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Muslims suspect hard times in Jharkhand state
By Afsar Ali, Jamshedpur

Jharkhand state may probably start functioning next November. Muslims are worried whether they would avail the opportunities granted to them by the Constitution of India under articles 29 and 30. This is an important question which is raised by Muslim intellectuals as well as common people in the 18 districts of Jharkhand. Their future seems dark and dismal as not even a single party has given any kind of assurance to the Muslims who represent 27 percent of Jharkhand’s population, regarding their security and facilities like other citizens of the new state. It is not suspected that Muslims would be prevented from availing the new opportunities, but it is obvious that they would not be offered those opportunities without toil and agitation.

Muslims of pre-Jharkhand state realize that besides the facilities given under Indian Constitution articles 29 and 30, the Government of Bihar has passed several ordinances and executive orders for the benefit of Muslims in Bihar. For example, the government of Bihar has accepted Urdu as the second language of the state. The proceedings and reports of Bihar legislative assembly and legislative council are published in Urdu also. The members of Bihar legislative assembly and council have the right to take oath in Urdu. They may also deliver their speeches in Urdu during the sessions of assembly and council. Bihar Urdu Academy, Bihar Madrasa Examination Board, Bihar Sunni Waqf Board, Urdu Mushawarati Committee, 15-Point Programme Committee, 20-Point Programme Committee, Haj Committee, Urdu Directorate, Arabic-Persian Research Institute, Minority Finance Corporation and Minority Commission, have come into existence in Bihar for the upliftment of Muslims. Besides this the governments of Bihar has appointed Urdu teachers, Urdu typists, Urdu translators and has allowed Urdu-knowing students to answer question papers of the state’s competitive civil service examination in Urdu. 

Muslims of the Jharkhand region are anxious to know whether the new government of Jharkhand state will itself implement all the facilities the Muslims are enjoying under the regime of Bihar Government or would have to shed their blood in order to avail those facilities in the new state. If the new government of Jharkhand state willingly agrees to implement all these facilities, Muslims will be highly relieved. There are signs of fear on Muslim foreheads in the region. They have started to create awareness among their ranks in various districts of the proposed state. Various social and non-political organizations have started raising these demands. Some successful meetings have been organized in Jamshedpur, Ranchi, Hazaribagh, Dhanbad and Bokaro which have created a new awakening among the Muslims. It is believed that only social and non-political organizations cannot achieve this. Therefore Muslim intellectuals throughout Jharkhand state are leading the community in these demands. Dr. Siddiqui Mujibi, former deputy chairman of the Bihar Urdu Academy, has agreed to the proposal that a Muslims intellectuals association must be formed which would guide the Muslims in Jharkhand state.

Sources say that the new government in Jharkhand may also neglect the Muslims in the new state as RJD government is at present doing in Bihar. It is a fact that a large number of programmes have been chalked out for the welfare of the Muslims but not implemented by the Rabri Devi government in Bihar. If Jharkhand state’s new chief minister acts same as Rabri in Bihar, it would be most regrettable matter for the Muslims in Jharkhand who dream of availing of the new facilities the new state would offer.

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