A leading Assamese newspaper has invited the wrath of the state Jamiat Ulama for carrying a cartoon Charlie Hebdo had put on its front page n its revival last week, with the organization asking the newspaper to tender apology for it.
Asomiya Pratidin, the largest selling newspaper, had on January 14 carried a front page news of the revival of Charlie Hebdo, putting up with it a cartoon of Prophet Muhammad that the French satirical weekly had printed in its first edition after the January 7 terrorist attack.
Reacting to this, the Assam State Jamiat Ulama headed by AIUDF president and Lok Sabha member Badruddin Ajmal not only hit out at the newspaper for carrying the cartoon showing the Prophet, but also sought an unconditional apology from it.
“Assam State Jamiat Ulama takes strong exception to publication of cartoon showing Prophet Muhammad by some newspapers of Assam. The Jamiat will not tolerate such acts and would resort to strong protest programmes against such newspapers if needed. Newspapers ccarrying such cartoons should apologize,” a statement issued by Assam State Jamiat Ulama secretary Maulana Fazlool Karim Qasimi said on January 14.
While the Assam State Jamiat Ulama did not specifically mention the name of Asomiya Pratidin, its editor Nitya Bora said another organization called Jamat-e-Islami particularly targeted the newspaper and asked the Muslim people to boycott the newspaper. “Another group of people who met at the Guwahati Haji Musafirkhana last week too have launched a facebook campaign for boycott of our newspaper,” editor Bora said.
Editor Bora however said singling out Asomiya Pratidin was not in best interest of democratic spirits, and that the cartoon in question was not intended at denigrating the Prophet as alleged. “We had only reprinted the cartoon Charlie Hebdo had carried in its first issue after resumption since the January 7 terrorist attack in which 12 persons including its editor were killed. The Jamiat leaders probably are not aware of the fact that the first issue of Charlie Hebdo after the attack ran into over 30 lakh copies in 16 different languages. Moreover, the cartoons for which terrorists had attacked Charlie Hedo’s office were carried by numerous newspapers across the world including many in India,” editor Bora said.