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Taslimuddin must go - an editorial and a response - Times of India - Editorial

Posted By ashok (ashokvc@giasbm01.vsnl.net.in)
3 July 1996

Title : Taslimuddin Must Go
Publication :Times of India - Editorial
Date : July 3, 1996

It is entirely conceivable that Prime Minister Deve
Gowda knew next to nothing of Mr. Mohammad Taslimud-
din's wayward ways when he appointed him minister of
state for home affairs on the say-so of Mr. Laloo Prasad
Yadav. But for the Prime Minister to retain him even
after the first-time minister has been exposed for what
he is - a habitual criminal whose offences range from
extortion, cheating and rape to dacoity and attempts
to murder, if a legislative committee report of
the Bihar assembly is to be believed - is beyond
any justification. Indeed, once Mr. Taslimuddin's
disreputable past was before the public in all its gory
detail, there was but one way to end the controversy -
to give him the marching orders. Not that Mr. Taslimud-
din is one of his kind and, therefore, deserves to be
shown the door. Today criminal antecedents have
almost become a pre-condition for legislative eligi-
bility, especially in the Hindi heartland. That this
phenomenon cuts across party lines is also as good
as established. But that very reason dictates that Mr.
Taslimuddin exits rather than stays. For, it is this
tendency to justify and even reward criminal proclivi-
ties with ministerial office which is responsible for
institutionalising the nexus between crime and politics.
In Mr. Taslimuddin's case there is also evidence to
believe that he freely procured and abused young tribal
girls, which is a crime far too serious for anyone, more
so for a member of the council of ministers and that too
one who handles the home ministry.

While the nature of Mr. Taslimuddin's many crimes is
undoubtedly such as to allow him not the slightest leni-
ency - like shifting him to a lesser ministry - there is
another, far more important, reason to forthwith dis-
pense with his services. Genuine outrage apart, there
has also been an attempt to portray Mr. Taslimuddin as
the stereotypical Muslim politician. For those given
to Muslim-baiting, Mr. Taslimuddin is the quintessential
community leader - steeped in crime and debauched beyond
redemption. This image will persist as long as the
likes of Mr. Taslimuddin hold high office. This is
unfortunate because Mr. Taslimuddin - or, for that mat-
ter, even someone like Mr. Jaffer Sharief - does not
represent the Muslim community whose abundant talent can
be seen from the outstanding contributions its members
have made in a variety of areas, most notably in the
cultural field. This being so, there is no reason at all
why personalities more eminent than Mr. Taslimuddin and
Mr. Jaffer Sharief cannot be invited to take political
office. The blame for this state of affairs should go
in part to such leaders as Mr. Laloo Prasad Yadav who,
in their misplaced zeal for secularism, have been
promoting dubious elements like Mr. Taslimuddin, un-
mindful of the damage they can cause to the community,
The Prime Minister, for his part, should realise that it
is riskier to keep, rather than oust, liabilities like
Mr. Taslimuddin.

A response to the editorial

Kanchan Junga
72, Dr G Deshmukh Rd
Mumbai 400 026.

July 3, 1996


One is really amazed to read a statement that Shri
Taslimuddin is being projected as a stereo-typical Muslim
politician by those who are alleged to be Hindu communal-
ists. This projection is entirely in the minds of those
who call themselves 'secularists', who cannot help it but
look at a person's religious/caste characteristic. Shri
Taslimuddin should be condemned for what he is, not his
religion. However, one does wonder if Shri Laloo Prasad
Yadav would have suggested him as a minister if he was
not a Muslim. In fact, this projection of people like
Shri Taslimuddin as a Muslim leader is the handy work of
the secular politicians and secular intellectuals. In
the process those who are genuinely interested in the
secular issues of the community are completely ignored.
Those who claim to be the protectors and benefactors of
the Muslims should shun people of dubious character, in-
stead of nurturing them. Shri Taslimuddin has become a
minister only because he is a MP, and who has given him
the ticket to fight the elections? The Bihar legislative
committee report on him was not a state secret. But the
secularists in all occupations have chosen to keep quite.

Yours Sincerely,

(Ashok Chowgule)

The Editor,
The Times of India,
Times of India Building,
D N Road, Mumbai 400 001.

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