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Muslim Cleric Arrested, Tortured Under POTA
Continued Persecution of Minorities in India,
i.e. Muslims, Christians,
No One Has Been Charged in Gujarat Massacre of
Muslims, Which Government
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 20, 2003 –– India has
arrested and tortured
Maulana Hussain Umarji, a Muslim cleric, under
the repressive "Prevention of
Terrorism Act" (POTA) on charges that he was
involved in planning the Godhra
attack on Hindus last February in which almost 60
people were killed,
according to the British Broadcasting Company.
The attacks came after the
trainload of passengers taunted the mostly Muslim
villagers about building a
Hindu temple on the site of the Babri mosque in
Ayodyha, which was destroyed
by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP.)
According to Muslim leaders in the area, police
tortured Mr. Umarji, a very
widely respected figure in the community, and
forced him to confess to
receiving financial assistance from
Saudi Arabia, and Dubai. Mr.
Umarji had met with Prime Minister Atal Bihari
Vajpayee and with Congress
Party leader Sonia Gandhi and had complained
about police harassment of
Muslims, according to the BBC.
"This is what happens to minorities in India
when they refuse to go along
with the government's genocidal designs against
their people," said Dr.
Gurmit Singh Aulakh, President of the Council of
Khalistan, which leads the
Sikh struggle for independence from India.
So far, no one has been charged with any crime
related to the massacre of
Muslims last March in Gujarat in which 2,000 to
5,000 people were killed,
according to the Indian newspaper The Hindu.
Another Indian newspaper
reported that the Indian government planned the
Gujarat massacre in advance.
Police were instructed to stand aside and not to
stop the violence, in an
eerie reminder of the 1984 Delhi massacre of
Sikhs, when Sikh police officers
were locked in their barracks to keep them from
interfering while the
state-run television and radio called for more
Sikh blood. It does not matter
whether it is a Congress government or a BJP
government. Both are majority
Hindu theocratic governments.
"Unfortunately, this appears to be part of a new
wave of Indian tyranny and
genocide against the minority populations," said
Dr. Aulakh. "Look at the
Cooper case also," he said.
missionary Joseph Cooper was
thrown out of India for
preaching after he was beaten so badly by a group
of militant, fundamentalist
Hindu nationalists inspired by the Rashtriya
Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), the
pro-Fascist organization that is the parent
organization of the ruling BJP,
as well as the violent, Hindu extremist
organization called the Vishwa Hindu
Parishad (VHP.) The Cooper case is reminiscent of
the murder of Australian
missionary Graham Staines a few years ago by VHP
activists. Staines and his
two young sons were burned to death while they
slept in their jeep. Their
killers surrounded the jeep and chanted "Victory
to Hannuman," a Hindu god.
After the murder, Staines's widow, who was
working with lepers, was expelled
Two states controlled by BJP governments have
recently passed laws making it
a crime to convert to any religion except
Hinduism. The BJP is calling for
enactment of such anti-conversion laws across
India. Last year, a cabinet
minister said that everyone who lives in India
must either be a Hindu or be
subservient to Hindus.
"It is clear from these actions that India is
not the democracy it claims to
be, but is instead a tyrannical Hindu
theocracy," said Dr. Aulakh.
"Unfortunately, the Umarji and Cooper cases are
consistent with the pattern
of Indian government efforts to protect its
tyrannical rule over the
minorities of South Asia."
The government of India has murdered over 250,000
Sikhs since 1984, more than
200,000 Christians since 1948, over 85,000
Muslims in Kashmir
since 1988, and
tens of thousands of Tamils, Assamese, Manipuris,
Dalits (the aboriginal
people of the subcontinent), and others. Over
52,000 Sikhs are being held as
political prisoners. The Indian Supreme Court
called the Indian government's
murders of Sikhs "worse than a genocide." On
October 7, 1987, the Sikh Nation
declared the independence of its homeland,
Punjab, Khalistan. No Sikh
representative has ever signed the Indian
constitution. The Council of
Khalistan is the government pro tempore of
Khalistan, the Sikh homeland. The
Sikh Nation demands freedom for its homeland,
"Only in a free and sovereign Khalistan will the
Sikh Nation prosper. In a
democracy, the right to self-determination is the
sine qua non and India
should allow a plebiscite for the freedom of the
Sikh Nation and all the
nations of South Asia," Dr. Aulakh said.
2003-02-23 Sun 07:39ct