Muslims haven’t availed of constitutional rights: justice Ahmadi

August 2nd, 2008 - 7:39 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, Aug 2 (IANS) With former Indian chief justice A.M. Ahmadi saying Muslims have let down the constitution by not availing of rights enshrined therein, a book launch event here Saturday turned into an occasion for introspection. Ahmadi, in his no-nonsense address at the city’s India Islamic Cultural Centre (IICC), urged the gathering of around 50 Muslims drawn from different walks of life to use constitutional rights to their advantage.

“We have let down the constitution, the constitution hasn’t let us down. We have not used our constitutional rights to our advantage. We have not seriously tried to avail our legal entitlements,” Ahmadi said after releasing a book titled “A Guide To Uplift Minorities” by the city-based Human Welfare Trust.

The book is a collection of welfare schemes by the central and state governments meant for Muslims and other minority communities, and elaborates how to avail of them.

Ahmadi said the Indian constitution had put in place a system providing equal opportunities to all, and one needed to make concerted efforts to use them for socio-economic and political advancement.

He said lack of education among Muslims was a major concern and was acting as a deterrent in their path to all round advancement.

“Religious education is a must, but secular education is equally a must. There can be no bigger social service than educating the community,” said Ahmadi.

“Educating our female lot is more important. An educated mother means an educated family. We must concentrate on educating our community, particularly women.”

The upliftment of Indian Muslims, who account for over 138 million of the country’s billion plus population, has become a major issue of debate ever since Justice Rajinder Sachar submitted his report on the condition of minorities in India in November 2006.

Maulana Jalaluddin Umari, president of Jamaat-e-Islam Hind (JIH), a religious organisation, also underlined the need for the community’s educational and social emancipation through hard work.

“Instead of depending upon others, the community must come forward and do the needful to educate people, and help the needy. Weaker sections need to be helped out,” Umari said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had set up the committee in March 2005 to evaluate the socio-economic and educational status of minorities, in particular Muslims.

The committee said that 25 percent of Muslim children in the 6-14 year age group have either never attended school or have dropped out, while in premier colleges only one out of 25 undergraduate students and one out of 50 postgraduate students is a Muslim.

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