakh Muslims who account for 9.7% of 6 crore Gujaratis.The number of Muslim detainees is disproportionate to the state's share in the country's Muslim population.Gujarat is home to 3.4% of India's 17.2 crore Muslim population. Yet the state accounts for 36.5% of total Muslims detainees. Like Gujarat, the number of Muslim detainees in Tamil Nadu is also disproportionate to that state's share in India's Muslim population, which stands at just 2.5%. Gujarat has 846 convicts -3.9% of Muslims convicted. For undertrials, this figure stands at 1,724, or 2.9%, of Muslim undertrials.
Uttar Pradesh, which has the highest number of Muslims behind bars -including 5,040 convicts and 17,858 undertrials -has just 45 detainees. The state accounts for 22.4% of India's Muslim population. Interestingly , Jammu and Kashmir, which is battling insurgency , accounts for just 35 Muslim detainees. The state accounts for about 5% of India's Muslims. It has 153 Muslim convicts and 1,125 undertrials.
Activists allege that laws like Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Act 1985 (PASA) and the now-repealed Prevention of Terrorism Activities Act (POTA) are used mostly against minorities.
Shamshad Pathan, a citybased civil rights activist and lawyer, alleges that the main reason for detaining Muslims is to instil fear in the minority community .“ After 2000, there was a trend to detain Muslims for interrogation and that, too, on suspicion of terrorism. Police would force these detainees to become informers and threaten them that they would otherwise be framed in cases of terrorism,“ Pathan alleged.
Gujarat minister of state for home Rajnikant Patel denied that people were being victimised on basis of their community. “Offences are registered as per law. No community is targeted while registering any case -be it for PASA or any other offence,“ Patel said.
2018: Many UP madrassas reject vaccination
Hundreds of madrassas across western Uttar Pradesh have refused permission to health department teams to administer the measles-rubella vaccine to their students due to several “WhatsApp rumours”, exposing lakhs of children to deadly and contagious diseases.
In Meerut alone, at least 70 of the 272 seminaries have refused entry to health officials. Meerut district immunization officer Vishwas Chaudhary said, “This is because of wrong information being spread mainly over WhatsApp. According to these messages, the vaccine can make a child impotent.”
“Some madrassa authorities have asked students to stay at home on the day of vaccination. We have now set up teams to conduct awareness drives and to inform people that the vaccine is safe,” said Dr BS Sodi, chief medical officer (CMO) Saharanpur. Madrassas in Bijnor and Moradabad are also opposing the vaccination drive.
Measles is highly-contagious and spreads through coughing and sneezing. According to a government report, over 49,000 children were killed in 2015 due to it. Rubella, according to WHO, is a contagious, mild viral infection that occurs most often in children and young adults. While rubella is the leading vaccine-preventable cause of birth defects, its infection in pregnant women may cause fetal death or congenital defects.
The state health department is now taking help from senior clerics to quell rumours. City qazi for Meerut, Qazi Zainus Sajidin, has in his sermon asked all madrassas to allow government teams into their campuses. “The vaccine has no side-effects. It has been tested by doctors of Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Millia Islamia and no problem was found,” he said.
Several other madrassas in Saharanpur, Bijnor and Moradabad have also taken a similar stand.
Bijnor health authorities are also taking steps to spread awareness. Bijnor CMO Dr Rakesh Mittal said: “A meeting of the religious heads was conducted by district magistratein Bijnor to convince the madrassas. ”
Meanwhile, there have been reports of children falling sick after measles-rubella vaccination from across the country. However, the health department in almost all the cases said it was due to other factors and not the vaccine.
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