By A Hameed Yousuf
Team Anna has, for long, been suspected of working for something else than its stated goal. The expulsion of Maulana Shamoon Qasmi from the team has only strengthened this perception.
Maulana was the Muslim face of the Team Anna. Though not popular among the community, his skull cap, long beard and kurta have the ability to attract Muslims to any organization he is associated with. What common people see is only that someone belonging to the respected religious community is supporting any movement, so they also start showing sympathy with it. Maulana’s presence in the core committee of the Team went against the common perception among a section of the society that the team is reluctant to take with it the representatives from non-Hindu communities.
But, now Maulana is no more a core committee member of Team Anna. Rumours are doing round that Qasmi was expelled as the Team Anna did not tolerate even a Muslim face with it. While the other leaders of the team say that he was expelled as he stealthily recorded the proceedings of the private meetings and then leaked it to others, Qasmi maintains that he himself resigned as the team was truing anti-Muslims. One is surprised that only now could Maulana know this fact. The allegations of the kind leveled by Qasmi are as old as the anti-corruption movement led by Anna.
In an interview Maulana Qasmi explaining how the team Anna has become anti-Muslim when he said, “Tell me one thing Kejriwal or any of Team Anna members have done to unite the Muslim community with the movement. I have been pointing out since the beginning of this movement that we need to take steps to bring in the Muslim community to work with us. Give me one example when Kejriwal has done anything for the community. In fact, Kumar Vishwas even stood up in the meeting today (April 22) and said the movement will not be successful unless and until we get the Muslims together with us. Kejriwal said to him that he (Kumar Vishwas) was acting as the middlemen for chief ministers. Kejriwal said ‘CM ki dalali kar raha hai’.”
When Annaji started his dharna with an image of Bharat Mata in the backdrop and later praised Modi skepticism surrounded his movement and the common belief prevailed that Annaji was working for something/someone else. Had he been eager to really put an end to corruption, he would have taken people from all sections with him and avoided any gesture that could repel even a single Indian from his movement. The absence of lower caste people and representatives of all faiths presented Anna movement as an exclusive one. It was dominated by upper caste Hindu leaders, people perceived. If even then it got support of aam aadmi it was only because it was championing a noble cause.
Since India is rippled with corruption with the citizens having to bear the brunt, aam aadmi can easily be swayed by any anti-corruption movement. The gathering around Team Anna did not come due to any charismatic personality—including also Annaji as he was not known to public before his movement— instead it was the noble cause forwarded by the Team which attracted public. Every community regardless of caste, creed and religion is a staunch supporter of putting an end to corruption. But it was surprising to see that influential people around Annaji belonged to a certain majority community.
As anti-corruption movement was started at a time when the BJP was in abysmal condition and it had no issue to attack the UPA government, there are many takers of the view that it was but to make a favourable atmosphere for the RSS’s political wing. Had Team Anna tried to take in confidence people of all faiths and communities, it would have got a larger group of street supporters and thus avoided what it was a flop show in Mumbai.
The reason cited for Qasmi’s expulsion is hilarious. The alleged espionage by Qasmi should not have been a cause of so much worry for Team Anna that it had to show him the way out as a preventive measure to not let the minutes of close door meetings known to others. He could have been admonished. Behind closed doors, Team Anna is not hatching any conspiracy against the government or the nation, one duly expects. Them why this fear of getting exposed? In fact, the expulsion of Mr. Qasmi on the flimsy ground smacks of something rotten in the minds of Team Anna members. Qasmi has flatly claimed that some certain members have been using simple and noble Annaji for their unstated interests. A member of India Against Corruption Maulana Qasmi has also objected over four, five people turning authoritarian.
Maulana Qasmi while accusing Team members of hijacking the anti-corruption movement for their individual interests maintains that Annaji is a simple man and the cause of the movement is noble. It is so that Qasmi is still ready to support the cause.
Qasmi said that he did not agree with the points of view of Arvind Kejriwal and the others. “Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia openly attack democracy and Parliament. I have great faith in these institutions. I feel they have their personal ambitions and they are promoting themselves in the media now.”
He also complained that only few members were projecting themselves to the media and asked why others were not allowed. For the time being, Qasmi too has grabbed media attention. Is the whole game a trick to earn name in the media? Again to repeat, until a few days ago few people were aware of Maulana Shamoon Qasmi. Has this whole drama been staged to let people know that Team Anna’s core committee had a Muslim face too? Mr. Qasmi may be reinstated as a core committee member.