By Masoom Moradabadi
Delhi police has registered a case of sedition against the Chairman of Delhi Minority Commission (DMC), world renowned Islamic scholar and senior journalist Dr Zafarul Islam Khan.
He has been accused of tweeting a ‘provocative’ post three days ago. According to Delhi Police’s Special Cell’s Joint Commissioner Neeraj Kumar this action against Mr Khan has been taken under section 124 A (sedition) and 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth) after a complaint was filed by a resident of Vasant Kunj.
Interestingly, this case against Mr Khan has been registered on the very same day when one of BJP’s Delhi MLAs has met Lieutenant General Anil Baijal and has urged him to dismiss Mr Khan as DMC’s Chairman and take legal action against him.
BJP’s Delhi MLAs have accused Mr Khan of endangering the unity of the country, tarnishing secular image of the country in the world and promoting enmity between Hindus and Muslims.
This should be borne in mind that these allegations against Mr Khan started being levelled after he thanked the Kuwaiti Government, through a social media post, for raising voice against the anti-Muslim riots in north-east Delhi.
After the appearance of this post on social media, a well-orchestrated campaign has been launched to character assassinate him in which Godi Media and Sangh Parivar’s WhatApp University have played a major roles. This is despite the fact that after the controversy started, Mr Khan has issued an apology for his post which, he said, ‘was ill-timed and insensitive in view of our county facing a medical emergency and fighting an unseen enemy. I apologize to all whose sentiments were hurt.’
He added, ‘I have already stated in my previous statement as to how I have defended India in the Arab world on crucial issues. I will continue to do so, far from complaining against my country to any other country or Arab or Muslim world. This is against our Constitution, against my own views, upbringing and against my religious belief which teaches me that “love of homeland is part of Islam”.’
Ideally after his apology this chapter should have been closed. But, instead, a campaign is being spearheaded to defame him, present him as an anti-national and hang him without trial. This is what has been going on in this country against Muslims for a long time: an individual is subjected to a vicious media trial, declared as the ‘source of all evils’ and then every possible effort is made to ruin him for good.
Let there be no doubt that the campaign of Zafraul Islam Khan’s character assassination has been launched by the very Godi Media that has become brazenly anti-Muslim and misses no opportunity to defame them. This media first traps innocent people, subjects them to media trial and then pressurises the government to take action against them. This is exactly what has happened with Zafarul Islam Khan. Why the issue is being prolonged after he has issued an apology?
His removal as DMC’s Chairman is being pursued with such an intensity as if his survival as DMC’s head is a matter of life and death for him.
This is a common knowledge that ever since Dr Khan took over as DMC’s Chairman, he has put a life in this lifeless institution. Every Indian knows that except being showpieces, minority commissions around the country serve no purpose. The government has, no doubt, granted them constitutional status but their recommendations are always thrown in the cold storage. This is the reason that the chairmanships of minority commissions are always bestowed upon members belonging to ruling parties who can work as yes-men and keep silently enjoying the favours they are offered through these posts. The DMC is no different. However, ever since Dr Khan became its Chairman, this institution been completely overhauled. One of the main reasons of this is that Dr Khan is a non-political figure without any political agenda before him. As DMC’s Chairman he has worked with courage and integrity. One does not need to go far to review his performance.
No one has cared for the riot victims of anti-Muslim riots of last February in north-east Delhi as much as Dr Khan has done. He toured the riot hit areas several times and arranged relief for the victims. He repeatedly highlighted and brought in the notice of Delhi government the problems being faced by the Muslims of Delhi and got several issues resolved. It was due to his tireless efforts that attempts to ban Azan in the mosques of Delhi was foiled.
Recently when a campaign to defame the Muslims was going on behind the pretext of Corona and Delhi’s Health Department, in its daily press releases, was presenting people belonging to Tableeghi Jamaat as a separate category, it was Dr Khan who raised his voice against it and made the Health Department stop this practice. There are several other examples that show how Dr Khan used his best skills to turn an unproductive and ceremonious institution like the DMC into an effective and productive organisation. He has discharged his duties with full sense of responsibility.
In comparison to Dr Khan’s life achievements, DMC’s Chairmanship stands paled and insignificant. He is a world-renowned Islamic scholar. Because of his knowledge and command on Arabic and English languages he is seen with great respect in the Arab world. Before completing his Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from Manchester University, he had received education at Egypt’s world famous Al Azhar University and Caro University. He has authored and translated more than fifty books in English, Urdu and Arabic. He edited English language fortnightly Milli Gazette for 17 years with great courage and perseverance reporting and highlighting the problems being faced by Indian Muslims. He also heads Charity Alliance, an organisation working and assisting poor and needy people. This organisation also runs a school for poor children in District Murshidabad of West Bengal and has built a residential colony in District Shamli for 32 victim families of Muzaffarnagar anti-Muslim riots.
The fact is that there are very few among the Indian community who are as talented and as Dr Khan. He headed Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawrat for three terms as its Chairman. During his tenure he rejuvenated and activated this umbrella organisation of Indian Muslims and played a key role in its Golden Jubilee celebration. He compiled and published documents of highly historical importance.
This is sad to see Muslim organisations tight-lipped at a time when a key figure of the community is being character assassinated. Only if they could see and understand the conspiracy behind this campaign against Dr Khan. This is the duty of every justice loving person to give moral support to Dr Zafarul Islam Khan at this crucial and testing time otherwise no one in future will be able to muster courage to raise voice for Indian Muslims.
Masoom Moradabadi is a senior journalist and has authored several books.
Translated by Urdu Media Monitor.Com. This article has appeared on many Urdu portals.
M. Ghazali Khan