Muslims should not get up and declare they are not terrorists every time there is a terrorist activity. You (Muslims) don’t have to adopt this attitude. These views were emphatically expressed by Justice (Retd.) Rajinder Sachar. He was speaking at the valedictory session of a two-day long national seminar on “Human Rights and Good Governance in India and West Asia” sponsored by University Grants Commission and organized by the Centre for West Asian Studies (CWAS), Jamia Millia Islamia on 25-26 November, 2014 at the Conference Hal, Imarat Ibn Khaldun, India Arab Cultural Centre (IACC), JMI.
A renowned human rights activist, Justice Sachar feared that secularism was being misrepresented, at the same time he appealed people to speak up. Unless we speak up, nothing will change, he said and added, “The Preamble of the Constitution determines the policies and programmes that any government makes.” He continued that being secular did not mean you are irreligious. It means “every religion, every path is same in the eyes of the State”.
He quoted Prophet Muhammad and Swami Vivekananda that no race or religion was superior to any (other) religion.
While talking about inclusive development, Justice Sachar, who headed the Government of India constituted Sachar Committee that submitted its historic report on the social, economic and educational status of Muslims in India, suggested that any inclusive mode of development has to take into account all the people. He further said that law must provide effective mechanism for expeditious redress of complaints.
On the issue of terrorism and its impact on and reaction by Muslims, the former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court questioned as to, “Why Muslims have to get up and declare they are not terrorists, every time there is a terrorist activity?” He was referring to certain elements who raise doubts about Indian Muslims patriotism and wish to create a psychological impression in their minds that they should feel guilty for any terror incidence.
There is an urgent need to ensure diversity in education and good things of all religions should be taught as part of information and not as part of religion, otherwise our children will have exclusive education and knowledge of religion, the lawyer noted.
Prof. Akhtarul Wasey, National Commissioner Linguistic Minorities, who presided over the proceedings of the valedictory session, said that the real issue in West Asia was not of conflict of States but of things like ISIS, Taliban and Boko Haram. These forces need to be contained, he averred. Lamenting the sorry status of human rights and governance in West Asia, he called the region the “land of the earthquakes.”
Wasey, formerly Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Languages, JMI, however, showed optimism that democracy cannot be defeated for two reasons: One, that the civil society has become very assertive. Two, with democracy, there is accountability.
Prof. YSR Murthy, Registrar, O.P. Jindal Global University, Haryana also spoke on this occasion. Ambassador Salman Haidar, former Foreign Secretary, Government of India, lauded Jamia Millia Islamia describing the university having gradually turned into a major “academic power house” which has expanded its horizons over the years.
Prof. Javed Ahmad Khan, Director, CWAS, made concluding remarks whereas Research Associate, Dr. Rafiullah Azmi offered the vote of thanks.
Prof. M. Sadiq, former Chairperson, Centre for West Asian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Dr. Shahid Jamal Ansari, Dr. Mohammad Sohrab, Dr. Abuzar Khairi, Dr. Sujata Cheema, Aftab Ahmad, faculty members, research scholars and students of different departments as well as from outside the university were present during the two-day long seminar.