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Kerala Muslim organisations form permanent common platform

By Najiya O., TwoCircles.net,

New Delhi: Around 80 influential people assembled in the Muslim Association Hall in Thiruvananthapuram on 21st July. There were political leaders, leaders of Muslim organisations, social activists, environmentalists, professional and students among them. No one gave long speeches. No photo was taken to distribute to media organisations. However, the meeting had a great mission – the formation of a permanent common platform to deal with the matters of the Muslim community. And there took shape the Unity for Social Development (USD).

The common platform was the outcome of 6 or 7 sittings in the past few months, said Ashraf Kadakkal, one of the secretaries of the USD. All were unanimous in the idea of forming a permanent common platform based on the concept of social development. Members of around 30 organisations attended the meeting along with about 20 ulemas.

The meeting in Thiruvananthapuram was well-planned. All the invitees were distributed a three-page document regarding the issues to be discussed in the meeting. It included general issues, the outcome of the minority welfare programmes of the state and centre, how to utilise the minority development programmes of the governments, etc. One of the topics of the discussion was the scope of social and education activities based on each mahall (area coming under a masjid). They also discussed about the problems of Muslims living in the coastal areas, among many others.

There was a PowerPoint presentation on the Sachar Committee Report – what should be done immediately, what can be done etc. Detailed discussion was held on the topic.

The meeting admitted that issues related to health were not discussed much by the community, leave alone going for a solution to the problems. It was noted that about 300 houses had no toilets in the Vizhinjam area of Thiruvananthapuram. Several other such matters were also pointed out by the participants of the meeting.

Four sub-committees were formed to serve in four fields- health, education, observing the government actions and moves, and plans for mahalls. They also decided to give high priority for the Vizhinjam area. There are about 30,000 Muslim families under the Vizhinjam Muslim Jamat (the area coming under the Vizhinjam masjid). But there is only a single school teacher among them and only one Lower Primary school. The area is highly sensitive. There have been riots in the place earlier. The social mdevelopment of Vizhinjam area has been taken up as the first plan.

The meeting came to the conclusion that no social activity can be effective unless it is centred on the mahall structure. Masjids should play an active role in the social development of the community.

The USD plans to study the genuine problems of the community, which will then be informed to the government and other organisations. Both the government and social organisations should work for the betterment of conditions as they can.

The USD elected Hasan Basary Moulvi, principal, Imdadiya Arabic College, as the chairman and PM Pareethu Bava Khan as the Secretary General. A working committee of about 30 people has also been constituted.

Hasan Basary Moulvi presided over the meeting which was inaugurated by Prof Seyeed, Director, Medical Guidance Bureau. Ashraf Kadakkal spoke about the problems faced by Muslims in the country, with special emphasis to Kerala. Kutty Ahammed Kutty, former minister of the Muslim League, opened the discussions.

PM Pareethu Bava Khan welcomed the gathering and Dr Althaf delivered the vote of thanks.