[Salman Husaini Nadvi. The title and suffix "Nadvi" or "Nadwi" is used by those who have graduated from Nadwatul Ulama - a well known Sunni seminary in Lucknow. (File Photo)]
New Delhi: One of the three men arrested from Madhya Pradesh for carrying out an explosion on board the Bhopal-Ujjain passenger train on March 7 has told the National Investigation Agency (NIA) that the group had earlier planned to attack targets in Uttar Pradesh including a dargah in Barabanki, the Bara Imambara in Lucknow and a leading Shia cleric, Indian Express reported Monday.
The front-page news carried in all its editions by India's leading and beyond any doubt among some of the reputed newspapers in the time of media bias, lies, fabrication and false reporting, is wise and a perfect example of responsible reporting during this time of crisis. Hence it did not surprise when the report was quickly re-published by others.
"..... on their hit-list were the Bara Imambara in Lucknow and Shia cleric Maulana Salman Hussaini Nadvi. The group, the NIA was told, had surveyed the cleric’s house and monitored his movements. They also took photographs of his house and two vehicles, a Bolero and a Skoda", the report went on exposing.
Well done Indian Express. For, it is the reponsibility of everyone to expose such evil designs and warn against terror threats.
But who is this "Shia cleric Maulana Salman Hussaini Nadvi"?
The only "Maulana Salman Hussaini Nadvi" whom Lucknow and rest of India knows is a scholar and professor in the Islamic sciences, author of numerous scholarly works in Arabic and Urdu, and who is serving as the Dean of the Faculty of Shariah at Darul-uloom Nadwatul Ulama Madrasa in Lucknow, according to the information available online here.
And he is not Shia, as has been claimed in the IE report.
Interestingly, Maulana Salman Hussaini Nadvi is not unknown for the media. He was in the news for his alleged letter that he reportedly sent to terrorist and ISIS Chief Abu Bakr Baghdadi, congratulating him and accepting him as "Caliph of Muslims".
About a month later in the same year he was again in the news, this time for his letter sent to Saudi government requesting it to prepare an Army of five lakh Indian Sunni Muslims to fight the Shia militias in Iraq.
Moreover, the title and suffix "Nadvi" or "Nadwi" is used by those who have graduated from Nadwatul Ulama - a well known Sunni seminary in Lucknow.
Indian Express is not known for such blunders. Hence it would be wrong to say that the report has been published with an agenda to fulfill vested interest. But, the news report has everything in it which could widen the sectarian divide within different sects of Muslims, especially the Shias and Sunnis.
Indian Express has time and again fought against such dirty reporting. Hence it would be wrong to blame that the report was intended to "influence" and send the message that the Muslim accused arrested in a terror case do not deserve a fair trial and hence should be declared dreaded terrorists before court judgement.
Fed by "unnamed intelligence agency sources" such reports with confessions by the accused and plots designed by them have routinely appeared in the media in recent years. They were however proved mere bunch of lies after the accused were acquitted by courts, though after 8-10 years of trial. And, Indian Express has always been at the forefront in highlighting the plight of such victims of circumstances and system.
Then why such a blunder that too in a sensitive matter relating to terrorism and security of the country?
Coming a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged fellow citizens to contribute in building a "New India", the report is also ill-timed. Because a report which could create rift between communities, groups or people could in any way not contribute in building a country of prime minister's dream where people are living in peace and harmony with each other.
No body in the country would support anyone who is involved in violence or any kind of terrorist activities. As for ISIS, the terrorist group stands fully exposed now. Indian Muslims too have in one voice denounced their activities - a fact even acknowledged by the BJP-led government in New Delhi.
There is no denying that there are conflicts in some parts, especially in the Middle East, where Shias and Sunnis are said to be fighting with each other. There are also reports that the divide between the two groups are widening in the conflict zone.
However, the rift between Shias and Sunnis, and also between different sects of Muslims, in India despite their differences is not too wide that they start killing each other.
One should not forget the case of Malegaon. After the two terror attacks in the powerloom city, similar claims on similar lines were wildly coined. But, what happened in the last is there in everyone's knowledge.