//Muslim leaders demand eco benefits for Gujarat riot victims

Muslim leaders demand eco benefits for Gujarat riot victims

New Delhi, Mar 18: Muslim leaders today demanded a special economic package for the Gujarat riot victims in the same lines as the economic package announced for 1984 anti Sikh riot victims, restoration of minority status of Aligarh Muslim University and reservation for Muslims in the Central and state government services.

"Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has announced to grant a special package for the victims of 1984 anti Sikh riots. We welcome this decision and take it as a good omen for the Muslims," Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, Delhi, Maulana Syed Ahmed Bukhari said today.

To prove "impartial attitude" of the government, the victims of Gujarat riot should get a special package in lines with the package announced for 1984 anti Sikh riot victims, Bukhari said at a national conference of Muslims here, where 500 delegates from all over India participated.

He demanded the implementation of the Justice U C Banerjee report and "those Muslims who are confined under Pota for more than three years should be released immediately from the Godhra train case."

The conference demanded that the parliament should amend the 1981 act to restore the minority status of the Aligarh Muslim University.

Miffed at being "used by different political parties as a vote bank" Bukhari proposed the formation of a common social platform of different Muslim organisations within six months to adopt a united stand on all Muslim issues.

"All small and big Muslim organisations maintaining their existence and identity should establish a common forum to unanimously resolve Muslim issues," Bukhari said.

Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh said his party has always worked for the betterment of the Muslim community but some members of the audience went near the podium and shouted slogans against the Uttar Pradesh government.

"Mulayam Singh Yadav government has not done enough for the betterment of the Muslim community," said a group of 10-15 members as Singh was making his speech.

The Samajwadi Party leader completed his speech, sat at the conference for about 10 minutes and later left the venue.

Expressing dismay at the "grievous condition" of Muslim representation in central and state government services, the conference demanded nine per cent reservation to the Muslims on the basis of economic backwardness in the fold of 27 per cent reservation provided by the Mandal Commission for OBC.

Criticising the recent Supreme Court verdict on the IMDT act as "damaging to the life and existence of the Assamese Muslims," the conference demanded that the government should introduce a bill in the parliament to stop the injustice against Muslim in Assam and dispel the "lacunae that provided the base for the Supreme Court verdict."

On the resolution of Kashmir dispute the conference insisted on the solution of the problems with "sincere dialogue."

To overcome the educational backwardness of the Muslims, the conference demanded that 18 per cent of the budget of the national education policy be specified from national budget 2006-07 through the Planning Commission.

Hurriyat Conference leader Abdul Ghani Bhat, Minister of State for HRD Minister M A Fatmi, Congress leader Mukul Vasnik and Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind president Maulana Arshad Madani spoke on the occasion.

Bureau Report