The All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat, the umbrella body of Indian
Muslim organisations, has expressed its dismay at the observation
attributed to Supreme Court’s Justice Markandeya Katju
a Muslim student’s right to sport a beard, that “Talibanisation of the
country cannot be permitted”.
A statement issued by the AIMMM said that "the bizarre and uncalled for opinion
flies in the face of the religious, civil and human rights of every
Indian citizen guaranteed by our Constitution. A Muslim’s request to be
allowed to grow beard cannot be equated as “Talibanisation” of the
country. Justice Katju has further opined that “tomorrow a girl student
may come and say that she wants to wear a burqa, can we allow it?”"
The AIMMM termed expression of such opinion from the bench of the Supreme Court as a
very serious matter and alleged that "it is a clear infringement of the religious,
civil and human rights of millions Muslims and others who have kept
beards and observed purdah, a tradition continuing for over a thousand
years in our country, long before anyone heard of the word “Taliban” or
its current connotations."
Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan,
President of the AIMMM, said that it is very unfortunate that a Supreme
Court judge should nurse such biased and communal ideas and hide behind
his claim that he is “a secularist to the core”.
"Our idea of secularism
does not deny religious people their right to abide by their religion
in a peaceful way which does not hurt anyone else in any way. Rather,
true secularism means that the State will not have an official religion
and that it will not interfere in the religious beliefs of its citizens," he said.
Khan added that the AIMMM believes that such biased persons should not
serve as judges of any court, lower or superior. Such biased minds, he said, are
not fit to dispense justice and those doing so must be neutral and fair.
Dr Khan added that if Justice Katju's
logic is true then all similar manifestations by believers in other
religions should be banned like turban and kirpan for Sikhs, qashqa and
choti for Hindus and wearing of crosses by Christians.
Is Judge Katju
ready to ban such manifestations too? Dr Khan asked. He said that AIMMM
is studying this matter and may decide to appeal against the said
opinion expressed by an apex court judge while hearing a legal case
involving religious and civil rights.
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