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Irshad MirzaIrshad Mirza ‘quits’ as UP panel chief
By Our Lucknow Correspondent

The sweet sewaiyyaan turned out to be bitter after the EID milan programme organized by the UP Minority Commission chairman Irshad Mirza in the Circuit House of Kanpur, his home town on 1 January. Chief Minister Rajnath Singh was the guest of honour.

Annoyed by the recent developments regarding Babri Masjid controversy, Muslims of Kanpur were in no mood to attend this function. It was only after Irshad Mirza assured the Muslims in general and Shahr Qazi Maulana Abdus Sami, the renowned physician Dr. Naseem Hameed and other Muslim intellectuals and religious scholars that the chief minister will announce the withdrawal of the Religious Places Bill which is pending before the President of India for sanction. He also assured them that if the Chief Minister will not announce the withdrawal he will tender his resignation from the chairmanship of the Minority Commission. It was only then that prominent Muslims of Kanpur attended the function.

Chief Minister Rajnath Singh assured the gathering to do justice to all irrespective of his/her caste, creed or religion. He told the gathering that his government does not see the Muslim community as a mere vote bank and is seriously interested in their economic and educational upliftment. He, however, firmly rejected the withdrawal of the Religious Places Bill and said that it contained nothing objectionable to the Muslim community.

Perturbed over the chief minister's rejection Irshad announced that if the bill is not withdrawn within a week he will step down. In fact in the evening the local press received his fax message announcing his resignation but without specifying any date. Within an hour he retracted saying that the fax message was sent under pressure, that he had not stepped down and he will be discussing the issue afresh with the chief minister. In Lucknow a press note was dispatched on his behalf in which he claimed to have raised important issues with the CM and is trying his best to solve many problems the minorities are facing including the controversial religious places bill.

BJP sources at state headquarters told The Milli Gazette the party is least perturbed by the turn of the events and if Mr. Mirza will tender his resignation it will be accepted forthwith. It may be noted that Mr. Mirza owes his post to a BJP stalwart from Kanpur who is also a member of the Rajya Sabha. This is another matter that this person's news paper has been in the forefront in spreading rumours during the Ayodhya movement of 1986-92 and has many times been reprimanded by the Press Council of India. 

Political observers here feel that Mr. Mirza is himself to be blamed for his predicament. He should not have raised this issue. One fails to understand as to what prompted Mr. Mirza to come close to the Sangh Parivar. He is a leading industrialist and enjoys respect in community. The commissions is almost a dead organization just like Fakhruddin Ali Ahmad Committee and Urdu Academy. Aashiqi mein izzat-e sadat bhi gayee.

MG bureau adds: Mr Mirza’s Delhi office confirmed that he has not resigned his post. 
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