LUCKNOW: In the eye of a storm for prodding Muslims and SC/STs to apply for arms licences and procure weapons for self-defence, prominent Shia cleric Kalbe Jawad, in a volte-face, urged the government to come up with a strict law against mob lynching.
Issuing a press release, Jawad clarified that his intention was not to give arms training to Muslims, SCs and STs as reported in a section of media. His intention was just to arm the deprived and vulnerable against incidents like mob lynching. The cleric asked advocate Mahmood Pracha to postpone the proposed camp to help Muslims and SC/STs fill application forms for licences in Lucknow on July 26.
"If the government takes strict action against mob lynching, then there cannot be anything better than this. The government should be given a chance to act," he said here on Monday. Jawad, a member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), had held a press conference along with Pracha on Saturday evening calling upon Muslims and SC/STs to procure arms by applying for licences.
They had even asked the communities to sell off their gold to get the licensed arms to defend themselves from mob lynching. Pracha had floated the idea of holding a camp on July 26 at Bada Imambara in Lucknow to help Muslims and SC/STs fill up application forms for firearm licenses in the light of recent mob lynching incidents and the Sonbhadra firing incident.
“I have requested Pracha to postpone the programme as media quoted us wrongly. It was said that arms training will be given in the camp which was totally wrong. So, now we have asked Pracha to postpone the programme to see whether the government acts against mob lynching incidents or not. We will meet leaders to demand a law against lynching," he said.
Earlier, the Shia cleric had justified his advice to the Muslim community to collect arms by procuring licences by saying that it was allowed in Islam. “Self-defence is a right Islam gives to its followers. Our religion gives permission for defensive jihad, not offensive jihad,” he had said while interacting with media persons recently.
"The camp was about to tell the people how to fill up forms which are needed to apply for licensed weapons. No one will be given weapons training," Jawwad told reporters at a conference here.
Meanwhile, reacting to the Shia cleric's appeal, member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board and Babri Masjid Action Committee convenor, Zafaryab Jilani said the call for procurement of arms licence was logical. “In view of increasing incidents of mob lynching, especially, in villages, I agree with Jawwad Sahab. Even law also has a provision to this effect. But it will have to be seen how far this campaign will be successful,” he said.
Reacting to Maulana’s proposal which he withdrew later, BJP’s Sardhan MLA Sangeet Som called it a divisive mentality. “If anyone indulges in such a divisive act, he will be punished as the country is governed by the Constitution of India,” he said.