Muslim Forum-Gehlot meet fails to yield results

Muslim activists and community leaders here are keeping their fingers crossed after their meeting with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot over the week-end failed to yield any tangible results and turned out to be a mere public relations exercise to douse Muslims’ ire over the Gopalgarh police firing episode and a series of communal incidents taking place in the Congress rule.

A 15-member delegation of the Rajasthan Muslim Forum – which has been demanding Mr. Gehlot’s dismissal in the wake of the Gopalgarh violence that claimed 10 lives – was trying to have an audience with the Chief Minister for several months to convey to him the plight of victims. The much-awaited meeting, which took place here on Thursday, left several questions unanswered.

Though Mr. Gehlot showed his keenness in solving the issues on which there is a considerable resentment, he reportedly washed his hands of the controversial matters in which the delegation members wanted immediate action.

Muslim Forum convenor Qari Moinuddin said Mr. Gehlot was under an impression that the police firing on the mosque at Gopalgarh on September 14 last year had resulted only in three deaths and others were killed in the clash between Meo Muslims and Gujjars. The delegation told him that the Central Bureau of Investigation had arrested innocent members of Meo community.

Other members of the delegation included Association for Protection of Civil Rights convenor Paker Farooq, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind national secretary M. Salim Engineer, Irada Society president Mohammed Hasan, activists Shabbir Khan and Mohammed Farooq and women activists Nishat Hussain and Yasmin Farooqui.

When a complaint was made about the way the CBI was conducting the probe, Mr. Gehlot suggested that the activists meet Union Home Minister and the CBI Director with the request to change the investigating officer. Asked about the reinstatement of suspended Collector and Superintendent of Police, Mr. Gehlot said this was done on the Central Administrative Tribunal’s orders.

Prof. Hasan said some pertinent questions about the alleged administrative and intelligence failure in all cases of communal violence at Sarada, Balesar, Semlihat, Sarvad and Surwal were raised in the meeting. “