Tuesday, August 23, 2011

[ZESTCaste] Anna Hazare: Muslims, Dalits sceptical



Anna Hazare: Muslims, Dalits sceptical
Mail Today Bureau | New Delhi, August 23, 2011 | Updated 09:18 IST
Anna supporters
Delhi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari said Anna did not want to involve
Muslims in the anti-graft protests.

Their heart is with Anna Hazare but their mind refuses to accept the
anti-corruption crusader's mode of protest.

Muslim and Dalit organisations supported Anna's fight against
corruption, but feared that the Sangh Parivar could hijack the
campaign. They also warned him about it.

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has decided to stay
away from Anna's a campaign "because of its political overtones". "Our
organisation believes this issue doesn't come under its purview. So we
have decided to be neutral," senior member Zafaryab Jilani said.

The board said demeaning the powers of Parliament would do no good to
the democratic and secular fabric of the country. "In principle, we
agree with what Hazare is campaigning for. But we are not for
dictating terms to Parliament," SQR Illyas, the board's spokesperson
and leader of the Jamat-e-Islami Hind, said. "Let Parliament decide on
the merits and demerits of the Lokpal and the Jan Lokpal Bills," he

Delhi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari said Anna did not want to involve
Muslims in the anti-corruption protests. "He could at least have met
some leaders of the minority community and made references against
communalism to make his campaign look more inclusive," he said.

Jilani agreed with the Imam. "If Anna wanted to include Muslims, he
shouldn't have chosen the month of Ramzan when we stay away from
disputed issues," he said.

The Imam also objected to chanting of Vande Mataram and Bharat Mata ki
Jai as slogans. "Why not raise more inclusive slogans like Hindustan
Zindabad or Jai Hind?" he asked.

Illyas begged to differ. "I don't agree with Imam Bukhari. Chanting
Vande Mataram is not the issue," he said. However, he added that the
Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) has an intention to hijack the

"It's apparent that the Sangh Parivar is trying to hijack it. It's for
Hazare and his team to block any such move," he added.

"There is an allegation that the movement is actually backed by the
RSS from behind the curtain. The leaders of the anti- graft movement
are yet to give evidence to prove they are not motivated politically,"
Jilani said.

"We believe that corruption is rampant in our country and it should be
dealt with firmly. But Muslims have not been included in the process,"
he added.

Similarly, Dalit organisations have objected to certain aspects of
Anna's protest. "Dalits are particularly afraid that in future, Anna
can ask the government to do away with reservation. What is his view
on the issue of reservation for Dalits in the private sector?" Udit
Raj, chairman of the All India Confederation of SC/ ST Organisations,

He said when north Indians were attacked in Maharashtra, Anna didn't
raise his voice. "He has also not criticised the Narendra Modi
government in Gujarat for the atrocities on Muslims in 2002.

Anna himself should render an account of the expenses incurred on his
movement and the sources therthereof. Though the current scenario is
not acceptable, but with the Jan Lokpal, the country will head towards
a bigger evil from lesser evil," Dr Raj added.

Some Dalit students have also started a Facebook group, named 'Oppose
Anna Hazare and Company'.

"Team Anna is employed by right wing people... This is a conspiracy to
divert people's attention from caste-based census and, most
importantly, has again started a debate on reservation for the
religious minority," a post in the group said.

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