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The Rediff Interview/Idris Ali, president, Minority Forum
'The terrorists cannot be followers of Islam'
December 01, 2008
The All-India Minority Forum president was arrested in November last year for his alleged involvement in causing large-scale violence during a strike in Kolkata to press for revocation of visa for Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen [Images].
Known as the vociferous leader who never misses a chance to speak up for minority issues, he did a volte face when he demanded replacement of the anti-terrorist law by more stringent legislation a day after terrorists held Mumbai to ransom for 59 long hours.
Has the Mumbai violence led to a change in Ali's view or his statement is nothing but a political gimmick to win people's sentiments? Senior Associate Editor Indrani Roy Mitra finds out.
A news report said you have demanded amendment of anti-terrorist law and that it should be made stricter. People know you as the 'uncrowned' protector of minority rights. Then why this sudden change of stance? Is it because election is just round the corner?
A country where terrorism is rampant needs better, tighter laws to curb it. Whether we have an election this year or not, the problem of terrorism is here to stay.
But your detractors often accuse you of perpetrating violence in West Bengal�
Detractors are there to criticise, no matter what. I do whatever I think is necessary for the Muslims in West Bengal.
As a minority leader, do you think the Mumbai terror attacks [Images] will fan the fire of communalism in the country?
I don't think so. It should not. What we must realise Islam never propagates violence. The word Islam is derived from aslama, which means submission to the supreme power.
Those 10 blood-thirsty men who slaughtered innocent Mumbaikars cannot be the followers of Islam.
In one of the reports by a leading daily, a survivor recounted that one of the terrorists mentioned Godhra before pumping bullets into the hostages. How can you, therefore, set aside the communal angle?
Under the pretext of jihad, they motivated youths of his 'calibre' to tread the wrong path.
Why do you think the ISI chief went back on his words? Something must be wrong and leaders of India need to dig out the wrongdoers and punish them.
Why do you think Dawood Ibrahim [Images] cannot be arrested? Isn't it Pakistan that is ensuring his safe berth in that country?
Do you think the ruling government is incapable of providing security to its people?
The Mumbai incident proved an utter failure on the part of the country's intelligence.
I pray that it does not.
If the BJP comes to power, peace will be thrown out of India's window.
What the electorate should realise is that at this critical juncture, we should not fight against each other but should be united to put forth a strong foot forward against Pakistan, the real enemy.
What measures do you think the central government should take against Pakistan?
The stronger the measures the better they would be for India. This is not the time to talk peace. This is the time to teach them a lesson.
Enough is enough. India's politicians should get over factionalism and raise a global outcry against their neighbouring country.
Do you, therefore, mean to say, you too would refrain from playing the minority card for a while?
The Rediff Interviews
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