This is the season to remember Muslims. It is the season to debate their problems. It is the season to tell Muslims about dangers and risks. It is the season to frighten Muslims. This is the election season. This is the reason why in every political party there are ‘convulsions’ of love for Muslims. Tears are being shed on the sorrows of Muslims. This happens before every election. Every time, stakes are played for misleading Muslims. The condition is such that for once one can believe in crocodile tears, or a chameleon changing colours, but it would be foolishness to rely even one per cent on the trickery of political parties in the country. Actually, in the eyes of the political parties, Muslims are not humans, but just a votebank which can be confused and misled through some false promises, by luring and cajoling them, by giving money, by holding out the fear of the RSS and Modi, and after taking their votes, they can be rebuffed and thrown away. This is the reality. Muslims are an emotional people, they are people who live their lives following the path of religion, they are people who go by loyalty, earnestness, honesty and simplicity. That is why political parties feel that it is easy to fool them. The regrettable thing is that political parties find within the Muslim community itself some people, who for their own selfish, vested interests, trade away the future of the entire community. The 2014 elections are upon us, therefore it is important to understand how in the last 10 years, the UPA Government has made the condition of Muslims even worse than that of the Dalits.
The Congress Party has started entwining Muslims. Attempts are being made behind the screens and in front of the screens. Talks are being held with Muslim leaders and on the other side there is publicity on TV. Attempts are being made to lure and entice the Muslims through a meeting at which Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh themselves were present. Chauthi Duniya has been publishing reports on the reality and problems of Muslims, and we want to disclose with great responsibility that whatever the UPA Government is saying in relation to Muslims is an utter lie and is being said to mislead people. During the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, Chauthi Duniya had exposed the biggest lie of the Congress.
We had proved how, before the assembly elections, Salman Khurshid had, by talking of reservations in jobs for Muslims, played an ugly joke on the Muslims. The Congress Party should tell us where that matter of reservation has got buried? Why does the Congress Party not say anything now about reservations in jobs for Muslims or in the States where there is a Congress Government, why does the Government not announce reservation in jobs for Muslims? Actually, the Congress Party is trying to scheme to cheat and deceive the Muslims and win their votes, therefore one lie after another is being told. Whether it is Sonia Gandhi or Manmohan Singh or any Minister or leader of the UPA, all of them are telling lies.
Manmohan Singh had said in 2006 that the first right on Government resources was of the minorities. When he said that, it had seemed the problems of the Muslims would end. Now elections are about to take place. Manmohan Singh’s farewell has been fixed. Today all that can be said is that as far as statements about Muslims given by any Prime Minister of the country are concerned, Manmohan Singh’s statement has proved to be the biggest deception. A vote can get a man to do, as they say ‘what all’! To understand the condition and how the problems of the Muslims could be solved, Manmohan Singh had constituted the Sachar Committee.
The Sachar Committee Report held up a mirror to the Congress. The truth was revealed. The report said that because of the Congress policies, the condition of Muslims was like that of the Dalits. The report came – and went. Now, the Sachar Committee Report is used only for research. The issues of Muslims are lying where they were. The same hunger, the same illiteracy, the same unemployment, the same riots and the same helplessness.
But look at the character of the Congress. There is a stirring the moment the elections are round the corner. The Congress formed another committee. Its name was the Ranganath Mishra Commission. In this report too the poor condition of the Muslim minority community was described and the medicine to come out of this condition was prescribed, but the Central Government, in keeping with its nature and habit, did not even present it in Parliament. For two-three years the report kept rotting, but when Chauthi Duniya published the full report, the Government was compelled to present it in Parliament. It is a matter of regret that the manner in which the Ranganath Mishra Commission Report was presented in Parliament shows an utter and huge contradiction between what the Government says and does. Questions are also arising on the intention of the Government, because the Government did not append any Action Taken Report (ATR) with the Ranganath Mishra Commission’s Report. Till now, the people of the country have not been able to find out what the Government intends to do with this Report, and what is the attitude of the Congress Party to the Ranganath Mishra Commission Report. Perhaps in politics violation of dignity is not an offense, telling a lie is not deemed an offence, therefore, just before the election smart leaders of the UPA Government jump into the vote bazaar, patting themselves on their backs.
On 29 January this year, a conference related to minority welfare and development works was held at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi. This conference was convened with widespread publicity. It was shown live all over the country through TV channels. Here, Sonia Gandhi gave a speech first. To please and soften the Muslims she spoke many lies. Sonia Gandhi said that because of various schemes, development for the minorities had been accelerated ten fold. This is a strange kind of a joke. The thing to relish is that this was such a big lie that no newspaper dared to print it.
The Sachar Committee says that the condition of Muslims is like that of the Dalits and here Sonia Gandhi is showing a dream of ‘ten fold development’.
Sonia Gandhi also said in her speech that Muslims were benefiting from the scholarship schemes and their unemployment was being banished. If she had to tell only lies in her speech, she should have at least also told that in the last 10 years how many Muslim students got scholarships and how many Muslims got a job because of the Government’s policies. The truth is that the UPA Government, from time on time, keeping the assembly and Lok Sabha elections in view, has been making only announcements, whose propose is not to benefit the Muslims, but to befool them into giving their votes. In 2006, the Prime Minister had also announced the15 Point Programme for minority welfare, but the Government has failed to remove the shocking conditions of Muslim minorities.
Inspite of this Sonia Gandhi praised the UPA Government and said that the only purpose of the Prime Minister’s 15 Point Program was to benefit the minorities. Of course, she also said that the benefit of some the schemes was not reaching people, but which schemes had benefited Muslims, that she forgot to tell. Sonia said that under the ‘Nai Roshni’ programme a lot of work has been done, in which some steps were taken for girls education and for the welfare of women. Sonia Gandhi does not perhaps know the reality – that the Nai Roshni programme lay in cold storage for a long time after it was constituted in 2009, and when it did start one-and-a-half years ago, the money was divided randomly between majority organisations.
Under the Nai Roshni programme, under the schemes for women, money was provided to 25 organisations in eleven States, in which organisations run by minorities have been sidelined. Muslim organisations were refused money on the basis that that they could not meet the necessary criteria. Sonia Gandhi must at least most certainly be knowing the reasons why former IAS officer, Harsh Mander, resigned from the National Advisory Committee (NAC). Harsh Mander was unhappy that instead of linking schemes directly to Muslims, why were they linked broadly to the minorities. For 10 years, the UPA Government and the Prime Minister talked of schemes for the minorities, but the situation today is that the UPA Government is not in a position to claim success for even a single scheme.
At the conference, Manmohan Singh spoke after Sonia Gandhi’s speech. He talked about the Wakf Board and said that a ban had been put on the sale, mortgage and gift of Wakf properties, but he did not disclose why even today innumerable properties of the Wakf are under the occupation of non-Governmental and Governmental organisations. Many people believe that if the properties of Wakf are just managed properly, the problems of Muslims in the country can be eliminated. No work has been done on this, but Manmohan Singh claims that most of the Sachar Committee suggestions have already been implemented.
Union Minister Shri K. Rahman Khan, Minister of Minority Affairs, claims that his Ministry has implemented 73 of the 76 recommendations of the Sachar Committee. When Chauthi Duniya carried out an investigation, it found that out of the initial 22 recommendations, the UPA Government has not yet implemented 12 recommendations. The Ministers of the UPA Government are constantly telling lies. The Government, in its Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007-2012) had allocated 7000 crore rupees to the Minority Affairs Ministry. The claim of the Ministry is that out of the allocation an amount of Rs. 6,824 crore was spent. Whereas the truth is that the money which the Ministry allocated to the States, mostly that amount was just not spent.
According to the recently released Social Development Report 2012, during 2007-2012 the State Governments did not spend even half the money allocated to them by the Centre. 12 States spent less than 50 per cent of the money related to the minorities, and those States include Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Assam which top the State List. There are some States where only 20 per cent of the money has been spent. The truth is that the Minority Affairs Ministry returned to the Central Government Rs. 33.63 crore in 2008-09, in 2009-10 it returned Rs. 31.50 crore and in 2010-11 it returned Rs. 587 crore because the money could not be spent. In view of the inability of the Minority Affairs Ministry, the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry’s Parliamentary Standing Committee had raised many objections.
The Rs. 462.26 which were given under multi-region development by the Centre to the Minority Affairs Ministry for spending on various schemes in 90 districts with a multiplicity of minorities were also returned to the Centre. In the same manner, the Minority Affairs Ministry failed to spend Rs. 24 crore of the Post Matric scholarship, Rs. 33 crore of Matriculation scholarship, Rs. 26 crore of the Merit cum means scholarship and Rs. 9.3 for computerisation of the Wakf Board and as a result the whole amount had to be returned to the Centre. In such a situation, the claims of the Congress led UPA Government’s about the minorities, particularly about development of Muslims, are proving to be hollow. The Sachar Committee had laid the strongest emphasis on remove the illiteracy and backwardness of Muslims, but even after 7 years no concrete steps have been taken for the education of the Muslim community. So far, any kind of system for separate of reservation for Muslims Government jobs for Muslims has not been set up.
The reality is that in the last 10 years the Muslim community has gone out of the mainstream of development. There are many reasons for this. Education and the level of education are a major reason. Muslim youth are falling behind in the present competitive world. In the private sector, there is also the matter of favouritism. In the public sector and in Government jobs as well, where there is the matter of an interview, they become victims of discrimination. Media and politics have created an atmosphere in which Muslims are becoming alienated from the mainstream. The Government is not concerned or worried by these things. If you look at any data related to Muslims, you find that their social, economic and educational condition is worse than that of Dalits.
In Muslim bastis or slums there are no schools, no hospitals, no employment opportunities. The thing to understand is that Government data on education is misleading. We consider those who can read and write their name as being literate or educated. Muslims living in villages study in Madrasas. They count among the educated people, but their education does not help them to get a job or to get employment. Because of poverty Muslim children are not able to go to school. In every sphere of society Muslims of the country are falling behind and they are not getting assistance or lets say assistance is not being given to them. Such economic policies have been adopted in which in the last 10 years, the status of Muslims in the country is continuously getting worse.
The neo-liberal economic policies of the Government are making the poor poorer. In the villages, it is becoming very difficult to live. The Muslims are poor. Therefore, they are the receiving end of the worst effects of the present economic policies. Data shows that small and medium Muslim farmers are having to sell their remaining land to survive. Gradually, from being farmers they are becoming labourers. Now, more than 60 per cent of Muslims in rural areas do not own land. The intriguing thing is that every year one per cent of land is slipping out of the hands of Muslims.
Muslims are having to bear a double beating. On the one hand they are losing land in the villages and on the other hand they are suffering because of the neo-liberal economic policies of the Government. Sources and ‘businesses’ of earning name and money through daily wages and skills and talent are gradually closing. Traditional trades have already been locked up. No alternative has been developed or emerged for such people. Muslims are getting totally alienated from this market oriented economic system. Even the employment available in urban areas is of the lowest quality. Because of the policies of the Government, Muslims first got alienated from the mainstream and now since the last 10 years, because of the changing social and economic environment they themselves are feeling condemned. It is a matter of sorrow that the Congress Party, instead of showing regret and apologising, is patting its own back, giving itself certificates.
On the one hand there is the basic problem of the Muslim community and on the other side there is the rapidly changing social and economic environment. Muslims are facing a dangerous challenge. Dangerous because we are standing at a turn of history where even a slight delay or mistake or default will take the Muslim community to the lowest level of society. Dalits have come on the path of development. Many Scheduled Castes have gone much further ahead. Backward castes are competing with the higher castes. Among the minorities also, Jains, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis, etc. are much further ahead than before already. Muslims are the only ones falling behind.
Why and what is it that only the Muslim community remains which is moving towards illiteracy and lack of education, unemployment, sickness and going towards a past period. The Muslim community itself will have to stop this. No hopes should be placed on political parties which are running shops in the name of different ideologies. No hope should be placed either on social and religious leaders who, during elections, trade off Muslim votes with political parties. There is no hope either from Muslim leaders present in various political parties. Neither is there hope from the older generation, because in their mind many prejudices exist. To cope with the current problems and prepare a map for the future, the new generation, i.e. the youth themselves will come forward and take out the Muslim community from a morass. Apart from this, there is just no other way either.