Several Muslim leaders are openly threatening the Tamilnadu government of Shaheen Bagh-like protest to press their demand of releasing the serial bomb blasts convicts.
Muslims outfits have put more pressure on the government to consider releasing convicts involved in Coimbatore serial bomb blasts and other communal offences, who have been undergoing imprisonment for over two decades. Chennai Mecca Masjid Moulvi Imam M Mohammed Mansur Kasim had openly declared jihad against the government for the same demand, gaining momentum after the new DMK government came to power.
The state government has framed guidelines for the premature release of 700 life convicts to mark the 113th birth anniversary of former DMK Chief Minister CN Annadurai. According to new rules issued on November 15, only convicts who completed at least ten years of jail term as basic eligibility and specified 17 disqualifications. Persons convicted in communal/ religious offences fall under the ineligible category.
On February 14, 1998, serial bomb blasts coinciding with the visit of senior BJP leader and then BJP national president L K Advani had rocked Coimbatore, leaving 58 people dead and over 200 injured. Locations where bombs went off, was the venue where an election meeting of Advani was scheduled. After a long 11 years of legal battle, over 100 people were acquitted in the case, and only 17 people were sentenced to life imprisonment.
The Muslim outfits have been urging the government to release them prematurely, given their health, age and long sentence duration. This has picked up momentum this time as they foresee a bright chance. They feel the present DMK government, which has assured them of meeting their demand before polls, will honour its commitments. They say it will be a quid pro quo promise for their votes, and the government can't ignore it. Some threatened to go for a Shaheen Bagh-like protest to press their demand.
The Federation of Muslims organization and political parties, a collective of 23 outfits, comprising TMMK, MMK, PFI, SDPI and others, met the CM Stalin on November 29 and appealed to the DMK government to reconsider cases of 38 Muslim convicts in Coimbatore, Puzhal, Vellore and other central jails. Of them, 17 were involved in the Coimbatore serial blasts cases. The delegation, led by Maulana P A Kajha Mohinudeen Baqavi, recently met CM M. K. Stalin. They conveyed their concern and urged him to consider the premature release of their men. Coordinator of the Federation Basheer Ahamed said, "The CM informed them of looking into their demands and explore legal provisions."
Members of various Muslim outfits held a protest in Trichy, under the banner of the Shaheen Bagh protest committee, demanding the release of all Muslim prisoners.
Chennai Mecca Masjid Moulvi Imam Mansur Kasim said, "The government has failed to reciprocate us by meeting our demands. We voted for them in Lok Sabha and State Assembly elections. They have betrayed us. If the government does nothing to protect our rights or fulfilling of our demands, we have to launch a jihad to show our power." Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK) chief and MLA M H Jawariullah said, "Refusing to prematurely release the bomb blasts of convicts is not acceptable to us. We expect the government to change its stand and order premature release of community people from jails." Indian National Muslim League held protests in the state for the same demand. They have also said Muslims would resign from their government posts, including the waqf board chief, MLAs and MPs, to show their solidarity.
Political commentator Bala Gauthaman justified the government's decision of not giving the premature release of persons in jail who were involved in communal clashes and anti-national activities. Muslims occupy government positions only to fulfil their demands and not for a common cause or people's welfare. DMK, which allies with such parties, should be condemned. DMK, AIADMK, Congress left parties to support such elements for their political gains.
Abdul Karim came down heavily on the DMK government, saying their (DMK and its allies) attitude was soft while canvassing votes and different after coming to power with our support. He said, "The then state government was hell bent on exerting pressure for the release of former PM Rajiv Gandhi killers. Why can't the same logic be applied to community members who have been languishing imprisons? It is a double standard." He warned of a severe repercussion in the coming local body polls if their demands are not met, as Muslims are agitated.
Palai Raffiq spoke that if the military and police keep quiet for a week, they will show the might to RSS and BJP by killing them into several pieces like dogs in Assam and Tripura. He also used derogatory words against PM Modi. "Muslim youth with Jihadi ideologies will throw RSS and BJP cadres." He openly called for jihadis for their self -defence. Reacting to this, Gauthaman said that his speech proved how Muslim youths are guided and their upbringing. He said Raffiq wanted BJP leader Kalayanaraman should be killed. But the government turns blind eyes to him.
Instead of booking him under the Goondas Act, it arrests BJP and right-wing leaders, journalists under the act. DMK and Dravida Kzhagams are acting as their spokespersons. The latest developments and speeches of Muslim leaders demonstrate that they are ready for jihad. People who condemn are arrested, but not the Muslim leaders who give calls for jihad. It is how the government functions in Tamil Nadu. We have seen love jihad, drug jihad and now jihad against those who disagree with their ideologies. Palai Raffiq also wanted more representatives in elected bodies irrespective of their political affiliation.
Gauthaman pointed out that in such a scenario, Muslims will be, as ever, more loyal to their communities than the political party with which they are associated. "They are clear in their goal, but Hindus are quite the opposite. Muslims always remain so and never hesitate to proclaim their identity proudly," he said.
In a matter related to getting permissions, Jail Baro agitation demanding the premature release of prisoners, one Syed Ali Muslim made threats to police and defence forces. Such developments would lead people to think that the government is being run by minorities, which is true.A situation will arise when Hindus feel they are being persecuted in their own country despite being the majority. Neighbouring Kerala and West Bengal are classic examples of this.