NEW DELHI: Acknowledging that Muslim youth are sometimes harassed in the "name of terrorists", Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday night asked security forces to observe "zero tolerance" for fundamental human rights violations while dealing with such cases. Interacting with a group of senior Urdu journalists here, he said the entire community could not be suspected of being terrorists and that being a Sikh, he understands the concerns of Muslims.
He suggested that committees, comprising respected Muslims, should be set up in states to look into any case of harassment of innocent members of the community.
"Mai manta hun ki hindustan ke musalmanon ko kaafi mushkilat ka samna karna padta hai, kuch samay terrorist ke naam par Muslim navjawanon ko pareshan bi kiya jata hai (I agree that Indian Muslims face a lot of difficulties, sometimes in the name of terrorists, Muslim youth are harassed)," Singh said.
Underlining that he "understands" the problems faced by the minority community, the Prime Minister said his message to security forces, whether in Jammu and Kashmir or elsewhere, is zero tolerance for fundamental human rights violations."
10 Apr 2009, PTI
Muslims 'sidelined' in Indian politics: cleric
NEW DELHI (AFP) — The chief cleric at India's largest mosque delivered a stinging attack against the country's major parties Friday, less then a week before the country's general elections.
Syed Ahmed Bukhari of New Delhi's Jama mosque said Muslims in India were "victims of injustice" and have been "tortured and systematically sidelined by all political parties."
"A peaceful, secure and happy life is a distant dream for us," he said in a speech ahead of Friday prayers.
He accused Hindu-majority India's main parties of being either overtly sectarian or otherwise trying to cynically woo the Muslim vote with "false promises."
"Look around and see the situation: some parties have an anti-Muslim agenda, some are trying to show sympathy towards us, but they will never be of any good to us," he said.
Muslims number 140 million in India, making them the largest religious minority in a country of 1.1 billion people. Community leaders have long complained of discrimination, with allegations of harrassment increasing in the wake of militant attacks last year that were blamed on Islamic militants.
India's general elections are to be held over several phases between April 16 and May 13.
10 April 2009