Staff Correspondent

Muslims exhorted to strengthen the hands of the party to empower the community

Those who followed Abdul Kalam Azad perished, says IUML PresidentAttack on IISc. in Bangalore condemned Party criticises Chief Minister for `ignoring issues pertinent to Muslims'

BELGAUM: The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) is the sole representative of Muslims in the country, the party's President Alhaz G.M. Banatwala said here on Sunday. Muslims can either tread the path shown by former IUML President Mohammed Ismail and get socially, economically and politically empowered or "perish" like those who followed Abdul Kalam Azad, according to him.

Addressing a public meeting here, he preferred not to comment on the reasons that prompted Abdul Kalam Azad to advise Muslims to wind up the IUML after independence and join the political mainstream by voting for parties of their choice. However, he said all those who heeded the advice perished or were left without an "identity" while those who continued to work with the IUML achieved political power. He noted that Kerala had seen an IUML Chief Minister while the party was a coalition partner with the Congress in West Bengal in the past. An IUML member was a Minister of State in the UPA Government at the Centre.

He said several atrocities have been committed against Muslims. But the community has withstood the injustices meted out to it. Now, the community finds itself in throes of new problems, even as the issues it believed it had been resolved are surfacing with a vengeance, he said and extended an invitation to people to join the IUML and strengthen its hands in protecting the socio-political and cultural rights of the community.

Mir Mehmood Inamdar, IUML leader from Dharwad, said though several State governments claim to be providing reservations to Muslims, it is only in Kerala where the Government has passed an order to that effect.

Condemning the terrorist attack at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, he alleged that the media in the State is prejudiced against Muslims and is projecting the entire community as terrorists.

He alleged that a vicious campaign is on against Muslims by linking madrasas and other religious institutions with terrorist organisations: Mr. Inamdar criticised Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh for "ignoring" issues pertinent to Muslims. He said the Chief Minister insulted IUML leaders by keeping them waiting for over two hours and not meeting them.