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Published in the 1-15 Mar 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Protests against RSS conclave

By M. Mazharul Haque

The Milli Gazette Online

Jaipur: RSS-sponsored "Nationalist Muslim Conclave" ended here on February 14. The two-day convention was organised by “My Hindustan”, a RSS promoted body at Muslim Musafirkhana in the city. The meet concluded with initial protests, apprehensions and doubts about the objective and involvement of the Rajasthan Madrasa Board in the event.

Participants decided to launch a nation-wide campaign for adoption of Uniform Civil Code, evolving a consensus in favour of a complete ban on cow slaughter and generating awareness among Muslim women about their rights. 

The valedictory session of the conclave ended with a public meeting, which was organised at Ravindra Manch, and witnessed some tense moments because a number of participants objected to the controversial issues being interpreted "to suit the RSS ideology". Many of them left the venue alleging that they were not informed of the subjects and nature of discussions scheduled to take place. The public meeting was poorly attended because a large number of delegates left the meeting.

The conclave adopted a resolution favouring Uniform Civil Code and ban on cow slaughter. It said that Muslims should henceforth celebrate Independence Day and Republic Day as "Mera Watan Diwas" (My homeland day) and May 10 as national unity day and that patriotism of Muslims should not be questioned.
The difference between the doctrine of jihad and terrorism should be explained to the society in order to remove misunderstandings and a campaign initiated soon for it, a resolution said.

BJP leader and former Union Minister, Arif Beg, released three books, "Census, Islam and Family Planning", Indian Muslims and Uniform Civil Code and Democratic Solution to Ayodhya Dispute.

Among others, member of the National Commission for Women, Nafisa Hussain and the Sahsamparkpramukh of RSS, attended the meeting.

The meeting began on February 12 with a call to the Muslim community to adopt patriotism as a way of life and join the national mainstream by rejecting terrorism and separatist tendencies.

Police arrested a large number of Muslims protesting and sitting on dharna at the gate of the Musafirkhana on February 11. They were demanding to change the venue of the event. 
Muslim organisations of the state termed the event as a part of Sangh Parivar’s continuing hate campaign aimed at dividing the Muslim community, sending an impression that only those Muslims who are associated with the RSS are "nationalist". 
The protest was spearheaded by Rajathan Muslim Forum, an umbrella body of Muslim organisations. For a week prior to the meeting, they had been negotiating in vain with the district administration to change the venue of the event. 

Noted Islamic scholar, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, who was scheduled to inaugurate the conclave, was stated to be unwell. In his message, he asked Muslims to adopt positive thinking as a guiding principle in their lives.

A brawl between participants and protestors was averted by the intervention of police. The latter objected to the use of offensive words about Caliph Umar. 
The Forum alleged that the official machinery was misused to organise the event and that para-teachers of the Madrasa Board were compelled to attend it to hike the strength of the participants. 

"The BJP-led government has made an all-out attempt to make the conclave successful but it is a flop show with no participation of local Muslims", said Abdul Latif, a member of the Forum. 

RSS chief, KS Sudarashan addressed the delegates in a closed-door session where even journalists were not allowed.

Sahsamparkparmukh of RSS, Indresh Kumar, addressing the inaugural session, called upon Muslims to raise their voice against terrorism "sponsored by Pakistan" in J&K. Kumar said that Islam has been hijacked by radical elements who had created confusion about the doctrines of Jihad and faith. He said the burning issues in the Muslim community related to illiteracy, unemployment and disease which should be addressed to ensure its development on par with other communities in the country.

Mumabi-based convenor of My Hindustan, Muzaffar Hussain, an old RSS hand, asserted that Muslims had lagged behind because of their insistence on following the Muslim personal law and called upon the BJP governments in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh to take initiative to adopt the uniform civil code. He contended that the formation of a number of personal law boards proved that the All India Muslim Personal Law Board was never needed. «


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