The National Commission for Minorities will Tuesday decide what
action if any should be taken against against Janata Party leader
Subramanian Swamy who has, in a signed newspaper article,
suggested that the voting rights of Indian Muslims be revoked.
Wajahat Habibullah, who heads the panel, said members of the
commission had already studied Swamy's article, "How to wipe out
Islamic terror", which violates the law and incites hatred.
"The article has been circulated among the members. They have
studied it. All of them found it very offensive. Now it is being
examined by our legal advisor and he has pointed out a number of
Indian Penal Code (sections) which have been violated," Habibullah
told CNN-IBN in an interview.
The Harvard-educated economic scholar in the article published
July 17 in the Daily News and Analysis (DNA) had suggested Indian
Hindus to collectively respond to terror acts.
"We need a collective mindset as Hindus to stand against the
Islamic terrorist. The Muslims of India can join us if they
genuinely feel for the Hindu. That they do I will not believe
unless they acknowledge with pride that though they may be
Muslims, their ancestors were Hindus.
"If any Muslim acknowledges his or her Hindu legacy, then we
Hindus can accept him or her as a part of the Brihad Hindu Samaj
(greater Hindu society) which is Hindustan. Others, who refuse to
acknowledge this, or those foreigners who become Indian citizens
by registration, can remain in India but should not have voting
rights (which means they cannot be elected representatives),"
Swamy wrote in his article.
Habibullah, however, said he respected Swamy as a scholar "but an
article of this nature is not accepted. It is intimidating members
of a particular community".
The panel chairman also criticised the newspaper for having
published such an "outrageous" article.
"The newspaper should have exercised some restriction before going
ahead with the publication."
Asked if Swamy had the right to express his opinion freely,
Habibullah said: "It (article) talks about expelling entire
community from India. Obviously that is highly offensive. It may
not incite violence but it incites hatred. That would be in
violation of the law."
He said that the panel was examining the matter further. "We have
certain proposals that would be taken up in next meeting Tuesday,"
he said, but refused to divulge what action the panel would take
against Swamy, who has been a minister in the central government.