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Padma award to Syedna Mohd Burhanuddin; Followers pleased, rivals fume
Sunday January 25, 2015 9:53 AM, Staff Reporter

The Dawoodi Bohra community is delighted and pleased to note that Syedna Mohd Burhanuddin is among those to be conferred the Padma awards this Republic Day, a rival group has questioned selection of the late Bohra spiritual leader for India's second highest civilian award.

Syedna with Modi

"It is a matter of great delight and pride for the Bohra community that our late leader has been selected for the Padma Awards", Zainul Abedin Sutarwala, a businessman, said while talking to

He said the Late Syedna is revered by thousands around the world and he deserved the award.

The late Bohra leader is said to have build good rapport with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he was the chief minister of Gujarat after the 2002 anti-Muslim riots in the state. He used his Moharram discourses to praise and reach out to Modi. Along with other Muslims of the state, Bohras too were attacked by rioters and had to suffer huge losses.

The late Bohra leader is among a large number of religious leaders who have been probably selected for the first time by any Indian government for the state's civilian awards.

Besides BJP sympathisers Syedna Mohd Burhanuddin, Baba Ramdev and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, other religious leaders are Theg Tse Rinpoche (Tawang monastery), Shivakumara Swami (head of Shree Siddaganga Mutt, Tumkur), Jagatguru Ramanandacharya Swami Rambhadracharya (Tulsi Peeth) and Swami Satyamitranand Giri (Samanvaya Kutir at Haridwar).

Not everyone however are pleased by selection of Syedna Mohd Burhanuddin for the Padma Award and are questioning the government decision to confer the prestigious Padma Bhushan Award to late Sayedna Mohammad Burhanuddin.

In a statement released, Saifuddin Insaf, General Secretary, Central Board of Dawoodi Bohra Community – Mumbai has questioned about government decision to confer prestigious Padma Bhushan Award to late Dawoodi Bohra High Priest, late Sayedna Mohammad Burhanuddin.

"Late Syedna Saheb is known, as a highly controversial personality. He and his establishment is known for repressing with heavy hand those who do not submit to his so-called religious dictates. He and his establishment shows zero tolerance for others views who do not accept his authoritarian regime", Saifuddin Insaf, General Secretary, Central Board of Dawoodi Bohra Community, Mumbai said in a statement.

He said that eminent human rights activists, legal luminaries and noted academicians, retired high court judges and others had constituted a commission of inquiry to inquire into the violation of human rights of the Bohras at the hands of the Syedna and prepared a detailed report known as the Nathwani Commission Report. It is enclosed herewith for your kind perusal.

"This was followed by another inquiry by the retired Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court Justice Tewatia. Noted journalist and former member of Rajya Sabha Shri Kuldip Nayer was also its member" he said in the statement.

"We are the members of the same Dawoodi Bohra Community trying to usher in democratic secular reforms and respect for human rights in the Dawoodi Bohra community which, today is subjected to heavy handed undemocratic rule of the Bohra priesthood who treat Bohras as its slaves. One has to compulsorily follow his dictates not only in religious but also in all secular matters and any dissent is severely punished.

"The reformists who insist on respect for democratic norms and human rights are often subjected to physical violence. I have been physically attacked several times. In the year 2000, I was not only physically attacked but my house and office was also completely destroyed at the instigation of the Bohra priesthood", he said.

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