//Mammoth public meeting marks conclusion of Empower India Conference

Mammoth public meeting marks conclusion of Empower India Conference

By Pervez Bari, IndianMuslims.INFO

Bangalore, February 18 (IndianMuslims): A massive turn-out exhibiting show of strength and solidarity of the underprivileged and the marginalized sections of Indian society at the public meeting here on late Saturday evening to mark the conclusion of the three-day Empower India Conference pumped the spirits of one and all involved in the mega event.

All roads led to Shaheed Tipu Sultan Nagar in Palace ground wherein delegates from all over India and specially Kerala, Tamilnadu and Karnataka converged in the most disciplined manner to leave the Bangalore district and police administration spell-bound with no untoward incident reported, howsoever small it may be. According to a rough estimate over 50,000 people assembled and dispersed quietly leaving policemen sitting idle and dosing. The organizers about 2000 voluntary force worked to perfection as the public meeting went through with precision as planned out making happy to the hilt one and all present on the occasion.

The highlight of the meeting was the participation of Hodari Abdul-Ali, Afro-American social activist and journalist who has converted to Islam, and Alan Hart, the British journalist specializing in West-Asian affairs, among the distinguished speakers who addressed the overflowing assemblage. E.M Abdurahman, General Secretary of PFI, delivered the welcomed address while A. M. M. Shafi, PFI Treasurer, proposed vote of thanks.

The audience consisting largely of young men from Karnataka, Kerala and Tamilnadu roared and clapped in resonance lapping it all as speakers after speakers built a rapport with them leaving an impression on their heart and mind while addressing them. In keeping with the linguistic composition of the crowd, speeches were made in Kannada, Urdu, Malayalam, Tamil and English.

E. Abubacker, chairman of Popular Front of India (PFI) that organized the historic event in South India, in his presidential address while emphasizing the need for creating a broad-based alliance of all oppressed sections, including the minorities, Dalits (down-trodden) and backward classes, to ensure equal share in the development process, clarified the distinction between "Hinduism" and "Hindutva".

Abubacker said his organization is "never against Hindus or Hinduism". "We can't equate Mahatma Gandhi with those who killed him," he thundered. Hindutva is a violent political ideology with in-built hatred towards Muslims and other minority communities, he added.

The meeting passed nine resolutions, including a demand for rebuilding of the Babri Masjid, reservation for Muslims in jobs and educational institutions, united resistance to the "saffronisation of Bababudangiri", "equitable sharing of Cauvery waters" and naming the Bangalore airport after the 18th century Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan.

At the outset of the programme the great Indian Sub-continent poet Allama Iqbal's "Sare Jahan Se Accha Hindustan Hamara" was rendered filling the hearts of everyone with patriotism.

Moulana Mohammed Wali Rahmani, secretary of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, cited findings of the Sachar Committee report to say how large chunks of the minority community had been alienated from the mainstream.

"The report is a mirror that shows the country its true face," he said.

Delivering the keynote address, Hodari Abdul-Ali said the assault on civil liberties in the U.S. had resulted in the formation of broad coalitions. He called upon Indian Muslims to build alliances with other groups such as Dalits in the "interest of equality and true democracy".

"In terms of coalition building, I encourage you to reach out to the good-hearted Hindus who are against racism and the caste system. Find issue of common concern and work with them, “Hodari advised the assemblage.

Hodari said that a special effort e made to do "Dawah" among the Dalits. "Help them to see that Islam is the religion of equality opportunity and dignity", he added.

He pointed out that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the United States and especially among African-Americans. He pledged to make a concerted effort to help inform people in the US about the growing efforts here in India to bring about justice for the Muslims, justice for the Dalits, and justice for the people in India who face discrimination.

Meanwhile, Alan Hart said that he had unlearnt many stereotypes about the oppressed classes in the course of making a film on global poverty.

Hart said when he asked a very poor woman what she most wanted in life, she had told him, "Education for my children so they don't have to live like animals as we do." The poor woman had opened his eyes to the truth that access to formal education is the key to the development of the potential of each individual.

Ms. Gowri Lankesh, Chief Editor, Lankesh Weekly; K.M. Shareef, president of KFD; Abdurahman Baqvi, president of NDF; Moulana Syed Kaleemullah Rashadi, State Executive Member, KFD; M.Ghulam Mohammed, State Executive Member MNP; also addressed the gathering.

Full text of the resolutions:

1. Unite in the Struggle against Neo-Colonialism.

The Empower India Conference calls upon the people of India to come together and join hands in the struggle against the murderous neo-colonial incursions made by the US and its allies in the country in the form of liberalization and globalization. Neo-colonial powers led by the United States are trying to take over the country's resources with the help of local monopolies and have already wrought great damage to the India's socio-political fabric. Israel the client state of the United States is trying to penetrate the country's security administration under the disguise of security experts and looks like the main force behind the so called terror attacks. It is quite unfortunate that India's security agencies seek the help of a pariah state which has always discounted the world's opinion and is the source of all bloodshed and mayhem in the Middle East. This conference is of the view that the people in India irrespective of their caste and creed should come forward to build up resistance against the new imperialist dispensations.

2. Defeat the Nefarious Designs of Hindutva Fascism

The Empower India Conference calls attention of the people of Karnataka to the designs of the Hindutva forces to capture power through communal and divisive propaganda and anti-Muslim policies. It is quite unfortunate that a section of the secular forces has fallen prey to the temptations of petty political gains which in the long run would only ruin the social cohesion and unity of the state. The Hindutva forces unleashed violence in the coastal districts of the state in the very recent part and have used the police to create terror among the Muslims and the other minority communities. It is also suspected that the so-called encounter deaths in the State are mostly, the handiwork of the elements in the administration influenced by Hindutva ideology. This conference appeals to the people to fend off the Hindutva advances and to safe guard the freedom and liberty of all the people of the state.

3. Give Tipu Sultan’s name to the New Airport

The Empower India Conference appeals to the Central Govt. to give the name of Tipu Sultan to the new International Airport being built in Bangalore. Tipu Sultan is India's first freedom fighter who has laid his life in the nation's early struggle against British Imperialism. He had great vision of history and tried in his brief but brilliant career as a warrior statesman to unite the fissipar
ous forces in India which were working hand in glove with the British. He was the first and only ruler martyred in Indian struggle for freedom and self-determination. He was a great ruler tolerant towards all faiths and beliefs and was ahead of his times as a reformer and catalyst for economic justice. It is only a small but symbolic tribute to the Tiger of Mysore to name the new airport after him. While demanding so the convention also takes into cognizance the irony of building international airports and divulging scarce resources to the benefit of the neo rich while keeping the masses in the state of perpetual drudgery.

4. Introduce Reservation for Muslims in jobs and for education

For the first time in India's independent history the Higher Level Committee instituted by the Prime Minister under Justice Rejinder Sachar, has unequivocally brought to focus the backwardness of Indian Muslim in all walks of socio-political and economic life. They are the victims of wide spread discrimination and callous indifference of the administration and political parties. The Empower India Conference strongly feels that very strong social, economic and political intervention is required for the comprehensive advancement of the community.

For the empowerment and participation it is binding on the administration to introduce reservation for the Muslims in Govt. and private sector jobs and for education. The socio-economic backwardness of the Muslim community has historical and political reasons and it is only justice to introduce reservation for them. It is also mandatory to implement programmes targetted at the development of the Muslim localities and to introduce measures to create confidence and sense of belonging to the young Muslims. This conference also seeks the help of intellectuals, media men, non-governmental organizations and human rights activists to work for a sea change in the attitude of both the majority and minority communities towards each other and to remove suspicion and distrust which alone would help build up a peaceful and prosperous India.

5. Unity of the Muslims and the Dalits, The Need of the Hour

All the economic and social indicators have proved beyond doubt that the Dalits and the Muslims are amongst the most deprived people in the country. They formed the majority of the illiterate and undernourished and they also make up a major chunk of the under- employed and the child labour. While some signs of political empowerment are seeing among the Dalits there is scanned social advancement and self respect among them. On the other hand the Muslims are the immediate victims of the Hindutva fascism, and the Hindutva forces use the Dalits as the cannon fodder for achieving their political objectives. Unsuspecting Dalits often fall victims to the insidious anti-Muslim propaganda unleashed by the Hindutva forces. There have been many instances of the Dalits actively involved in anti-Muslim riots. This conference feels that it is high time the Muslim and the Dalit leaders came together and joined hands for the empowerment and progress of both the communities and to prevent the communal forces from using the Dalits against the Muslims.

6. The Government Should Enact Laws to Make the Judiciary More Accountable

The Empower India Conference calls upon the Government of India to enact proper laws to make the judiciary accountable to the fundamentals of the Constitution and to stymie the efforts to make the judiciary a self preserving institution. Of late there have been many reports of the judiciary making its own laws, issuing orders to protect its own interests and trying to interfere with the functions of both the legislature and the executive. The judiciary is insulated from public criticism by the contempt of the court laws. The courts have use the contempt laws to deflect attention from the improper functioning. The recent decision to amend the Judges Enquiry Act and provide for the institution of a National Judicial Council is seen as important initiative to introduce some accountability for the judges of the higher judiciary. But on scrutiny it becomes very clear that it is only an attempt to create the illusion of accountability with out making any basic change in the status quo. This conference thinks that recent events and reports speak volumes about the performance of justice delivery system. The growing trend of corruption, nepotism and bias is alarming and immediate steps to check and control the menace have become mandatory.

This conference also brings to the attention of Central and State Governments to reshape the existing recruitment system to the judiciary and make provisions for proper representation of all the communities especially Muslims. Only adequate representation of all the sections of the people will make justice delivery system effective and unbiased. This conference also calls upon the Central and State Governments to constitute separate bodies for judicial recruitments.

7. Implement the Equitable Redistribution of Cauvery Waters

The colonial rule of around 200 years in this country had not only reinforced the already existing inequalities but also introduced new injustice stemming from the needs of colonial rule. All the resources of this country including river water were exploited. The present dispute about sharing of Cauvery waters is a colonial legacy. It is but unfortunate that even after independence no new parameters were adopted in the resource sharing. This conference calls upon the political leaders and the people of all the three states not to heed to chauvinistic forces and come forward to evolve a formula of equitable sharing of Cauvery waters. It also urged upon the state government to shun pro-corporate and pro-business agricultural policy.

8. Call to Fight Against the Saffronisation of Bababudangiri.

The Hindutva fascist forces in the state of Karnataka have declared to transform Karnataka into a Gujarat and make Bababudangiri, a Sufi shrine revered by oppressed sections of both Hindu and Muslim communities into a new Ayodhya. They were successful in mobilizing the people in the initial stages. But the secular and democratic forces of the state, mobilized under the auspices of Anti Communal Forum, have successfully thwarted their attempts hitherto. But now the communal forces in the rule are designing all plots to subdue this. They stalled the Urus last year. And the recent court order to reexamine the pre 1975 practices at the shrine has given the communal force a dangerous opportunity to rejuvenate the drive of saffronisation. This conference calls upon the people of the state and the country to be vigilant about this development and resolve to fight against the saffronisation of the Giri at all costs.

9. Rebuild Babari Masjid Expeditiously

The Empower India Conference calls upon the Central Government and the Judiciary to expedite all cases related to the destruction of Babari Masjid and to take necessary steps to restore the Babari land to the Muslims and fund its reconstruction. The demolition of Babari Masjid is one of the most dramatic events in the history of independent India and is the signal reason for peoples losing faith on the fundamentals of India’s constitution. Only the reconstruction of the masjid will heel the wounds and restore the people’s faith in the rule of the law and just delivery of justice.