Rediff India Abroad
 Rediff India Abroad Home  |  All the sections

Search:



The Web

India Abroad




Newsletters
Sign up today!

Get news updates:
  

Home > India > News > Interview

   Discuss   |      Email   |      Print   |   Get latest news on your desktop

The Rediff Interview/Idris Ali, president, Minority Forum

'The terrorists cannot be followers of Islam'

December 01, 2008

Related Articles
Complete coverage: War on Mumbai
Idris Ali hits the headlines, at regular intervals, albeit for wrong reasons.

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?

Of course not. Any conscious and conscientious individual would have said the same thing. The entire history of 2008 is marred with acts of violence and bloodshed.

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.

They have so many vexing issues on their plate -- illiteracy, social injustice being vital ones.

To uphold their causes, I have to take certain measures. If the latter appear 'violent' to a handful of people, I can't help it.
 

By stringent anti-terrorism laws, do you, by any chance, mean
Prevention of Terrorism [Images] Act?

I am not a lawmaker. Let our authorities decide whether it should be POTA or anything else. But what I meant is, the existing laws need to be tightened for better results.

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.

And submission can never be achieved through bloodshed.

Those 10 blood-thirsty men who slaughtered innocent Mumbaikars cannot be the followers of Islam.

Had they read the Quran, they would have waved olive branches and not automatic guns.

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?

I read in newspapers that the lone surviving terrorist, who is in police custody, has only studied till Class IV.

Do you think a man of such limited learning has the ability to tell good from bad?

His mind is like a clean slate, wherein a group of blood-thirsty monsters wrote whatever they wanted to write.

Under the pretext of jihad, they motivated youths of his 'calibre' to tread the wrong path.

For your information, jihad does not stand for killing � rather, it means holy war to establish peace in this world.

What is your take on Pakistan's involvement in the whole issue?

It goes without saying that this reprehensible act was orchestrated in Pakistan and by a group of their people.

Therefore, instead of focusing on Hindu-Muslim rift in India, we should focus on our neighbouring country and take appropriate steps.

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.

A group of people enters our country from a foreign land with a huge cache of arms and ammunition and Indian sleuths get no clue -- how can you justify it?

The central government could have provided better security to the people if it knew such a conspiracy was being cooked.

Do you think the Mumbai terror attacks will grant the Bharatiya Janata Party political advantage over the Congress?

I pray that it does not.

For the BJP is nothing but the flip side of Muslim extremists. Fanatics have no religion, terrorists have no creed.

The only religion that radicals follow is carnage.

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 problems of the minority will continue to vex the country. But this is not the right time to lose sleep over it. I will continue to speak for them.

But my primary duty for the time being would be to walk in tandem with my colleagues and politicians to help India come out of this dark phase.


The Rediff Interviews

   Email   |      Print   |   Get latest news on your desktop


Advertisement
Advertisement