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Jamiat Ulama starts its satyagrah

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Lucknow:Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, pressing for its demands for reservation for Muslims, new law for prevention of communal riots and just and equitable compensation to the victims and protection of waqf property, on 28 April launched its nationwide satyagrah under the banner “Mulko Millat Bachao Tahreek” (Save the Country and Nation Movement) from Lucknow where its first batch of 313 volunteers led by JUH president Maulana Qari Usman offered to court arrest in the Police Lines in the presence of thousands of Jamiat supporters. The police took them to the magistrate where they submitted their memorandum. Those arrested were later released on personal bond. Among arrested included JuH General Secretary Maulana Mahmood Madani, Maulana Hakeemuddin Qasmi, Maulana Hayatullah Qasmi (president JuH Uttar Pradesh), Maulana Usama, Mufti Salman Mansoori, Maulana Abdul Moied Qasmi, Mufti Affan etc.

Before the arrest, an agitation was launched at Jiyotiba Phule Park. Addressing the gathering, Maulana Mahmood Madani said that the UPA government and its prime minister have failed in their oft-repeated commitment to the minorities and weaker sections, especially Muslims, to remove inequalities and imbalances. The first substantial step taken by the Prime Minister in this direction was the appointment of Justice Sachar Committee. It reflected some seriousness in UPA’s avowed commitment. The committee established the plight of Muslims through official data about the social, economic and educational status of the Muslim community in the country. Thereafter, Justice Ranganath Mishra Commision recommended grant of reservation to minorities and amendment to the Art. 341 to remove religious bias besides a host of developmental measures. But nothing substantive has come out in terms of action despite the fact that UPA’s 2nd term is half way through. Explaining his recent struggle, Maulana Madani said, in May last year we started this movement but after meeting Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi relying on their promises to fulfill our demands, we gave six months’ deadline. Our delegation also called on Sonia Gandhi on 9 January, 2011 to remind her of her promises, but till now no action has been taken by the government in this direction.

JuH issued its charter of demands as follows:

1. Conservation of Waqf properties

It is a matter of concern and apprehension that despite implementation of Awqaf Act 1995, illegal tampering with and unlawful encroachment on the waqf properties is still going on. Neglecting the intentions and the will of the donor, the income of the waqf properties is being exploited for personal benefits.

We feel that the Awkaf Act of 1995 has also lost its utility owing to bureaucratic apathy and prejudices. Consequently, encroachment on the wakf properties is still going on unchecked. The Sachar Committee had also taken serious notice of this aspect and recently constituted a parliamentary Wakf committee. Created for the sole purpose of the safety and protection of wakf properties, it has expressed its concern on the sorry state of affairs. In view of this, Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind demands:

  • That the Wakf Act 1995 be honestly and strongly implemented after making suitable amendments, and the wakf properties, which are valued in billions, be properly managed as per the will of the donors.
  • All the wakf properties be exempted from the Rent Control Act and it shouldn’t be left merely on the discretion of the bureaucrats.
  • The Wakf Act should be suitably amended to get the wakf properties vacated on the pattern of the Public Property Act.
  • The function of the Muslims awkaf be remodelled on the pattern of the gurudwara prabandhak committees.
  • Government and non-government encroachment on waqf properties be removed
  • Effective steps be taken for conservation of awqaf.
  • Proper utilization of the income received be ensured.
  • Mosques under the custody of the government should be restored to Muslims and they be allowed to perform their five-time prayers freely. 

2. Reservation for Muslims

Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind expresses its concern on the nominal presence of Muslims in educational institutions and legislative institutions like Parliament, state assemblies and village panchayats, due to a persistent discrimination against them.  In the last general election, their representation drastically dropped as compared to earlier periods. As per government figures, Muslims constitute more than 13% of the Indian population but their representation in various spheres is less than 2%. It has resulted into their extreme poverty and socio-economic and educational backwardness. The discrimination against Muslims in the official, semi-official and representative institutions has been going on for the last 62 years. Their recruitment in the army, intelligence and other important institutions is almost totally banned. It is believed that discrimination is made against them in the UPSC and other administrative exams too. Justice Sachar Committee report has proved that the economic, educational, political and social condition of Muslims in India is worse than that of Dalits. This house therefore demands that:

  • Muslims should be given representation in all spheres in accordance with their proportion of population. To ensure this, the constitutional and the legal hurdles, if any, should immediately be removed. Muslims should be declared the most backward community.
  • Separate quota should be earmarked for the Muslim OBC sections which are recognised by and listed in the Mandal Commission.
  • Article 341 of the constitution must be amended and secularized to end discrimination on the basis of religion. All Dalits must be treated at par irrespective of religion.

3. Communal Violence bill

Jamiat Ulama-i Hind expresses its deep concern that despite the recurring communal violence in the country, no law for the prevention of riots has been introduced so far. The United Progressive Alliance had promised to bring an effective and comprehensive legislation to deal with the communal riots but despite having completed a major part of its second term, it has done nothing hopeful in this direction.

In order to avert the communal riots, a law must be introduced to hold higher officials and district administration responsible for the outbreak of violence. This law must also have provisions to provide uniform compensation to the victims irrespective of their caste, creed or community. Protection of life and property of citizens is the prime responsibility of the government, and therefore, we demand from the government to come out with an effective law to combat existing situation so that the life and property of the innocent citizens should be well protected and justice is ensured for the victims.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 May 2011 on page no. 7

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