Don't use Muslims only as vote bank, say clerics



New Delhi: Top Muslims leaders and clerics Saturday warned secular parties not to use the Muslim community as their "vote bank"only but sincerely work for their socio-economic uplift and political empowernment.

"We need action, not tall promises"to empower Muslims by giving them reservation in legislatures, parliament and government jobs and ensuring justice for innocent Muslim youth,languishing in jails without trial for years," Maulana Arshad Madni, president of the Jamiat-Ulema Hind, said at a gathering of over 10,000 Islamic clerics who had gathered at Talkotra Indoor Stadium to voice concern over growing communalism and denial of rights to Muslims..

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav was among those in the audience who raptly listened to Maulana Arshad Madni's comments on "Muslim vote bank". Jamiat Ahle Hadees chief Maulana Asghar Ali Imam Mehdi and Jamat Islami leader Maulana Intizar Naim were among those endorsed the Jamiat chief's views.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad were also invited to the conference but did not show up.

Maulana Madni said that for decades Muslims had remained socially, economically and educationally backward due to "evil intention of the ruling class and biased bureaucracy".

Secular parties have made only empty promises, but did nothing in the past six decades to redress genuine grievances of Muslims. Many commissions and committees were set up to suggest measures for removal of backwardness of Muslims, but these recommendations never get implemented.

"I fail to understand why Muslims are denied reservation when other socially and economically backward communities were granted this benefit," he stated.

IANS