Press Statements

All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat Resolutions

on national and international issues

Passed during the Special Meeting of MMM, New Delhi, 15 January, 2010

1. Congress Strategy towards Muslim Community

The MMM profoundly regrets that the proceedings of the Burari session of the India National Congress, the Speeches and the Resolutions, give no indication that the party has reviewed is electoral strategy towards the Muslims in context of the fact that the Hindu high castes have largely shifted their loyalty towards the BJP, the OBCs & SCs have developed their own parties in various regions and the Muslims despite their increasing alienation remain its only loyal & dependable base.

 For keeping Muslim support, the speeches and resolutions have projected the rising threat of Hindu Communalism but they have not cared to explain why the UPA failed to take effective action to contain or counter it during its seven years in power. They criticized Saffron Terrorism but brushed aside the idea of banning the RSS whose parcharaks are now known to be involved in terrorist activities and did not ask their government to investigate the manner, method and extent of penetration of Sangh Parivar in administration, bureaucracy and armed forces. They highlighted party commitment to Secularism but did not define it in comprehensive terms, e.g including the basic requirement in a multi -religious state that the state must maintain equidistance and the administration must remain neutral in situations of inter-religious conflict. They stressed the goal of inclusive development repeatedly but did not explain why in seven years of UPA rule, there has been no visible or substantial change in the condition of the Muslim community. They made no commitment to introduce reservation for Muslims in keeping with the party’s past commitments, ignoring that reservation is today on the top of the list of Muslim aspirations. Deliberately they avoided any reference to the historic Justice Ranghnath Mishra Report which has recommended, inter-alia, at last 10 % reservation for Muslims.

 What hurt Muslims most is that they equated majority communalism and minority communalism which goes against ground reality and ignores Jawahar Lal Nehru’s prophesy that majority communalism may take the country towards fascism.

 During the proceeding not one word of criticism was uttered against the recent judgment of the Allahabad High Court on title to the disputed site, against its invention of a new Hindu jurisprudence, which deifies a presumed birth-site of a Hindu god, gives more weight to religious faith and belief than to legal evidence, ignores the law of the land and undermines the Constitution.

Unfortunately the session recalled the services of Prime Minister Narasimha Rao, whom the Muslims consider as much if not more responsible than the Sangh Parivar for the ‘national shame’ of Demolition. The session also closed its eyes to the failure of the UPA government to have the culprits punished.

The MMM deems it a national duty to caution the Congress that, as shown by the unprecedented Muslim voting for the NDA in Bihar estimated at 30 %, the Community is no longer taken in by proclamations of old commitments and repetition of old promises and has begun to look closely at the performance of the Governments. The MMM is convinced that in future elections, it will judge a party by its translation of Secularism into Social Justice defined in terms of reservation. The MMM therefore hopes that the Congress will not merely seek to secure Muslim support by frightening the Muslims with projections of Hindu Communalism & Saffron Terrorism and suggests that the party and the government should maintain regular contact with Muslim leadership, recognize the concerns of the Community, take all possible action to remove their difficulties and grievances, allow debate & discussion in the Parliament, at least once a year on the situation of minorities and at election time field Muslim candidates in proportion to their population, who are acceptable to the Community from Muslim winnable constituencies.

 The MMM hopes that the Congress shall not only respond positively to the demands of the Muslims and other deprived groups but give them appropriate representation in its own organization at all levels.

2. On Total Silence in the Parliament on Matters of Concern to Muslims.
The MMM has taken note of the growing frustration in the Muslim community at the almost complete silence in the Parliament on issues of concern to the Muslim community, so that session after session passes without any Muslim grievance, problem or aspiration being addressed or even brought up in the Parliament. The MMM feels that this is to bound to alienate the Muslim community from the political order and that their alienation can only weaken national solidarity & slow the process of national integration.

 The MMM appeals to the leaders of all secular parties to instruct and encourage their members in the Parliament to raise the legitimate concerns of the Muslim community which come to their notice.

The MMM deems it the duty of all Muslim members to raise such issues, as they represent not only their constituency or the country as a whole, but, in a sense, the Muslim community in India.

 The MMM urges them to revive a Muslim Parliamentary Group which will serve as a forum for mutual consultations and interaction with Muslim organizations and institutions of national eminence and reach a consensus on current issues of concern to the community and persuade all sympathetic MPs in a planned to raise the problems faced by the Muslims in the Parliament.

The MMM reiterates its longstanding demand for the formation of permanent Parliamentary Committee for the Welfare of Religious Minorities, on par with the existing Committee for SCs & STs, which will monitor the implementation of government policies and programmes for their development & welfare.

The MMM also suggests that at least once a year each House should discuss the Muslim Situation in the light of the annual reports of various official and semi-official bodies & programmes, dealing exclusively with Muslims, for example, the Central Waqf Council, the Maulana Azad Educational Foundation, the National Minorities Finance and Development Corporation, the Haj Committee, the Commission for Linguistic Minorities, the National Commission for Minorities, the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions, the AMU, the JMI & the MANUU, the NCPUL and the 15 Point Programme of the P.M. for Minorities. Such discussion will enable the Government to appreciate their current concerns as well as to make necessary course corrections, in the larger interest of the nation.

3. On Progress of Appeal and Intervention in the Supreme Court against the Allahabad Verdict on Babri Masjid.

The MMM of the AIMMM regrets to note that so far to the best of its knowledge, only the UP Sunni Wakf Board and one faction of the JUH have filed appeals in the Supreme Court; no appeal has been filed even by the key plaintiff Mr. Hashim Ansari, nor has any Muslim organization of national eminence announced its firm intervention to intervene. The MMM urges all Muslim as well as Secular organizations & noted NGO’s to intervene.

The MMM also notes that apart from the Congress advising the people to wait for the final verdict of the Supreme Court, the UPA government has not examined the long-term constitutional & ideological implications of the Allahabad verdict and has not so far given any indication that it may approach the Supreme Court to reverse the Allahabad verdict and advise the Allahabad High Court to form a fresh Bench to determine the issue of title to the disputed site, strictly on legal grounds.

The MMM regrets that the Government has interpreted the dignified silence of the Muslim community as acquiescence and not taken any step to remove their growing disillusionment with and loss of trust in the judicial system.

 The MMM has also noted that the Sangh Parivar as well as Hindu religious organizations have begun to apply pressure on the Government to enact a law & hand over the entire Acquired Area, including the disputed site, to them for building the proposed Ram Temple. The MMM is strongly of the view that any such transfer would violate the terms of acquisition & the road map drawn by the Supreme Court in 1994 & the Government must reject the demand.

 The MMM has also noted that the recent Convention of the Indian National Congress not only remained silent on the Demolition but even tried to retrieve the former Prime Minister Narasimha Rao from the dustbin of history to which he has been rightly consigned. The Convention also went on to advise the parties to come to a settlement though negotiations, without making a reasonable proposal, keeping in view that several negotiations at various levels, before & after the Demolition, had failed, because the Mandir Movement leaders wanted nothing short of total surrender of the Babri Masjid by the Muslims. The MMM, therefore, rejects the call for negotiated settlement, till the S.C. delivers its final verdict on the question of title.

4. On Urdu Education

The MMM appreciates the formulation of an Approach Paper for Urdu for the next Five Year Plan by the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language as well as the assurance by the Minister of Human Resource Development to draw a Road Map for the progress of Urdu. In this context the MMM emphasizes that the highest priority be given to the introduction of Primary Education through the medium of Urdu to Urdu speaking students whose mother tongue is Urdu and to the teaching of Urdu in all states as the compulsory First language for such students upto class X, under the Three Language Formula.

The MMM also suggests that for the other interested students Urdu should be taught as an additional language in all schools, government or private.

The MMM requests the Minister of Human Resource Development that the current status of Urdu in the school curriculum at the primary & secondary level and the deviations from the Three Language Formula and policy initiated by the Government in 1958 be placed on the agenda of the Conference of Education Ministers which is being convened.

The MMM also requests that additional primary & secondary schools be established urgentlyin Urdu speaking areas, in accordance with national norm under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and the R.T.E. Act.

The MMM is convinced that Urdu cannot survive and be passed on to the next generation, unless it is taught & learnt by the children.

5. On Integrity and Survival of Masjids

The MMM has noted that the All India Organisation of Imams of Masjids is exerting pressure on the Government to make budgetary provision to implement the misconceived and impracticable directive of the Supreme Court for the payment of regular emoluments to the functionaries of Masjids –Imams & Muezzin. This ruling was founded on misappreciation of the status of Masjid and of Imam in the community and the presumption that all Masjids, which are Waqfs by user, have equal resources in terms of Waqf property to support them. Also, the surplus income of Waqf for one Masjid cannot be used for another Masjid. The directive also ignores the fact that the Waqf Boards do not receive any grant-in-aid from the state governments and can not even meet their administrative expenses and therefore they are not in a position to pay the functionaries of Masjids. Moreover, a government subsidy to Waqf Boards for purely religious purposes violates the Constitution. This explains why no State Waqf Board (except Delhi, Haryana and Punjab which are in a class by themselves for historic reasons) has implemented the Supreme Court directive so far. That is why the Imams Organization is now exerting pressure on the Central Government.

The MMM is apprehensive that if functionaries of the Masjids are paid their emoluments, directly or indirectly, by the Government, the Masjids shall pass under official control and lose their autonomy and integrity & their standing in the eyes of the community. What is worse is that the Masjids can become subject to strikes and lockouts when the functionaries demand increase in their emoluments. The solution lies only in raising the income of the Waqf properties, by exempting them from rent legislation and by including all public Waqfs like Masjids in the list of public premises for vacation of unlawful occupation.

 The MMM would like to caution the leadership of the Imams Organization that they should not fall prey to conspiracies of the anti-Muslim forces like the RSS and Israel and instead establish dialogue with Muslim organizations of national eminence on their legitimate problems, so that a joint and collective effort can be made for improving the financial position of the Auqaf which will benefit the Masjids & their functionaries.

The MMM also respectfully requests Muslim organizations of national eminence, particularly the All India Muslim Personal Law Board and the Jamiatul Ulema-i-Hind to respond positively to any initiative by the Imams Organization and also move the Supreme Court jointly to reconsider its impracticable directive and press the state governments to take necessary steps as mentioned above to improve the financial position of the Auqaf.

6. For a Permanent Solution of the Telengana Question
The MMM has noted that the much awaited Shri Krishna Report has proposed as its first option that Andhra Pradesh should not be bifurcated but a statutory Regional Council be established for Telenganato promote its economic interests. The MMM is convinced that the people of Telengana shall oppose this proposal tooth and nail and carry on their agitation until they achieve their long standing objective.

The MMM is of the view that the Government should forthwith fulfil its commitment & introduce a bill in the coming session of Parliament for bifurcating the state with due safeguards for Hyderabad as a metropolitan city, and is apprehensive that any further delay may lead to civil disorder and add to bitterness.

 The MMM reiterates its view that the Government should set up the Second States Reorganization Commission to consider all developments since 1956 throughout the country, formulate criteria for formation of small states for the eventual rational reorganization of the national territory and consider breaking up big states like U.P., Maharashtra, Rajasthan & West Bengal etc & creating tribal majority states in states of tribal concentration.

7.  On the Evolving Political Situation in West Bengal
The MMM has analyzed the political and electoral situation in West Bengal on the eve of the coming Assembly Election, which shall have three major contestants namely the Left Front led by the CPI(M), the Trinamool Congress and the Indian National Congress.

 Psychologically, the Muslim are dissatisfied with the performance of 20 years of Left rule which has made them the most backward Muslim community in the country. They share the overall unhappiness of the Muslim community with the Congress and they are looking at the emerging regional party the TMC with hope. All of them in one way or the other, represent the elite Bhdralok who population but dominate the state in every sphere despite forming only 7 % of state population.

 The CPM leadership has suddenly become conscious of Muslim alienation and announced 10 % reservation for backward Muslims but adopted a method which will not bring them any substantial benefits by the time election are held. Thus this appears to be a political gimmick. Muslims have been supporting the Left Front, for various reasons for the last 20 years. So a substantial part of Muslim vote in any case will go to it.

 Muslim are aware of the Congress performance at the Centre and remember of its rule in the state. So because of old connections, Congress may get some support. A sizeable support will go to the TMC. Indeed Muslims have been extending support to it in elections at various levels. But their enthusiasm seems to be waning because the TMC now appears to take Muslim support for granted and has not announced any specific programme for their uplift. Above all it has maintained silence on the implementation of the recommendations of the Mishra Commission.

 The MMM considers that if Congress and the TMC reach electoral understanding or form an alliance their candidates are likely to receive the support the majority of the Muslims but if they contest against each other Muslims will be forced to choose between all three parties in the every constituency.

 Muslim objective in West Bengal in the coming election is political empowerment through due representation in the Assembly in proportion to their population of about 30 %. They deserve around 90 seats. So far no party has ever fielded due number of Muslim candidates nor such candidates who command the trust and confidence of the community, and from Muslim concentration seats.

Muslim community faces the handicap of internal division, based on language, baradari, sect & ‘silsila’ apart from political affiliation, urban-rural divide and lack of rapport between the Muslim elite and the masses. Also various Muslim organizations are separately negotiating with the major contestants for electoral deals to get a few seats.

 The MMM feels that Muslim organizations should concentrate on uniting the Muslims and avoid negotiations on their own and they should develop a common Front to define Muslim objectives and aspirations and place them jointly before the contesting parties.

 As for the Muslim voters, the MMM advises them to identify potential candidates in each constituency, particularly Muslims in Muslim concentration seats; before the election they should set up a representative Election Committee in each constituency to choose the most experienced, vocal & winnable secular candidate & to educate the Muslim voters to vote massively and unitedly for the selected candidates. The list of potential acceptable candidates as selected by the Election committees should be given by the Muslim Front when they negotiate with political parties.

 Fortunately, all three major contestants are secular parties. So West Bengal will have a secular government. What the MMM desires is that the number of Muslim MLA should be maximized and the Muslims are well represented in the next government. This way alone the Muslim of West Bengal can achieve political empowerment, economic development and social progress.

8. On Confrontation between the Orthodox & the Liberals in Pakistan.
The MMM has noted that in the aftermath of the assassination of Salman Taseer,Governor of Punjab (Pakistan) by his personal body guard and the manner in which he has been glorified by a section of the people, the Pakistan society has been vertically divided. Taseer’s only fault was that he had publicly announced his intention to recommend to the President of Pakistan to exercise his power of clemency in the case of the Christian woman Asia Bibi who stands convicted by a district court for blasphemy against the Holy Prophet and sentenced to death, which is yet to be confirmed by the High Court and the Supreme Court.

 Taseer’s killing has been noticed all over the world as the evidence of growing intolerance and fanaticism in Pakistan and negatively impacted the image of Islam and the Muslims. Since this is a question which has world wide implications it is necessary for the Muslim community in India not to ignore it but consider it objectively.

 Firstly, Pakistan indeed has a Law on Blasphemy against the Holy Prophet but it has an inbuilt lacuna that prosecution, and conviction, of an accused does not require any evidence and thus opens the door for misuse of the law for personal & political reasons. Secondly, Pakistan Constitution empowers the President to grant clemency in case of death sentence. Thirdly, no other Muslim country has such a law on its statute book.

Many people in Pakistan, however, consider that the Law of Blasphemy does not have sound theological or historical foundations and that death sentence is too heavy a punishment which may be reduced to a term of imprisonment. Such sharp differences cannot be decided through mass agitation or assassinations but only by the National Assembly, through debate & discussion.

In these circumstances, the MMM suggests to the political class in Pakistan to establish a dialogue between the orthodox and the liberal elements, in order not to let the confrontation get out of hand, destabilize the state and take the country towards a civil war, keeping in view that Pakistan is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and several UN Conventions against Religious Discrimination.


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