By Pervez Bari
New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a joint statement have been urged by Muslim leaders and intellectuals to take adequate measures and to send an advisory to all state governments to take penal action against hate propaganda carried by individuals and groups as well as mainstream and social media at a time when the country has to fight the pandemic together.
Desist from spreading communal hatred
Muslim leaders and intellectuals have also appeal to the people of the country to desist from spreading communal hatred.
The joint statement said that while it’s a matter of relief that when compared to many other countries, India is doing a lot better in preventing the Coronavirus by reducing its horror to a remarkable level, they cautioned against holding any particular group responsible for deliberately spreading the pandemic in the country.
The statement said: “But once Coronavirus infection was confirmed in the case of some attendees of the congregation at Nizamuddin Tablighi Markaz, a furious propaganda is getting widespread day by day that Muslims as a community is responsible for the current pandemic situation in the country. Unfortunately, some social and political segments are deliberately deploying various means at their disposal to communalise this public health issue for spreading hatred against Muslims. In particular, Nizamuddin Markaz Masjid and Tablighi Jamaat are viciously targeted and accused of being the carriers of the coronavirus. Many objectionable and derogatory terms like “Tablighi Virus”, “Corona Jihad” etc. are being propagated in an organised manner”.
“The Islamophobia content aired by many major media houses has made the situation worse. Consequently, we have reports from some parts of India that innocent Muslims are being attacked and patients are denied medical treatment based on their religious identity. The attack on Masjid at Delhi by a mob alleging Muslims spreading the virus is also a result of the Islamophobic content propagated through mainstream media and social media”, the statement stated.
Curb menace of communal virus
Meanwhile, the statement pointed out that it is a welcome sign that few state governments have taken serious note of this situation and warned about stringent action against the perpetrators of hate. But it is unfortunate that till this moment the Government of India has not come out with required measures to curb this menace of communal virus from the social and political fabric of our secular nation. On the other hand, the updates on Corona virus cases released by the Union Health Ministry particularly refer to the number of Tablighi Markaz connected cases which are like pouring fuel to the communal fire.
The 15 signatories to the joint statement include: 1. Maulana Sayyid Mohammad Wali Rahmani’ (General Secretary, All India Muslim Personal Law Board); 2. Syed Sarwar Chishti (Gaddi Nasheen Khadim, Dargah Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, Ajmer Shareef); 3. Maulana K R Sajjad Nomani (Islamic Scholar); 4. Adv. Zafaryab Jeelani (Senior Advocate); 5. Navaid Hamid (President, All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat); 6. M. K. Faizy (National President, Social Democratic Party of India); 7. Dr. S. Q. R. Ilyas (National President, Welfare Party of India); 8. O M A Salam (Chairman, Popular Front of India); 9. Mujtaba Farooq (Director, Public Relations & Member, Central Advisory Council, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind); 10. Maulana Umrain Mahfooz Rahmani (Secretary, All India Muslim Personal Law Board); 11. Kamal Farooqui (Former Chairman, Delhi Minorities Commission); 12. Maulana Obaidullah Khan Azmi (Former, Member of Parliament); 13. Ms Shahida Aslam (President, National Women’s’ Front); 14. Dr. Asma Zehra (Chief Organiser, Women’s Wing, All India Muslim Personal Law Board) and 15. Mrs. Mehrunnisa Khan (National President, Women India Movement).