What on Earth Is Dr Zafarul Islam Khan’s Crime?

Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan. Chairman of Delhi Minority Commission visiting riot-hit areas in north-east Delhi 2020

By Masoom Moradabadi

Delhi Police registered a case of sedition against Dr Zafarul Islam Khan, the Chairman of Delhi Minority Commission (DMC), a renowned Islamic scholar and senior journalist. He was accused of tweeting ‘provocative’ post three days ago.

According to Joint Commissioner of Delhi Police’s Special Cell, Neeraj Kumar, the action against Dr Khan has been taken under section 124 A (sedition) and 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth) after a complaint was filed by a resident of Vasant Kunj.

Interestingly, the case against Dr Khan was registered on the very same day when one of BJP’s Delhi MLAs met Lieutenant General Anil Baijal and urged him to dismiss the DMC Chairman from his post and take legal action against him. They accused him of endangering the unity, tarnishing secular image of the country in the world and promoting enmity between Hindus and Muslims.

Here, it should be borne in mind that these allegations were being levelled against Dr Khan after he thanked the Kuwaiti Government, through a social media post, for raising voice against the anti-Muslim riots in northeast Delhi.

Dr Khan’s post on social media was followed by a well-orchestrated character assassination campaign against him. The biased ‘godi’ embedded media and Sangh Parivar’s WhatApp University were in the forefront of the campaign. This despite the fact that after the controversy surfaced, the DMC Chief issued an apology for his post which, he said, “was ill-timed and insensitive in view of our county facing a medical emergency and fighting an unseen enemy. I apologise to all whose sentiments were hurt.”

He further said, “I have already stated in my previous statement as to how I have defended India in the Arab world on crucial issues. I will continue to do so, far from complaining against my country to any other country or Arab or Muslim world. This is against our Constitution, against my own views, upbringing and against my religious belief which teaches me that “love of homeland is part of Islam.”

Ideally, after his apology this chapter should have been closed. But instead, a campaign is being spearheaded to defame him, present him as an antinational and hang him without trial. This is what has been going on in this country against Muslims for a long time: an individual is subjected to a vicious media trial, declared as ‘source of all evils’ and then every possible effort is made to ruin him for good.

Let there be no doubt that the campaign of Dr Zafraul Islam Khan’s character assassination was launched by the very godi media that has become brazenly anti-Muslim and misses no opportunity to defame them. This media first traps innocent people, subjects them to media trial and then pressurises the government to take action against them. This is exactly what has happened in the case of Dr Khan.

His removal as DMC chairman is being pursued with such an intensity as if his continuance in the position is a matter of life and death for him.

It is a common knowledge that ever since he took over the DMC, he has breathed life into the listless institution. Every Indian knows that minority commissions around the country are the showpieces which serve no purpose. The government has, no doubt, granted them constitutional status, but their recommendations are always thrown in the cold storage.

This is the reason that the chairmanships of minority commissions are always bestowed upon members belonging to ruling parties who can work as yes-men and keep silently enjoying the governmental favours. The DMC is no different.

However, after taking the charge, Dr Khan completely overhauled the institution. One of the main reasons of this is that he is an apolitical figure without any political agenda before him. He served the institution with dedication. One does not need to go far to review his performance.

No one cared for the victims of anti-Muslim riots of last February in northeast Delhi as much as Dr Khan did. He toured the riot-hit areas several times and arranged relief for the victims. He repeatedly highlighted and brought to the notice of Delhi government the problems faced by the Muslims of Delhi and got several issues resolved. It was due to his tireless efforts that attempts to ban Azaan in the mosques of Delhi was foiled.

Recently, Delhi’s Health Department, in its daily press releases, was presenting people belonging to Tableeghi Jamaat as a separate category to defame Muslims. It was Dr Khan who raised voice against the practice and saw to it that it was stopped forthwith. There are several other examples to show that how he used his skills to turn an unproductive and ceremonious institution like the DMC into an effective and productive organisation. He has discharged his duties with a sense of responsibility.

Going by the achievements of Dr Khan, DMC chairmanship was an insignificant assignment. He is a world-renowned Islamic scholar. Because of his knowledge and command over Arabic and English languages he is seen with great respect in the Arab world.

Before completing his Ph. D. in Islamic Studies from Manchester University, Dr Khan received education at Egypt’s world-famous Al Azhar and Cairo University. He authored and translated more than 50 books in English, Urdu and Arabic. He edited English language fortnightly Milli Gazette for 17 years with great courage and perseverance reporting and highlighting the problems faced by Indian Muslims.

He also heads Charity Alliance, an organisation working and assisting poor and needy people. This organisation also runs a school for poor children in District Murshidabad of West Bengal and has built a residential colony in District Shamli for 32 victim families of Muzaffarnagar’s anti-Muslim riots.

The fact is that there are very few Indians who matches him in talent. He headed Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawrat for three terms as chairman. During his tenure, he rejuvenated and activated this umbrella organisation of Indian Muslims and played a key role in its golden jubilee celebration. He compiled and published documents of highly historical importance.

Against this backdrop, it’s sad to note that Muslim organisations are tight-lipped at a time when a key figure of the community is being subjected to character assassination. It is, in fact, the duty of every justice-loving person to give a moral support to Dr Zafarul Islam Khan at this testing time, otherwise no one in future will be able to muster courage to raise voice for Indian Muslims.

Masoom Moradabadi is a senior journalist and has authored several books.

Translated by Urdu Media Monitor.Com. This article has appeared on many Urdu portals.

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