Focus

Muslims and Congress

If the Congress continues its present policies and style of functioning, things will only get worse and no amount of fake Muslim agents and bearded intermediaries will secure the Muslim votes for the Congress.
Muslim disillusionment with the Congress is at unprecedented levels today - almost at the same level which prevailed after the Emergency. The Congress has wasted away during these past eight years all the goodwill it enjoyed and all the hopes it had aroused after repealing POTA and constituting the Sachar panel.

While Sachar report has not gone beyond a scholarship programme of sorts which is hardly reaching its targets (60 percent of the funds released returned to the national exchequer unspent last year) and a development programme of “Muslim-dominated districts” where allocations are being spent on non-Muslim areas of those very districts (!). The Prime Minister’s 15-point programme too is a showpiece. Mere words, bereft of any substance and implementation/monitoring mechanism, it is good only for full-page sarkari advertisements in Urdu newspapers to hoodwink Muslims.

Even this deprivation could be tolerated by the Muslim community but the revival of POTA in the shape of UAPA and its periodic transformation into a real law of terror and its indiscriminate usage against the community in entrapping and faking cases against Muslim youths, to keep the community in a state of perpetual awe of the system, has killed whatever goodwill and benefit of doubt was nurtured by the community. This was coupled with the tardy and sluggish probe and arrest of Hindutva terrorists even where there is no iota of doubt about their involvement (the community believes that almost all cases of terror blamed on the community are the handiwork of the umpteen Hindutva terror outfits which enjoy the support of elements in the Intelligence Bureau (IB), Police and umpteen other agencies created to fight terror). Muslim youth are being arrested with clockwork precision. No sooner one episode dies down than a fresh one is made ready, rather cooked like that of Liaqat Ali Shah, the latest prey of the man-eater Special Cell of the Delhi Police.

Home Minister Shinde’s apology to the BJP/RSS was seen as a slap in the face of the Muslim community which is the victim of the Hindutva terror twice over — it is the victim of the blast and the alleged perpetrators too belong to the same community!

The prospects are that Muslims will vote for other, regional, parties in the next general elections moving away from the previous trend of voting for state and general elections on different patterns. If the Congress continues its present policies and style of functioning, things will only get worse and no amount of fake Muslim agents and bearded intermediaries will secure the Muslim votes for the Congress.

If the Congress is serious to stem this worsening situation, it should at least quickly take decisive action on two fronts - terrorism and reservation - by taking the following steps:

  1. Set up high-power screening committee(s) to look into all the cases where Muslim youth are languishing, at times blamed for 20-30 blasts (!), rotting in jails with no hope of a future.
  2. Set up fast track courts for those where the screening committee(s) believe that there is substance in the charges.
  3. Umpteen cases filed against one person should be collected and tried by a single fast track court and where a number of cases are proved false, others should be quashed as a matter of policy;
  4. Punishment of the Police, Intelligence and other agencies’ personnel who framed and fabricated cases, as only this can stop this drama of the absurd.
  5. Adequate compensation to all terror-accused set free by courts in the past or in future.
  6. Accept Ranganath Mishra commission report and offer reservation to the Muslim community on the lines suggested by the commission.

Action on these two lines — arresting the persecution in the name of terror and giving the long-promised reservation including reservation to the Muslim and Christian SCs/STs — will help arrest the tide of the current disillusionment of the community vis-à-vis the Congress.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 May 2013 on page no. 1

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