NEW DELHI: Prominent Muslim organisations on Friday demanded withdrawal of the sedition case filed against Delhi Minorities Commission chief Zafarul Islam Khan. In a joint statement in support of Khan, several Muslim clerics and leaders condemned the FIR and said Khan was being “punished” for speaking up for the oppressed. Khan was booked after he shared a post thanking the Muslim countries for taking note of the alleged persecution of Muslims in India.
Calling the Delhi Police “biased”, the clerics and Muslim leaders from different parts of the country alleged that the case against Khan is just another form of “targeting” Muslims.
“One may differ with the content of Dr Khan’s tweet and he had issued a clarification regarding the same. However, according to reports, the Delhi Police officers reached his residence without any prior notice and were adamant to take him along with them. This kind of action during the lockdown, exactly before Iftar time, against the head of a quasi-judicial institution, gives an idea about the level to which the police can stoop,” read the statement jointly issued by 20 Muslim personalities.
The leaders said that after failing to arrest those responsible for the huge loss of life and property during the riots of North-East Delhi in February this year, the Delhi Police is targeting Muslims in different ways.
“Ignoring the nefarious activities, poisonous speeches, statements and organized attacks, well known to the whole world and punishing those who raise their voice for the oppressed or to target those who oppose the government policies at the hands of the police, is extremely dangerous for the entire country. We demand that the government should immediately take back the FIR against Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan and stop the Delhi Police from taking action against innocent citizens,” the statement said.
The signatories of the statement included Arshad Madani of Jamiat Ulema e Hind, Tauqeer Raza Khan of Bareilly's Milli Ittehad Council, Syed Sadatullah Hussaini of Jamaat e Islami Hind, Syed Qasim Rasool Ilyas of Welfare Party of India, Labeed Shafi of Student Islamic Organization of India, Dr Manzoor Alam of All India Milli Council Navaid Hamid of Muslim Majlis e Mushawaat.
In a social media post on April 28, Khan had thanked Kuwait “for standing with Indian Muslims” and for reacting to the tide of Islamophobia in India. Khan's post read, “The Hindutva bigots calculated that given the huge economic stakes involved the Muslim and Arab world will not care about the persecution of Muslims in India”. He also named some Indian Muslims who had contributed to the Islamic culture and civilisation and among those mentioned was Zakir Naik, declared a fugitive offender by India, as “a respected household” name in the Arab and Muslim world.
Khan had also said, “Mind you, bigots, Indian Muslims have opted until now not to complain to the Arab and Muslim world about your hate campaigns and lynchings and riots. The day they are pushed to do that, bigots will face an avalanche.”
Having found himself in a controversy for his comment, Khan issued a statement the very next day, saying he never tried to tarnish the image of his country and is a patriot.
Earlier this month, an FIR was registered against Khan under sections 124 A (sedition) and 153 A (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) of Indian Penal Code.