Muslims should launch their own party: Shahi ImamApril 11th, 2009 - 3:01 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, April 11 (IANS) Accusing political parties of using the Muslim community as just a vote bank, the Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid here said Saturday that Muslims should join hands and launch their own party that will work for the community’s welfare.
“Muslims in this country have always been secular and have never voted on religious grounds. They have even voted for political parties whose leaders have been Hindus. They even supported the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 1977 and 1989 elections,” Shahi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari told IANS.
“However, none of the political parties who the Muslims have voted for have done anything for their welfare. This is why I think the community should launch its own political party,” he said.
Talking about Uttar Pradesh, where Muslims have over 20 percent of the vote share, Bukhari said that the community has lost all faith in the political parties.
“Political parties use Muslims just as a vote bank. They are not really bothered about their rights or upliftment and welfare,” he said.
Speaking out against the Samajwadi Party and its chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, Bukhari said: “All those involved in the Babri Masjid demolition have become friends with Mulayam Singh. If he doesn’t leave them, then the community will not think twice before withdrawing their support to the Samajwadi Party”.
The Shahi Imam also lashed out at the Congress party.
“If the Congress party is really bothered about the welfare of the Muslim community, then why has has it not acted upon the Sachar committee report’s recommendations? The report is like a mirror to them and the work that they have done,” he said.
The Sachar committee studied the social, economic and educational status of Muslims in India.
Praising the Sikh community for standing united in its demand for justice to the victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and forcing the Congress to withdraw Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar from the poll fray, Bukhari said Muslims should also come together and work for themselves.
“I want to congratulate the Sikh community for being united and forcing the Congress party in changing its decision. Muslims must learn from them,” the Shahi Imam told IANS.
He added that educational institutes with a “minority character” should be established in all those places where there is a substantial Muslim population.
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