Monthly Press Briefing: Press Note on mass eviction in Haldwani, insensitivity to anti women crimes, communalism

January 7, 2023


Stay on Mass eviction in Haldwani, Uttarakhand
Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) welcomes the decision of the Supreme Court of India staying the order of the Uttarakhand High Court to evict thousands of families who were to be rendered homeless because of a land dispute with the Railway authorities in Haldwani, Uttarakhand. JIH feels that the stay order will strengthen the faith of the people of India in the judiciary. We endorse the comments of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice AS Oka: “There cannot be uprooting of 50,000 people overnight… It’s a human issue, some workable solution needs to be found. It may not be correct to say that paramilitary forces have to be deployed to remove people who have been living there for decades.” Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) disapproves of the proposed demolitions in the disputed area. It is reported that around 4500 homes, 4 government schools, 11 private schools, a bank, two overhead water tanks, 10 mosques, 4 temples, business establishments and shops are to be demolished. JIH feels that even though the authorities have the backing of the Uttarakhand High Court Order (dated 20 December 2022), eviciting such a large number of people is completely inhuman and against all norms of justice and righteousness. Fortunately, the apex court has now offered relief to the aggrieved families and the next hearing is scheduled in February. Earlier, a fact-finding team led by Malik Mohtasim Khan, National Secretary JIH, Prashant Tandon, Senior Journalist, Nadeem Khan, National Secretary Association for Protection of Civil Rights, Laeeq Ahmed Khan, SPECT Foundation and Inamur Rahman Khan, Assistant National Secretary JIH visited Haldwani and filed a report detailing the situation there. The report highlights certain gross anomalies in following the due process such as: (a) “none of the eviction notices issued to the petitioners under the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971 were addressed to them individually as mandated by the legislation. It was addressed to “all unauthorized occupants of Railways land, adjoining to Haldwani Railway Station from Km. 78/0 to 83/0 Haldwani”. (b) Following the Hon’ble Supreme Court orders, an Estate Officer was appointed to ascertain the legal title of the land in question, issue notices to every individual occupant, and hear their objections to dispose of on merits as mandated by Section 4 of the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971. The Estate Officer, allegedly without referring to any source, concluded that he is of the opinion that the land belongs to Railways and the occupants are illegal encroachers who need to be removed. (c) “Without waiting for the appeals to be disposed of by the District Court, the Hon’ble High Court in violation of the Public Premises Act 1971 issued fresh eviction order on December 20, 2022, and gave the administration one-week time to execute its order.” Jamaat-e-Islami Hind demands that the demolition drive be rolled back and an amicable settlement is reached between the Railway authorities and the people through negotiation and dialogue.

Growing insensitivity to crime against women by society
Jamaat-e-Islami Hind voices concern over the growing insensitivity to crime against women by society as can be made out in several cases in the recent past. The tragic death of Anjali Singh who was dragged by a car for almost 12 km in the country’s capital, a woman stabbed 51 times by her stalker with a screwdriver in Chhattisgarh’s Korba district, a 17-year-old girl attacked with acid on her way to school in west Delhi and 27-year-old murdered and hacked into 35 pieces, allegedly by her partner, in New Delhi – all point to the growing apathy and disregard of society to the inviolability of a woman’s life and the dignity accorded to her by her Creator. According to the latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, India saw more than 4.2 lakh cases of crimes against women in 2021. That is a 15% increase from the previous year. In these cases 32% come under the category of “cruelty by husband” and 20% under “assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty”. Jamaat-e-Islami Hind feels that society must be reformed by changing its outlook towards women. This must begin at the level of school education itself. Islam accords great respect and esteem to women. Islam elevates the position of women in society and gives utmost precedence to her security, well-being, education and status at home and in society. It is important to sensitize people towards respecting women and putting an end to the atrocities and insensitivity that women have to endure today.

Communalism in Karnataka and other states – a cause of concern
Jamaat-e-Islami Hind expresses grave concern over the growing communalism in Karnataka and other states. This is especially worrying as assembly elections are due in Karnataka and very soon at the national level. From opposing the wearing of the hijab in colleges, disallowing Muslims to set up stalls and shops in Hindu festivals and fairs and attacking Christian congregations – there seems to be a free rein to the peddlers of hate and bigotry in Karnataka. The move to adopt anti-conversion law, unveiling the portrait of Veer Savarkar in the Belagavi Assembly chamber and denigrating Tipu Sultan – appears to be a desperate attempt to practice communalism for reaping political dividends.

A political leader in Karnataka has urged his party cadres to focus on “love jihad” and not on trivial issues like civic amenities and good governance. The governments in other states are also busy playing the politics of hate and division for electoral gains. In Assam, the deeni madaris are targeted and a delimitation exercise is being carried out in a communal manner to dilute the “Muslim” vote. In Madhya Pradesh, the number of communal incidents is on the rise. Taking a leaf from the government of Uttar Pradesh, the MP administration has become active in the selective demolitions of houses belonging to people from the Muslim community. Incidents like the pre-planned communal violence in Khargone on Ram Navami are like a template that can be replicated again as election times nears so that the electorate can be polarized and the majority community vote is consolidated in favour of the party that dares to teach the minorities a lesson. Jamaat feels that this trend of majority appeasement through minority baiting is not in our national interest and will become a threat to our democracy and constitutional values. It is the duty of political parties and the electorate to reverse this trend.

2022 and 2023
The year 2022 was a welcome relief from the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021, with things returning back to normal. Naturally this had a positive impact on the economy and our economic growth rate has picked up significantly. India’s scientific endeavours received a boost. A major reason for concern was the poor ratings and rankings that we have received in various indices such as the Human Development Index, Global Environment Performance Index, World Happiness Index, Global Gender Gap Index, Global Hunger Index, Corruption Perception Index etc. The government continued to ignore the vital sectors like health and education with budgetary allocation of around 2% of GDP and 3.1% of GDP respectively. For the Muslims of India, however, the past year was no different than the previous years as the ruling dispensation with the help of its affiliated organizations, government agencies and the media were out to make Muslims “politically-invisible” and spread baseless allegations against them and their religion. Democracy continued to be under threat and there were frequent communal conflagrations. The judiciary continued to raise hope in the supremacy of law in the country, although it could have done more to deliver justice to the aggreived and those unjustly incarcerated under false charges. Hopefully, 2023 will ring in better times for our country. It is important to remain united and not be swayed by emotional issues raised by forces of hate and bigotry. India can reach the zenith of success only if it is ready to give equal rights and opportunities to all its citizens.

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