February 21, 2006Public Policy

Watch out, world. Some Indians have extra-territorial jurisdiction

Not ones to miss out on the action

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

In the instance of Yakub Qureshi (via POV & Sandeep), a minister in Uttar Pradesh state, there is a prima facie case of incitement to murder. But what is a little incitement when murderers themselves find themselves in the Indian cabinet? By the way, more than religious fundamentalism, it is plain old political opportunism that caused Qureshi to announce a reward for the killing of Danish cartoonists. It is incumbent on the governor of Uttar Pradesh to sack Qureshi if, as is likely, Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav fails to do so first. (More on Secular-Right India). Unfortunately, disabusing politicians of opportunism has become well nigh impossible these days. Further they’ve discovered that piggybacking on matters of faith is such a wonderful thing, for their actions are unlikely to be challenged by most. [Update: Except, that is, by the people. Criminal charges have been filed against Qureshi. ]

Here’s something in a lighter vein to balance all that cynicism. An obscure and dubious outfit shot to international fame when it issued a Ayatollah Khomeini style fatwa against the cartoonist. Interestingly, a spokesman of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board has declared that the fatwa has no effect in India, as the country is not under Sharia law. But according to AFP the spokesman also said that the fatwa would be valid in countries that are under the Sharia! It is therefore possible for any obscure Indian qazi to have extra-territorial jurisdiction in Islamic countries. Thanks to the Constitution of India, similarly obscure foreign qazis have no reciprocal jurisdiction. Hurrah! Now for another obscure qazi to step forward and exploit this loophole.

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