By Pervez Bari
BHOPAL, February 24: In the context of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, the Popular Front of India, (PFI), will convene a “Muslim Political Conclave” in the national capital on 6th March 2019 to submit a “People’s Charter of Demands” on behalf of the minority community before the contesting political parties.
Muslim scholars, activists and leaders have been invited from different states, which will discuss the current national and state situations and prepare a charter reflecting the concerns of the community for the interested political parties to include in their election manifesto. This decision was taken in the National Executive Council meeting of PFI held at Malappuram in Kerala.
M. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, General Secretary PFI, in a statement said that the meeting observed that, though 2019 Lok Sabha election is being viewed as of paramount importance in the history of the country, the existential and developmental issues of minorities have been largely sidelined in the political discourse of the major political parties who have traditionally used the community as their vote banks. The present Central government is characterised by its extreme anti-minority nature and the resultant rise of violence against Muslims in particular. In lynching incidents, mostly Muslims were killed in the name of beef consumption and the cattle trade.
According to one survey, it is found that hate speeches by elected leaders increased by five times since BJP came to power in 2014. A report of Human Rights Watch says that in most of the mob lynching cases culprits remain unpunished.
Jinnah said that in Babri Masjid case, the Central government is opposed to justice for the illegally demolished Masjid, rather they are doing everything to prevent justice and ensure Ram Mandir construction on the Babri land. The non-BJP Opposition has relegated Babri Masjid case into a non-issue and has forgotten the promise of reconstruction, made to the nation when it was demolished in 1992. Through the introduction of 10 per cent quota in government jobs on economic grounds, when the Central government tried to destroy the constitutional foundation of reservation, both Congress and Left parties supported this upper caste agenda. And they keep silence over the recommendation of Justice Ranganath Misra Commission to provide 15 per cent reservation for religious minorities.
He pointed out it is to be remembered that it was UPA government which introduced the draconian UAPA, now widely being misused by the Modi Government against minorities and for silencing voices of dissent. The constitution of NIA, another agency which is misused against Muslims, is also a Congress government contribution. No previous secular government at the Centre bothered to remove the oppressive sedition clause from our penal laws.
There is a visible reluctance on the part of major parties even to address Muslims in these changed political circumstances. They often distance themselves from core questions of Muslims and backward minority sections and at times even compete with BJP by championing Hindutva politics even openly. In short, these parties have proved them incapable of standing by the aspirations of the minorities and marginalized sections of this country. The situation demands realistic evaluation of the present situation in the country and effective strategizing on the part of Muslim community for its own future and the future of the country as a secular democratic nation. The proposed Muslim Political Conclave is an attempt at enabling the opposition parties to address the Lok Sabha election on the basis of core secular values enshrined in the Indian constitution.
Chairman E. Abubacker presided over the meeting, which was attended by, General Secretary M. Muhammed Ali Jinnah, Vice Chairman O. M. A. Salam, Secretaries Abdul Wahid Sait, Anis Ahmed and other members of the National Executive Council.