Rs 51 crore for Danish cartoonist?s head

The protest against objectionable Danish cartoons against Prophet Mohammad today took a serious turn in Uttar Pradesh.

india Updated: Feb 18, 2006 19:44 IST

Theprotest against objectionable Danish cartoons against Prophet Mohammad today took a serious turn in the State.

While Minister of State for Haj and Minorities Welfare Haji Yaqoob Quereshi at a rally in Meerut on Fridayannounced a huge award for one who killed the Danish cartoonist, the Muslim Ulema (clerics) in Lucknow, who plan to hold a huge rally in Lucknow on Sunday, called upon the community to boycott US and European products in protest against the cartoons. The clerics said the money flowing to these countries from India was being used against Islam.

The minister told Hindustan Times on phone that the people of Meerut would weigh the assassin of the cartoonist with gold and give Rs 51 crore. “People of Meerut will contribute to collect this amount,” said the minister A huge rally was organised by the minister to protest against the cartoons. Lambasting America, the minister said, “not one, two or three but hundred planes would be blasted against them. The planes will explode in every hour and minute there.”

Reacting to the minister’s insinuation, principal secretary (Home) Alok Sinha said Quereshi had been expressing the sentiments of the people of Meerut. Sinha said it did not constitute any criminal offence.

Back in Lucknow, addressing a joint press conference prominent Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawad, Imam Tilewali mosque Maulana Shah Fazrul Rehman Nadvi, Maulana Hashim Kachauchvi and others also gave a call to launch a movement against the visit of the US President George Bush next month. The Samajwadi Party has already announced its opposition to the visit. Jawad said there had been call for product boycott in the past, which largely went unnoticed. “We are chalking out an action plan to give more thrust to the boycott,” Jawad said and added, “On this issue we want full commitment from the community”. He said there were some products like soft drinks, which were “anti-Islamic”.

Assailing the European countries for supporting the cartoons in the name of freedom of press, Jawad said it could not be misused to insult any religion. He said these countries should frame laws to protect the religious sentiments of Muslims on the pattern of Jews and Christians.

Jawad also asked Hindus the join the battle against these countries, as they had also not spared Hindu deities in their advertisements.

He said a detail strategy about the protest against Bush’s visit would be chalked out later. He said the UPA government should reconsider its stand on Iran. Javad also criticised Israel envoy David Daneile’s meeting with Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav last week.

Maulana Nadvi said apart from Lucknow there was mobilisation of the people from the adjoining districts. Maulana Hashim said the Hindus and the Muslims should come together on the issue for the larger interest of Indian traditional values.

First Published: Feb 18, 2006 01:42 IST