Thursday, November 22, 2007

Kolkata violence: Irresponsible Jamiat rousing sentiments of Muslims, playing with fire in West Bengal

Kolkata was in flames on Wednesday. Mercifully the violence didn't spill out of control.

As TV channels started flashing the 'alert' about Army called in Kolkata and later the images of All India Muslim Forum activists, I really got worried.

If it was a protest over just Nandigam, I could understand. But the way Jamiat brought the issue of Taslima Nasreen and also the murder of Rizwanur Rahman, it is a dangerous signal. 

For Rizwanur Rahman, the entire Bengal has come together. Further, Muslims surely have other problems to worry about than Taslima. I don't know how many protesters have read her works.

They are not readable anyhow. Even if she has written something that doesn't go well with us, we have the option not to read it or ignore it. With every such protest Taslima's stature as a writer will go up even if she doesn't deserve that much attention as an author.

Violent street protests don't serve anybody. But what perturbs me the most is the involvement of Jamiat-e-Ulama and the Muslim Forum. By communalising the issues and raising the same old 'victimhood' complex, it is not going to help Muslims of West Bengal rather anti-Muslim feelings may rise.

As I saw the stone pelting on streets and the iamges of burning car and mob clashing with police, imposition of curfew, I could imagine what must be going through the minds of many non-Muslims, 'These Muslims, the troublemakers...they are at it again'.

I am not sure about the All India Minority Forum whether it has any following amongst Muslims in West Bengal. But Jamiat's political ambitions are a cause of worry. Muslims must fight for their rights, but peacefully, as as part of the society by taking along others.

Muslims should raise their voice against atrocities on themselves and also other sections of society who are facing injustice. The minority community can't afford to be an insulated group that just speaks for itself. That's my only concern.