"Muslims all over the world including those of
India were hopefully looking up to Pakistan for help and guidance
and whatever happened in Pakistan or any other Muslim country cast
its shadow on the Indian Muslims also. The Pakistani debacle of
1971 had caused immense grief to Indian Muslims."
The speaker? Maulana Abul Hassan ALi Nadvi,
otherwise known as Ali Mian, whom the press always refers to as the
widely respected scholar and moderate Muslim leader. The source of
the extract? An official note. The occasion? The reception given by
the secretary-general of the Pakistan National Alliance to delegates
of the First Asian Islamic Conference at Karachi in July 1978.
Almost all important leaders of Islamic orthodoxy in India had gone
for the meeting -- from the Darul Uloom Deoband, the organisation
without reading the publications of which our press lauds as the Al
Azhar of India, from the Jamat-e-Islami Hind, the Tabligh Jamaat,
the JUUH...Naturally, Ali Mian was among the most prominent
The convenor of the conference? The
Rabita-e-Alam-e-Islami, Mecca, set up by the King of Saudi Arabia,
which among other things, decides which Islamic body the world over
shall get how much money. Among the founding members of the Rabita?
Ali Mian, the moderate leader.
In whose view, "A religious order cannot be
established unless religion comes to weild political power and the
system of governance is based on Islamic foundations?" Who lauds the
"lofty idealism" and the "mature political outlook" of Iqbal which
"lay at the base of the demand for Pakistan?" Who has scorn for the
"the modernists of the Middle East -- from Ataturk to Nasser -- and
who exhorts the King of Saudi Arabia to hold fast to the ways of
orthodox Islam? On whose reckoning did the arrival of Islam alone
raise the country from "the age of savagery to the age of progress,"
from "oblivion and obscurity" to "the pinnacle of name and fame,"
from its "parochial ambit" to "the family of man?" In whose view the
slaughtering of the cows is "a great Islamic act?" In whose view,
while it may not be so in other countries, in India it is "a great
Islamic act" because the cow is worshipped in India?
The answer to each question: Ali Mian, the head of
the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, the rector of the Nadwatul
At the moment I am not on the question these views
are justified or not, but on the more elementary one: We do not
bother to learn the views of the person, we do not ascertain the
idealogy which the "scholarly" works of the Nadwatul Ulema spreads,
but the moment the place is raided a howl goes up. The minister of
the state for internal security apologises. A cabinet minister from
Delhi rushes and apologises. The chief minister of UP apologises.
Two police officers -- one of the rank of IG and the other DIG --
are transfered out.
Look at how the place came to be raided. In the
aftermath of the kidnapping of foreigeners and the subsquent
encounter six persons were caught. Interrogation revealed that the
operation had been masterminded by the now well-known student of the
London School of Economics, and one "Shahji" of Pakistan. The latter
had escaped. But during interrogation, one of the others disclosed
the house in which the man stayed -- in Suiwala mohalla in old
Delhi. The place was raided.
"Shahji" had not been to the place since the
encounter, it transpired. But a briefcase was found. It yielded,
among other things, an identity card of the Lucknow University and a
railway ticket which had been used for a journey from Lucknow to
Delhi on November 14, 1994. The identity card was taken to the
University authorities in Lucknow. They established that it was a
A reservation had been secured against the railway
ticket. Records were examined and it turned out that the reservation
had been made for one "Khursheed Ahmed" who had given his address as
Room 20/2 Athar Hostel, Nadwatul Ulema, Lucknow.
It was this reason that the place was raided that
very night. When the policemen were trying to break open the door of
the room, students surrounded them, started throwing stones etc. It
is said that a country-made "bomb" was also hurled at them. The
police fired, in self-defence, and in the air, they say.
The raid was effectively thwarted. The police had
to retreat. The room could not be searched. The seven boys who had
been picked up could not be interrogated -- Mulayam Singh insured
that they were released before they could be questioned.
How can it be held that officers of the rank of IG
and DIG are not competent to decide whether or not to conduct a raid
upon the receipt of specific information? By what law can it be held
that because an institution is a "minority institution" or "an
educational institution" it is outside the reach of the police?
Now is it just that the position is so totally
without any basis in law. What nails the matter is intelligence
information about the manner in which ISI as well as agencies of the
other Islamic countries are executing their plans in India.
Intelligence reports submitted to the highest
levels of government document show the recent phase of the activity
of these organisations began with the Taif Summit of the OIC in
January 1981. How funds began to be systematically channeled through
the Rabita-e-Alam-Islami, the organisation we encountered earlier,
the Motmar al Alam al Islami and the Supreme World Council of
Mosques. How these funds were given to mosques, madarsas, "centers
of Islamic learning" and other Islamic organisations.
How the overseas Islamic organisations and their
funds spawned a series of organisations in India and invigorated
others. The Supreme World Council of Mosques, for instance, was
established as a wing of the Rabita-e-Alam-e- Islami in 1978. In
March 1980, this new organisation passed a resolution asking the
Indian government "to show due reverence to Muslim houses of
worship" and to reserve a suitable portion of its budget "for Muslim
affairs." In October the same year, the parent organisation, the
Rabita asked the Indian government that it be allowed to open an
office in India "for Muslim affairs".
How the Amir of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind was a member
of the executive of the Supreme World Council. How as a follow up of
these initiatives, the Jamaat-e-Islami lost no time in establishing
the All-India Council of Mosques at the Jamaat's All-India
Conference at Hydrabad in February 1981.
How the Hydrabad meeting was closely guided by
Sheikh Ali Mohammed al Mukhtar, the assistant secretary-general of
the Supreme World Council.
How a systematic attempt began thereafter to
transform the mosques in India into live centers of indoctrination
and to knit them into a network.
How other organisations, hitherto unknown, suddenly
became very energetic and prominent -- among these the Jammat
Ahl-e-Hadees and the organisation from which pressmen receive
statements regularly these days, the All India Milli Council. How
this Council had hardly been known till one Dr Manzoor Alam returned
from Saudi Arabia about five years ago, and how it soon became the
fastest growing Muslim organisation in India. How apart from Dr
manzoor Alam, Mujahid-ul-Islam Kasmi, the Qazi of that other "center
of Islamic learning," the Imarat-e-Sharia of Bihar is its most
How it has very substantial funds at its disposal,
most of which come from Saudi Arabia. How it is in close touch with
fundamentalist and militant organisations like SIMI, the Students
Islamic Movement of India, which had been set up in 1977 by the
Jamaat-e-Islami Hind. How the All-India Milli Council and similar
bodies have been systematically projecting militant and sectarian
positions and fomenting a separatist mentality among targetted
The intelligence reports speak of the rapid
linking-up of these organizations: Ahmed Ali, alias Palani Baba,
President of the All India Jihad Committee, a militant outfit
operating in Tamil Nadu, for instance is recorded as having asked
his followers to work in coordination with the All-India Milli
Council. How in early 1993, the Majlis-e-Numaindgan (the Council of
Representatives) of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind asked its general
secretaries to set up an underground organisation, how its rukuns
(active members) were asked to develop links with other Islamic
bodies in every state.
The intelligence reports set out how ISI has set up
operations in Nepal and Bangladesh. They specify the "organisations"
which have been set up there through which Islamic organisations in
India are being contacted and aided. They specify the "conferences"
which have been organised in these countries as a cover for
"scholars" and "theologians" to visit the places so as to cement the
network. They speak of similar "conferences" in Iran and Saudi
Arabia, of the Indian "scholars" who went there, and of the fallout
for India. They speak of the great spurt in the number of "Islamic
missionaries" coming to India in the last few years, and how the
purpose of their coming here, to employ the officialise which these
documents feel compelled to use, is solely to guide and encourage
the Islamic institutions and organisations here.
The intelligence reports record how Muslims young
men have been recruited for training in arms and explosives through
organisations like SIMI, and the Islamic Sevak Sangh now
rechristined as the People's Democratic Party in Kerala, how the
functionaries of these organisations have played host to militants
and the recruiting agents.
And so on. Much of this information has come from
the horse's mouth, so to say -- for it has been obtained as a result
of interrogation of terrorists and others who have been caught in
the last five years.
Given this background and the obvious urgency of
the matter, what are senior police officers to do when they chance
upon information pointing to a specific room in a specific building
-- be that a private house, a government office, a Hindu's house or
a Muslim's house, an educational institution, or a "minority
Perhaps the information should have been
cross-checked, for anyone can give any address while obtaining a
railway reservation. But what if the person had escaped in the
meanwhile? In any case, is it not for the officer on the spot to
weigh the alternatives?
Instead of allowing government to penalise officers
for doing their duty, we should:
*Have the government disclose the pattern
intelligence agencies have formed about the way Islamic
organisations are being used to jeopardize peace in the country;
*Urge that the government raid these places - and
other places as the recent events at ISRO show - routinely so that
it is established once for all that no organisation shall be a
State within a