Bully Tactics by Mohammed Ataur Rahman (FEBRUARY 28, 2009)

It is time now for VHP to stop playing the role of an all-powerful inquisitor, writes Mohammed Ataur Rahman.

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP, in short) assumes too much. For instance, its preposterous assumption that it has the right and power to interrogate Indian Muslims and Christians, and to dictate to them what they can or cannot do. Some cheek, this.

The latest instance of its cheeky behaviour was its peremptory “questionnaire” that it says it sent to Muslim leaders asking them to explain their stand on Islamic fiqh (jurisprudence) categories like Darul Harb (Land of War), Darul Islam (Land of Islam) and Darul Aman (Land of Peace).

Interestingly, no known Muslim leader got it (Good riddance!). When some of them learnt about it, they just dismissed it with the contempt it deserved. All India Milli Council Secretary Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam said that because VHP does not believe in the Constitution of India, which happens to be the only document that guides our public life, it has forfeited the right to participate in public debate.

The Darul Uloom Deoband observed that it was merely a pre-election gimmick, and VHP was not interested in the understanding of the issues. However, being a seat of Islamic learning it took the trouble to explain that India is neither a “Land of Islam”, nor a “Land of War”, but a “Land of Peace”. Why? Because India’s Constitution gives everybody the right to practise his or her religion with complete freedom. For this clear reason it is not a land where Muslims can, theoretically, “fight a war”. And it is not a “Land of Islam”, simply because it is not a Muslim-majority country.

It is exactly this Constitution that VHP does not believe in, and is always trying to undermine it through gimmicks like the questionnaire. This Constitution did not give any group of citizens, including VHP, to question another group of citizens, or ask for an explanation.

VHP, as Dr Alam said, is a group of law-breakers. One of its senior leaders, Acharya Giriraj Kishore, is on record having declared at a press conference in New Delhi that the life of one cow was worth more than the lives of five Dalit young men. Kishore was explaining the lynching of five Dalit young men for skinning a dead cow. The Dalits had a government licence to skin dead animals and dispose of the carcass.

Has such a group of law-breakers any right to question a group of law-abiding citizens? Or, for that matter, has any group got the right to question any other? In short, VHP is back to the bully tactics of the Babri Masjid demolition movement.


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