Muslims to need to be a political force: Bukhari (Lead)May 7th, 2009 - 5:51 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, May 7 (IANS) Saying he had voted against the Congress for letting down Muslims, prominent Islamic cleric Syed Ahmad Bukhari Thursday said it was time India’s largest minority became a political force.
“For 60 years political parties have made promises to Muslims. We have voted for different parties who claim to be secular but we have been neglected. Now Muslims need to emerge as a political force,” Bukhari told IANS.
The Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, the 17th century mosque in the capital’s Old City, Bukhari said he did not make any appeal to Muslims on who to vote in the Lok Sabha election because “they need to decide on their own who is best for them”.
But he added that Muslims should vote in large numbers “because it is the biggest asset in a democracy”.
Bukhari complained that the Congress government in Delhi had failed to register a police complaint over the killing two young Muslim men alleged to be terrorists at the Batla House in the city’s Jamia Nagar area.
The controversial September 2008 killings, which also left a police officer dead, sparked allegations that the young men were killed in cold blood though they were innocent. The authorities have denied this.
For this reason alone, he said, he voted against the Congress candidate in the Chandni Chowk constituency — where he lives.
The constituency is located far away from Jamia Nagar, a Muslim dominated area in the vicinity of the Jamia Millia Islamia University.
Bukhari said he had voted for “a secular candidate” since he was opposed to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on account of what he described as its communal politics.
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