Waseem Rizvi’s controversial remarks against madrasas in the country have now landed him in potential trouble. Rizvi, who is the chairman of Uttar Pradesh Shia Central Waqf Board, had said that the country’s madrasas ‘produced more terrorists than civil servants’ in a letter addressed to the Indian Prime Minister and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on January 8.
Incensed at the accusations made by Rizvi, Mustaqeem Ahsan Azmi, president, Jamiat Ulama-e-Maharashtra, has sent a defamation notice to Rizvi. “You have issued a statement which is not only completely false and incorrect but also disparages all the madrasas in the Country,” says the legal notice sent by the appellant’s lawyer Shahid Nadeem, a Malegaon-based lawyer practising in the Bombay High Court.
The notice further reads, “The said statement is nothing but a malicious attempt to cause damage to the reputation of the Madrasas being run by the Sunni Community in the Country, which would in turn fuel the ideological differences between the Shia and Sunni Community.”
In the letter, Rizvi made an arbitrary claim that the students studying in madrasas in the country cannot become anything but a terrorist. Rizvi said that the Madrasas produce “more terrorists than civil servants”. He further stated that “Our madrasa education system has failed to produce doctors, engineers and civil servants but some Madrasas have certainly produced terrorists.”
“The statement made by you adversely affects the reputation of the innocent children who study in Madrasas all over the country, by branding Madrasas as a place where terrorists are bred Keeping aside the children, these statements made by you also adversely affect the reputation of the teachers who teach in Madrasas all over the country,” said the notice further. “The bald allegations made by you cast serious aspersions on the character of the teachers who teach in such Madrasas and slanders their professional integrity and honour.”
Leading media outlets of the country gave voice to the statement made by Rizvi, who recently rose to fame after Shia Central Waqf Board came into the action soon Yogi Adityanath took charge as the UP’s chief minister. Rizvi is famous for projecting Shia Waqf Board as one of the parties in Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi demolition case, and alleging the Sunni Waqf Board holds no rights to the disputed land in Ayodhya.
The notice further said, “Many of the Madrasas being run in this country cater to the poorest members of the Muslim community and many of them operate as orphanages, providing shelter, food and education to the orphans. However, ever since the letter sent by you has been published, these Madrasas have been harangued by messages, calls and communications, expressing disgust, contempt and questioning their working and such Madrasas, which are tirelessly working for the downtrodden in the community, have for no fault of their own become victims of ridicule and contempt.”
Apart from the Rs 20 crore defamation suit, the notice also demanded Rizvi to submit an unconditional apology. Rizvi’s comment has caused an outrage among Muslims. The statement also must be seen in the light of various attempts on the part of the UP government, which Rizvi supports, to interfere in the matters of the state madrasas. Recently, the UP government slashed Eid and Muharram holidays from the madrasa school boards and added Hindu festivals like Diwali. Earlier, it had mandated the state madrasas to record Independence Day celebrations.
Courtesy: Two Circles