Reject all parties, Muslims told

    By IANS,

    New Delhi : Muslim religious leaders Monday told Muslim voters to reject all political parties in the ongoing assembly elections, accusing politicians of using the community as a vote bank.

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    “We appeal to Muslims not to vote for the so-called secular parties and exercise the ‘NOTA’ option to express their anger and anguish against all political groups,” Mufti Ishtiaq Hussain Qadri told a gathering of over 1,000 religious heads of Islamic institutions here.

    He was addressing a meeting held under the banner of the All India Tanzeem Ulama-e-Islami of Baralive sect.

    Manan Raza Khan, Shah Farhat Ahmed Jamali of Rampur, Darul Uloom rector Raipur Maulana Akhbar Ali Farooq and a large number of religious scholars from Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Bihar and West Bengal attended it.

    Mufti Istiaq said Muslims remained socially, economically and educationally backward despite decades of Congress rule.

    The Bharatiya Janata Party too pursued a policy of alienating Muslims, he said.

    So there was no other choice for Muslims — India’s largest minority — but to opt for NOTA (None of the Above) in the electronic voting machines or ballot papers, rejecting all candidates in the fray.

    According to the Mufti, this would send out a message that no one can take minorities for granted.

    He said NOTA was the “best weapon” in the hands of minorities. “We must utilise it.”

    Maulana Mazhar Ali Qadri said minorities had suffered enormously even under Congress rule.

    “Muslims are not going to lose anything by exercising the NOTA option. It will be a loss to the so-called secular parties who always exploit Muslims for their political objectives.

    “Minorities are remembered only at the time of elections.”

    The meeting criticized the Uttar Pradesh government for allegedly doing nothing to extend relief to Muslim victims of the Muzaffarnagar communal riots of September.

    More than 50,000 people were still in relief camps, the participants at the meeting said.

    Uttar Pradesh’s ruling Samajwadi Party, which claimed to be a protector of minorities, had “miserably failed to curb communal forces” in the state, the speakers said.