Journalists Iftar Programme: Press Note on Rama Navami related violence, Jaipur blast case, SC verdict on MediaOne, Electoral bonds, Adani issue,

April 6, 2023

Rama Navami related violence

New Delhi; 6th April 2023: Jamaat-e-Islami Hind expresses concern and condemns the violence all over the country during the Rama Navami celebrations. It is a matter of grave concern that the pattern of violence in various cities of India followed a similar and familiar pattern. Any violence that is conducted under the guise of a religious procession is highly disturbing for any religion. Religious festivals and processions are meant for communal amity and brotherhood. If it is exploited for conducting violence or disturbing the peace of the country, then it is highly condemnable and should be stopped. This is something for even religious leaders to ponder. They must come out openly against this trend and urge their followers to stop religious activities from being hijacked by anti-social elements. Jamaat feels that the recent Rama Navami violence was not spontaneous but pre-planned. Hence, it amounts to a gross failure of our intelligence, which is also a matter of concern. Jamaat-e-Islami Hind urges the administration and the police to disallow the playing of DJs which causes noise pollution through high-pitched sounds that exceed the legally permissible sound levels. Also, the lyrics of the songs being played should be scrutinized before they are permitted to be played as many have provocative and denigrating phrases. The police should not allow such processions from passing through communally-sensitive areas. The police must be strong and resist the political pressure to do so. It is also quite difficult to understand why religious processions must select a path and have to pass in front of other religious places. If it is meant to provoke and intimidate, then it should be denied permission by the police and administration.

 

Justice delayed is justice denied

Jamaat-e-Islami Hind welcomes the Rajasthan High Court judgment in the 2008 Jaipur bomb blasts case. The judgment by Justice Pankaj Bhandari and Justice Sameer Jain of the Rajasthan High Court, Jaipur bench overturned the judgment of the trial court that earlier awarded the death sentence to the four accused in the case.  However, the judgment raises some important questions. As the accused have been pronounced innocent, it implies that the real perpetrators of the crime are still at large. Jamaat feels that the government must set up a new team to inquire into and trace the criminals who planned and executed the blasts. It must do so as justice has still evaded the relatives of those who died in the blasts. Jamaat agrees with the court that the guilty police officers who framed false charges should be identified and punished. We demand that compensation be given to the five acquitted as they lost 15 years of their precious lives in jail because of the false cases built against them. Moreover, their families endured their incarceration with the added disgrace of being labeled as a family of “terrorists”. The entire episode has weakened our democracy and undermined the civil liberties of ordinary citizens. Jamaat also lauds members of civil society who took cudgels on behalf of the innocent and played a pivotal role in pursuing their case through a team of competent lawyers.

 

SC verdict on MediaOne

Jamaat-e-Islami Hind welcomes the verdict by the Supreme Court of India to set aside the Center’s order for refusing to grant renewal of the broadcasting license to the Malayalam news channel Media One.  The Kerala-based TV channel is popular for becoming a voice for the voiceless and consistently raising issues in favor of the oppressed and the marginalized. It was denied security clearance by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). Jamaat agrees with the observations of the apex court that – “The state is using national security as a tool to deny citizens remedies that are provided under the law. This is not compatible with the rule of law. While we have held that it would be impracticable and unwise for the courts to define the phrase national security, we also hold that national security claims cannot be made out of thin air. There must be material backing such inference. The material on the file and the inference drawn from such material has no nexus.” The government had denied the security clearance over Media One claiming that the channel was airing anti-establishment content. Jamaat concurs with the Supreme Court that clarified that – “The critical views of the channel…on policies of the government cannot be termed anti-establishment. The use of such terminology in itself represents an expectation that the press must support the establishment. The action of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting by denying security clearance to a media channel based on the views which the channel is constitutionally entitled to hold produces a chilling effect on free speech and particularly on press freedom. Criticism of governmental policy can by no stretch of imagination be brought within the fold of any of the grounds stipulated in Article 19(2)”. Jamaat-e-Islami Hind hopes that the government will refrain from curbing the freedom of the press and welcome constructive criticism of its policies and decisions. This will strengthen democracy and improve our ranking in the Press Freedom Index.

 

Electoral bonds

Jamaat-e-Islami Hind expresses concern over the report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) saying – “More than 66% of the total income of seven national parties in 2021-22 came from unknown sources like electoral bonds, which accounted for a whopping 83% of their income. According to a reply against an RTI, the government printed 10,000 electoral bonds worth Rs 1 crore each in 2022. According to data available from the SBI, political parties secured Rs 545 crores through electoral bonds ahead of the assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat. Ever since the Electoral Bond Scheme was introduced, the total amount collected by political parties has reached Rs 10,791 crores. This amount has been collected from various anonymous donors in 22 phases since 2018. The electoral bonds are anonymous; however, since they are sold by a government-owned bank (SBI), it is easy for the government to know who is funding the opposition. By amending the Finance Act 2017, the government has exempted political parties from disclosing donations received through electoral bonds. This ensures that the voters will not know which individual, company, or organization has funded which party, and to what extent. This disproportionate share of money in electoral politics and that too in a non-transparent manner is not healthy for our democracy. The Election Commission is not playing any role in regulating the growing expense of running elections. The judiciary is also yet to pronounce any judgment about electoral bonds and has refrained from taking any suo moto action. Jamaat-e-Islami Hind demands that political parties must come together and bring about legislation to curb the growing clout of money power in elections by making the entire process fair and transparent. We hope the Supreme Court of India will soon pronounce its verdict in favor of fairness and transparency so that our democracy is strengthened and there is a level playing field in politics.

 

Debate on Adani

Jamaat-e-Islami Hind expresses concern over the reluctance of the government to discuss the Adani-Hindenburg report that resulted in the loss of lakhs of crores worth of stock evaluation (drop in market capitalization). The Adani episode damaged the reputation of our regulatory bodies and our auditors. It is reported that LIC of India also had exposure to the Adani group of companies. With such enormous developments, it is difficult to understand why the government does not want a discussion on the issue in Parliament and is refusing to accede to the Opposition’s demand to constitute a JPC for probing the Adani affair. Jamaat feels that in any democracy, the government must take the people into confidence. Hence, it must come clean over any allegations against the failure of RBI, SEBI, and other regulatory bodies in preventing such a massive overpricing of stock evaluation of nearly 80 billion dollars. If there was no wrongdoing and everything was fair, the government should not shy away from a discussion and constitute an enquiry.

 

 

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