In a rare display of unity, 15 prominent Muslim leaders from different groups met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to discuss Muzaffarnagar communal riots.
They expressed their anger with the UPA Government for not tackling the “errant” Uttar Pradesh Government over the violence, which has left around 35 dead and thousands homeless.
The leaders said they were devastated by the “complete failure” of both the U.P. and Central Governments in preventing the violence in Muzaffarnagar.
They said the riots were a “result of saffron designs at polarisation, just ahead of General Elections”.
The meeting was initiated by Milli Gazette editor Zafrul Islam Khan and Jamiatul Ulema Hind leader Mahmood Madani. The delegation told the Prime Minister that the community is the loser in the electoral battle between the UPA and the NDA.
President of Zakat Foundation of India Syed Zafar Mahmood said the current situation was covered by Articles 355, 356 and 365 of the Constitution, which enable the Centre to take charge of the situation and provide military protection for displaced families returning to their villages.
While talking about affirmative action, Dr. Mahmood argued that the Centre had given no thought to a vital recommendation of the Sachar Committee regarding removing the anomaly of reserving Muslim-dominated constituencies for Schedule Castes in constituencies with negligible SC presence.
The delegation talked about the need to reintroduce the communal violence bill.
They demanded that the government try to pass the proposed legislation that it had initially spearheaded but later abandoned.
They asked the Prime Minister to ensure relief measures, rehabilitation and compensation for thousands of people currently living in make-shift camps.
They said the legal process to punish the perpetrators of the violence should start with immediate registration of FIRs.
The leaders from the minority community told the Prime Minister that the Centre must ensure that bias or discrimination finds no room in the relief, rehabilitation and compensation process.
Dr. Mahmood told The Hindu that the Prime Minister expressed his deep sympathy with the minority community and talked of the upcoming meeting of the National Integration Council. “The Prime Minister promised the Central Government’s best effort to resolve the Muzaffarnagar situation,” said Dr. Mahmood.