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Published in the 16-30 June 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition


Jamiat rally: platform for politicians to woo Muslims

By Andalib Akhter

The Milli Gazette Online 

New Delhi: Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind (JUH), leading Muslim body of Islamic theologians, has once again provided a big crowd of Muslims to the politicians to woo the former. In fact politicians of different hues attended in large number the 28th general session of JUH at Delhi’s Ramlila ground on May 29. Interestingly, never before had a public rally attracted so many Congressmen in a function other than their own. 

From left: Sonia Gandhi, Mahmood Madani, Muhsina Kidwai and Maulana Asad Madani

From left: Sonia Gandhi, Mahmood Madani, 
Muhsina Kidwai and Maulana Asad Madani

Not just the Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her political advisor Ahmed Patel, but railway minister and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and INLD leader Chaudhary Ajit Singh shared the dais. Unlike previous occasions, Lok Janshakti Party leader RV Paswan, who is currently ranting the slogan of a Muslim chief minister in Bihar, was not invited.

The stage was set and speaker after speaker did every effort to woo Muslims who had come from across the country. Police say it was 300,000-strong gathering.

Though all the leaders tried their best to woo the community, yet Lalu Prasad stole the show as he knows best the pulse of masses. Apart from attacking communal forces led by BJP, Lalu also took on the United States for terrorizing smaller countries. Unlike other leaders, Lalu strongly condemned the desecration of Holy Quran at Guantanamo Bay torture facility. 

Lalu was candid enough to say that the conference has been organized at a perfect time. Muslims constitute around 17 percent of Bihar voters and played an important role in keeping Lalu in power for 15 long years in the state. Lalu's M-Y combination was crucial to make him the "undisputed king" of Bihar. However, in the last Assembly elections Lalu's M-Y alliance was shaken by Paswan who tried to forge a Muslim-Dalit alliance. Many Muslims voted for Paswan pushing RJD much below the magic number of 122 in the 243-member assembly. 

Postal stamp on Jamiat founder
India will soon release a postage stamp in the name of the great scholar and freedom fighter Maulana Mahmood Hassan who is the founder of Jamiat Ulama-i Hind. This was announced by MoS for Communication & Information Technology Shakeel Ahmed in New Delhi. Addressing the JUH rally, Ahmed said the postal stamp would be a tribute to the freedom fighter who played an important role in promoting nationalism among Muslims. Jamiat was formed in 1919 by Muslim ulama of the Islamic seminary of Deoband in Uttar Pradesh. The forum opposed the partition of the country in 1947 in the name of religion and always campaigned with Mahatma Gandhi. 

He reminded the audience as to how he didn't allow Togadia to come to Patna. Lalu claimed that he was accepted as an undisputed leader of Muslims during his visit to Pakistan. He claimed that Pakistanis who migrated from India hugged him and praised him as messiah of Indian Muslims. He went on to recall how Narender Modi and LK Advani had blamed and implicated Muslims in Gujarat riots.

"We need to break the chest of rioters and Lalu Yadav has done that". Pointing to the Muslims, he said: "I know who your friends are. They are very few." It was clear indication that Lalu thinks he is the only savior of Muslims. 

Congress President Sonia Gandhi presented a report card on what her UPA government has done for Muslims in the last one year. Scrapping of "draconian" POTA, increased budget for Minority Finance Development Corporation, provision for appointment of Urdu teachers, proposed coaching of Muslim students and appointment of a high-level committee to probe the socio-economic and educational status of Muslims, were UPA's few achievements. Gandhi too reminded Muslims of the BJP rule and how history books were changed and Muslims were living in an environment of fear. 
Congress leader Mohsina Kidwai made reference to POTA saying the new review committee has absolved many accused. For others, she said, it will be taken up according to the law. Ajit Singh of INLD supported the idea of giving reservation to Muslims in all spheres of life. He welcomed the reservation of 50 percent seats for Muslims in Aligarh Muslim University.

However, a couplet of Telugu poet Gadar attracted much applause from audience "Nobody is yours. Their secularism is a fraud. You have to fight your own battle."

Jamiat on its part put some demands before the leaders which included reservation for Muslims in Parliament, government jobs and educational institutions, and release of all POTA accused in Gujarat, and amendment in the article 341. But the critics of the Jamiat say that the actual demand of the Jamiat is not what concerns Muslims. Jamiat, in fact, wants a seat in Rajya Sabha through the help of leaders of different parties. Though the JUH vice president Maulana Mahmood Madani contested for Lok Sabha twice, he could not reach the lower house.

Resolutions passed at the JUH rally our available on MG website

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