Sedition Charges, Hate Campaign against Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan Condemned
NEW DELHI, MAY 15— Around 60 civil rights activists from across the country have condemned the sedition charges against Delhi Minorities Commission chairman Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan for a tweet and subsequent police raid at his residence for interrogation. They have also condemned the targeting of Dr. Khan on social media.
“We, the undersigned condemn in the strongest possible words, the targeting of Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan by the Islamophobes over his posts on social media. We also condemn the action of government against him by booking cases under sections 124A (sedition) and 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth) and raiding his house on 7th May 2020,” the activists said in a joint statement and expressed their solidarity with Dr. Khan who is author, journalist, renowned Islamic scholar and intellectual having international fame.
On April 28, Dr. Khan had thanked Kuwait “for standing with Indian Muslims” in a tweet. A controversy erupted over the tweet and Dr. Khan issued a clarification statement next day. He issued another statement apologizing for the tweet. However, a sedition case was lodged against him.
The activists said people in the Arab world expressed concern on incidents of hate crime against Muslims in India and Dr Khan’s tweet was in this context. They also said that his tweet did not violate any law.
“In the times when Muslim community is continuously targeted, their leaders and intellectuals and religious scholars are defamed and the common Muslims being subjected to attacks and destruction of their houses and business establishments thereby making them economically weak; all this is being observed by the international community especially the Arab world. Thus the Arab world has shown solidarity with the Indian Muslims and requested the Indian government to protect the human rights of Indian Muslims. Recently Canada also has taken action against Islamophobia posts on social media and warned that they will not tolerate any kind of Islamophobia. In this context Dr. Khan thanked the Kuwaiti government for raising voice against the Islamophobes and standing with the oppressed Muslims in India through his posts on social media. Moreover, his post on the social media does not violate any law nor does it intentionally or unintentionally cause any discord amongst the different communities of India. Therefore, raid on his house is highly objectionable and condemnable,” said the activist.
“Even though Dr. Khan has issued an apology for his post on social media the hate mongers did not stop and the godi media went on propagating hatred and held media trial. It is highly condemnable that a person of such high integrity is being targeted by the Hindutva bigots and being labeled as anti-national. His post on the social media has been blown out of proportion and deliberately misinterpreted by the anti- Muslim Hindutva brigade whose sole intention is to assassinate the character of Dr Zafarul Islam Khan,” they further said.
Mentioning the contributions of Dr Khan, the activists said: “Through his scholarly works he has received love and respect not only from the Indians but also from the international community. His services to the nation are commendable. He is an expert in the area of international relations. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of Milli Gazette, an Indian Muslims leading English newspaper started in the year 2000. Presently he is the Chairman of Delhi Minorities Commission. Earlier, he headed Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, he runs Charity Alliance which assists and works for the poor and needy. He has authored and translated more than fifty books and his work has been lauded by intellectuals, scholars, Human rights activists and others.”
“How can such a patriot like him who has contributed to resolving many issues of the Indian religious minorities under his able chairmanship of the Delhi Minorities Commission be charged for sedition? How can the police conduct raid on his house? Dr. Zafarul Islam has always upheld the constitutional democratic values of India. He has defended India many times in the Arab World on crucial issues. Such a person’s integrity is questioned now just on the complaint of a person who could not even understand what his tweet meant?”
They asked the Delhi Police if they booked any media hate mongers, those trolling activists, writers and scholars on social media or the BJP ministers and leaders for their hateful, instigating and vengeful speeches.
The activists demanded end to malicious hate campaign against Dr Khan, withdrawal of sedition charges against him and action against hate mongers.
Dr Khan last week moved the Delhi High Court seeking anti-cipatory bail. The HC on May 12 granted him interim protection from any coercive action till June 22.
Signatories to the statement:
Suneetha, Women and Transgender Organizations JAC, Hyderabad
Shraddha Chickerur, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad
Indira Rani, Independent Researcher, Hyderabad
Adv. M. Mandakini, Activist, Hyderabad
Kaneez Fathima, Activist, Hyderabad
Kalpana, Social worker, Hyderabad
Padmaja Shaw, Rtd Professor, Osmania University, Hyderabad
Mushtaq UL haq Ahmad Sikander, Independent Researcher, Srinagar, Kashmir
Nikhat Fatima, Activist & Journalist, Hyderabad
Malini Subramaniam, Independent Journalist, Hyderabad
Rama Melkote, Prof. Retd. Osmania University, Hyderabad
Dr V Rukmini Rao, Feminist, Hyderabad
Veena Shatrugna, Medical Scientist (Rtd.), Hyderabad
Jayasree Subramanian, Academic, Hyderabad
Syed Moinuddin, Hyderabad
Uma Bhrugubanda, Academic, Hyderabad
B.Girija, Social activist, Hyderabad
Akhileshwari, Independent Journalist and Academic, Secunderabad, Telangana
Shefali Jha, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad
Asma Rasheed, Academic, Hyderabad
Mohammed Sharfuddin, Juris Legal Services, Hyderabad, Telangana
Aaris Mohammed, Center for Social and Constitutional Studies, Hyderabad
Noorjahan, Activist, Hyderabad
Ashalatha, Makaam, Hyderabad
Deepti, Dalit women collective, Hyderabad
Syed Yousuf Bee, Activist, Hyderabad
K. Lalita, Independent Scholar, Hyderabad
Abdul Hafiz Lakhani, Editor, Gujarat Siyasat, Ahmedabad
Mujahid Nafees, MCC, Gujarat
S.Q.Masood, Social Activist, Hyderabad
Khalida Parveen, Social Activist, Hyderabad
Abida Fatima, Activist, Hyderabad
Khateeja Mehvin, Activist, Hyderabad
Shahnaz Begum, Activist, Hyderabad
Asiya Nusrat, Activist, Hyderabad
Fareesa, Activist, Hyderabad
Khatija Khan, Member, Hyderabad
Mirza Asmer beg, AMU, ALIGARH
Adv. A. Mohamed Yusuff, Popular Front of India, Madurai
Basha M, Teacher, Karnataka
Arshad Abrar, Hyderabad
R. Srivatsan, Political Scientist
K. Sandhya, Hyderabad
Pasunuri Ravinder, writer, Hyderabad
K. Vimala, Writer, Hyderabad
V. Prathima, Writer, Hyderabad
D. R. Manjula, Writer
Asad Ashraf, Journalist, New Delhi
Shiba Minai, Journalist/Activist, Hyderabad
Adv. Raghavendra Prasad, Writer/Activist, Hyderabad
Anees Fathima, Hyderabad
Aisha Farooqui, Rtd Professor, Osmania University, Hyderabad
M. Swathy Margaret, Academic, Hyderabad
Dr. Azizunnisa, Hyderabad
Salma Fathima, Hyderabad
Arshiya Shaikh, Malakpet
Sharifa Siddiqui, Counselor, Secunderabad