SJC seeks Muslims to start living like a vibrant community

PFI’s Social Justice Conference Gets Underway at Ramlila Maidan

By Pervez Bari,,

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New Delhi: Amidst clapping of hands by thousands of delegates from almost all the states in the country the chairman of the Popular Front of India Mr. E M Abdul Rahman hoisted the organizational flag at 9:30 am to herald the opening of the two-day Social Justice Conference (SJC), here at Ramlila Maidan on Saturday.

The conference, the first of its kind, at the Ramlila Maidan, aimed at promoting the cause of social justice and to motivate the masses for playing a pro-active role in nation building, based on the constitutional foundations of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity.

In the morning session, the Milli Convention with the theme, “Together for Empowerment: Dialogue with Future” was inaugurated by Dr. Mufti Muhammad Mukarram Ahmad, the Shahi Imam of Shahi Masjid Fatehpuri, Delhi. “Despite the constitutional pledge of equal justice to all, the minorities and backward sections including Muslims are practically denied these constitutional rights”, he said in his inaugural speech. Father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi had desired to see Khalifa Omar Farooq’s just and equitable administration to be followed in the independent India, he recalled.

Dr. Mukarram exhorted Muslims to live a life like a vibrant community. He said: “Musalmano Aik Zinda Qaum Ki Tarah Jeena Seekho. Hum jail Aur Dande Se Nahin Darte”.

K M Shareef, General Secretary of Popular Front, in his presidential address, pointed out that the mainstream political parties are treating Muslims only as a vote bank and nobody is interested in addressing their problems and issues. “Jo Bhi Hukumatein Aaini Lekin Dustoor Hind Ko Sahi Tareeque Se Lagoo Nahin Kiya Taake minorities and especially Muslims Aur Dalits Ka Sahi ManoN Mein Bhala Hosake”, he remarked.

A Sayeed, General Secretary of SDPI presenting his paper entitled: “The Muslim as an Indian Citizen” pointed out that Muslims, who have enriched the Indian culture and strengthened the administration in the past, are now meted out with discrimination, and even their basic fundamental rights are being denied to them. Instead of blaming others for the present condition, it is the duty and responsibility of the Muslims themselves to understand their role in the Indian polity and to come to the forefront.

Sayeed said that though India is resolved to constitute a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic and to secure all its citizens socially, judicially, economically and politically; it has failed in giving justice to the majority of the citizens, including Muslims and Dalits. One might expect the judiciary as the safest institution for protecting the rights of citizen without prejudice of any kind. But in practice, the experience is different. There now appear to be two judicial systems in this country, one for the oppressed communities like Dalits and Muslims and another for the elites.

A self appraisal would be worthier, at this time, than blaming others. It is time for Muslims in India to think about their role as Indian citizens. We ought to evaluate to what extent we have understood ourselves, our brothers, sisters and kids living in depths of cities and villages of the country. Much responsibility lies upon the educated. Let them identify themselves inside the community and feel the burden of obligations, he added.

Greater interaction between communities is a must in order to rectify negative images of the other. As long as the majority regards the acceptance of diversity as an ‘appeasement’ of the minority, the latter would lose the confidence to make a significant contribution to the national life, observed Dr. Safia Amir from Hamdard University. She was presenting a paper on the topic “Negotiating the Cultural Identity”.

Quoting Plato and Aristotle, Dr. Arshi Khan from AMU, said that the state is created for the purpose of establishing justice. He was speaking on “The Challenges of the Hindu Right“. “Though our constitution is the best in the world, we have the worst rulers. Dual justice is prevalent in the state”, he said.

Rulers should adhere to the constitution and the judiciary should ensure that the constitutional rights are made available to all citizens, this is how we could wipe off those two major threats faced by our country now, communalism and communal riots, he added.

Minorities have started losing its faith in the judiciary, due to its inability to ensure equal justice to all the citizens; judiciary should come forward to overcome this by ensuring justice to all, as envisaged in the constitution, stated the Supreme Court Advocate, Bahar U. Buruqi in his speech “Judicial Activism and Minority Rights”.

The aspiration of the architects of our constitution that the backward communities should be brought to the forefront through reservation has not been fulfilled in its spirit, even after 60 years of independence, he said.

We are not begging for reservation and instead claiming our constitutional rights, said Movement for Empowerment of Indian Muslims, General Secretary, Navaid Hamid in his speech on “Representation and Reservation”.

Social Democratic Party of India, General Secretary, Hafiz Manzoor Ali Khan speaking on the topic “Muslim Politics: Thinking out of the Box” said that It is the need of the hour that Muslims get rid of their political weakness.

Political parties deliberately keep Muslims away from contesting in elections, whereas they seek Muslim votes. Muslims should strengthen the
internal democracy and prepare long term plans for the development of the community”, he said.

God will not change a society unless they come forward to hange themselves, pointed out Moulana Khot Shahid Siddique, General Secretary of All India Imams Council, quoting the Holy Qur’an; in his speech. He was making his presentation on the topic “The Social Role of Ulema and Religious Institutions”. Muslims seem to have realized their space and are now trying to occupy it. Scholars and the Muslim public should come forward to discharge their religious duties for the establishment of virtues and eradication of evils, he urged.

Status of the Muslim women in India is pathetically worse, as they are being denied the opportunity for education, and employment. Gender iscrimination is one of the reasons for their backwardness. Muslim women should, along with being a good house wife in moulding a model generation, shoulder the responsibility of the community, as well. Prof. Naznin Begum, Vice President of SDPI, pointed out in her paper on the topic “Empowering Muslim Women”.

Government policies in the past two decades have made India an enslaved nation. The new move on the FDI will further enslave the country conomically and politically. Muslims should ensure political empowerment through new political experiments, noted Zafarul Islam Khan, Editor Milli Gazette, in his speech “Economic Uplift: The Role of Self-help Groups and the NGO’s”.

Waqf is the sole right and issue of the Muslims alone and the present government is cheating the Muslims in the name of the new Waqf Bill. Muslim organizations were not consulted about the bill. Another new legislation on tax is going to affect the religious institutions as they are going to be taxed, observed Kamaal Faruqi, National Secretary of Samajwadi Party, in his speech on “What Ails Muslim Unity Platforms”.

Four resolutions were adopted at the convention which were: Implement Rangnath Misra Commission Report, Rebuild the Babri Masjid and punish the culprits, Identify and restore the encroached Waqf properties. Finally the National Executive Council member, Moulana Muhammad Khalid Rashadi Manipuri proposed a vote of thanks.