By Mumtaz Alam, Muslim Mirror,
New Delhi, May 3: The Indian Express, one of the most reputed English dailies in India, has published a list of India’s top 10 personalities in 10 fields each. In the category of Top 10 Activists, the daily has enlisted Manisha Sethi of New Delhi recognizing her rigorous fight against the indiscriminate arrest of Muslim youths in terror cases. Manisha shares the list with renowned figures including Aruna Roy, Teesta Setalvad, Medha Patkar, Arvind Kejriwal and Anna Hazare. In ranking, in fact, the paper has put Manisha of Jamia Millia Islamia ahead of Anna Hazare.
Other categories in which 10 different personalities have been enlisted are: Central Bureaucrats, Talking Heads, Sport, Economists, Ad gurus, Headline Hunters, Fund Managers, State Bureaucrats and Legal.
In the wake of Batla House encounter of September 2008, fear had gripped the Muslim community in Jamia Nagar area particularly and entire Delhi generally. Hardly did any community leader come up to protest against the series of illegal arrests unleashed by the Special Cell of Delhi Police soon after the 19th Sep. encounter which claimed lives of two Azamgarh youths and a Delhi Police officer. The Okhla area of over 5 lakh Muslim population was under tight grip of fear – no family was certain about the safety of their sons. That was the time when Manisha came out of her academic comforts and led dozens of street protests against the indiscriminate arrest of Muslim youths. She led protests at the Delhi Police headquarters. Manisha has not looked back since though she was harassed by the police. Lovingly called as ‘Iron Lady’ by some of her friends, Manisha has emerged as a strong face against the biased terror probes and the police system. It is her rigorous fight for the Muslim youths that has now given her recognition in a reputed list of influential personalities of the country.
In a brief introduction of Manisha Sethi, The Indian Express says: “The Jamia professor has protested against the police picking up Muslim men on terror charges indiscriminately.”
Last year Manisha, who is Assistant Professor at the Centre for the Study of Comparative Religions and Civilizations, Jamia Millia Islamia, brought out Framed, Damned, Acquitted: Dossiers of a ‘Very’ Special Cell — a documentary book on false implication and prosecution of Muslim youths by Delhi Police. In last four years, Manisha has been invited at various civil and human rights programs in India and abroad. Last month she was invited to a Bangalore program where a group of civil rights organizations released a report on victimisation of Muslim youths in the name of terror probes in Karnataka.
Besides this list, The Indian Express has published a list of 100 most powerful Indians in 2013. At No. 1 is predictable – Rahul Gandhi while his likely rival in the upcoming Lok Sabha poll is at No. 2 – Narendra Modi. Congress president Sonia Gandhi is at No. 3. Seven others of top 10 in the sequence are: Manmohan Singh, P Chidambaram, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitely, Pranab Mukherjee, Nitish Kumar and Mulayam Singh.
“In essence, The Indian Express Power List is a reflection of the power struggle that has been in evidence over the past 12 months. On the positive side, there is a flowering of the creative arts, with the number of individuals connected to cinema and music showing an increase over last year, along with sportspersons, while the supercrats, those who occupy positions of power in the establishment, or “the system,” also moving up the ladder,” says the daily in the intro of the list published on 28th April 2013.