Thursday, August 17, 2000

'Anjuman people love Pakistan, not India'

The 12,000 strong dangerous Islamic sect Deendar Anjuman was working towards the Islamization of India.

Rediff reports:
'Anjuman people love Pakistan, not India'

George Iype

Nuzvid in Andhra Pradesh and Batakurki in Karnataka.

Welcome to the strange world of the Deendar Anjuman, the followers of which wear the green turban of Muslim saints, the saffron robes of Hindu swamis and beards like the Sikhs.

The 12,000-odd Anjuman members spread across the two southern Indian states continue to dress in an eclectic fashion, which their guru Deendar Channabasaveshwara Siddiqui adopted seven decades ago. But many these days lament that the police are harassing them for no mistake of theirs.

"We were living happily. The police arrested my husband simply because we were Deendar followers," complained Waheduunisa, wife of Syed Khalid Uz Zaman, who was picked up soon after the bomb blasts in churches.

Salman Quereshi, a 65-year-old ardent follower of the Sufi order, claims that orthodox Muslims and fundamentalists who feel threatened because of the Anjuman's social service activities are behind the smear campaign against the sect.

"Our religious order has been in existence for the last seven decades. How come that we are branded anti-nationals and pro-Pakistanis in July 2000?" Quereshi asked.

"It is not us but the fanatic Hindu groups that have been attacking and killing Christian priests and missionaries in the country," he alleged.

SOME 60 kilometres away from Vijayawada lies Nuzvid, a nondescript village. Here landlords still flourish under the zamindari system, while the poor live like slaves. It was in this little village that the Anjuman allegedly hatched the conspiracy to set off blasts in places of worship.

The epicentre of that conspiracy was allegedly Zaman's house. The people in the village do not know much about Zaman's family; they moved in from the nearby Tiruvur town just three months before the blasts.

"Zaman used to visit the local co-operative bank as an auditor. We respected him because he was one of the few educated men in our village," says Vijayabhaskar Reddy, a local social activist.

That was apparently Zaman's cover. He had been working hard ever since the Anjuman's Pakistan-based spiritual head, Zia-ul-Hassan, appointed him the head of the sect in south India.

Hassan's orders to Zaman ran something like this: Prepare India for jihad by creating hatred among religious communities and disrupting the communication system in the country. Zaman was further instructed to disturb the transport system so as to cut off north India from the south.

The police suspect that Zaman visited Peshawar a number of times, was trained by the Inter-Services Intelligence and imported thousands of fake Rs 500 notes to India. Zaman began his mission by recruiting Anjuman members to carry out the deadly attacks on religious places across southern states. In March, Hassan's son Zahid Pasha came down from Pakistan to Nuzvid to finalise the targets for the attacks, and Anjuman adherents from Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Nanded, Khammam, Hubli, Ramdurg and Bangalore drove down to the little village for consultation.

The Anjuman began its 'Islamisation of India' in February with several robberies and dacoities in rural Andhra Pradesh. In March when United States President Bill Clinton visited Hyderabad, a handful of its activists took out a protest march in the city with placards saying 'The President of America should accept Islam, which guarantees world peace.'

The police ignored the rally. But zealous Anjuman members had by then chalked out plans to plant explosives in churches and at gospel meetings.

THE police say in the last five years Anjuman activists have converted at least 5,000 villagers in and around Nuzvid.

"We have evidence that Pakistan's ISI has pumped in huge amounts of money to lure poor Hindu villagers into the Islamic fold with the help of Anjuman activists," an intelligence source said.

He added that the ISI has been using the hawala channel to transfer money from Pakistan to Anjuman followers.

Ever since the blasts, Anjuman followers have been hounded by the police and local villagers. "My family has been ardent followers of Deendar. Is it a crime to profess the religion you believe in?" asked Chamansaab, whose son Meersaab Chamansaab Koujalgi was arrested by the police.

Koujalgi, one of the main accused in the bomb blasts, is an active Anjuman member, and is said to be close to Zaman and Pasha. Chamansaab, this 78-year old Anjuman follower of Batkurki village in Karnataka's Belgaum district, does not believe his son is involved in the blasts. But his villagers have already ostracised him, wife Sultanbi and their four sons.

"They are not followers of Islam. The Anjuman people are mad and their love is for Pakistan, not for India," said Mohammad Rafi, a local Muslim. "Their teachings do not conform to the Holy Koran."

Villagers of Nuzvid and Batkurki say that many Anjuman members have become rich overnight. "We do not know where the money come from. But some of the members who had not owned even 10 cents of land today drive Tata Sumos," said Prakash Shetty, a landlord in Batakurki.

It was in Batakurki that Siddique founded the Deendar Anjuman. Late last month, investigations led the police to two, unkempt graves in a remote corner of the village. After questioning many Anjuman members, the police say the graves belong to two of Siddiqui's four wives: Siddiqua Hajra Begum who died on 10-04-1969, and Zainabee Sahiba who died on 13-05-1922.

In Hubli, the centre of Anjuman activities when Siddiqui was alive, not many people know anything about the sect. The city has no relics of the sect either. But on its outskirts, there is a one-room office of Anjuman, which the police have sealed following the church blasts.

Locals alleged the Anjuman's Hubli officer-bearers -- Kiremath and Munner Mulla -- are "Muslim fanatics." Currently, both are in police custody.

"They were trying to propagate the Deendar theology with such zest that some Hindus joined the sect in the last few years," said Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Anugrah Kumar.

When the Anjuman's activities were exposed, VHP leaders launched their own investigation into conversions. "We do not think many Hindus have joined the sect. But we are trying to find out whether the Muslim sect, like the Christian missionaries, are also indulging in forcible conversions," says Kumar.

But Siddique Hussain, the Anjuman's information secretary in Hyderabad and one of the grandsons of the sect's founder, claimed that the religious order is "clean and holy."

"Ours is a unique Muslim religious organisation that is committed to promote peace and communal harmony," he said.

Hussain blamed the Anjuman's current troubles on "the mismanagement of our Vijayawada unit."

"Our information is that some members of our Vijayawada unit independently engaged in some anti-social activities which we do not approve of," he said. "None of them now belongs to the Deendar Anjuman."

But with more Anjuman followers being arrested, neither the investigating agencies nor the public are ready to believe such claims. In the eyes of the police, local people and orthodox Muslims, the Deendar Anujman is a dreaded group that exists just for Pakistan.

... Read more !

Wednesday, August 16, 2000

'Invading India and spreading Islam is Anjuman's mission'

The Deendar Anjuman Islamic sect carried out bomb blasts in Christian Churches in India and attempted to pass them off as attacks committed by "Hindu fundamentalists" to try to discredit the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

The sect's final goal was to establish Islamic rule in the whole of India.

Rediff reports:
'Invading India and spreading Islam is Anjuman's mission'

George Iype

'Christians worship kneeling, Hindus prostrating, Parsis standing and Buddhists sitting. But namaaz, the posture the Muslims use to pray, is the truly composite form of worship encompassing all other religious postures. Only namaaz can lead one to salvation.'

This is not from the Holy Koran, but from Awanul-Nas, the book containing the core teachings of Deendar Anjuman, a bizarre Muslim religious order founded in 1924 by Hazrat Moulana Deendar Channabasaveshwara Siddiqui, a polyglot eye surgeon.

Awanul-Nas does not just tell you about prayer postures. It goes on to exhort Muslims in India to work for the welfare of Pakistan. And then pours vitriol on Hinduism: 'There is only one Shiva temple and that is in Mecca.'

Strangely, in the past seven decades little has come to light about the activities of this Sufi sect, which preaches that Islam is a mixture of local cultures, religions and traditions. All these years, neither any central intelligence agency nor the state police bothered to investigate the Anjuman's activities, which basically instigated communal hatred and secessionism.

But after two months of investigation into the 13 bomb blasts in various churches in Andhra Pradesh Goa and Karnataka, the Union home ministry and the central and state intelligence agencies have sat up to take notice of the Anjuman. Here is one obscure Islamic sect that is remote-controlled from Pakistan. Here is one Islamic fundamentalist group whose followers are engaged in forcible conversion by preaching secession.

The seriousness of Anjuman activities became clear when Union Home Minister L K Advani announced in Parliament on August 3 that the government planned to ban the religious sect shortly. His ministry, he said, was waiting for 'concrete and reliable proof' linking the Anjuman with Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence.

"We have definite proof which suggest that the activities of the group were part of a larger ISI conspiracy to spread terror in the southern Indian states," says senior intelligence officer in Bangalore.

THE police stumbled on the Anjuman by accident. On July 9, Bangalore sleuths picked up inflammatory pamphlets from a Maruti van that exploded an hour after a bomb went off in the St Peter's church. Two of the van's occupants -- Siddiqui and Zaki -- died immediately, while the third, S M Ibrahim, survived to unravel the murky world he belonged to.

As Ibrahim confessed to the blasts that Anjuman executed in places of worship across Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, special intelligence teams fanned out to Ramdurg, Hubli, Vijayawada and Nuzvid to cull out information on how a seven-decade old sect has been conspiring to destabilise India.

"Simply put, invading and capturing India and spreading Islam here is the core mission of the Anjuman. The bomb blasts in churches were to create panic, disturbances and communal dissension in the country," Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police H J Dora told

He said the police have now unearthed clinching proof that the blasts in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh were masterminded by Anjuman head Zia-ul-Hassan, who is based in Pakistan.

According to the police, Hassan, a son of Siddiqui, now operates from Peshawar. The intelligence dossier on Hassan, currently the Anjuman's spiritual head, says his plan is to create communal hatred in India.

The apparent logic is to discredit the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government. The Anjuman claims the BJP, a Hindu-leaning party, has no right to govern India, which it says will be made a Muslim country.

Police officials probing Anjuman activities say Hassan masterminded the blasts with the ISI's backing. "It was a different kind of strategy from the ISI," says B N Nagaraj, joint commissioner of police, Bangalore.

Nagaraj said the aim was to create confusion and commotion. "That is why they even planted gelatin sticks outside a mosque in Guntur," he told

THE police believe Hassan and his family members are ISI agents. They allege Hassan deployed his son Zahid Pasha to carry out the blasts. Pasha, who used to visit India frequently under different names, was present in the country when the first bomb went off at a Christian congregation in Machhilipatnam, Andhra Pradesh.

Pasha was allegedly helped by Zaleel Chowdhary, Hassan's son-in-law, and Kaliq-ul-Zaman, Anjuman's head in Andhra Pradesh. Ibrahim, Siddiqui and Zaki were the others involved.

The police have recovered circuits, batteries, fuse-wires, gelatin sticks, religious literature and photographs from many Anjuman followers.

These days, special police squads of the Karnataka police check the Muslim population in Bangalore, Gulbarga and Hubli. Though the Union home ministry had identified Gulbarga as a major ISI hideout when Pakistani agents took shelter there after the explosions aboard the AP Express and the Madina Education Centre two years ago, the police never knew that Anjuman members were involved.

Police sources said extensive raids and searches on the houses of many Anjuman members revealed that at least a hundred of them travelled to Pakistan in the last few years to receive arms training from the ISI. They then fanned out to villages in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, where the Anjuman today commands a following of nearly 12,000 adherents.

The main villages and towns where the outfit operates are Nuzvid, Atmakur, Kurukunda, Palem, Vijayawada, Khammam and Nandyal in Andhra Pradesh, Batakurki, Ramdurg and Hubli in Karnataka. Forcing poor Hindu villagers to convert to Islam was their main religious agenda, which they have been successfully carrying out in these villages.

Initial reports with the police revealed that at least a thousand Hindus have become Anjuman followers since 1992. "Their modus operandi is to provide money to the poor Hindus to convert," says an intelligence officer.

Investigating teams in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are currently compiling a list of Anjuman activists who have been acting as the ISI's liaison men.

While local Muslims across Anjuman-infested villages of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka hate the sect thanks to its blend of Islam and Hinduism, followers of the Sufi order lament they are innocents and are being prosecuted by the police for no mistake of theirs.

... Read more !

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