The Daily Pioneer, carried an article titled' fatwas ban outsider's entry into Rameshwaram Villages' (http://www.dailypioneer.com/todays-newspaper/fatwas-ban-outsiders-entry-into-rameswaram-villages.html ) on 16.12.2013 . There was a rebuttal for that new report in The New Indian Express titled “Regular Event gets Religious Twist” (http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil_nadu/Regular-Event-gets-Religious-Twist/2013/12/30/article1972653.ece# ) and Pamban- A healthy mix of all religions (http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil_nadu/Pamban-A-Healthy-Mix-of-All-Religions/2013/12/30/article1972658.ece ) by one Mr. Karmegam. Can we analyze the write up as quite a few queries arise out of the points made in the rebuttal?
//Until mid-December a board put up at the entrance of Azhagankulam, a nondescript village with an equal sprinkling of Muslim and Hindu population in Ramanathapuram district, served as a “warning” to troublemakers.//
Who is creating trouble? Has there been any such incidents warranting such warnings earlier? If the warning sign boards are to prevent such intrusions, why these boards were not seen in Hindu dominated areas of the same district?
//That was after an upcountry English daily published a report accusing Muslims of these villages of issuing illegal ‘fatwas’ banning entry of outsiders into these villages.//
What is the reason for using the word 'upcountry'? Daily Pioneer is one of the oldest newspapers of India. It is so popular in Delhi and in the Northern point of India. To brush it aside as 'up country' is not so civil a practise, and also it shows the attitude of the writer towards villagers, who are called as country fellows by the oppressing urban elite.
//The unexpected police action has left the Muslims and Hindus psychologically bruised. More so because people in Azhagankulam are known to mutually invite elders of the other community to resolve a dispute that arises within.//
Which Hindu has expressed his/her displeasure over this issue to the writer? It is an absolute lie that they will be resolving conflict arising between the two communities. On 17/10/2013 two Muslim men Noorullah and Mydeen, associated with SDPI, have butchered a cow near the Kottai Muneeswaran temple in Azhagankulam. When Hindus protested this, no Muslim leader came forward to resolve the conflict. Hindus filed a Police complained and even the Police didn't turn up. Hindus finally blocked the traffic to protest against the atrocity of butchering the cow and the inertia on part of the Police. Police instead filed cases against the Hindus (197/13), but no action was taken against those who butchered a cow illegally near a temple. Shocked by this action of the Police, Hindus wrote a letter to the Inspector of Police, Devi pattinam through the Hindu Community Sahba on 18/10/13 and sent a copy of the letter to the District collector and the Superintendent of Police. Till now, the Police didn't heed to the request of the Hindus.
//“I have been seeing these boards since my childhood. I don’t recall when they were first put up. But they were never the bone of contention as it was a collective decision to put them up,” said Baskaran (name changed), a 40-year-old inhabitant of Panaikulam. //
Why has the name been changed? The 'up country' newspaper Daily Pioneer has not changed any name of the people to whom it spoke with. Why should a person fear to say religious harmony prevails in a place where it is said to be prevailing? If people fear to say with their own identification, then either the said religious harmony is humbug, or the words to this effect are lies.
//These boards were put up under the aegis of the Hindu-Muslim Aikiya Sabha (HMAS) at different places including Puthuvalasai, Athiyuthu, Sittharkottai and Pottagavayal. //
Now, read the statement of Mohammed Hanifa as stated by Mr.Karmegam in his TNIE article //Explaining the origin of these boards, A Mohammed Hanifa (70), recalled that in Panaikulam there were different Jamat and Muslim outfits holding different viewpoints. “Often we had problems between us that this reflected in our posters which only worsened the situation. So to maintain peace among Muslim groups, we consulted other communities and put up those boards,” //
By the words of Hanifa, these boards were put up by Muslims because of the problems between two groups of Muslims. The boards were put up by the Muslims after consulting others, as by Mr.Hanifa's statement, not through the Hindu-Muslim Aikiya Sabha as claimed by Mr.Karmegam. A careful look shows that the board has been corrected to bear the name of Hindu-Muslim Aikiya Sabha. Whereas, we would like to remind that the pictures from the village Pottakavayal show that the boards were put up by Muslim Jamaath, Thajul Islam Sangam, as published in the 'up country' newspaper Daily Pioneer. We're publishing those photos again.
//Ramanathapuram Superintendent of Police N M Mayilvahanan conceded that these boards were of no concern earlier. “There was no such thing as people from other communities being banned from entering the villages. //
Already a name has been changed. The board has been corrected. We can only hope that the statement of the Police is not warped. Also, we do suspect whether the concerned Police officer was asked for his opinion by the writer, indeed. If the Police officer has said that there was no concern with the warning board, he has some queries to answer.
In 2012, three Hindus by the name Muthuramalingam, Ukkirapandi and Arjunan travelled in a vehicle in Pottakavayal and were attacked by Muslims because they played songs in their tractor . A case was registered in Devipattinam Police Station (98/12). Similarly, four years ago, Muruganantham and Balan of Thamarai Oorani village were attacked for playing songs in their vehicle at panaikulam.Does this fit the term no concern?
//I ordered the removal of the boards because it was brought to my notice that it had the word ‘Warning’. Only the police can use ‘Warning’ in public places,” he told Express.//
The same opinion was given by the retired IPS officer Natraj and was published by the 'up country' newspaper Daily Pioneer. Well, the person whose name has been changed in the TNIE write up, Baskaran, has told that he has been seeing such warning boards from his childhood. Why no action was taken against such an illegal warning, as the Police officer himself has conceded that only Police can put up such warnings and none else have the authority.
//The officer added that to allegations that Hindus were scared of the Muslims and had to get permission from the latter to start business ventures in Ramanathapuram town were “blatant lies.” //
The 'up country' newspaper Daily Pioneer has published the name of the person who has said this. DP didn't change the person's name as done in TNIE. Mr. Kuppuramu could have been contacted for clarification on his statement, whereas we don't have any justification on what basis this opinion was pooh poohed.
//Campaigning through mikes was banned as using loudspeakers during our prayer time could cause a disturbance.//
Are they not using loudspeakers in Masjids? It is an acceptance that the Jamaat decides on who can campaign and what is to be campaigned, and how to campaign instead of the Government. Thankyou Mr.Karmegam for this confession!
//The Muslims had also handed over administration of some of the schools to the government in 1964, besides donating land for establishing primary health centres, bus stops and temples.//
We're ready to do a survey to figure out how many Muslim establishments are in Hindus' lands and how many Hindu establishments are in Muslims' lands. Does Mr.Karmegam accept this challenge?
Pamban: A Healthy Mix of All Religions
Pamban in Ramanathapuram symbolises the communal harmony of the coastal southern district, where members from Muslim, Hindu and Christian communities live in unity. While the Swami Vivekananda Mandapam is situated on the seashores in Kundukaal, the Pamban Swamigal’s Memorial is located within a densely populated Muslim area.
The Swami Vivekananda memorial tower was damaged by Muslims. No action against the miscreants. A testimony to Communal Harmony?
Vivekanandar memorial mast- video and photo
//The entrance of the street where the memorial is located has a notice on the wall of a house, which reads: “No public thoroughfare; area reserved for women.” However, there are no restrictions on the entry of people from any religious faith.//
If it is a common path, then why one should write No throughfare? Is it fair and legal to write so in a common Panchayat road?
//“We have put up this notice, only to restrict eve-teasing and movement of drunkards,” says K Seeni Syed Ammal, president of Kadarkarai Meenavar Kootturavu Sangam, a fishermen cooperative. The street serves as a short-cut to hit the main road and earlier drunkards used to tease the women while the men folk were away.//
Is there any case filed to this effect? If this is the case can we put up such boards in places were Eve teasing took place or still takes place? How many thoroughfares have to be reserved for some folks in such a case?
//Manithaneya Makkal Katchi leader and Ramanathapuram MLA M H Jawahirullah said no fatwa has been issued anywhere in the district. “Not only do non-Muslims visit these villages, they also invite Muslims for social functions,” he said.//
This comedy is the icing of this story. This MLA Jawahirullah was the key person in saving the culprits who hoisted our National flag with foot wear. He was a member of SIMI a banned Jehadi outfit. His party is one among the group that attacked the US consulate and laid seige to the mount road for 4 days and behind the campaign to prevent the screening of the tamil movie 'viswaroopam'. His words were taken at face value!!
It is painful that a newspaper of TNIE's stature, founded and grown by Mr.Ramnath Goenka and edited by stalwarts like Mr.Arun Shourie, has stooped in quality by allowing such distortions, blatant lies, and fabrications by the likes of Mr.Karmegam.