Former AMU Vice Chancellor Zameer Uddin Shah today voiced anguish over lynching incidents and warned that the situation will spill out of control if “men of reason do not stick out their necks” and speak out against them.
Hailing Hindus who broke their silence and participated in the ‘Not in My Name’ march, Lt Gen (retd) Shah said these are the people of courage who will save the country from narrow-minded “self righteous criminals”.
“The lynching of 16-year-old Junaid in full public view is a clear warning that if those in authority and men of reason do not stick out there necks and speak against such continuing atrocities then the situation is likely to spin out of control”, Shah asserted.
Till now I was silent because I was in government service but today I can pour my heart out before the rest of my countrymen on this issue”, Shah, a war veteran and a decorated officer, told PTI.
Protesting against the lynching of a Muslim boy, civil society groups took out ‘Not In My Name’ demonstrations in Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Thiruvananthapuram and Bengaluru on Wednesday.
Shah said, “To begin with I would like to salute those members of the Hindu community who broke their silence by participating in the Not in my Name’ march”.
These are the people of courage who will save the country from the “narrow-minded self righteous criminals who are systematically destroying the foundations of our great country,” he said
I am proud of my association and my memories of my days in the Indian Army which is a symbol of our pluralistic culture…I recollect so many incidents when Hindus would join us in our Eid Namaz and I have no hesitation to point out that I personally participated in so many functions in temples as a commanding officer in my regiment, Shah said.
Such religious functions, he recalled, were always marked by speeches about amity of service to the country.
“This is the spirit which makes our Army strong and unbeatable,” he asserted.
Meanwhile, an open letter claiming to be by Gen Shah has gone viral on social media platforms including Facebook and WhatsApp. The content of the letter is along the similar lines that of report above. We’ve reproduced the letter below;
“I , Lt Gen Zameer Uddin Shah, PVSM, SM, VSM (Retd) have been watching with concern the violent incidents in country. I was constrained from speaking out earlier because of limitations of being in Govt service . I have no such restrictions now.
I support the movement ” Not in my Name”. It is heartening that the majority community, by this movement, have shown their support towards their minority brethren and have rightly protested against the systematic lynching of Indian citizens by self-serving, righteous criminals.
I have purposely mentioned my full name because in the army I am universally known as Gen ” Zoom “Shah. No body talked of my religion. It was private business between me and my maker.
I would also like to recall how I attended an Eid function in one of my Battalions. It comprised of two companies Muslim, one Dogra company and one Sikh company. The Eid namaz was performed in a large complex called the “House of worship”. The commanding Officer , a non Muslim joined in the Namaz, a purely notional gesture, with immense impact on morale of troops. I had done the same when presiding over Mandir functions when I was commanding my Regiment comprising of Rajputs.
After the Namaz, the Granthi gave a short speech followed by Kirtan , followed by the Pandit and a bhajan. The speeches were about amity and service to he country, which all religions profess. All ranks then proceeded to enjoy the feast of” sheer” and “sewian”.
We are a “salad bowl ” nation, India, our home. I refer to it as a salad bowl because the minorities are integrated in it just like the constituents of a salad but not assimilated. In the salad you can still identify the carrot from the peas and cucumber. Similarly the minorities take pride in retaining their distinct religion, ethnicity, language and ,very important ,love for their country.
It is time for the government and the silent spectators to speak out against these atrocities and nip the evil in the bud. They should not allow it to spin out of control.
The General is a veteran of the 1971 Longewala battle and multiple insurgencies afflicting our country.”
(With PTI inputs)