AL QURAN : Surah Hud Ayat 113 – BERMAKSUD : “Dan janganlah kamu cenderung kepada orang yang berlaku zalim yang akan menyebabkan kamu dibakar api neraka, sedang kamu tidak ada sebarang penolong pun selain daripada ALLAH SWT. Kemudian kamu tidak akan diberi pertolongan”
In a nutshell BN’s warriors at the helm – since the time of the Tun Dr Mahathir have been vigilantly marketing the “hear me, believe me and fear me” mantra to get the rakyat’s allegiance.
Even to this day, we recall vividly the cry of “agama, bangsa dan negara” – coming from the tunnels of BN, do we not?
Even to this day, we hear the chilling warning “do or die” – coming from the leaders of BN, right or wrong?
And do not forget “upon our dead bodies!”
Even in announcing the RM500 payouts, it is cloaked with “hear me, believe our concern for you in these hard times, and if you forget, beware” – is it not?
The Tun Dr Mahathir has been said to be holding closed door talks with forces that militantly often ride on the 3Rs (i.e. religion, race and royalty). And this is unashamedly made known to all through the media. Is this too not one of “hear me, believe me and if you don’t, beware”?
When the opposition coalition raises allegations of abuse and corrupt practices, the denials are fast and furious. But when BN aligned supporters raise an issue implicating the Opposition, the police zoom in immediately to question the alleged party/parties.
Is this tactic not one of “fear me”?
If an opposition member raises an allegation and offers some sort of document/s to back up, he or she is immediately hauled in to give a statement to the police. But when BN partners go the distance to spill all kinds of questionable ‘proofs’ including video tape recordings, the complaining individual/s do not get hauled up immediately. The alleged errant opposition member is haunted down for a statement. If this is not “believe and fear me”, then what is it?
Moment of Truth
BN needs to come to terms with some harsh realities. The ‘Moments of Truth’ can be summarized to include:
1. Times are changing and they have changed fast since the time of Pak Lah. At least he should be given some credit for not riding high on the “hear me, believe me and fear me” mantra. He was wiser to state, “do not work for me, but work with me”. And so he was systematically removed mates.
2. Present day leaders have been making statements to the effect that BN must transform. One even thought he was brighter by saying we are “evolving”. But the body gestures and non-verbal communicative stances never failed to entrench the “hear me, believe me and fear me” unfortunately.
3. The use of the police forces at all public gatherings of citizens who march peacefully; the issuing of Memos to civil servants in discouraging them in participating in such events; and what have you – all of these are anchored on that mantra of “hear me, believe me and fear me” is it not?
4. What about the verdict on the Mongolian Altantuya’s murder?
5. What about the unanswered questions – crucial for justice to be dispensed, namely why the immigration records could be removed? Who authorized the C4 military grade explosives to be used? Why did the present PM say those assuring help to Razak via text messages? Why is the case taking so, so, so long to be resolved when it involves the nation’s integrity, pride and reputation in the global arena?
Perpetuated by the mainstream media
Also take a look at the main stream media – one cannot miss the loud and clear and repeated “hear me, believe me and fear me” very clearly carved out to be dished out to the rakyat almost on a daily basis.
Now, what BN is missing is the fact that the times have changed. The global sentiments, the global interface and the affordable and entertaining alternate media which is at the disposal of even the unschooled farmer in a remote village is reigniting the conscience in the hearts of Malaysians who had for fifty over years swallowed the “hear me, believe me and fear me” mantra of BN.
People are no more ignorant; we have been liberated with technology to operate on the realm of being rhizomic beings. This the BN leaders and followers are grossly missing out.
Therefore today Malaysians are scrutinizing, questioning and reasoning many issues. To say that the opposition is behind all these is most primitive really and underestimates the power of public opinion.
Silk and pearls
Malaysians are asking why are the main stream media painting such rosy pictures everyday when we Malaysians are finding it hard to meet our everyday commitments.
Malaysians want to know why all BN leaders and their spouses are parading in silk and pearls whereas even the leaders of Singapore are in everyday working attire.
Malaysians are asking how come all the GLC giants are posting losses and yet able to get away.
Malaysians are asking why is BN outlawing the Opposition and using the police and the MACC and other agentries to make life very difficult for them.
Malaysians are asking why is the BN rubbishing the achievements of the opposition held states.
So you see, BN’s mantra of “hear me, believe me and fear me” is not working anymore. The leaders have to re-invent. That is not going to be easy either because they have lost fifty years of opportunities and there is no way they can ‘transform’ or ‘evolve’ when the general elections is only months away now.
In tomorrow’s world, transparency, accountability, integrity and collaboration are the lubricants for any political machinery. The voices of the masses are the parameters for political performance.
It’s a general human tendency to commit mistakes out of which some commit mistakes and realize them, Fewer commit mistakes, realize them and try to rectify and remaining commit mistakes, realize their mistakes and don’t justify them with their own logic. They never look into their mistakes and never try to rectify them. This is human nature. But there are some people who do evil deeds and never realize them. Instead they try to justify their evil deeds and insist upon them and shamelessly feel proud over their evil deeds.
There is a different kind of creature which is incarnated by devil. Which is under the control of devil? Which is preoccupied by devilish thoughts? In fact the devil entered into its body and soul. It looks like human, but it’s Satan. The chief minister of Gujarat is the most suitable example of that kind. He belongs to that category. He committed heinous crimes but has no remorse, no regret; instead he still tries to justify his mistakes and feels proud of his inhuman deeds.
Adam committed a mistake, so did the Satan. But Adam realized his mistake, bowed down to God and regretted. Another side, the Satan never realized his mistake and tried to justify that with his wrong logic. The only difference between Adam and Satan was their approach. At this parlance we can say that Modi is an incarnation of Satan.
One ‘hype’ was created and Modi iswidely appreciated for that is ‘the development of Gujarat’. Gujarat was a developing well long before Modi was born. Gujratis have inherent businessacumen from the centuries. Being a costal state it benefited from the tradesand Gujratis travelled all over the world and become business tycoons in Europe, America Canada Australia and even in South Africa. Where was Modi at that time? Germany was at its zenith of development under Hitler. But after few years it turned into gutters because of Hitler’s radical views. In fact after post Godhra’s anti-Muslim genocide Gujratis are looked as communal minded people all over the world. Modi brought an everlasting shame for Gujratis.
The travesty of the fact is that the main accused of the Godhra train burning incident ‘Moulana Umar’ was acquitted for the lack of evidence after spending many years behind the bars. Interestingly Moulana Umar was implicated in that case after one year ofthe incident. His crime was that he was a famous businessman and was helping the riot victims actively. Thousands of Muslims were killed and burnt alivefor a crime they never knew or committed. If the members of Hindutwa brigade could put bombs in Samjhauta Express why can’t they do so in Sabarmati Express?
More than two hundred people were arrested under POTA for a conspiracy whose main accused and ‘mastermind’ was acquitted for the lack of evidence. But how many people were arrested under POTA for the killings of thousands of innocent Muslims and burning pregnant women alive?
The whole world will be changed if Modi meets the wife of Ehsaan Jafri and say ‘how are you Madam? I am sorry’. But he will never do that because Satan has overpowered him. He can put his hand on the head Bilqees Bano and say ‘I am sorry sister’, but he will never do that because Satan has captured him. He has no remorse. He has no regrets. And he will never have.
He didn’t stop even after Godhra genocide. He orchestrated fake encounters of innocent Muslims and this continued until Supreme interrupted into the matter and put it on scanner. Modi tried to eliminate any one or every one who came in his way. He intimidated witnesses of the genocide and even made them run away from Gujarat. Witnessesof fake encounters like Parjapati and Kauser Bi were killed and burnt. Haren Pandya was killed by Modi as alleged by Pandya’ wife.The police officers like Sanjeev Bhat and Sri Kumar who wanted to expose Narendra Modi were suspended. This is happening in Modi’s Hindutva Laboratory.
Even after ten years hundreds of thousands of genocide victims are so sacred that they prefer to live near on gutters and garbage but don’t want to go back to their homes. They are forced to live apathetic life in ‘Hindutva Laboratory of Gujarat’.
The literacy rate of Muslims in Gujarat is 73.5% which, is 5 points higher than that of the Hindus which is at 68.3%. But how many Muslim were given jobs in Modi rule can be counted on finger tips.
The schemes started by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh for the development of Muslims have no presence in Gujarat. Even the scholarship for Muslim students is not distributed in Gujarat. Gujarat has no Muslim Waqf Board Ministry. Gujarat has no Minority Commission. This is the story of Hindutva Laboratory of 21st centurywhich is being run by a ‘Hindu Hirday Samrat’ called ‘Narendra Modi’.
Now look at the Laboratory ofTaliban. Not a single innocent Sikh or Hindu was killed in that laboratory during five years. British Journalist Yvonne Ridley, who was captured by the Taliban was treated in such a way by their terrorist captors in the Talibani laboratory that she became the biggest supporter of those ‘terrorist and religious zealots’ and converted to Islam.
“Serial Bomb Blasts in Delhi. Where are you, Are you safe?” read a text message on my Mobile, by Sonali Garg, a friend of mine from Delhi. It was late in the evening of September 13th, 2008. “Oh My God! That’s really horrible. I am fine though and in Bihar. Hope you, your family members are all right,” I replied before forwarding this message to other friends in Delhi. During those days, I was in Bihar, surveying the aftermath of the flood that had struck the Kosi region of the state in the second week of August that same year. Village after village had vanished in the flood. It was reportedly the worst flood ever seen by the people of that area. Most of them were left with no other alternative but to shift to the rehabilitation camps.
On 13th September 2008, the sun went down to serial bomb blasts in Delhi, killing 26 persons and injuring many more. In all, five bomb blasts within the time span of 30 minutes created havoc amongst the Delhiites. I heaved a sigh of relief as all the messages I received in reply to my forwarded message were positive. My friends were all fine. The last reply I received was around midnight by a senior colleague of mine, A R Agwan, a former assistant Professor of Environment Sciences with whom I had conducted many workshops for Human Rights’ Activists in different parts of India, saying that he was all right and had been sleeping, thus the delay in replying.
Still shaken by the news, I tried moving on with my work, thinking that the worst was over. But I was to be proved wrong. Around noon the next day, I received a frantic call from the Secretary of the Association for the Protection of Civil Rights (APCR), a Delhi based civil rights’ group I was working with then as a Coordinator. He sounded tense and the poor network added to the problem. All I was able to make out, in interrupted tones, was that the situation in Delhi, especially Jamia Nagar, a Muslim populated area of South Delhi, was very bad. A pall of fear pervaded all in the area. The police had been randomly picking up Muslims from the area. I was asked to come to Delhi as soon as I possibly could.
Not satisfied with the details, I tried ringing A R Agwan, as he was based in that area. I grew worried when around twenty calls made to his mobile through the day went unanswered. Knowing him, it was quite unusual of him to react in this manner. Immediately after Iftar (since it was the month of Ramadhan), I proceeded to the nearest Cyber Cafe to book my ticket for Delhi. An e-mail I received struck me numb with horror and rendered me incapable of any action for a few minutes. It was hard to believe that A R Agwan was under arrest! He had been picked up by Delhi Police’s Special Cell, equivalent to the Anti-Terror Squad or Special Task Force of other states.
A R Agwan, is a prominent social activist and has been attached with many social and human rights’ group. With a clear record, and an even clearer conscience, his arrerst sent shockwaves in the community. The leaders of the Muslim community were completely outraged by the arrest. His neighbours did not know how to react. Enquiries to other activists of the situation revealed that apart from Agwan, three other people had been detained from the area. After much pressure from community leaders, social and religious organizations, Agwan was released, along with Adnan Fahad, a DTP operator in his late twenties, who was also into some small Publishing business. They were arrested around 11 am in the morning and freed in the late evening around 7:30 P M. Illegal detention would have been prolonged hadn’t the community leaders and activists pressurized the Delhi police for their release.
On 17th September, immediately after coming back to Delhi, I went to meet Agwan. He was still recovering from the shock, having been forcibly subjected to the worst hours of his life. He completely failed to understand why he had been picked up. “They asked me about my whereabouts on the day of the blasts, my activity in the evening that day. I told them I was at home meeting two non-Muslim friends from Hyderabad. They had come over to discussing the opening up of an NGO. Then they questioned me about the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and its people. They pressed me to give names of some SIMI people in my locality, and I told them that I didn’t know anything, but they kept insisting”. The interrogators also asked him about Abul Bashar, a Madarsa graduate, who was arrested from Azamgarh the month before and was later projected as the mastermind of the Ahmedabad serial blasts. “I told them I knew not more about Abul Bashar than what had appeared in the media”, Agwan recalled. Not content with this response, they further alleged that Bashar had his cell number and that he had stayed at his home. Agwan flatly denied the charges. “But they did not believe me and wanted to put words in my mouth. They just wanted me to confess to something with which I had absolutely no connection”. “It was like there was no rule of law and the Police had become a Law unto themselves,” he told me, still unable to reconcile himself to what he had undergone. “When they realized that it would be too difficult to further my custody, as pressure was mounting from different sections of society to release me, they offered to drop me to my home. I refused to go with them.” “I told them that I was afraid that they would take me to some other place and torture me severely so that I confess to their charges, as had been done to hundreds of Muslims across the country”. “I asked them to ask my family to come and collect me”.
The fear that Agwan underwent reminded me of the stories that I had heard at the Impendent People’s Tribunal on the ‘Atrocities Committed against Minorities (read Muslims) in the Name of Fighting Terrorism’ at Hyderabad in August the same year (2008). We were told spine chilling stories of arbitrary detention and torture by the victims of ‘war on terror’, families of the accused who were in jails and human rights activists across the country barring Kashmir and North-eastern states of India. The common complaints were that they were punched, kicked, beaten very badly. In order to humiliate them so that they break down, the interrogators made them stand for long hours and hung them upside down. In custody, they were denied all basic amenities and were forced to drink water from the toilets. Moreover, they were subjected to electric shocks by the police officials and made to repeat what the police were saying. One of them recounted,”The interrogators repeatedly used name calling, sexually profane abusive language with me. The torture continued from about midnight/one o’clock until morning.” In most of the cases, the first question that they were asked was, “Why have you people become anti-nationals? You all are bloody Pakistanis.”
And the torture wasn’t limited to those arrested. The police made sure to use every trick to make those arrested confess to their will. The family members too were subject to similar torture. The police ensured that the most inhuman torture was meted out to them. Ataur Rahman, in his mid-sixties, lived in Mumbai with his family which included an engineer son who was an accused in the July 2006 Mumbai blasts. At the tribunal, he had told us, “My house was raided in the night and I was taken to an unknown destination. After keeping me in illegal custody for several days, I was formally shown to be arrested on July 27, 2006, and an FIR was lodged against me. Me, my wife, my daughter and daughter-in-law were paraded before my arrested sons while being abused by the police officers continuously. My sons and I were beaten up in front of each other. The women of the family were called up by the ATS daily and were asked to drop their burqah (veil) before my arrested sons. Adding to their humiliation, my sons were abused in front of the women folk. An officer beat me up and threatened me that the women of my family were outside and they would be stripped naked if I did not remove my clothes before my children and other police officers. They brought in other arrested accused and I was stripped naked in their presence…”
The witch hunting of Muslims only intensified after the blasts on September 13th, which was followed by the infamous ‘encounter’ at Batla House of Jamia Nagar area of South Delhi. On September 23rd, a meeting had been organized in Delhi to discuss the police excess and the communal witch hunt, which was attended by well known lawyers, activists, journalists, academicians and community leaders. While the meeting continued, we received the disturbing news of the picking up of a 17 year old boy, Saqib. The men who had taken the boy were unknown and hence we decided to lodge a complaint with the local police station. Initially reluctant to entertain us, the presence of senior lawyers, Jamia teachers and journalists pressured them into register our complaint. We were later informed that the Delhi Police special cell had picked him up for questioning. When Supreme Court lawyer Colin Gonzalves and the boy’s relatives approached the Special Cell, they had another surprise in store. The cops said -“hand over his brother and take him!” Saqib’s is not a unique case. People are picked up indiscriminately everyday and are harassed, some of them reportedly brutally tortured. Like Saqib, there are some victims in the area, but most of them prefer to remain quiet to avoid further harassment. Moreover, they fear about who would employ or give a house on rent to a ‘suspected person’. Today, even after three years of the Delhi bomb blasts and the Batla House ‘encounter’, the residents live in fear. A situation has been created wherein every Muslim is seen as a terror suspect, if not a terrorist. The infamous SMS which reads thus, “Every Muslim is not a terrorist, but all terrorists are Muslims,” had first made several rounds after July 2006 Blasts in Mumbai. This has always been believed as nothing but the gospel truth. The implicit message among a major section of the public is that every Muslim is a potential terrorist, regardless of whether he is a believer, an agnostic or an atheist.
Take the case of Shaina K K, a journalist and a declared agnostic, while receiving an award recently had to comment with the following words, “See, I happen to be a Muslim, but I am not a terrorist”. The clarification was given because of the feeling that if one belonged to the minority community, they would but be profiled. Shahina has a personal experience of it, so she would know. She has been falsely framed for ‘intimidating’ witnesses in the Abdul Nasir Madani case. Her only ‘crime’ was that she investigated the case of Kerala People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader Abdul Nasir Madani, who is an accused in the infamous Bangalore blasts case, and asked the question, “Why is this man is still in Prison,” in the form of an article which appeared in Tehelka, based on the facts. Madani had already spent 10 years in prison as an under-trail in the Coimbatore blast case of 1997 and who was later acquitted in 2007. It was only last month that Shahina managed to get an anticipatory bail, which put an end to her ‘underground’ life. Another Muslim journalist from Bangalore, working with a leading news-weekly was grilled several times in the same case.
In fact, this writer also had a similar personal experience but thankfully, to a lesser degree of threat to his life during a fact finding visit of Giridih Jail in the state of Jharkhand, in July 2008. I was branded a Maoist along with two other friends, and illegally detained for five hours by Giridih Superintendent of Police, Murari Lal Meena who is now being promoted to the rank of DIG, Special Branch of the Jharkhand Police. Later I was informed by the PUCL Secretary of Jharkhand, Shashi Bhusan Pathak, who was the local organiser of the visit and had contacted officials concerned for our release, that Mr. Meena had told him, “Since the guy (meaning me) comes from a frontier area of Bihar which borders Nepal and has studied at Jamia Millia Islamia New Delhi, he is a Pucca Aatankwadi (Hardcore Terrorist)!” He had also threatened to put us behind bars in the same prison without any hope of being bailed out for at least a year.
In the month of July this year, just a few days before the recent Mumbai blast, a Muslim photo-journalist of Mid Group, Sayed Sameer Abedi, was detained for taking innocuous photographs of a traffic junction and an airplane. He was threatened, roughed up and even called a terrorist because of his Muslim name. According to a report in Mid Day, at the police station, when Sub-Inspector Ashok Parthi, the investigating officer in his case, asked him about the incident and he explained everything, emphasizing that he had done no wrong, he was told by the inspector, “Don’t talk too much, just shut up and listen to what we are saying. Your name is Sayed, you could be a terrorist and a Pakistani”. The inspector also told him that he (the inspector) was asked by the seniors to inform the Special Branch and file all kinds of charges, including those of terrorism, against him (Sayed).
Unfortunately this is not limited to police and security agencies. The common men also somehow believe that Muslims are responsible for the all the terror strikes. They are the real culprits! This is not a new phenomenon. In fact, it is deepening day by day. In 2001, I was on my way to Patna by train. I noticed an old man consistently asking a bearded Muslim youth in his teens for an English magazine that the youth was reading with much concentration. He politely asked the old man to wait till he finished reading the article. Unmoved by the politeness and angered at this rebuttal, he abused the youth by calling him and other Muslims terrorists, who were destroying India’s sanctity after having destroyed America. He further voiced his prejudice by commenting that all Muslims belong to Pakistan and should leave for that place. I was a kid of fifteen and didn’t want to be identified as a Muslim, so thought it unwise to comment. Moreover, the matter had subsided when the youth gave over the magazine to the old man (which the old returned proclaiming unashamedly that he wasn’t literate in English).
I took this to be a matter in isolation, and tried not to give much attention. However, at home, I was faced with questions of a similar nature from a non-Muslim friend who enquired me about my whereabouts. He was surprised on hearing that I was studying at Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi, which he had thought to be a madarsa. Quelling his doubts, I told him it was just like any other University (Delhi University as example). I still face this question, time and again. It is almost like under living under constant suspicion. Thanks to our media and security agencies, which leave no stone unturned to prove this wrong despite the fact that over the years, it has been proved that Muslims have no monopoly over terrorism. In the last three years, I often ask myself the ask question, ‘Am I Safe?’ To be frank and honest, I doubt it. I am not confident about whether I am safe or not. However, my biggest worry is that the ordinary Muslim youth, who doesn’t have the network of people like Agwan or me, as they are in real danger.
After every blast every Muslim youth fears that he could be next. They can be, in fact, are, easily picked up, tortured, packed and thrown into jails, sometimes even killed in cold blood. In India today, to be a Muslim is to be encounter-able, to be constantly suspected of being a terrorist, to be illegally detainable and severely tortured, to have the possibility of being killed without being questioned, no matter whether one is a believer, agnostic or an atheist. Recent communal witch hunt in the wake of both Mumbai and Delhi blasts only further proves that. And if that is not the case, why hasn’t a single non Muslim person, as named voluntarily by Swami Aseemanad, in his confession, detailing role of Hidutva outfits in several blasts? Why have two of the prime accused, belonging to Hindutva outfits, of Malegaon blasts been granted bail while bails of the Muslims accused in the same case are refused time and again. How long will the Muslims of India have to bear the Burden of being a Muslim? People have started considering this (sense of insecurity) as a part and parcel of their lives. I still have no answer to the question, ‘Will this never end?’, once asked by a teacher of mine, when I informed her about the illegal detention of Mohammed Arshad, an Engineering student from Azamgarh wh