Muslims Not a Vote Bank; Must Strive for Empowerment of Their Own – Owaisi at SIO Meet

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Hyderabad MP and Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen President Asaduddin Owaisi (right) receiving a memento from Jamaat-e-Islami Hind chief Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umari at the All India Conference of Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIO) in New Delhi on Saturday.

We should speak about Muslims with courage because our Constitution allows us to do so. To reclaim dignity, we must keep fear away from us. If our leaders had not decided in 1948 to keep off politics and power, our situation would not have become such, Owaisi said at the public session on the second day of SIO’s 3-day conference on the theme of “Reclaiming Dignity, Designing Future”.

MUMTAZ ALAM | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI — The so-called secular parties have done little in the last 70 years for socio-economic and political empowerment of Muslims, and therefore it’s time the community came out of their shadow and worked for its political empowerment on its own, said Muslim politicians and community leaders while addressing a massive gathering of Muslim youths here on Saturday evening.

“It is true there is an atmosphere of fear in the country today, but the same situation has been there for the last 70 years. When did we live peacefully? No government has done justice with us. Otherwise, Sachar Committee, Mishra Commission and Kundu Committee would not have said what they said about us,” said All India Majlis-e Ittehadul Muslimeen chief and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi.

While addressing the national conference of Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIO), Owaisi called upon the youth to aggressively take part in politics.

“We should speak about Muslims with courage because our Constitution allows us to do so. To reclaim dignity, we must keep fear away from us. If our leaders had not decided in 1948 to keep off politics and power, our situation would not have become such,” said he speaking at the public session on the second day of SIO’s 3-day conference on the theme of “Reclaiming Dignity, Designing Future”.

He categorically said that Muslims not pin any hope in so-called secular parties.

“We must not be in illusion that secularism will ensure justice for us. I am unable to understand the meaning of secularism. It has been used to destroy Muslims and used at election time only. Muslim youths should take part in politics. If we think that so-called secular parties will solve our issues, we are wrong because they will never solve our problems,” said Owaisi to the huge applause of the audience.

Disarming the Hindutva groups and saffron politicians who question patriotism of Muslims on and off, Owaisi said, “Those who question loyalty of Muslims should be asked: Was Harshad Mehta Muslim? Was Ketan Parekh Muslim? Are Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi Muslim who fled the country after looting the wealth of ‘Mother India’?”

Muslims Need a New Manifesto: SQR Ilyas

Dr. SQR Ilyas, President, Welfare Party of India, had also similar views. “Need of the hour is that we must change our status of vote bank of this party or that party. What has prevented you from taking the lead role for construction of the country?” He said that “Muslims need a new manifesto for India to make it peaceful and prosperous” and stressed the need “to expose brutal face of Hindutva and Hindu Rashtra.”

Mohammad Salim Engineer, Secretary General of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind said that youths must think seriously about the threats confronting the country and the community.

“The theme of this conference will give a direction to the country and an opportunity to youth to think seriously about issues confronting the country and the community. We must think about our responsibilities as Muslim in the current situation in the country,” he said.

“The threat is not only to Muslims but to the existence of the country and the foundations and values of the Constitution – Equality, Justice, Liberty, Freedom and Fraternity. Ours is a plural society and our system is democratic. But today we are witnessing that the foundations of the Constitution and existence of our country are in danger,” said Jamaat leader.

In his presidential speech, Jamaat’s President Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umari, while calling upon thousands of youths gathered from across the country, said that they are the future of the country and they will have to decide its future.

“People ask me what will be the future of the country? I say these youths are the future of the country. They will decide its future. And they have already decided that it will be bright and prosperous. It is said Muslims are not safe and are being attacked. It is true. But we have to live here with dignity,” said Maulana Umari.

Dalit youth leader and newly-elected MLA of Gujarat, Jignesh Mevani also addressed the SIO conference.

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