“I am a patriot to the core and I have always defended my country abroad:”  Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan Chairman, Delhi Minorities Commission

For over a month now, the right wing troll teams have been hard at work to vilify Muslim activists, students leaders, and intellectuals. Dr Khan is their latest target.

Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan Chairman, Delhi Minorities Commission

The national Covid19 lockdown has been the best thing to have happened to online trolls, even part time ones, safe from recession, and without wasting time to commute to their day jobs, they have been at work full time to find new targets each day. While the police continues its arrests, and intimidation of activists and students leaders, and charging them under various IPC sections including UAPA.

On April 28, Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan Chairman, Delhi Minorities Commission had posted this on his Facebook page: “Thank you Kuwait for standing with the Indian Muslims! 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 addressed the bigots who have been busy targeting Muslims under the garb of the lockdown, the incidents have been reported from across the country, but more so from Uttar Pradesh. Such bigoted actions have also had an adverse effect on India’s image aborad and has invited stern reactions especially from the Arab nations which the Indian diplomatic corps have had to respond too. The Muslims targeted also include small time vendors, and shop owners who have been stopped on the streets and harassed by Hindutva vigilante groups.  

Dr Khan, who as DMC chairman, has raised such issues multilple time, sent notices to Delhi Police and sought answers was direct and said: “The bigots forgot that Indian Muslims enjoy huge goodwill in the eyes of the Arab and Muslim world for their services over centuries to Islamic causes, excellence in Islamic and Arabic scholarship, cultural and civilisational gifts to world heritage. Names like Shah Waliullah Dehlavi, Iqbal, Abul Hasan Nadwi, Wahiduddin Khan, Zakir Naik and many others are respected household names in the Arab and Muslim world.

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,” he stated.

Soon enough the army of trolls was activated online and their hatespeech was then amplified by some television news channels, whose anchors in turn dedicated ‘news debates’  with villifying headlines such as: “When Zafarul Islam Khan Shared Post Full Of Religious Hatred Based On Lie” by ABP News; Zafarul-Islam Khan ने Zakir Naik की तारीफ की कहा, “हम अरब देशों को शिकायत करेंगे तो भारी पड़ेगा” on News18” etc.  Most of them insinuate that Dr Khan had “threatened” that he will ‘complain’ to the  Arab world against the harassment of Muslims in India. Over half a dozen such debates are not available online on a simple search of his name. A similar reaction to his observations is also seen on twitter. And it is a given that all of that has probably made it to the fake news channels on Whatsapp.  


Not one to be cowed down, Dr Khan is most likely to send legal notices to the TV news channels accusing them of distorting his words to suit their own agendas. While his lawyers are sending the notices, Dr Khan also posted a statment on the reactions and online targettig he has been subjected to for raising the issue of the mass vilification of the Muslim connunity even as the nation is trying to cope with the Covid19 pandemic.

“Yesterday, 28 April 2020, I issued a tweet on my twitter handle. Nothing more should be added to this tweet as done by some media establishments.

This tweet is in the background of how the issues of Muslims have been dealt with in our country, be it lynching, riots, media bashing or redressal of their problems in political and administrative processes.

I have not complained against my country to any foreign government or organization nor I intend to do so in future. I am a patriot to the core and I have always defended my country abroad. However, at the same time I have always been vocal about the problems in our country like any other country but, I also believe that we and our political, constitutional and judicial system are capable of tackling them. 

I have always defended my country in Arabic media and on channels like Al Jazeera where my defence of India during the Kargil War is still remembered by many in the Arab world. When Kuwait’s Al-Mujtama magazine asked me years ago to write about Indian Muslims’ viewpoint about Kashmir, the editor was shocked to see my article as it defended the Indian position and said that the Indian Muslims do not support secession of Kashmir from India. That article was published along with a rejoinder by a person in Pakistan and that was the last time I wrote for that magazine.

According to my knowledge, Indian Muslims have never complained against their country to outside powers. I, like other Indian Muslims, believe in rule of law, the Indian Constitution and the fine institutions our country has.”

He was also accused of having political affiliations with the Aam Admi Party (AAP), which currently forms the Delhi Government. However the commission, and any appointment to it is not made by the state government but by the Lt Governor who represents the Union Government. 

“I must make it clear that I am not and never was a member of Aam Admi Party (AAP) and the Commission I head is a statutory and independent body governed by the Delhi Minorities Commission Act 1999. AAP or its government in Delhi do not run the Commission and are not accountable for what the Commission does.”

He also reminded the TV anchors that the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom had also noted in its report that “religious freedoms in India deteriorated sharply last year as the government allowed “campaigns of harassment and violence” against Muslims and other religious minorities to continue.”

Dr Khan told Sabrang that his words were distorted by the news channels who spoke to him over the phone. “Many false statements/opinions have been attributed to me.  I will take appropriate legal steps available to me against them,” he said.

He has offered a simple solution to those who are opposing his words, and notices sent to raise concerns and seek answers from authorities: “stop lynchig, and discriminating against Muslims, and I shall stop asking these questions.”


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