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Secularism is dead: Shahi iman
March 10, 2003 13:55 IST
The Shahi Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid, Maulana Syed Ahmed Bukhari, on Sunday asked Muslims to stop supporting the "so-called secular parties", including the Congress, and form a separate national party to protect the interests of the community.
At a rally organised by the Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind in Delhi, in which many leaders of "secular parties" were seated on the dias, the Maulana said, "Secularism is dead in this country after the Gujarat riots in which hundreds of Muslims were killed. It is time we chart our own course."
Pointing to Congress leader Arjun Singh, he said, "It was his party that triggered the Ayodhya controversy. They opened the locks, performed shilanyas and the [Babri] mosque was brought down during their regime. In 1984, his partymen instigated anti-Sikh riots."
"What secularism are you and your president [Sonia Gandhi] talking about?"
Turning to Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan, Bahujan Samaj Party leader Arif Mohammed Khan, dalit leader Udit Raj and others, he said, "The Paswans and Mulayam Singhs rule after we vote them to power, but it is we who are the ultimate sufferers."
Alleging that the Muslim community had been "under constant attack ever since independence", the Maulana said, "We were under the false impression that the so-called secular parties will be our saviours. We can no longer lean on them. This over-dependence has weakened the community."
All Party Hurriyat Conference leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq also adopted a hard line, saying that Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir will not tolerate any interference in their religious institutions.
He said the Centre had projected the Muslims of J&K as militants and a community opposed to peace.
Earlier, the Hurriyat leader said he had formed the Muttahida-Majlis-e-Ulema in J&K to protest against attacks on Muslim educational institutions.
The MMU, which has roped in nearly 60 organisations from the state, will counter the campaign launched by Sangh Parivar outfits like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal, the Mirwaiz said.
More reports from Delhi
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