Leaders from various socio-religious groups, and intellectuals from different fields under the banner of All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) called for unity and stressed on the need for proactive approach to defend Pluralism and safeguard Constitutional and Democratic Rights. In the inaugural session of the two-day National Convention on “Current Situation of the Country and Our Response”, in the national capital on May 20, these leaders also urged people to promote peace by winning the hearts and minds of the fellow countrymen and build confidence among Muslims.

Peaceful and democratic resistance, good and cordial rapport with fellow countrymen, unity of Indian Muslims, imparting confidence were some of the measures suggested during the convention. Most of the speakers shared their thoughts on the fast-deteriorating rule of law, hatemongering and other challenges faced by the Muslim community in particular and other minorities in general. The silence of the powers that be on the prevailing situation that is eroding the foundation of our country laid down by our founding fathers and partisan role of the media were also raised during the programme.   

Syed Sadatullah Husaini, President of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH), while suggesting measures on what should be the response of the community on the current situation of the country, emphasised on two steps as the need of the hour. One, building confidence of the community through mass contact programmes should be the focused area of the Muslim leadership across India. And the other, winning the hearts and minds of the fellow countrymen through good rapport, dialogues and interactions should be carried out on priority basis.

“Our community has faced problems many times since 1857 and have fought with courage and conviction, with unity and perseverance. The community has struggled in the past and will continue to struggle and resist as and when required to meet the challenges. The situation we are in today is not new but fear, anxiety, depression among people is really a matter of concern and Muslim leadership should work hard to build the confidence of Muslims to meet the challenges accordingly,” said JIH President.

“We have to pull out the community by instilling a sense of confidence, courage and conviction. If people lose hope then it is the biggest challenge and we should work hard to nurture hope among Muslims. Perseverance is the most powerful form of resistance,” said Ameer of Jamaat.

Delhi University Professor Apoorvanand, while sharing his perspective, said, “We are facing the most difficult time since Independence and together with peaceful and democratic means we have to fight to counter the narrative being set up against Muslims in particular and the minorities in general.” He added that during the last 4-5 years he learned the meaning of sabr (patience). But that does not mean we will do nothing and keep silence. It means we should keep on fighting continuously with patience and confidence.

Navaid Hamid, President AIMMM, while presiding over the programme, said that in the two-day national convention the people who gathered from all across India would come out with some concrete solution to meet the challenges we are in today. The leadership of the Muslim community would work upon the suggested measures as we move from here onwards. 

BSP MP Kunwar Danish Ali, participating in a session, stated emphatically that some persons who adhere to the Hindu right-wing ideology have penetrated all democratic institutions. Their main target is ending reservation and to deny our Constitutional rights. We have to fight to preserve and protect our Constitution. The main threat is to our Constitution. He expressed concern over the worrying trend while drawing parallels between the current turbulence in the country and the ongoing crisis in Sri Lanka. He also accused media, the fourth state of democracy, of fomenting anti-Muslim rhetoric.

Maulana Tauqeer Raza Khan, the head of All India Ittehad-e-Millat Council, urged the people to come out on the street. He also called for a ‘jail bharo’ uprising across the country if it becomes a consensus response to the challenges Muslims are facing today. “We should stop wasting our energy on meetings, seminars but instead come out on the streets to fight peacefully. If we come together, the vast majority of like-minded Hindu population will definitely support us. Those participating in Television debates and making mockery of our community and religion should be boycotted rather discouraged. 

Maulana Yasin Usmani, member All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), stressed the importance of pressuring the Muslim leadership to work on action plan rather than just discussing the issue. He urged the Muslim leaders to focus on the ‘response’ part rather than deliberating on the current situation as it is known to one and all. 

Dr. S.Q.R. Ilyas, member All India Muslim Personal Law Board, read out a message from NCP Chief Sharad Pawar, who was unable to attend the event. Pawar, through his message, expressed his support for the event and emphasised on the importance of safeguarding the Constitution for future generations.

In the second session, which was focused on Unity of the community, most of the speakers stressed on the need for unity among the Muslim community. Speakers also raised the point that since Independence Muslims have been united; they voted en masse to one political party for long, then they voted in large numbers to regional parties. Muslims were on the same page during the Babri Masjid struggle, on Triple Talaq, Hijab, Uniform Civil Code and other confronting issues. They also expressed concern over the fact that the Muslim leaders were not united as many have still reservation on sharing dais with fellow leaders and refrain from joining the call given by other Muslim platforms.

The Muslim leadership should rise above age-old differences, if any, and try to work hard on a Common Minimum Programme as response to the situation prevailing in the country.

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