Monday, August 29, 2011

[ZESTCaste] Scepticism among Muslims and Dalits

Scepticism among Muslims and Dalits
P S Jayaram

28 August 2011
HYDERABAD — The war against corruption launched by septuagenarian
activist Anna Hazare may have created ripples across the country but
his brand of social movement has evoked a sense of skepticism among a
section of Muslims and Dalits, who believe that it could lead to
'mobocracy' taking over Parliamentary democracy besides Sangh Parivar
elements using the movement to whip up religious sentiments.

Says Asaduddin Owaisi, President of Majlis-e-Ittehadul-Muslimeen
(MIM): "Anna Hazare is creating chaos in the name of reformation. We
support the cause he has taken up but not the method he has chosen."

Owaisi, whose party has considerable influence in the old city areas,
said that Muslims were wary of the present trend that could lead to
subverting the supremacy of Parliament and forcing the government to
accept something without being debated by the elected representatives.

Owaisi, who represents Hyderabad in Lok Sabha, said: "Muslims and
other marginalised sections of society are also worried about the
forces that are behind the movement against corruption. With the BJP
asking the government to adopt Jan Lokpal Bill, the cat is out of the
bag. Until now, the saffron party and its affiliates were working
behind the scenes. With the government unable to handle this movement
intelligently, they have mustered the courage to come out in the

Echoing similar sentiments, noted Dalit writer and activist Kancha
Ilaiah described the Team Anna-led anti-graft movement as an "upper
caste movement." "The Saffron brigade is back in the form of Gandhi
topis (caps). This is an upper class movement. All Dalits and
minorities should come on the streets against this," said Ilaiah, a
Political Science Professor at Osmania University in Hyderabad.

Meanwhile, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has also
expressed reservations over Anna's a campaign because of its
"political overtones." The Board said that demeaning the powers of
the Parliament would harm 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," the AIMPLB
spokesman S Q R Illyas said.

Owaisi wondered why Anna Hazare or his team members were silent when
gross injustices were meted out to the Muslims, particularly during
the post-Godhra violence in Gujarat.


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