Saturday, October 2, 2010

Muslims won\'t buy Mulayam\'s remark

Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh\'s attempt to play the Muslim card has not gone down well with the community, the majority of which is not in favour of playing politics over the Ayodhya issue.

The general view is that since the verdict of the Allahabad High Court on the Babri Masjid title suits is a legal issue, only legal options should be explored; and as such, political parties and leaders should refrain from politicising the issue.

"The country is passing though a critical phase, with issues like Kashmir, terrorism, Maoist activities and insurgency in the northeast plaguing it. It is the responsibility of all citizens to work for peace and tranquillity, and ensure that calm prevails in the country," said Mohammad Azam Khan, once dubbed the "Muslim face" of the SP, who was expelled from the party for rebelling against Mr. Singh\'s alliance with the former BJP leader Kalyan Singh in the last elections.

Mr. Khan was a senior minister in the Mulayam Singh Cabinet in 1989-91 when the temple agitation, backed by the RSS, the BJP and the VHP, was at its peak. Convener of the Babri Masjid Action Committee till the demolition of the mosque on December 6, 1992, Mr. Khan, however, saw "merit" in the SP leader\'s statement that Muslims were feeling cheated and disappointed at the verdict.

"I have had many differences with Mr. Mulayam Singh in the past, but it should not be forgotten that Mulayam and the SP witnessed the Ayodhya storm from close quarters, and how the abortive attempt to raze the Babri Masjid on October 30, 1990 created a crisis situation. To that extent, Mulayam Singh has expressed what the common Muslim cannot say," he told The Hindu on the phone from Rampur. According to Mr. Khan, if the common Muslims, or the ulema, were to express their "frank" opinion on the verdict, they would be immediately dubbed "traitors."

However, the Naib Imam of Lucknow\'s Aishbagh Idgah and member of All-India Muslim Personal Law Board, Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali assailed the former Chief Minister for having said the Muslims were feeling cheated. "How did he know that the Muslims were feeling cheated when there has been a mixed response to the verdict from the community? And had the Muslims felt that they had been cheated, the situation would have been entirely different," the Maulana told TheHindu.

On what he meant by "mixed response," the Maulana said 70-80 per cent of the young Muslims, who are on the fast lane with good jobs and prosperity, felt that the issue should end here, and that there was no need for the community going to the Supreme Court. The older generation felt that the judgment should be vetted by legal experts before a decision was taken on the next move, he said. "Muslims have been the worst sufferers ever since the issue was politicised; post-demolition, the community has been pushed back by 20 to 30 years."

The younger generation, in fact, doesn\'t want to be dragged into the controversy. Many were not even born when the mosque was brought down in 1992. For them, the country has moved on since those turbulent days and, more importantly, 2010 is not 1992.

Says Nausheen Khan, who is pursuing B. Tech in Biotechnology in Amity University: "So many options have been created for the young Muslims for bettering their lives and careers. We are just not interested in what politicians are saying as we have better things to achieve in life."

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