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A dangerous move

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It is matter of grave concern that 40 lakh Muslims in Assam have been de-registered, mostly Bengali Muslims, who have become foreigners in their own land. This is a well-thought and deliberate but confounding move to polarize the Indian society on religious lines ahead of next year’s general elections. It can be said with great authenticity that the move, which is to identify so-called illegal migrants, is an attempt to create a vote bank for the ruling BJP. One does not know what to make of the statement of the Assam CM that nobody will be treated as a foreigner if his/her name is not in the list. Home minister Rajnath Singh too has almost expressed the similar views. If that be so, what is the purpose of such a list in the first place? Centre has compounded the issue further by proposing a bill to modify the Citizenship Act, 1955, to grant citizenship to religious minorities – specifically Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians – from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh who have been residing in India for at least six years and entered the country before December 31, 2014, to escape religious persecution. This is in contravention to the NRC exercise. It goes without saying that the life is becoming tougher for the Muslims in India. They are being targeted by extremist Hindus in and outside the government by every available means almost in every state. The move to divest 40 lakh Muslims of citizenship rights is, by so far, the most fearful and panic stricken exercise that has come in the way of Muslims. Assam has 35 percent population of Muslims and its Muslim population plays a significant role in shaping up the political landscape of the state. The extremist Hindus are worried that their political say gets influenced by the Muslim population. There have been attempts for the last several decades to declare a section of Assami Muslims as Bangladeshis who have settled in India illegally. There had been a violent armed campaign against Assami Muslims in the past by BODO Hindu terrorists. The rise of BJP to power in the state, last year, has armed the local Hindu extremists with the state power to go against the Muslims. Leaving out 40 lakh Muslims from the National Register of Citizens is an attempt to out-balance the Muslim influence in the region. The bias against Muslims, while doing the exercise, could be understood from the fact that the relatives of former President of India (late) Fakhruddin Ali Ahmad too have been de-registered. If the residents with such a high profile background are not spared what about the non-descriptive common Muslim. The move is likely to have international ramifications as those de-registered are being termed as Bangladeshi Muslims. That, in all probabilities, would invite the attention of Bangladesh government towards the issue. Some voices of protest, through media, have already come from Bangladesh with which government of India boats of having good friendly relations. Some saner voices in India too have talked loud and clear that the move is likely to plunge the country into serious chaos. West Bengal chief minister Mumta Bannerji has warned of civil war as a consequences to leaving out Muslims from National Register of Citizens. Her party’s seven parliament members were barred from entering Assam on Thursday. There were stopped at the airport and not allowed to enter the city. They had gone there to take stock of the situation following the de-registration of four million Muslims. The Hindu extremists are now calling for similar exercise in other states to marginalize Muslims further. That makes things quite edgy and it could burst into serious trouble for the entire country. It is time that the saner political elements and civil society take a stand on the issue and force the government to stop this divisive exercise. It may help BJP in the elections but it is quite dangerous for the country and the nation.


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Editorial

Media in chains

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The arrest of senior journalist and editor/publisher of Urdu daily “Aafaq” Ghulam Jeelani Qadri is a serious reflection on the way the state administration is conducting itself in relation with the media. Qadri was arrested during a raid on his Karan Nagar residence previous night in a 29-year old case. What makes the mockery of the case is that the police showed him “absconding” all these years. The fact is that he has been in public life all these years. As editor, he has been attending his office, government including police functions all these years. The very police station which showed him absconding has verified his antecedents twice in the past 25 years for issuance of passport. There are eight other journalists accused in the so called case. Two of them were given state awards. The state government owes an explanation as what made it to go against Qadri with a false claim of “absconding”. Though it is premature to attribute motives behind the move but one cannot ignore the difficult conditions under which media works presently. Not just in the state, concern over constraints on media is displayed at national level too. Though at the national level it is deemed as a recent phenomenon, in Kashmir it has been in practice since early 90s with the eruption of militancy. It has been under tremendous pressure from different quarters including the government.

More than half a dozen people associated with the press have been killed in the past 30 years. The curbs on press still loom large. Journalists are forced to fall in line by using different means of coercion. The continuous detention of Asif Sultan, a Srinagar-based journalist, is a case in point. Asif was arrested on August 27, last year, after he reported some exclusive details about a militant attack on CRPF men in Srinagar on August 12 in which two men of the force were killed. His exclusive details made him a suspect in the eyes of the police who included his name in the FIR as militant sympathizer. Police has framed charges against him and filed charge sheet after a prolonged delay of over six months in February, though without any evidence. The case is in the court now as Asif continues to remain in custody. Earlier photojournalist Kamran Yousuf of Pulwama was detained for more than six months before finally being released on bail in March, 2018. Kamran was arrested on funny grounds. NIA, which took him into custody, said that he was the first to reach the site of stone-pelting. In 2016, after the death of Burhan Wani, daily newspaper Kashmir Reader was banned for “publishing objectionable material”. But it was never specified as what sort of material the newspaper had published. Kashmir Observer’s Aqib Javed Hakim was also summoned to New Delhi and interrogated on July 14 and 15 last year over an interview with a separatist leader. The aghast assassination of senior journalist Shujjat Bukhari in June last year only but strengthened the belief that journalism is the most risky profession in Kashmir. The journalists in Kashmir have been facing this situation right from early 90s with the killing of editor of Urdu daily As-Saffa—Mohammad Shaban Vakil. The bomb blast at Yousuf Jameel’s BBC office which killed photojournalist Mushtaq Ali was the culmination. Senior journalist Zafar Meraj also survived an attempt on his life. Several other people associated with the profession in one or the other way were also either killed or harassed. Ghulam Mohammad Lone, a news agent in Kanagn, was shot dead along with his seven year old son. This speaks of the grim situation journalist are operating in Kashmir. Press freedom is a constitutional right guaranteed under and Indian constitution’s Article 19 (Freedom of Expression). It includes holding opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by the public authority. The right to freedom of expression is not only a primary cornerstone of democracy, but also but a primary prerequisite. It rather is a constitutional duty of a citizen to speak and express his or her views the way he or she witnesses events. Putting curbs on free speech is strictly in contravention to the constitutional position and the state should in all ways respect the constitutions it takes oath of.  

 
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Editorial

Mirwaiz sounds alarm

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Kashmir is not about political trouble alone. It is quite disturbing that grave moral issues are confronting the people of the state more menacingly than the political one. It is for this bitter truth that Hurriyat (M) Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq made a departure from his usual Friday address (which generally revolves around politics and religion) last week and centered it around drug abuse. Mirwaiz said that members from cross sections of society have been informing him as well as a large number of letters he is receiving, which suggest that the menace of drug addiction is spreading far and wide in Srinagar and across the valley especially among the youth including girls. Mirwaiz made a fervent appeal to parents, teachers, Ulema, Mohalla Committees and Masjid committees to wake up to this reality and take steps in this regard. He said easy money made available to children makes access to drugs easy for them. He said parents have to take responsibility for this. Mirwaiz’s concern was equally shared by the state Governor Satya Pal Malik who appreciated him for alarming people on this subject of vital social importance. Though no definitive study has been conducted on the number of people addicted to drugs in the state, State Human Rights chief, Justice Bilal Nazki, some time back, said that 70,000 people (4000 of them woman) are suffering from this disease currently in the valley alone. Doctors and NGOs working on the subject say that the figure is much higher. The latest figures say that drug addiction cases have witnessed 100% increase in 2018 in comparison to 2016 and 17. The data says that SMHS hospital alone records 90 patients in its OPD daily. The other hospitals and state-sponsored and privately owned de-addiction centres also have disturbing inflow of drug-addict patients. Recently, a young boy in Shopian died due to overdose of drugs leaving his parents in the life’s worst grief. The boy had previously been admitted in different rehabilitation and counseling centres but in vain. It is not an isolated case. The menace of drugs is catching up in young Kashmir fast and furiously. Be it a way to fight personal crisis, means to wipe the mental scars or just a sign of being cool, a section of youth in Kashmir have fallen into the net of drugs. Charas, brown sugar, cocaine, cannabis, psychotropic drugs et al are the new weapons of mass destruction for the youth. Cannabis, though illegal, is cultivated locally on vast swaths of agriculture land in Pulwama, Anantnag, Kulgam, Bandipora, Kupwara and Baramulla districts. Reports of connivance between the officials of concerned government departments and the cultivators are sometimes stated as a cause of cultivation of this formidable drug. What is more disturbing is that drug peddlers have found their way in the most sensitive areas of our society. They have by now entrenched themselves into spaces of educational institutions as well. Some lower rung employees of educational institutions are reported to be in involved in trafficking of drugs in colleges and schools. Easy access to drugs and uncontrolled activities of drug peddlers are reported to be the main contributing causes of this insidious phenomenon.  The most worrying part is that there is little effort on the part of the concerned people in the administration to curb the menace. A few years back union ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment launched a scheme under which financial assistance is being provided to the states for prevention of the drug abuse. However, Jammu and Kashmir has benefited least from the scheme so far. In this context Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s alarming message must awaken the society as well as the government equally.  It needs a comprehensive and joint campaign by all sorts of political and religious leaders. There are dozens of social and religious organizations, which owe moral obligation towards people to educate them on this issue.  The mainstream political parties too cannot shirk from their responsibility. They are a part of this society, and they should also come forward to build society on strong moral values. The government’s responsibility is more than anyone else. It is the primary duty of the government to guard society against all kinds of debauchery and decadence.

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The quest for truth

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“Truth”, is a slippery term. In theology, it has at least one clear meaning: What is revealed in sacred scriptures is by definition true, and theological argument can proceed on this sound foundation — at least among those theologians who share faith in that particular revelation. Science, however, does not have such a starting point. Popper stressed the now widely accepted view that science can never achieve truth but it can make and then test assertions that are falsifiable. If a theory survives numerous and varied attempts at falsification, one can have a degree of confidence in the reliability of that theory over a broad range of phenomena. Moreover, if a statement is inherently not falsifiable (for example, “God is just”), it cannot be a scientific statement.If a scientific theory cannot be “true”, can it at least be “correct”? Certainly, in the sense that it accounts for a range of phenomena with good accuracy and can be used to predict the outcome of previously unknown events. Scientists, in contrast to philosophers of science, do not worry too much about this point. Given a particular problem, it is usually pretty obvious to the skilled investigator which theory will yield a satisfactory solution.
Truth has many aspects. Infinite truth has infinite expressions. Though the sages speak in diverse ways, they express one and the same Truth. The Absolute Truth is one. God is One; The Uncaused Cause of all creation. The God wom we worship is not an exclusive God: He is your God, as well as mine, theirs as well as ours. He is the Lord of the Worlds to any person, of any faith.There are innumerable definitions of Allah (God) because His manifestations are innumerable. And beyond doubt, we are more than our bodies. There is more to our earthly life than just surviving, existing, and running after ephemeral matters.
A true sustainable fulfilment, meaning and purpose can only be attained, if we rediscover, and live by the Truth of what the universe so clearly, vividly and unceasingly declares within, and surround us. Allah’s Grace, and Beneficial Guidance is not a racial, social, gender, and family privilege. Each individual must earnestly strive for that Eternal Bliss. Our individual or collective success or failure, prosperity or bankruptcy, peace and fulfilment, or suffering, and destruction depend upon one’s reverence and alignment with Allah’s (God’s) Beneficial Guidance. And although Allah is invisible in this realm of existence, He has left innumerable evidences of His Reality through which people can know, be inspired and empowered by Him; if they only look.
There are 7 universal stages and gateways/platforms for creating a clearer and better “Fundamental Understanding” in recognizing the Truth about; our Creator, our birth right, authentic nature and true identity, purpose and mission as we journey through this probationary stage of our earthy existence into the eternal reality of life as in Allah’s (God’s) Presence. Much of the universe remains undiscovered, and we still have a lot to learn … yet they all point to Unity!
A conscious and introspective look at the marvels of universe; from the smallest subatomic particles to the vast expanse of multiverse (from the inner universe within each individual to the outer universes within creation) – their delicately complex and infinitely precise, balanced order, universal harmony and unity of design, reveals, glorifies, testifies, declares, and points towards the existence of “One Magnificent, Transcendent, Omnipresent (present everywhere), Omnipotent (unlimited power) and Lovingly Supreme Creator”.
Allah’s creation could be just called nature by those who don’t believe in Allah. Allah’s prophets as bearer of good news and excellent exemplars could be called just fictional stories from the past – BUT what about a PERSPICUOUS, LIVING MIRACLE as a Clear Evidence for Allah’s (God’s) Existence and His Loving Guidance with no statements of, “you just have to believe”?
Well, here is an attempt to candidly offer the proof that the Quran is the Universal Living Miracle and the Clear Evidence and True Words of Allah, The Lord and Sustainer of the worlds. Every thought, word and action has the potential to take us closer to, or further from Allah. Learn, Understand, Apply and Align, Share and Elevate towards Allah’s Nearness!
“This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those who are conscious of Allah, righteous, and those who avoid evil.” ~Quran 2:2

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