Special Reports

Slamming Modi govt, AIMPLB demands safeguard of religious and constitutional rights

Jaipur: “It is necessary to make it crystal clear in front of those who hold the reins of power today that whatever Constitutional rights Muslims have as citizens of free India they should confer upon them in a democratic manner. It is mandatory for the government of the day to honour the Indian Constitution to accede to all the religious and citizens rights of the Muslims and others of the country.

Zafaryab Jilani (extreme right) and Abdur Rahim Qureshi at the press conference

“Muslims being citizens of India strive to claim their religious rights righteously and it is the duty of those in power to oversee that Muslims achieve this in a judicious and friendly manner without any ill feelings. This would strengthen brotherly relations among the communities leading to communal harmony and national integration which in turn would be beneficial for the country.

AIMPLB General Secretary Maulana Nizamuddin and President (right) Maulana Rabey Nadwi

“If Muslims, who constitute nearly one fifth of the country’s population, and this is no small a number, are not taken into confidence with inclusive growth, then India cannot stride on the path of development in a meaningful manner. For this communal harmony between the majority and the minority communities should be the hallmark of development with granting full rights to the minorities and to ensure it is the duty of the government of the day.”

Maulana Syed Mohammad Rabey Hasani Nadwi, Chairman of the All India Muslim Personal Board, (AIMPLB), expressed these views while delivering his presidential speech in the three-day 24th general session of AIMPLB here at the seminary Jamiatul Hidayah on 21 March. Over 400 delegates from all over the country participated in this grand meeting.

Maulana Rabey added that there is a constant need to safeguard the freedom of religious right as there is a likelihood that it may be tampered with or a situation may be created by the government of the day to control these rights. He expressed apprehension that the new government at the Centre has aspirations to take the country into a new direction while abandoning the secular and democratic character of the Indian Constitution. This would be suicidal for the country. As such, responsible persons of the Muslim Ummah will have to understand this direction of the government of the day and find possible solutions to the problem.

He cautioned the Indian Muslim community to remain vigilant to safeguard the Islamic Sharia as the conditions that prevailed more than 40 years ago which forced to form the board to protect Muslim personal laws have not abated and will continue to raise their heads from time to time.

Without naming any particular party, he said, fresh dangers are looming large with more vigour now as the new government of the day seems intent to usurp the Sharia laws. If the community does not pay necessary heed to safeguard it then harm may be caused in performing their religious rituals and following their rights and duties as  Muslims in the country. As such Muslims should keep a constant watch on the situation and the developments that take place therein so that the community is always able to exercise  its religious freedom as guaranteed by the Indian constitution. This is necessary because they are in the minority and their identity as Muslims is maintained unscathed.

There is a possibility that the bogey of Uniform Civil Code which occurred in some people’s minds can crop up again while it is well known that the Indian Constitution has given people following every religion in the country the right to practice it according to their established norms and to run their institutions.

Maulana Rabey urged Muslims to be “practicing Muslims following the Shariah laws in letter and spirit and to influence others by their character and practical example of exemplary behaviour even in adverse situations. He asked Muslims to make the vast majority of country aware about the special features of Islam which is beneficial for the whole humanity. If this is done, the opposition from the majority community, who think Muslims as adversaries, would cease by itself. Moreover, Muslims should not get demoralised but stand united to face the challenges posed by their adversaries.”

The Board hit out at the Modi government saying both Muslims and Christians were feeling insecure under the BJP-led dispensation. It passed a resolution to launch a parallel campaign to counter ‘ghar wapsi’ and ‘love jihad’ propaganda of the RSS and its affiliates.

“We’re concerned about the situation in the country which has worsened after Narendra Modi became PM. Not only Muslims, but Christians are also feeling uncomfortable,” the board assistant general secretary Abdul Rahim Qureshi said at a press conference at the end of its two-day convention in Jaipur.

The board also said that right-wing forces have become “active against the minorities after the formation of new government at the Centre… Hindutva forces are encouraged and have become more active after the formation of the NDA. RSS and VHP spit venom not only against Muslims but Christians also.” This is a conspiracy to divide sections of society and we have sought support of all the Muslims as well as Hindus against the propaganda in the resolution, he said adding that if the right wing forces persisted with their agenda against the minorities, it will result in “anarchy” in the country.

The Board in its discussions condemned the recent repeal of the Mussalman Wakf Validating Acts 1913 and 1930. Issues such as the ban on beef consumption too was taken up. “Instead of looking at the beef ban through a religious prism, it should be looked at independently. Why is there no ban on bull slaughter. It is also consumed by the lower Hindu castes.

The board denied reports of a meeting between its president, Maulana Rabe Hasan Nadwi, and PM Narendra Modi, as claimed by Zafar Sareshwala, a Modi supporter who was ejected out of the Jaipur meeting where he had turned up uninvited.

A resolution was been passed to activate constitutional rights protection committee under the AIMPLB led by its secretary Maulana Mohammed Wali Rehman of Munger (Bihar) to counter ‘ghar wapsi’.

The board’s executive member, Zafaryab Jilani, said a decision had been taken to set up a “Defend Constitutional Rights Committee” to create awareness among the minority and majority communities about Hindutva forces. “Ours is a secular country. We will soon start an extensive campaign to reach out to both minorities and our Hindu brothers about the Hindutva agenda of this government. If needed, we will move the apex court for our constitutional rights,” Jilani said.

The board would also start awareness campaigns across the country and involve Hindus to strengthen communal harmony and clear misconceptions about the Muslim community. (based on media reports including Pervez Bari, ummid.com)

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 April 2015 on page no. 13

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