Muslim groups finally recognise -‘when silence on Madani issue prevails justice shall not’

By Abdul Basith,,

Kozhikode: On the occasion of International Human Rights Day several Muslim groups and human rights organisations raised their voice against one of the ‘gravest’ human rights violations in the history of the state – the “illegal detention” of Abdul Nasar Madani.

Muslim youths changed their profile images to ‘Madani’ days ahead of the human rights day on the social networking sites, regardless of their factional, political differences. The waves created on social networking sties didn’t stay confined to the one day as gradually protests are becoming visible on streets as well.

One among the most circulated profile pictures in Facebook, expressing solidairty with Madani. Developed by Abid Aboobacker for SIO ahead of the Human Rights day

The human rights advocates and Dalit activists too were there in the forefront to express their solidarity for the protests organised by Muslim groups all across the state.

Although late, many Muslim factions in Kerala are now pressing for a resolution in his favour in the state assembly against his unjust detention for alleged involvement in the Bangalore serial blasts.

In his earlier nine and half year long under-trial detention in Coimbatore jail, where his own People’s Democratic Party [PDP] and National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations [NCHRO] under its General Secretary Mukundan C Menon, were the only people to fight a decade long legal struggle to bring him out of the bars.

Unlike those days, almost every Muslim groups have now started seeking Kerala government intervention to pressurise Karnataka government to ensure adequate treatment and initiate special fast track open court trial to avail ‘minimum justice’ - to a one-legged, almost blind, skeleton like Madani - who already served a lion share of his life in prison, as an under trial detainee.

An old photograph of Madani seated along with late Panakkad Syed Muhammed Ali Shihab Thangal, Alikutty Musalyar, Kanthapuram AP Aboobacker Musalyar and other Muslim factional and political leaders. Courtesy: Mohammed Mustafa

Days before the Human Rights Day, PDP decided to go forward with a campaign saying that ‘we would give you our life, instead we want Madani back’. The campaign by Madani’s own party at Puthanathani Malappuram named ‘Malabar Sanghamam’ was well attended by public, as most took part in the conference considering it a human right issue, rather than just a PDP programme.

IUML National Secretary and Member of Parliament ET Muhammed Basheer was the first IUML leader to raise his voice for Madani. He said that though Madani is IUML’s political opponent, IUML as a political party would do whatever is possible to win justice for Madani.

IUML Kerala Assembly leader PK Kunjalikutty followed, saying that IUML would stand by the emotions of the public on the Madani issue. It was since then the League state General Secretary KPA Majeed sought Kerala govt’s intervention for Madani.

It was the Jamat Islami Hind [JIH], which under took the formation of ‘Justice for Madani Forum,’with former MP and leftist activist Sebastian Paul as Chairman immediately after Madani’s second phase of imprisonment. The organisation has been aiding the legal struggle, bringing the issue in to the public consciousness on a regular basis and is on the way putting forward further more creative protests like making a documentary on Madani’s life.

SKSSF rally on human rights day at Kozhikode. Image Courtesy: Himam

Jamat youth organisation Solidarity, organised human rights conference and a mass banner signing campaign at Pazhayangadi Kannur, seeking Kerala government’s intervention.

In the meantime news channels in Malayalam including Reporter TV, Asianet News and India vision carried special programmes on the human right violations against Madani, and this recent trends indeed has forced other Muslim political and religious organisations to express their solidarity to Madani.

The Samastha Kerala Sunni Students Federation [SKSSF] of the EK faction of Sunnis who until now kept a deep silence over the human right violations committed against Madani organised a rally at Kozhikode on the Human Rights Day on the theme ‘Justice is our right and not your charity’ which saw participation from top leaders of Samastha, SKSSF, Youth League and CPIM.

For the first time, state has witnessed Sunni religious scholars of the state expressing their solidarity to Madani, who himself is a religious scholar like them. The organisation had taken care to collect factual evidences on vital issues concerning Muslims like reservation, Babri Verdict and terror arrests of innocent Muslim youths as one among the slogan and placards raised in the rally was, “India has 14 Percentage Muslim Population out of which 1,02652 are languishing in jails, 6000 are terror accused! Trail, so is a right and not a charity, bail is a rule and not benevolence.”

Solidarity rally demanding justice to Madani at Palakkad on the human rights day. Courtesy: Mohammed Sajid

The Youth League [IUML’s youth wing] State President – P.M Sadiquali, who attended the SKSSF rally as one among the political party representatives asked Kerala government to take immediate actions to bring justice to Madani. He said that the Kerala government should treat the Madani issue as well as those cases of Kerala based fishermen kidnapped by Somalian pirates on similar lines. He said that Madani and a Keralite detained in Saudi Arabia on baseless grounds deserves equal privileges from the Kerala government. “No way can the Madani issue be treated different from those cases,” he asserted.

IUML as a political party is against the ideals put forward by Madani and his party but that should not prevent us from raising our voice against the human right violations committed against him, Sadiquali said.

“It is a fact that Madani’s speeches and policies were inflammatory as well as communally divisive, any way it is fortunate that the extremism and fundamentalism put forward by him didn’t find proper grip in Kerala. It is time we should take up the human rights issue of Madani because; otherwise it will boost up the prospects of other Muslim extremist groups within the state” said the Youth League state President at the SKSSF public meeting held after the rally in Kozhikode.

Eminent activist Gro Vasu addressing the NCHRO Kerala Chapter Representative council held at Town Hall Malappuram. Courtesy: MTP Rafeek

IUML National Secretary ET Muhammed Basheer met Central Home affairs Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde Thursday and sought central Govt intervention to ensure justice to Madani. ET in his letter to the Home Minister invited his attention into the case of innocent Muslim youths languishing in jails as under trial detainees all throughout the country and said that Madani has been a major example of these human rights violations because he had to spent more than 12 years in jails without even being proved guilty in a single case.

PFI hasn't until now taken any major initiatives after his second phase of imprisonment in Karnataka. And the justifications have been on the grounds that, there are PDP leaders [Madani’s political party] who believe that PFI’s involvement in the case would adversely affect the secular prospects of Madani and his political party in the Kerala Public sphere.

Girls Islamic Organisation [GIO] protest rally at EMEA college demanding equal justice to Madani and Irom Sharmila. Courtesy: SIO EMEA

PFI's present stand is believed to be after consultations with the close aide’s of Madani and they have expressed their willingness to take up the legal struggle as and when Madani or his relatives gives a positive nod. It is believed that their approach to support the legal cause from outside is as part of the consensus formed after discussions with Madani and other PDP leaders.

Human Rights activists assures to continue their fight:

Although it has been the Justice for Madani forum chaired by Sebastian Paul, undertaking the legal struggle for Madani. Other Human Rights groups and activists too have been offering their support to Madani's cause.

Documentarian and human rights activist KP Sasi, who has been running campaigns for Madani since his arrest in 2009 and is working on a documentary portraying Madani’s life was found stating, “It is your right to stay silent, but be aware, your silence could lead to the loss of a human life; when that happens, you won’t again have the right to utter a single word for him. I have insistence that the lack of my voice should not be the reason for the loss of Madani’s life. So I prefer to raise my voice further for Madani”.

The ‘Madani Niyama Sahaya Samiti’ under NCHRO’s Mukundan C Menon, which undertook the legal struggle for Madani, during the Coimbatore imprisonment, have been supporting the legal struggle from out side since his second phase of imprisonment at Bangalore and their leaders and office bearers have been visiting Madani in jail on a frequent basis.

NCHRO, on their general assembly held at Malappuram Town hall on the Human Rights Day, has made it clear that they are committed to carry out every sought of actions to get Madani out of the bars.

NCHRO state executive member Gro Vasu told TCN, “It is NCHRO and Mukundan C Menon who took up the legal struggle for Madani in the most desperate of times, when most others didn’t even dare to speak out or express their solidarity to Madani, and that was during his nine and half year long detention in the Coimbatore Prison.”

PDP Malabar Sangamam held at Puthanathani, Malappuram. Courtesy: PDP Web

Kanthapuram AP Aboobacker Musalyar [the leader of the AP faction of Sunnis] had expressed his solidarity with PDP’s protests to win justice to Madani through a letter which was read out in the ‘Malabar Sanghamam’ at Puthanathani on Monday. Hussain Madavoor, Indian Islahi Movement General Secretary [leader of the Madavoor faction of Mujahids] too broke his silence on the Madani issue Wednesday as he said that the state should at least now ensure justice to Madani.

“Despite these entire human right activities world wide, it is sad that most keeps silent over the grave injustices committed against Madani”, he said. He added that though he is against Madani’s thoughts, ideas and actions, that won’t prevent him from raising his voice to ensure constitutional rights to the victim – Madani.

A week before a top Christian Priest, of the Bharathiya Orthodox Council Bishop – Mar Baselios Marthoma Prathaman Catholica Bava - too had came up stating that, if his voice raised for Madani could result in his imprisonment, he would prefer staying in jail with his younger brother - Abdul Nasar Madani. He said that Madani is being targeted because he spoke for the oppressed and voiceless.

National Women's Front [NWF] State secretary Ramla Teacher inaugurates the NWF human rights meet held at Kannur. Courtesy: MTP Rafeek

IUML’s and Samastha’s unexpected entry in to the human rights issue of Madani has any way led to some blame games between the ruling and opposition fronts as well, as to how who all had a silent grin in their faces when Madani got arrested for the second time. CPI (M) Polit-Bureau member MA Baby while inaugurating the ‘Malabar Sanghamam’ organised by PDP on the Human Rights day went onto say that the present UDF govt hasn’t done anything to get Madani out of the jail.

IUML and UDF have been countering such left campaigns citing that, it was the left ruling front, which twice assisted/handed over Madani to Tamil Nadu and Karnataka Police respectively, that too after sharing stages with him and forming political alliances with his party at Ponnani. Besides there has been some recent news reports like, it was the then Chief Minister VS Achuthananthan who had insistence on arresting Madani, prior to Supreme court considering his anticipatory bail. It was because of this early arrest the Supreme Court didn’t move forward with Madani’s anticipatory bail proceedings that day, as anticipatory bails are to be considered prior to the arrest only.

[Note: It was on August 17, 3 pm the SC was supposed to consider the anticipatory bail and hours before Madani got arrested by the Karnataka police with complete support from the then Kerala Home ministry.]

CPI (M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan sharing stage with Madani at Ponnani, in one among the election meets ahead of the Ponnani parliamentary by-elections where they allied to contest against IUML. Courtesy: Rediff News

CPI (M) appears clueless before the recent developments as the Chief Minister Oomman Chandy, IUML leadership, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee [KPCC]] president Ramesh Chennithala all came up assuring a helping hand to Madani considering the protests and letters requesting medical assistance, received in and around the Human rights day.

Top Congress leader K Muraleedharan and CPI (M) leader Mullakkara Rathnakaran too have asked the Kerala Government to act immediately to ensure an interim bail and thus an adequate treatment by shifting him to Kerala. K Muraleedharan was inaugurating the meet organised by Kerala Muslim Jama’at Youth Council whereby they had sent letters to the 140 MLA’s seeking the intervention of Kerala assembly on Madani issue.

CPI (M) is yet to ascertain the UDF agenda behind these recent moves. Tuesday Chief Minister Oomman Chandy has made it clear that he will meet Karnataka Chief Minister to discuss on the health conditions of Madani. CM also said that he will draft a letter to the Karnataka CM on Wednesday itself seeking adequate treatment facilities to Madani.

This in a way has put CPI (M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan in a desperate situation of appearing before the media rather soon, as he was the one who shared stages with Madani and even formed an open alliance with Madani’s party – PDP, to challenge Muslim league at the Parliamentary by-elections held at Ponnani. Pinarayi Vijayan who has been silent over these recent developments until now, is expected to come up with some counter attacks against UDF and may express party’s willingness to form an all party council to ensure justice to Madani.

Solidarity 'banner sign campaign' demanding Kerala govt's intervention for Madani's release inaugurated by Kallen Pokkudan [Environmental activist] at Pazhayangadi Kannur. Courtesy: Sajfee Saj

Though late it should be said that IUML’s and other Muslim factional group’s unexpected entry into the Madani issue has forced the CM, ruling and opposition front leaders to make statements and take stands. Now what the Human right activists and Muslim groups in Kerala are looking forward is as to whether IUML could bring forward a resolution in the Kerala assembly asking the Karnataka govt to shift Madani’s trial from the closed court within the Parappana Agrahara jail in Bangaluru to an open court to ensure transparency in the court proceedings. At present, as the trial is not in an open court none outside know what all is happening in the court. If security concerns are raised over carrying out the trial in an open court in Karnataka the resolution should put forward the option of shifting the trial proceedings to a court in Kerala. The other thing the resolution must be referring to is with regard to ensuring expert treatment as Madani has been waiting for it since long, even after repeated requests before the jail authorities.

These recent protests are seen as a major shift in policy from the part of Muslim groups in Kerala, as they have now started taking into consideration the emotions of the community, who seems uninterested in faction wise religious disputes and is looking forward to their leaders to take a stand on issues concerning their pride and existence.

These Muslim groups who were keen on attributing terror and extremism over groups within them, whenever others came up with issues like Madani, illegal detention of Muslim youths ironically has now been forced to take up the campaigns, slogans and protests raised by ‘these terror accused groups’. It is under the wake of these recognitions, the Muslim religious factions and IUML who for decades kept repeating that “Law should follow its course” with regards to Madani has now chosen to say that “Law should take the course of justice”.