A Canadian author will become the first Muslim-born woman to lead a mixed-gender British congregation through Friday prayers tomorrow in a highly controversial move that will attempt to spark a debate about the role of female leadership within Islam.
Raheel Raza, a rights activist and Toronto-based author, has been asked to lead prayers and deliver the khutbah at a small prayer session in Oxford.
She has been invited by Dr Taj Hargey, a self-described imam who preaches an ultra-liberal interpretation of Islam which includes, among other things, that men and women should be allowed to pray together and that female imams should lead mixed congregations in prayer.
Three of the four mainstream schools of Sunni Islam allow women to lead exclusively female congregations for prayer, but the overwhelming majority of Muslim jurists are opposed to the notion of their presiding over mixed congregations outside the home.
Raza, 60, is part of a small but growing group of Muslim feminists who have tried to challenge the mindset that has traditionally excluded women from leadership roles within the mosque. They argue that nowhere in the Koran are female imams expressly forbidden. Instead scholars rely on the hadiths (the words and sayings of the Prophet Mohamed) to exclude women – although Muslim feminists and some progressive scholars argue that even these are not clear enough to say with confidence that women are altogether banned.
Ms Raza received death threats after leading a mixed-gender prayer congregation in Toronto five years ago.
"It was a very profound experience," Ms Raza said yesterday in a telephone conversation from her home in Toronto. "It's not about taking the job of an imam. It's about reminding the Muslim community that 50 per cent of its adherents are women who are equal to men. Women are equally observant, practising Muslims who deserve to be heard."
Ms Raza's appearance in Oxford is a repeat of a similar prayer session in 2008 which was led by Amina Wadud, an American-born convert and Muslim feminist. But this is the first time a Muslim-born woman will lead a mixed prayer service in Britain.
Ms Wadud's prayers were attended by a small congregation of less than 40 who were heckled on their way in to prayers by protesters, largely by fully veiled Muslim women. Once inside the prayer hall, meanwhile, they were comprehensively outnumbered by journalists.
But Dr Hargey, a divisive figure within British Islam who runs the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford, said his congregation had since grown and attracted new followers.
"For Friday prayers we now receive about 100 people, twice that for Eid prayers and important occasions," he said. "I am expecting about 200 people to attend this Friday's prayers."
In recent years there has been a growing demand from Muslim women to be included and represented at their mosques. Earlier this week Faith Matters, a conflict resolution think-tank funded by the Government and private benefactors, released a list of 100 women-friendly mosques. The number of female Muslim scholars, meanwhile, often referred to as imamahs, are also on the rise.
Ms Raza, who is due to fly into Britain this morning, said she was aware that she would be preaching to the converted tomorrow. "But it's about opening one heart, one mind at a time," she added.
Contribution reports for financial years 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 submitted to the Election Commission of India has revealed that the BJP received donations worth Rs 2.50 crores from companies that export buffalo meat.
According to a report in The Times of India, subsidiaries of Allanasons Ltd — Frigorifico Allana Ltd, Frigerio Converva Allana Ltd and Indagro Foods Ltd — before the Lok Sabha elections on 2014. Later in 2014-15 Frigerio Converva Allana Ltd had donated Rs 50 lakh more.
Allanasons Ltd is supposed to the largest exporter of meat in India.
This assumes significance given that during the run up to the Lok Sabha polls Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made meat export a poll issue. He had criticised the Congress in a rally in Nawada, Bihar saying, "We had heard of White Revolution, we have heard of Green Revolution, but the government in Delhi wants a 'pink revolution'. Do you know what a pink revolution is? The government is keeping you in the dark."
He had criticised the UPA government for "destroying our rivers of milk" and setting up slaughter houses.
The revelation that BJP has received donations from a meat exporting company may cause controversy given BJP's stand against consumption of meat.
The opposition parties have criticised the BJP for its 'intolerance' towards after the Dadri lynching and the Kerala House raid.
On 22 November, a senior journalist working with a prominent Malayalam newspaper wrote a poignant post on her Facebook account about sexual abuses her classmates had to face in a Madarassa years ago. For more than 24 hours now, journalist VP Rajeena’s Facebook account has been blocked, and she continues to receive threats.
In the Facebook post that became controversial Rajeena reminisced about an ‘Ustad’ or teacher at a Sunni Madarassa in Kozhikode city, who would feel up her male classmates’ private parts. She described how young boys in the class would be summoned by the ‘Ustad’ and asked to unzip their shorts. Rajeena said that even as the boys squirmed, the girls too were left embarrassed and shocked. The ‘Ustad’ would then tell the boys that he was only checking the size, she wrote. She also talked about how such experiences were spread out across her six years of education at the Madarassa and even the girls in her class were not spared. The journalist also alleged that another ‘Ustad’ who was above 60 years would move around the class during power cuts and sexually abuse minor girls.
Ever since Rajeena put up the Facebook post, she was at the receiving end of a barrage of abuses and threats, forcing her to write another post in which she declared that despite everything, she would remain fearless.
"Curses... Abuses... Venom spewing... Let everything befall on me. But I am least afraid because Allah is with me. And so, even if the whole world turns against me, I will not fear. It is becoming clearer that whatever I did was the correct thing. Even my life is at stake. History is replete with such stories of annihilation of voices that dissent. I am ready to face that." (Translated by Firstpost).
“After I put up the Facebook post my account was blocked for some time and it later came back. But from Wednesday morning it was blocked again and has not been reinstated by Facebook,” Rajeena told The News Minute (at the time of writing this on Wednesday night Rajeena’s Facebook account was still blocked, but the account was restored on Thursday morning.)
Rajeena believes she is being targeted for various reasons. “I am a woman, a Muslim woman that too and a journalist, so such a revelation from me was unacceptable for many. What should have lead to a healthy debate on child sexual abuse has denigrated to a fight against me. I have been called an anarchist and someone with an agenda to defame a particular religion,” she said.
A Palestinian poet has been sentenced to death by a Saudi Arabian court for allegedly abandoning his Muslim faith, Human Rights Watch reports. The death sentence comes after an initial 2014 verdict that sentenced the poet to four years in prison and 800 lashes.
Poet Ashraf Fayadh was detained in Abha, southwest Saudi Arabia, in 2013 due to allegations by a prosecution witness, who claimed he heard Fayadh cursing God, the Prophet Mohammed and Saudi Arabia. Also, the prosecution alleged offenses based on a book of poems Fayadh had written several years prior to that.
The poet’s friends, however, believe he was being punished for posting a video showing Saudi Arabia’s religious police (mutaween) lashing a man in public.
“They accused me [of] atheism and spreading some destructive thoughts into society,” Fayadh told The Guardian. The book, “Instructions Within,” published in 2008, was “just about me being [a] Palestinian refugee … about cultural and philosophical issues. But the religious extremists explained it as destructive ideas against God.”
Human Rights Watch’s Middle East researcher Adam Coogle, who says he has seen the trial documents, confirmed Friday that the death sentence handed down to Fayadh, a Palestinian national, was on charges of “apostasy.”
“I have read the trial documents from the lower court verdict in 2014 and another one from 17 November. It is very clear he has been sentenced to death for apostasy,” Reuters cited Coogle as saying.
According to the court documents, Fayadh denied the blasphemy accusations, saying he is a faithful Muslim.
I am repentant to God most high and am innocent of what appeared in my book mentioned in this case,” he said.
The justice system of Saudi Arabia is not only based on Islamic Sharia law, but is also under great influence from the Wahhabi school of Sunni Islam, an ultra-conservative interpretation of Sharia that does not hesitate to designate the death penalty for apostasy and blasphemy.
The main reason why the initial ruling of four years in prison and 800 lashes has been replaced with the death sentence is that Saudi judges are empowered to impose sentences according to their own interpretation of Sharia law. In Fayadh’s case, a second judge ruled that the defense witness testimony was ineligible and considered only the testimony of the prosecution witness.
“I was really shocked but it was expected, though I didn’t do anything that deserves death,” Fayadh told The Guardian.
There is still a chance that Fayadh could avoid being executed. He has 30 days to appeal the ruling, and failing that, if his case passes through all the stages of the judicial system, specifically the lower courts, the appeals courts and the Supreme Court, he could in theory still be pardoned by the Saudi Arabian ruler, King Salman.
Earlier, liberal writer Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for blasphemy last year, received his first 50 lashes in January, sparking international outcry. Although Badawi continues to serve his term in prison, foreign diplomats in Saudi Arabia believe he is not likely to face more floggings.
As for Fayadh’s fate, so far Saudi Arabia's officials and Justice Ministry have not made any official comment on the issue.
Everybody agrees that justice delayed is justice denied. And yet, trials continue for several generations in our country. The condition is such that people are suffering from what can be called ‘ancestral trials’. An individual passes away, but the trials seem to continue. That is why innocent people sometimes spend their life behind bars. It has happened many a time that after spending the whole life behind bars or even after a person’s death, the verdict comes that the person was innocent. In that case, it is worthless to say who is responsible for the injustice that has happened to them. Nobody in this world can give back the time wasted behind the bars. The family of those people who get involved in trials also face a lot of difficulties in their life. They keep circling around the courts and the lawyers. During each circle, the lawyer earns a huge amount of money and the people lose a huge amount of money. In this era of unemployment and inflation, it is very difficult to earn money and often it is also difficult to manage two full meals a day. Filling the deposit boxes of the lawyer with this limited income is also not less than any kind of punishment.
In the courts country-wide, more than 3 crores cases are pending presently. A point of even greater concern is that out of those 3 crores cases, 60 per cent cases are related to the Government. In several cases the agonist and the antagonist states along with the Central Government are also present. The maximum cases are related to the Income Tax Department, Home Department, Finance Department, Industry Department, Mining-Petroleum Department, Forest Department, Public Health Engineering Department (PHED), Education Department, Village Councils, Transport and Revenue Department plus 19 other departments. The maximum cases that are against the Government are related to tax. S.S. Palanimanickam, Union Minister of State, Finance said in the Lok Sabha that 5860 cases related to direct tax worth Rs. 2707 crores are pending in the Supreme Court whereas 29650 cases related to direct tax worth Rs. 36,340 crores are still pending in the High Courts. He also said that 2855 cases related to indirect tax worth Rs. 8130 crores are pending in the Supreme Court whereas 14,626 cases related to indirect tax worth Rs. 11,459 crores are still pending in different High Courts of the country. Palanimanickam also said due to some ‘irremediable’ processes of the Government the outstanding taxes are not been collected. The recovery of the outstanding taxes is also not possible due to the suspension of application by the Appeal officials and also due to suspension of the cases by the courts.
Out of the total pending cases, 74 per cent cases fall within the last five years. Salman Khurshid, Law and Justice Minister, said in the Rajya Sabha that till 30 September 2010, 57,179 cases were pending in the Supreme Court, whereas 42,17,903 cases were pending in the High Courts and 2,69,86,307 cases in the lower courts.
Other than the impotency of the Judicial System, the reason behind the huge number of pending cases in the courts is also a glaring shortage of Judges. In proportion to the country’s population, the number of judges is less. There are 135 judges per 10 lakhs in America. Likewise in Canada it is 75, In Australia it is 57 and in Britain it is 50 whereas in India there are only 13 judges per 10 lakhs population. Despite this, the judge’s post in different courts are still empty. Last year, in about 21 High Courts of country-wide, 279 posts were empty, although 895 recommended posts are present in those High Courts. There are 160 posts for judges in the Allahabad High Court, but only 69 judges are present — that means 91 posts are still empty. In the High Courts of Haryana and Punjab there should be 68 judges in total, but only 20 judges are present and 48 posts are vacant. In Kolkata High Court, only 17 judges are present, whereas there should 58 judges in total. There 41 posts still vacant.
There are only 13 judges in the High Court of Rajasthan, but there should be 40 judges which means 27 posts are vacant. Gujarat High Court also has only 22 judges, whereas there should be 42 judges, 20 posts are vacant and in Sikkim High Courts only one judge is present, whereas there should be 3 in total. District and Subordinate courts are also more or less in the same situation. In total, 18,008 posts are recommended in those courts, whereas 3,634 posts are still vacant. In Gujarat, there are 1679 posts for judges, but only 863 judges are present and 816 posts are empty. Only 681 judges are present in Bihar, whereas the requirement is 1666 judges. 1897 judges are working in Uttar Pradesh, whereas 207 posts are still vacant. The requirement of judges in West Bengal is around 146. Around 194 posts are still vacant in Maharashtra. The other states of the country are more or less in the same situation. As a consequence, delays in court cases inevitable. The Prime Minster of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh, Chief Justice of India, Mr. Sarosh Homi Kapadia and Law and Justice Minister, Mr. Salman Khurshid have agreed that in India cases in the courts run for a longer period of time and decisions also come very late.
Cabinet Minister and famous Advocate Kapil Sibal said that the biggest obstacles for appointing new Judges are the State Governments. They always cry over the deficiency of money. Justice is on the last pedal in their priority list.
The Government has now taken some major steps for rapid completion of court cases. According to this the Government has approved the National Justice Delivery and the Legal Reform Mission. In the financial year 2011-12, for infrastructure development, the Central government has alloted Rs. 500 crores _ five times more than the previous allotment. For the States, it has also been increased from 50:50 to 75:25 and for the Northern states it is kept as 90:10. Other than this, for the period in between 2010 to 2015, the Government has approved the recommendation of Rs. 5000 crores mentioned in the 13th Five Year Plan for the development of a viable justice pattern in the country. In 2010-11, the State Governments have already been granted Rs. 1000 crores each. With the help of these grants, the State Governments can build Morning/Evening/Special Magistrate courts in order to reduce the number of pending cases in their respective states. They can appoint court stewards; build Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Centers, provide training for the consultants and arrange more people for the courts. Grants are also been allotted for the training of Justice Officials, for making the State Justice academies more powerful, for the training of the public prosecutors and for the maintenance of the heritage courts. To make all the judicial processes computerised, the Government has alloted Rs. 935 crores for every district and Subordinate courts of the country. This process has been under way since 1997. Till 31 March 2012, around 12,000 courts are to be computerised and till 31 March 2014, 14.249 courts are to be computerised. State case policy is also being prepared with the aim of making the Government efficient and responsible. If the cases in which the Government is involved are reduced then the courts will get more time to resolve the other pending cases.
To provide justice to the people at ground level, village courts are to be constructed under the Village Court Act-2008. The Central Government is also providing expenses for the construction of village courts. For the first 3 years the amount for the help allotted is to be Rs. 3.20 lakhs per village court per year.
Justice After Five Decades
In a five decades old case, on August 2007, the Supreme Court gave a decision in favour of a farmer named Rajendra who died a few years ago. This land dispute case reached the court in 1957. In 1964, the Allahabad High Court stipulated the land was in Rajendra Singh’s name. The Supreme Court also deemed this decision to be correct. The persons, who occupied the land namely Prem Mai and Sudha Mai, also didn’t challenge this decision. In that case Rajendra Singh should have got the land, but in 1991 the High Court again interfered in this case and dissolved the final decision. In 2001, Rajendra Singh knocked at the door of the Supreme Court and in August 2007, Rajendra Singh got the decision in his favour. But Rajendra Singh had passed away a few years before the decision was given. In this issue the Court sorrowfully said that if the trust of the common people is to be reinstated in the Judicial system, then the cases should be completed expeditiously.
Hindus who had a Muslim wife
1. Actor Sunil Dutt married Nargis, a Muslim. Nargis’ father was a Hindu. She was named Nirmala after marriage. Their son Sanjay is now married to Dilnawaz Sheikh (screen name Manyata). They have twins – a boy named Shahraan and a girl named Iqra.
2. Urdu author Krishan Chander married Salma Siddiqui
3. Actor Hritik Roshan married Suzanne Khan, daughter of actor Sanjay Khan (Actual name Abbas Khan). They have two sons named Hrehan and Hridhaan.
4. One of the three daughters of politician Najma Heptullah (niece of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad) is married to a Hindu.
5. Actor Atul Agnihotri married Alvira Khan, actor Salman Khan’s Sister and Salim Khan’s daughter. The couple have a daughter, Alizeb and a son, Ayaan.
6. Actor Feroz Khan’s daughter Laila Khan Rajpal married Rohit Rajpal. They are now divorced.
7. Former Sheriff of Mumbai, Nana Chudasama is a Hindu Gujarati Rajput. He married a Hindu lady. They had a daughter, Brinda. Thereafter they divorced and Nana married Munaira Jasdanvala, a Bohra Muslim who was also a divorcee. They have two children- Akshay and Shaina, both of whom are married to Hindus. Shaina is an MP belonging to BJP.
Brinda, Nana’s daughter from his first marriage, is married to architect Alfaz Miller, a Muslim. They have two daughters, Ahana and Ashti.
8. Actor Sanjay Khan’s daughter Simone Khan Arora is married to Ajay Arora (and other daughter Suzanne to Hritik Roshan)
9. Actor Aditya Pancholi is married to actor Zarina Wahab. Their children are Suraj and Sarah.
10. Cricketer Ajit Agarkar, a Maharashtrian Brahmin, is married to Fatima Ghadially. They have a son, Raj.
11. Actor Sunil Shetty is married to Mana Qadri, daughter of a reputed Muslim architect of Mumbai. Their children are Atiya and Ahan. Mana is daughter of I. M. Qadri (Muslim) and late Vipula Qadri (Hindu). Qadri and Vipula have two more children, Isha and Rahul, both of whom are married to Hindus.
12. Congress MP Sachin Pilot, son of Late Rajesh Pilot is married to Sarah Abdullah, Daughter of Former J&K Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah. Thet faced opposition from both families.
13. Actor Govinda’s father, small time actor Arun Ahuja married Nazeem, later known as Nirmala Devi (Govinda’s mother). She is no more.
14. Zubeida, a Muslim girl from a prominent Mumbai family was pushed into marrying a Muslim youth in 1947. The husband divorced her when she refused to migrate to Pakistan with him. She later married Hanuwant Singh, the then Maharaja of Jodhpur. Both later died in an unexplained air crash. She was the mother of film critic-turned director Khalid Mohammed (‘Fizaa’, ‘Tehzeeb’, ‘Silsilay’). Khalid wrote the script of film ‘Zubeida’ which was directed by Shyam Benegal with Karishma Kapur in the title role.
15. Actor Ayesha Takia’s father, Nishit, is a Gujarati Hindu while her mother Farida is a Muslim. Ayesha Takia married a Muslim named Farhan, son of politician Abu Azmi.
16. Bollywood Movie Director Mahesh Bhatt had a Hindu father (director Nanabhai Bhatt) and a Muslim Shia mother (Shireen Mohammed Ali). But they were never married and never lived together. Their relationship has been portrayed in Mahesh Bhatt’s film ‘Zakhm’ starring Ajay Devgan. Mahesh Bhatt’s two nephews, actor Emraan Hashmi and director Mohit Suri are Muslim and Hindu respectively. (Emraan’s mother is Christian).
Mahesh Bhatt had a very public affair with Parveen Babi. He later married Kiran. They had a daughter, the film acress and director Pooja and a son, Rahul. Thereafter, they divorced and Mahesh married Soni Razdan who is a Muslim. They have two daughters, Shaheen and actress Aliya (seen in the film ‘Student Of The Year’).
17. Actor Emraan Hashmi ( son of a Muslim father and a Christian mother) is married to Parveen Shahani, a Sindhi Hindu. Their son is Ayaan.
18. Director/Choreographer Farah Khan married director-editor Shirish Kunder. They have triplets – Anya, Diva (both daughters) and Czar (son).
19. Actress Nagma’s (Nandita Morarji) father Sri Arvind Pratapsinh Morarji married a Muslim woman, Seema Sadhana. Seema later divorced Arvind and married producer Chander Sadanah from whom she had two daughters, Radhika and actress Jyothika and one son, Suraj. Thus, Jyothika and Naghma are half-sisters, born to a Muslim mother. Jyothika is now married to Tamil star Surya Sivakumar. Naghma is single.
20. Top Tamil actor Khushbu, a Muslim, married director Sunder C after converting to Hinduism. They have two daughters, Avantika and Anandita.
21. Gangster turned Politician Arun Gawli married Zubeida Mujawar who converted to Hinduism and took up the name Asha. They have five children, Geeta, Yogita, Yogesh, Mahesh and Asmita. Geeta is an active politician in Mumbai.
22. Manoj Bajpai married actor Shabana Raza whose screen name was Neha. She made her debut in Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s ‘Kareeb’ opposite Bobby Deol. Their daughter is Ava Nayla.
23. Actor Pankaj Kapoor married TV actor Kanwal (screen name Neelima) Azim. Her best remembered big screen appearance was in Mahesh Bhatt’s film ‘Sadak’ as Deepak Tijori’s girlfriend. Parents to actor Shahid Kapur, they are divorced now.
Neelima Azim got married a second time to actor Rajesh Khattar (supporting roles in films like ‘Don’, ‘Race 2? and ‘Khiladi 786?). Their son is Ishaan. They got divorced too. Rajesh Khattar later married Vandana Sajnani.
Neelima is now married to Ustad Ali Raza Khan, a singer.
24. Karnataka Congress MLA Gundu Dinesh Rao is married to Tabassum.
25. Nayyara Mirza, Miss India finalist of 1967, was the first Muslim to participate in the pageant. She converted to Hinduism after marriage and became Nalini Patel. She is settled in the USA.
26. Noted English writer Anil Dharkar is married to Imtiaz, a Pakistani Muslim. Their daughter Ayesha is an actor who came to limelight with Santosh Sivan’s film ‘The Terrorist’ where she played a suicide bomber. She is married to actor Robert Taylor, a Christian.
27. Legendary actor Waheeda Rahman married Shashi Rekhi, the Punjabi Hindu actor who acted opposite her in the film ‘Shagun’. (His screen name was Kamaljeet). She has a son, Sohail and a daughter, Kashvi. Kamaljeet died a few years ago.
28. Choreographer Saroj Khan’s real name was Nirmala Kishanchand Sadhu (Sindhi Hindu). She got married at young age to bollywood dance master B Sohanlal. They had 2 kids, Kuku and Choreographer Raju Khan (also director of the film ‘Showbiz’). But Saroj did not know that Sohanlal was already married. He abandoned her. Then she married businessman Sardar Roshan Khan who also was a married man. Her children, though not Muslim, use the name Khan.
29. M J Akbar, noted journalist and editor of ‘The Asian Age’ is a Kashmiri Muslim (His great grandfather had converted from Hinduism to Islam) married to Mallika, a Hindu. His children are Prayag and Mukulika.
30. Raj Babbar married stage actress Nadira Zaheer, daughter of Communist parents. Their kids are Arya and Juhi. Arya acted in Mani Ratnam’s ‘Guru’ as Aishwarya Rai’s brother. Juhi also did a couple of films. She was married to Vijay Nambiar but got divorced. She is now married to TV actor Anup Soni.
31. Actor – activist Nafisa Ali, a former Miss India, is married to Colonel (retired) Sodhi, a Sikh (not a Hindu, please note!). She is herself a child of a Muslim father and a Roman Catholic mother. Her daughters are Armana and Pia. Armana is married to Adil Singh Akoi, a Sikh.
32. Hindi writer Nasira Sharma is a Muslim married to a Hindu. They have two children.
33. Yesteryear’s actor Mumtaz married Mayur Madhvani, a businessman. Their daughter Natasha, is married to actor Fardeen Khan. Other daughter is Tanya.
Mumtaz’s sister, Mallika married Dara Singh’s brother, Randhawa who featured in many stunt films of 60?s. Their son Shaad acted in the film ‘Woh Lamhe’ as the abusive boyfriend of Kangna Ranaut.
34. The ex Naval Chief Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat who was dismissed by Defence Minister George Fernandes under controversial circumstances is married to Niloufer Deshmukh – Bhagwat, a Muslim. They have a son, Jawahar (a naval officer) and a daughter, Roshni (a doctor).
Niloufer herself is a child of a Muslim father (Mahmood Deshmukh) and a Parsi mother.
35. Actor -singer Kishore Kumar married Madhubala (real name Mumtaz Begum) in 1960. They had a civil marriage without ceremony due to staunch opposition from both families. (It is said that Kishore had converted to Islam for the marriage). Madhubala died in 1969 without becoming a mother. After her death, Kishore married Leena Chandavarkar. Their son is singer Amit Kumar.
Madhubala’s sister Zahida married music director Brij Bhushan Sahni (films like ‘Milap’). Her post-marriage name is Madhur Bhushan.
36. Sir VS Naipaul, Trinidad based writer of International reputation, is a Hindu (of Indian origin) married to a Pakistani Muslim called Nadia.
37. Actor Asha Parekh’s father was a Gujarati Hindu and mother, a Muslim. Her affair with director Nasir Husain was the talk of the town but she is unmarried to this day.
38. Suman Chattopadhyay, a Bengali leftist activist of Kolkata (Brahmin by birth) divorced his German wife Maria, converted to Islam and married Sabina Yasmin, a Bangladeshi Muslim singer in July 2008. He has taken the name Kabir Suman. He is now a Trinamool Congress MP.
39. The niece of actor Raza Murad, Sonam (actual name Bakhtawar), best known as the ‘Tridev’ girl, married Rajeev Rai, producer and director of that film. They have one son, Gaurav.
40. Item song girl Sanobar Kabir (cousin of actress Sonam and daughter of actor Raza Murad) is married to actor Rajiv Singh.
41. Yesteryear’s actor Rehana Sultan, known for her bold, controversial films like ‘Chetna’ and ‘Dastak’ in late 70s, married producer – director B R Ishara, a Hindu. Ishara was the director of most of Rehana’s films. They have no children.
42. Social activist Shamim Modi is married to fellow activist Anurag Modi.
43. Veteran actress Zohra Sehgal (originally Khan) married Late Kamaleshwar Nath Sehgal. Their daughter is famous Odessy exponent Kiran Sehgal and and son, Pavan.
44. TV Actress Tasneem Sheikh is married to builder Sameer Nerurkar. Her post-mariage name is Tanisha Nerurkar. Tasneem is a daughter of a Gujarati Hindu mother and a Muslim father.
45. Late politician Rafique Zakaria’s daughter Tasneem is married to Vikram Mehta.
46. Pakistani actress Anita Ayub who appeared in some films in 90s, got married to Saumil Patel and is now settled in USA. They have one son.
47. Congress MP from Assam, Rani Narah was originally Jahan Ara Chaudhary before she married Politician Bharat Chandra Narah and converted to Hinduism. They have two sons.
48. Filmmaker Tinu Anand (Also known as Virender Raj Anand, director of ‘Shahanshah’) is married to actress Shahnaz (sister of actor Jalal Agha. Acted in ‘Saat Hindustani’). Their son is director Siddharth Anand (Director of ‘Salaam Namaste’).
49. Scriptwriter Shama Zaidi (who has worked with Shyam Benegal on many films) is married to noted filmmaker MS Sathyu who had made ‘Garam Hawa’ starring Balraj Sahni.
50. Roshan Ara, Daughter of Ustad Allauddin Khan married Ustad Ravi Shankar and became the famous Sitar Player Annapurna Devi. Their son is Shubhendra Sarkar. Annapurna is a Padma Bhushan awardee. Shubhendra died in 1992.
51. Cinematographer Fowzia Fatima (works in Malayalam industry) is married to Pradeep Cherian. They have one daughter, Ana Mariyam.
52. Ghazal singer Pankaj Udhas is married to Fareeda. They have two daughters, Nayaab and Rewa.
53. Yesteryear’s actress Zahida (Hussain) who acted opposite Dev Anand in ‘Gambler’ and ‘Prem Pujari’ and opposite Sanjeev Kumar in ‘Anokhi Raat’, married Mr KN Sahay. She is actor Sanjay Dutt’s cousin. Her sons are Brajesh and Nilesh.
54. The most tragic case is that of Producer-director Brij Sadanah (Victoria No 203). Against wishes of both families, he married small time actress Saeeda Khanum, who had acted in films like ‘Modern Girl'(Pradeep Kumar), ‘Honeymoon'(Manoj Kumar) and ‘Crorepati’ (Kishore Kumar) in 60s. (The song ‘Ye Mausam Rangeen Sama’ from ‘Modern Girl’ is still heard on radio sometimes). Saeeda converted to become Sudha. They had a daughter, Namrata and a son Kamal (the lead actor opposite Kajol in ‘Bekhudi’). Namrata fell in love with a Muslim boy and wanted to marry. Brij could not accept this. One day, he got drunk, shot his daughter and his wife, and then killed himself with the same gun. Kamal survived as he was not at home that time.
Kamal is now married to Lisa John and has one son, Angath. Saeeda’s younger sister is screenplay writer Shagufta Rafique who has written recent Mahesh Bhatt films like ‘Awarapan’ and ‘Woh Lamhe’.
55. Actor Nirmal Pandey (won national award for ‘Daayra’)was married to Kausar Munir, one of the very few woman lyricists working in Bollywood. They got divorced. Nirmal Pandey is no more. Their daughter is Sophie.
56. Veteran film and media critic Amita Malik (a Bengali Hindu) married radio producer Iqbal Malik. However, they separated later. They had no children. Amita died in Feb 2009.
57. Actress Tabassum known for her TV show ‘Phool Khile Hai Gulshan Gulshan’ on DD is the daughter of Ayodhyanath and Asghari. She is married to Vijay, brother of actor Arun Govil (Lord Ram of TV Serial ‘Ramayan’).
58. Model Feroze Gujral is the daughter of a Christian father, George and a Muslim mother, Viqar. She is married to Mohit, son of painter Satish Gujral. They have a son, Armaan and a daughter, Alaiyah.
59. Late Asif Currimbhoy was a well-known actor of Mumbai’s English stage. His daughter Nahid is married to Amit Moitra. They have 2 daughters, Tehzeeb and Tahini.
60. Yesteryear’s actress Meena Shorey (Khursheed Jahaan), whose claim to fame is the blockbuster hit ‘Ek Thi Ladki’ (1949), married Roop K Shorey, the producer and director of this film. A few years after partition, she divorced Roop and migrated to Pakistan. Over there, she married Pakistani actor Asad Bukhari but divorced him too. Roop K Shorey died in 1973. Meena died in 1987 in abject poverty. Her funeral had to be arranged on charity money.
61. Filmmaker Hansal Mehta (Woodstock Villa, Chhal, Yeh Kya Ho Raha Hai) is married to Safina, daughter of actor Yusuf Hussain who does supporting roles in bollywood. Their daughter is Kimaya.
62. Theatre actress Ayesha Raza is married to actor Kumud Mishra.
63. Iconic bollywood villain Ranjeet (Bedi) is married to Nazneen. Their daughter is Divyanka.
64. ‘Raam Teri Ganga Maili’ star Mandakini (real name Yasmeen) was born to a Christian father and a Muslim mother. She is married to one Dr Thakur and has one son.
65. Cricketer Manoj Prabhakar is married to Farheen, an actress who was seen in a few films in the 90s and was noted for her resemblance to Madhuri Dixit. Their son is Rahul.
66. Hyder Ali, writer of the film ‘Jodha Akbar’, (also the onscreen singer of the song Khwaja Mere Khwaja) is married to Dr Uma Shankari.
His sister is Naqi Jehan (Nandini after marriage to Vikram Kamdar) who was the Miss India 1967. She also acted opposite Rajesh Khanna in ‘Akhree Khat’.
Their parents were first Miss India Esther Victoria Abraham (Jewish) and Syed Hassan Ali Zaidi, who acted in ‘Mughal-E-Azam’ with screen name Kumar.
67. Elahe Heptollah, assistant director and producer of most Nagesh Kukunoor films, was married to cricketer Vidyut Jaysimha. They are now divorced.
68. Journalist Shabnam Minwalla (herself a child of Muslim – Parsi marriage) is maried to Rohit Ramakrishnan. They have three children.
69. One of bollywood’s best-known child actors, Baby Naaz (real name Salma Baig) was married to Late Raj Kapoor’s cousin, actor Subi Raj. She won many awards for her 1954 film ‘Boot Polish’. She was also a skilled dubbing artist and provided voice for Sridevi and other actresses. She died in 1995.
70. Indian English writer Amitava Kumar is married to Pakistani Muslim Mona Ahmed Ali. They have a daughter, Ila.
71. Singer Shamshad Begum (Kabhi Aar Kabhi Paar Laga Teer-e-Nazar) married Ganpat Lal Batto. He died in 1955. Their daughter is Usha.
72. World-famous beauty expert and entrepreneur Shahnaz Husain married and divorced a Muslim man. Now she is married to a Hindu businessman RK Puri.
73. Actor Jackie Shroff is son of a Hindu father, Kakubhai Shroff and a Turkish Muslim mother Hoorunnisa (Rita post-marriage). Their other son, Hemant died in childhood. Jackie Shroff has a son, Jai and a daughter, Krishna.
74. Legendary Urdu writer Late Ismat Chughtai’s daughter Seema is married to Mr Sawhney. Their son is Ashish.
75. Actress Veena (Tajour Sultana, sister of actor Iftekhar). married character actor TK Sapru. Their children are supporting actor Tej Sapru who did countless negetive roles in 80s and 90s and actress Preeti Sapru.
76. Maharashtra Congress politician (who has also been a minister) Ramesh Bagwe is married to Zainab, a Muslim of Irani origin. Their sons are Avinash and Yaser. Yaser is married to Irani Muslim Mahdiyeh Vaseei.
77. Old-time actress Chand Usmani married director Mahesh Kaul.
78. Late Safdar Hashmi’s sister Shehla Hashmi is married to Mr Grewal.
79. Actress Aditi Rao Hyderi who played Sonam Kapoor’s sister in the film ‘Delhi 6? and was one of the leads in Ýeh Saali Zindagi’, is a curious case. Her maternal grandfather is the royal Brig. Raja J Rameshwar Rao of Hyderabad and her father’s grandfather was the Prime Minister to the Nizam of Hyderabad, Sir Akbar Hydari. Her husband is Satyadeep Misra. Her mother is Shanta Rameshwara Rao who runs the publishing house Orient Longman.
80. Mehelka, sister of legendary ‘tragedy queen’ actress Late Meena Kumari (Mahjabeen Bano) married Kishore Sharma and was renamed Madhuri after marriage. Meena Kumari and her sisters were daughters of a Muslim father and a Bengali Hindu mother.
81. Late Dhrupad singer (died Aug 2006) Asghari Bai was married to Chaman Lal Gupta. Her children were Kamal, Ashok, Parveen, Anju etc.
82. Tamil film director Late Jeeva (died 2009) was married to Anees Tanvir.
83. Yaman Khan, daughter of classical singer Late Vilayat Khan (and a Hindu mother, Monisha), was married to Raja Bahadur Shivendra Singh. They are now divorced.
84. Veteran singer Asha Bhosle’s son Hemant is married to Sajida (Rama after conversion to Hinduism). Their children are son Chaitanya and daughter Anika.
85. Paki actress Noor was married to Dubai-based NRI Vikram Seth. They had no children and are now divorced.
86. Actress Noor Jehan’s half-Paki, Half-French granddaughter Sonya Jehan (who played Shah Rukh Khan’s sister-in-law in “My Name Is Khan”) is married to Indian Hindu Vivek Narain. They have a daughter.
87. Graphic novelist Sarnath Banerjee, a Hindu of Indian origin is married to Bani Abidi, a Pakistani Muslim.
88. Yesteryear’s bollywood actress Jabeen Jaleel married Kashmiri Pandit Ashok Kak, once the President of Kodak India. Their son Dwij acted in the 2005 film ‘Saathi’.
89. Malayali Hindu artist Sumedh Rajendran is married to Masooma Syed, a Pakistani Muslim.
90. News anchor Sehar Zaman (presently with CNN IBN) is married to writer Dhiraj Singh.
91. Bollywood actor Aftab Shivdasani is son of a Hindu father, Prem Shivdasani and a Muslim mother, Sandha.
Aftab’s sister Afsana is married to a Hindu, Amit Varma.
92. CNN-IBN Newsanchor Fatima Mahdi is married to Gaurav Karan. Their son is Azaan.
93. Politician and present Congress spokesman Manish Tiwari is married to Nazneen Shifa. They have a daughter.
94. Malayalam actress Zarina Moidu (screen name Nadiya) is married to investment banker Shirish Godbole, a Maharashtrian Hindu. They have two daughters, Sanam and Sera.
95. Communist leader Late Indrajit Gupta married Suraiya at the age of 65. Suraiya was previously married to a Muslim.
96. Communist leader Sitaram Yechury is married to journalist Seema Chisti.
97. Zubeida Begum, the lead actress in the first Indian talkie film ‘Alam Ara’, married Maharaj Narsing Dhanrajgir Gyan Bahadur of Hyderabad. She herself was from the royal family of Surat. Their son is Humayun and the grandchildren include socialite Rhea Pillai (ex wife of Actor Sanjay Dutt) among others. Zubeida died in 1988.
98. Priyanka Gandhi’s brother-in-law Richard Vadra (Robert’s brother) married Saira. Robert and Richard are sons of a Hindu Punjabi father and a Christian mother. In spite of their Christian names, they are Hindu by faith. Richard died in 2003 and was cremated as per Hindu tradition. Saira is daughter of a Muslim father and Christian mother. Richard and Saira’s daughter is Simran.
99. Actor Sumit Sehgal married actress Shaheen (seen opposite Govinda in film ‘Mahasangram’). Their daughter is Sayesha.
100. Stylist Pernia Qureishi is married to entrepreneur Arjun Prasad, a relative of Congress politician Jiten Prasada.
101. Legendary Marathi stage actor Balgandharva (famous for his female roles on stage, real name Narayan Rajhans) married actress Gohar Jan Karnataki in 1951. This was his second marriage, after demise of his first Hindu wife. Gohar Jan was the sister of film actress Ameerbai Karnataki and herself had acted in a few films. Balgandharva and Gohar Jan had no children. Balgandharva had two daughters from his first marriage and Gohar had an adopted daugher, Ashamma. Neither converted at the time of marriage. Gohar Jan was buried after death and Balgandharva was cremated.
102. Dr Rubina Baskhi, the grand daughter of Bakshi Ghulam Muhammad (former Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir) is married to Ranjit Malhotra.
103. TV actor Gajendra Chuahan (who played Yudhishtir is BR Chopra’s series ‘Mahabharat’ on Doordarshan) married bollywood choreographer Habiba Rahman.
104. Pakistani Muslim journalist Sonya Fatah is married to indian Hindu husband Rajiv Rao. They have one son.
105. Saba Naqvi , co-editor of Outlook magazine, is married to Sanjay Bhowmick.
106. Celebrated Malayali soft porn actress Shakeela married businessman PG Satheesh, a Tamil Hindu.
107. Umaima, who is daughter of well-known social activist from Vadodara Dr Juzer S Bandookwala, is married to Maulin Gajjar, a Gujarati Hindu.
108. Uttarakhand Congress leader and MLA Kishor Upadhyaya’s brother Sachin is married to Nazia Yusuf.
109. Maharashtra politician Late Hamid Dalwai’s daughter married Sharad Chavan.
110. Writer-activist Arshiya Sattar is married to Sanjay Iyer.
111. Tamil actor – director – dancer Prabhu Devaa (Now famous as director of Hindi films ‘Wanted’ and ‘Rowdy Rathore’) married Ramalat, a Muslim. She converted to Hinduism and was renamed Latha. They are now divorced.
112. Mediaperson and writer Shabia Hussain is married to Ravi Walia and has a daughter Sia.
113. Poet Iqbal who wrote the song ‘Sare Jahan Se Achchha Hindustan Hamara’ but unfortunately, later became the biggest proponent of idea of Pakistan, had Kashmiri Pandit ancestry. It is said that he was son of Ratan Lal Sapru and a Muslim woman Iman Bibi. It is also said that Ratan Lal had to convert to Islam at the time of marriage.
115. USA based filmmaker Rohi Mirza is married to felow filmmaker Gitesh Pandya. Her brother Ameer is married to a Hindu. Their parents are Pakistani Muslim (father) and Filipino (mother).
116. Actor-wrestler Dara Singh’s son Vindu (also an actor) married 80s actress Farha Naaz. Their son is Fateh.
They are long divorced. According to Vindu, “The fights started because of the way our son was being brought up. Farha was turning Fateh into a fanatic. When she decided to leave with our son, I didn’t try to stop her.”
Vindoo is now married to a Russian Christian lady.
117. Old-time music composer Anil Biswas (died 2003) married Mehrunnisa, a Kutchi Muslim actress who converted to Hinduism and was renamed as Ashalata. They had three sons- Pradeep, Utpal and Amit – and a daughter, Shikha. They later seperated and Anil married Meena Kapoor.
118. Mubarak Begum, the legendary playback singer of old times, married Jagannath Sharma. They seperated later. Their children are Muslim.
119. Actor Aamir Khan’s sister Nikhat (daughter of filmmaker Tahir Hussain, aunt to actor Imran Khan) is married to Santosh Hegde. Their children are Sehar (daughter) and Shravan (son).
120. Kolkata-based medical specialist and activist Dr Sariha Abubaker is married to Alokesh Banerjee. Their children are Zinnya and Zoriyon.
121. Artist Niloufer Suleman married a Malayali Hindu man. They are now divorced. Their children are daughter Shiloh and son Shan. Niloufer is a self-confessed believer in Lord Ganesha and Godess Saraswati.
122. Niece of Humayun Kabir, educationist, politician, writer, philosopher (also a minister in Nehru govt), Shukla Kabir, a judge, is married to Manas Sinha.
123. Actress Salma Agha’s grandmother Anwari Begum (who had acted opposite KL Saigal and other leading actors of those times) was had a daughter named Nasreen from her Muslim husband. Later Anwari divorced her first husband and married actor Jugal Kishore Mehra, brother of Prithviraj Kapoor’s wife Ramsarni Mehra. Jugal Kishor Mehra had to convert to Islam and assume the name Ahmed Suleman before marriage. Nasreen too, later married a Muslim.
This is an example of an entire family getting incorporated into the fold of Islam and remaining so for generations, even though the man was a Hindu.
124. Actress Gohar Mamajiwala (famous as “Glorious Gohar”, died in 1985) was in a long, lifetime relationship with Bollywood movie mogul Chandulal Shah (died 1975). She never left his side even though he fell upon bad days later. However, they were never officially married. Shah remained married to another (Hindu) woman and the marriage was never dissolved.
125. TV actress Shabnam Syed married TV professional Saurabh Vanzara. She converted to Hinduism before marriage and has renamed herself Surbhi Vanzara.
126. Designer Arshiya Fakih is married to Rij Eippen, a Malayali Hindu.
127. Malaysian citizen Siti Fatimah Abdul Karim (daughter of a Christian father and Hindu mother who both converted to Islam), married a Hindu named V. Suresh, converted to Hinduism and renamed herself Revathi Masoosai. The couple had to struggle against Islamic law in Malaysia for a long time. They have a daughter named Divya Darshini.
128. Journalist (presently editor of Asian Age) Seema Mustafa is married to a Hindu man. Her children are Agneya and Gayatri.
129. Oriya film actress Aparajita Mohanty is daughter of a Muslim father and a Hindu mother. She is married to actor Uttam Mohanty and has one son, Babusan.
130. Businessperson, Socalite and Charity Founder Faiza Seth is married to businessperson Pallak Seth who is presently Vice Chairman and Managing Director of PDS Multinational Group. Faiza is daughter of Tahir and Tasneem Abbasi while Pallak is son of Deepak Seth.
131. IPS officer Mrs Aslam Khan is married to Hindu Husband Mr Pankaj Kumar Singh. They have one daughter Sufi.
132. Legendary Sitar player Ravi Shankar (died 2012) married Roshanara Khan (daughter of classical singer Allauddin Khan). She converted to Hinduism and took up the name Annapurna Devi. Their son was Shubhendra(died young in 1992). The marriage did not last long. After divorce, Annapurna remained single for a long time, before marrying Rishi Kumar Pandya.
133. Bangladeshi Hindu music composer Kamal Dasgupta (son of Taraprasanna Dasgupta and Kamini) married singer Firoza Begum. Their sons Hamin and Shafin and daughter Tehsin are all Muslims. Kamal Dasgupta died in Dhaka in 1973.
134. South film actress Sakshi Shivanand (and her sister actress Shilpa Shivanand too) is daughter of a Hindu father and a Muslim mother (Parveen).
135. Roohi Oomerbhoy, daughter of business tycoon Ahmed Oomerbhoy (and sister of Riyaad) is married to Chetan Jaikishen.
136. Grand niece of legendary Urdu writer Saadat Hasan Manto and noted Pakistani historian, Ayesha Jalal is married to Indian Hindu Husband Sugata Bose, who is grand nephew of One of Greatest Indian Freedom Fighter Subhash Chandra Bose and grandson of Sarat Chandra Bose.
137. Indian cricketer Dilip Vengsarkar’s son Nakul Vengsarkar married TV anchor Ayesha Faridi. She is herself a child of a Muslim father, Javed and Hindu mother Vinita.
138. Prominent filmmaker Subhash Ghai married Rehana Farooqui who converted to Hinduism and adopted the name Mukta. Their daughters are Meghna and Muskaan. Meghna is married to Rahul Puri.
139. TV actress Alefia Kapadia was married to Prem Nawaz Dharmraj. They are now seperated. Their children, Altaf and Mahika are Muslim.
140. Actor Emraan Hashmi (himself married to a Hindu), belongs to a family that, in spite of inter-religious marriages, has been entirely incorporated into the Muslim fold.
His grandmother is actress Poornima (screen name). She is a Bohri Muslim by the name of Meher Bano. Curiously, she is daughter of a Hindu father, Ram Sheshadri Iyengar and a Muslim mother (name not known). In spite of the man being a Hindu, the family thus merged into the Muslim fold. Apart from Meher Bano, they had another daughter Shireen, who was the second wife of filmmaker Nanabhai Bhatt, (parents of director Mahesh Bhatt).
Poornima married a Muslim, Shauqat Hashmi and had children. One of them was Anwar Hashmi, actor Emraan Hashmi’s father. However, Shauqat migrated to Pakistan at the time of India’s partition. Therafter, Meher Bano (Poornima) got married again, this time to a Hindu filmmaker, Bhagwan Das Varma. However, they did not have any children.
Anwar Hashmi married a Roman Catholic woman who converted to Islam. Emraan Hashmi is their son. He is a Muslim. He, in turn, has also married a Hindu woman, Parveen.
141. Famous character actor Iftekhar (himself married to a Jew who converted to Islam) had two daughters, Salma and Sayeeda. Salma married Bipin Chandra Jain. Their son is Vishal. Ifthekhar’s other daughter, Sayeeda married a Muslim.
142. Yesteryear’s leading actor Shyam (born Shyam Sunder Chaddha) who died in 1951 after a fall from horseback during a film shoot, was married to Mumtaz Qureishi. They had a daughter, Sahira and a son Shakir (born after Shyam’s death). After Shyam’s death, Mumtaz migrated to Pakistan and married a Muslim. The two children were converted to Islam. Anyway, they had Muslim names.
Agra (Uttar Pradesh). Justice Rajinder Sachar, former Chief Justice of Delhi Court and much famed panel headed by him on Muslim minorities in 2006 called Sachar Committee said in Mathura on Friday that more Hindus are involved in beef trade in India than Muslims. He said this in three days International Conference on Radical Islam in the wake Paris attack. His statement reads, “Almost 95% of beef traders are Hindus. Still, a man was lynched in Dadri because he ate beef. This is the death of mankind and humanity. Eating habits have nothing to do with religion. Even I can eat beef”.
In a subtle reference to BJP’s Sardhana MLA Sangeet Soma, who recently made news over allegation about owning a beef trading company,Mr Sachar told “MPs and MLAs too own beef company. Then why is only the common man being targeted by right wing groups”.
As soon as he delivered this at RC Degree College at Mathura, people comprising mostly scholars and teachers started leaving the venue in protest. A few of them also switched fans and lights in the hall to disrupt the address and demanded Sachar to stop the address.However,the former High Court Judge tried to pacify the audience by saying that he only meant to highlight the plight of Muslims who were being targeted unnecessarily due to the beef controversy.
Among the audience present at the venue, Mr Shiv Ram Bhardwaj,a teacher at a Degree College, Mathura did not like the comment made by Mr Sachar and told that Mr Sachar tried to turn a “pro Muslim topic into an Hindu one”. Another teacher present at the venue Yaduraj Yadav told Justice Sachar should not have made reference to Hindus and their scriptures to drive home his point. Several scholars and delegates from India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Canada and other countries were present at the Conference
K.N. Govindacharya, former BJP ideologue who now devotes his time to issues related to Ganga rejuvenation and cow protection, has decided to postpone, indefinitely, an agitation against cow slaughter that had been slated for November 7.
Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Govindacharya, whose association with the BJP practically ended after his public differences with then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1998, said that he was “disturbed by the politicisation of the issue and didn’t want to launch the agitation in such a political atmosphere.”
“Cow protection is not a religious issue, and unfortunately it is being made one. Gai buchadkhaane tabhi pahunchti hai jab kisan usey bechta hai (cows end up at a slaughterhouse only when the farmer lets go of it),” he said. “For 80 per cent of this process, why are we blaming the Muslims who are at the end of a long line of people trading cows?” he said. “We [Rashtriya Swabhiman Andolan] have decided to postpone [the agitation] as we feel that this is not the right time for it,” he added.
He pointed out that to link the issue of cow slaughter with the Muslim community was wrong as it was the British rather than Muslim rulers of India who promoted cow slaughter. “Cow slaughter came up in a big way after the revolt of 1857, when the British saw this as a way of driving a wedge between the two communities. Under Mughal rule too, cow slaughter used to happen but not on such a huge scale,” he said.
He said that his objection to cow slaughter was more to do with economic questions rather than related to faith or religion. “The way farming is being done in the country, is making the cow peripheral to the exercise, making it a tradeable commodity. We need to decide as a society, whether we want an economic and agricultural system which is in harmony with nature and our faith, or blindly copy western prototypes that create these situations,” he said. “We need to keep our cattle wealth and agricultural economy front and centre while devising policy, that is the surest way to protect ‘gau vansha’ (cow genealogy).”
America is a rogue state of unparalleled pure evil, masquerading as a democracy, run by bipartisan criminals, fascist neocons, serving powerful monied interests and their own.
Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s vilest regimes, a fascist police state, partnering with America’s regional aggression, supplying chemical and other terror weapons to ISIS and other takfiris, ruthlessly waging war on Yemen, committing horrendous high crimes - Obama’s war, planned and orchestrated in Washington, the US and Riyadh complicit in creating a humanitarian disaster of epic proportions.
Obama administration officials applauded Riyadh’s outrageous appointment to head a five-member UN Human Rights Council (HRC) panel - charged with reporting on abuses worldwide, mocking the legitimacy of the initiative, exposing the HRC as a sham group, fundamentally against what it claims to support.
In its new capacity, Riyadh went all-out to block a Netherlands proposed HRC investigation into war crimes and other human rights abuses in Yemen since conflict began last March.
It called on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to “dispatch a mission, with assistance from relevant experts, to monitor and report on the human rights situation in Yemen.”
Human rights groups strongly endorsed the proposal, citing appalling high crimes committed, no accountability mechanisms in place to challenge them, civilians most of all being harmed, over 80% of the population in dire need of humanitarian aid - mostly prevented from reaching suffering Yemenis by the US/Saudi blockade, a major war crime along with daily terror bombing.
Riyadh and other Gulf states lobbied ferociously (with US/UK tacit support) for the ousted, US-Saudi-backed, despotic Hadi regime to establish a commission of inquiry on Yemen - effectively letting Washington and Riyadh whitewash their horrendous war crimes, blaming Houthis alone for what’s happening.
Human Rights Watch criticized the move, saying Yemeni authorities neither investigated or held anyone accountable for serious high crimes since 2011 - “nor has (Riyadh) investigated possible war crimes by its forces.”
Deputy HRW director Philippe Dam said “(b)y failing to set up a serious UN inquiry on war-torn Yemen, the Human Rights Council squandered an important chance to deter further abuses.”
“Such a mechanism would have been crucial to confront continued impunity for crimes committed in the country…”
“The increasingly desperate Yemeni population should not be ignored by the world’s preeminent human rights body. It's all been about Saudi Arabia protecting itself from an international probe, really.”
Putting the US/Saudi-controlled ousted Hadi regime in charge of investigating war crimes and other human rights abuses in Yemen is no different from letting a serial killer serve as prosecutor, judge and jury at his own trial.
The outcome is predetermined. Other parties will be blamed - in this case, the Houthis serving as chumps.
The battle for Yemen’s soul continues. Millions of lives are at stake. Nothing in prospect suggests an end to their suffering any time soon. US/Saudi aggression could continue for years.
How many more Yemenis will be terror bombed to death? How many perishing from starvation or unavailable medical care for untreated wounds or illnesses. How many dying from world indifference to help them?
Yemen is being raped and destroyed while the whole world turns a blind eye to millions of suffering people - victims of imperial viciousness.
Yemen is Obama’s war - cold-blooded genocidal slaughter and mass destruction, planned long before conflict began in late March, using Saudi Arabia, UAE, other Gulf states and Egypt to do his dirty work.
Terror bombing residential neighborhoods, hospitals, schools and other non-military related targets continues.
US-Saudi enforced blockade prevents enough food, medical supplies, fuel, clean water and other essentials from reaching desperate people in need. Human Rights Watch said what’s ongoing “may amount to starvation of civilians as a weapon of warfare” - genocide by deprivation.
According to Save the Children’s Mark Kaye, “(a)t the moment we only have enough fuel in the north and center of the country for the next six weeks.” Hospitals still operating lack fuel to run to run generators “for their work.”
UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien calls the scale of human suffering in Yemen “almost incomprehensible.”
Over 20 million Yemenis may perish from hunger, thirst and/or lack of medical treatment for serious injuries and diseases.
Western media are dismissive - largely ignoring an increasing US-created holocaust. Near silence substitutes for what demands daily headlines and condemnation of Obama’s latest imperial project - to destroy Yemeni sovereignty and return US-controlled puppet leadership to power, no matter the cost in lives lost, vast destruction and unspeakable human misery.
Official casualty numbers way understate the human toll. True figures are multiples higher than reported. Victims suffer out of sight and mind - mostly noncombatant civilian men, women and children in harm’s way.
Death and injury tolls rise daily. People are dying from lack of enough food to eat, thirst and medical treatment for serious health issues - likely many thousands already, maybe millions before conflict ends.
On September 15, UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng and Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect Jennifer Welsh “expressed concern at the ever increasing impact on civilians of the ongoing conflict in Yemen, and the virtual silence of the international community about the threat to populations.”
“Unless there is a serious commitment of the parties to find a political solution to the conflict that will end the violence and ensure humanitarian access to all populations, without discrimination, the situation is likely to degenerate further,” they explained.
Major crimes of war and against humanity are being committed daily. Civilians are indiscriminately being slaughtered.
“The (UN) Special Advisers reminded national authorities of their primary responsibility to protect the Yemeni population. (T)he international community has a responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.”
Ongoing mass slaughter and human suffering are largely ignored. The appalling toll on Yemeni civilians increases daily - exacerbated by Riyadh’s use of banned chemical weapons and cluster bombs.
UNICEF reports eight children killed or maimed daily. The true figure is likely multiples more, as well acute malnutrition taking a devastating toll on millions Yemenis of all ages.
Britain is complicit with Obama’s war - selling Saudi Arabia deadly weapons like Washington. Days earlier, Oxfam CEO Mark Goldring said Yemen “descended into a humanitarian disaster putting its people at risk of famine, and the UK is materially involved through its export of arms and military support to the bombing campaign.”
“It is time the government stopped supporting this war and put every possible effort into bringing an end to the carnage” it’s fueling - “causing unbearable human suffering.”
“The UK successfully lobbied hard over many years for a UN Arms Trade Treaty to regulate the arms trade which came into being last year.”
“This government has incorporated the treaty into national law, yet at the first test of the new law it has turned a blind eye to mounting evidence of potential misuse of its weapons and support.”
Jeremy Corbyn chairs Britain’s Stop the War Coalition. It issued a strongly worded statement last spring, shortly after US orchestrated, Saudi-led terror bombing began, saying:
“The Stop the War Coalition condemns the British government’s support for the Saudi-led attack on Yemen. This war is a further destabilising act of aggression in the Middle East, which risks embroiling the region and its peoples in a still wider war.”
“Saudi Arabia is now playing a leading part in almost every anti-democratic development in the Middle East, including joining in the current Anglo-American bombardment in Iraq, We repeat our long-standing demand that Britain end its alliance with the dictatorial and oppressive Saudi regime, and cease supplying it with arms.”
“This present conflict in Yemen reflects the determination of both Saudi Arabia and the western powers to destroy the democratic potential of the Arab Spring in one country after another.”
“Only the people of Yemen can resolve the crisis in that country and decide their own future, and their independence and territorial integrity must be fully respected.”
Bernie Sanders supports Washington’s war machine - refusing to condemn ongoing mass slaughter and destruction, ignoring the growing holocaust in Yemen. Instead, he urges greater Saudi involvement in regional conflict theaters - more slaughter, destruction and human misery than already.
All Republican and Democrat presidential aspirants support US hegemonic ambitions - color revolutions and genocidal wars the main ways to achieve it.