Muslims under siege in India, says SDPI chief

Updated 03 April 2014
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Muslims under siege in India, says SDPI chief

Muslims are under siege in India, not only from parties in the country but also from outside forces, the leader of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) told Arab News here on Wednesday.
The threat was from the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), the Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena in India, and rightwing Zionist organizations abroad, said A. Sayeed, SDPI’s national president.
Sayeed said the SDPI launched in June 2009 in New Delhi to bring serious politics to the table. He said politicians these days are only interested in positions and money. “This type of contaminated politics is found in India and all over the world.”
He said there are too many apolitical people in the country, including some intellectuals, writers and opinion makers watching from the sidelines. “They are not getting involved in politics. We find them on television programs discussing everything under the sun. There is a need for such people to come forward and work to clean up politics. This is the necessity of the time,” he said.
He said Israeli and other global anti-Muslim forces are influencing the Indian government. “They want political monopoly over Muslims in the entire world, not only in their countries, but communities in other countries. That is why they are targeting Indian Muslims,” he said.
Sayeed said the SDPI has formed committees in 13 states and has a presence in another five states. Some members hold seats on local bodies with the cooperation of others. “Rather than going for political positions we are at present focusing on organizing Muslims and other marginalized communities and bringing them under a single leader. That is more important for us than gaining any positions in the present situation.”
Sayeed claimed that many political parties have “bought” Muslim leaders. “Even ‘maulanas’ are sharing platforms with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. In such a situation, you cannot expect all Muslims to come together under one umbrella and work for a single cause. That is a truth from which we cannot escape,” he said. “We have to work for the emancipation of the community, and to achieve that we will have to fight very hard. Some internal work needs to be done in the community itself. At the same time we have to have internal secularism in the Muslim community.”
He said some Muslim parties are working toward this goal in parts of the country and have posts in various state governments. In Bangalore, the SDPI has one member, in Kerala three municipal councilors, and in Karnataka eight municipal councilors and several panchayat members.
“On a local level it is somewhat OK for a newly formed party. None of the leaders of our party has any experience in politics. This is not a party that has departed from any other main political party. It is not a faction. It is a grassroots party. We are training our cadres and members to work in the political field.”
He said the party does not have massive funding and collects monthly subscription fees from members. “We go to the public for donations. We don’t have much money in our purse. Ordinary people support us. That is our source of income,” he said.


Saudi Arabia says missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi is dead

Updated 20 October 2018
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Saudi Arabia says missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi is dead

  • The journalist died after a fistfight at the consulate in Istanbul
  • Deputy intelligence chief, royal court adviser removed from positions, 18 Saudis arrested

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia announced on Saturday the death of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, saying a preliminary investigation indicated he lost his life after a fight at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
“The discussions between Jamal Khashoggi and those he met at the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul... devolved into a fistfight, leading to his death,” the Saudi Press Agency said, citing the public prosecutor.
Eighteen Saudis have been arrested in connection with the incident and the investigation is ongoing, the public prosecutor said.
“The Kingdom expresses its deep regret at the painful developments that have taken place and stresses the commitment of the authorities in the Kingdom to bring the facts to the public opinion, to hold all those involved accountable and bring them to justice,” a statement on the SPA said.
Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist who lived in the US, disappeared on Oct. 2 after visiting the consulate to complete paperwork related to his divorce.
Deputy intelligence chief Ahmed Al-Asiri was removed from his position and Saud Al-Qahtani from his advisory role at the Royal Court, through royal decrees.
Three other intelligence officials who were also sacked have been named as Mohammad bin Saleh Al-Rumaih, Abdullah bin Khalifa Al-Shaya and Rashad bin Hamed Al-Muhamadi.
King Salman also ordered the creation of a ministerial committee, headed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to restructure the country’s General Intelligence agency and issue the results of its work within a month.
Members of the committee include the interior and foreign ministers as well as the heads of the General Intelligence and State Security.
A team of Saudi investigators were sent to Istanbul and have been working on the case with Turkish detectives, who entered the consulate on Thursday.
Earlier in the week, Saudi Arabia promised a thorough and transparent investigation into what happened to the journalist in Turkey.