Delhi Imam, Dalit leaders criticise Anna's campaign
FP Editors Aug 23, 2011
Rent-seekers playing the politics of tokenism are targeting the
movement against corruption led by Anna Hazare.
An array of political forces – from leaders of the Muslim community to
Dalit leaders to jholawallas – is stepping out to criticise the
atmospherics of Anna's movement as well the Jan Lokpal Bill that Team
Anna is campaigning for.
On Monday, the Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid, Syed Ahmed Bukhari,
criticised Team Anna's campaign, saying that it had not done enough to
involve Muslims in the anti-corruption movement.
The Delhi Imam and Dalit leaders are speaking out against Anna
Hazare's campaign. Subhav Shukla / PTI
In particular, the Imam claimed that the slogans raised by leaders and
supporters of Team Anna's campaign – 'Vande Mataram' and 'Bharat Mata
ki Jai' – caused Muslims some disquiet. "Why not raise more inclusive
slogans like Hindustan Zindabad or Jai Hind," he wondered.
Bukhari told PTI that while he believed it was important that
corruption should be weeded out, it was equally important to tackle
communalism by addressing the problems of Muslims. Communalism, he
said, was a bigger threat than corruption.
Pointing out that Anna had earlier praised Gujarat Chief Minister
Narendra Modi, Bukhari said: "(Anna) did not fast for even a day when
Muslims were killed in Gujarat in 2002. We never heard from him when
anti-Muslim riots happened in his home state's capital Mumbai. He
could at least have made an effort to involve the community. We are
hurt by this."
Anna, added Bukhari, "could at least have met some members or leaders
of the minority community… . He could have also made references
against communalism as part of his campaign to make it look more
In this aspect, Bukhari said, Anna had much to learn from Mahatma
Gandhi's inclusive approach. "When Gandhi took up a cause, he made
sure he included grievances of every Indian constituency. Only then
did his campaigns take the shape of an unassailable national
Asked if he felt that Muslims should not take active part in Hazare's
anti-corruption movement, Bukhari said he had merely expressed his
view and he could not stop the Muslims who were still participating in
In any case, Bukhari said, corruption would not end in a day just by
Late on Monday, Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi, core members of Team
Anna, met Bukhari to clarify any misconception he may have about the
movement against corruption.
Dalit leaders too
Dalit leaders too have criticised Anna Hazare's campaign, arguing that
its demand for sweeping structural changes in governance would have
the effect of diluting the Constitution, which was drawn up by Dalit
leader B.R. Ambedkar.
Udit Raj, head of the All-India Confederation of SC/ST Organisations,
said he would take out a rally at India Gate on Wednesday in support
of his 'Save the Constitution' movement, reports Hindustan Times.
The fight against corruption, Raj said, "should not undermine the
Constitution drawn up by Dr Ambedkar. Why is there not a single
representation from Dalits, or backwards or minorities in Team Anna?"
Similarly, human rights activist Shabnam Hashmi criticised the 30
August deadline set by Team Anna for passage of the Lokpal Bill.
"Bills and law-making are not two-minute noodles," Hashmi told
Hindustan Times. "For anybody to say 'accept the Jan Lokpal bill in 18
days flat' is a violent statement."
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