Batla House encounter: what do Azamgarh Muslim intellectuals say?

By Mumtaz Alam Falahi,,

New Delhi: Muslim intellectuals in Azamgarh see the Batla Hhouse encounter and its follow-up as part of well-thought out conspiracy against the economic and educational progress of the Muslims in the district. They deny their youth can be involved in terrorism.

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Dr Iftekhar Ahmad, Principal, Shibli College

No one is feeling safe seeing indiscriminate raids at houses, raids at prominent personalities like Dr Jawed Akhtar and others in the district. The Batla House and its follow-up have frightened people – youth, old, poor and rich and even politicians. Everyone has a fear that anyone can be picked up and implicated in false cases.

The incident has demoralized youth. They were doing well, going out to get higher education and job-oriented courses in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad as they were seeing good opportunities in MNCs and BPOs. But the developments in the last two months have shattered their dream. This is a tragedy for our youth.

What happened is a conspiracy to halt Azamgarh Muslims’ progress in education and economy. Communal forces had got frightened seeing the huge gathering in an ijtema called recently in the city before the Batla House. Around one lakh local Muslims had attended the conference. The massive gathering frightened communal forces and so they hatched the conspiracy.

Why should we become terrorists? We are good people. We come from good background. We have labored hard to earn. We went abroad when during the World War II no one would dare to go out. Then we went to the Gulf and other parts of the world and earned. Now these people have become prosperous. Their children were getting higher education. There was no monetary problem for them to get admission anywhere. Their parents were spending lot for their bright future. Then why these youths would suicide by involving themselves in terrorism? Why will they become terrorists? Are they fighting any war of freedom here?

We are very happy in this democratic system as equal rights have been granted to us also. True, Muslims here may be facing some problems or complaining for unfairness. But to remedy it we have ways of demonstration, agitation and most powerful is voting through which we can force one for our demand. Why should we take to arms when it is clearly suicidal?

Watch the video of a discussion with Shibli College teachers

Dr Salman Sultan, Professor of Chemistry, Shibli College

The recent developments are planned and well-thought out conspiracy to hit Muslims’ progress in economy and education.

I can’t deny that not a single Muslim youth may not have been radicalized but I don’t have any proof for that, and there maybe some stray cases here and there but it has not been proved. Several accused right from Aftab Ahmad Ansari, Tariq Qasmi and Khalid Mujahi all have been exonerated from the courts.

In the wake of the issue Muslims are trying to organize themselves politically as secular parties are responsible for today’s strong communal and fascist forces.

It is true that Muslims of the district who went abroad and earned did not spend on the public welfare or welfare of the community. Most of the money has been spent on construction of houses and facilitating luxurious places. They have also spent lot on legal cases, because they are fighting among themselves.

Dr Alauddin, Lecturer of History, Shibli College

The Batla House encounter was politically motivated. It was carried out to bail out Home Minister Shiv Raj Patil. For the failure of the government in stopping blasts he was under fierce criticism.

We cannot accept that any Muslim youth from the district may have been involved in terrorist activities as no such incident took place earlier. And this has been vindicated by the revelations in the Malegaon blast case in which Sadhvi Pragya Singh and other Hindu extremists have been arrested.

The positive impact of last two months development is that Muslims are getting united. Organizations and leaders have also shown unity. They are thinking about a political platform of theirs. But for such a platform to be successful there is a need for Muslims to remove their small differences and get united, there is a need for some grass-root work also. For political unity we should select a leader of ours and follow him at least for five years even he says wrong. We should not condemn him from day one and must not try to slur his image. Without these there cannot be any political unity among Muslims.

Dr Shababuddin, HoD, Dept. of Urdu, Shibli College

What has happened is a conspiracy of communal forces and politicians. All the people from Azamgarh arrested or killed are innocents.

The positive impact of the event is that Muslims got united. This unity may not have been achieved even by years of campaign and efforts.

Dr Mohiuddin, Professor of Arabic, Shibli College

The development has not affected communal harmony and Hindu-Muslim relations. Rather Hindus have come up supporting Muslims. They are with us and feel that Muslims have been exposed to injustice and atrocity. In Sanjarpur Hindus are with Muslims.

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