The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Minorities and Dalits team up against Sangh

New Delhi, Sept. 13: In a bid to thwart the Sangh parivar’s designs of using Dalits as fodder in communal riots, like in the Gujarat carnage, a Dalit-Muslim front is being launched.

It will begin as a core group and foster unity between the two at the grassroots level and later turn into a political party.

All-India Milli Council, a representative body of various Muslim organisations, Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind and the All-India Confederation of SC/ST Organisations, an umbrella organisation with more than 30 lakh members, are the prime movers behind the front.

In Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, unity between the Dalits and Muslims got a boost thanks to the politics of the Bahujan Samaj Party and Laloo Yadav.

But in Gujarat, where there is no Laloo, Mayavati or Mulayam Singh Yadav, the Dalits and the Other Backward Castes are used to engineer communal attacks.

Leaders of the minority community and the backward castes plan to initiate the unity process first in Gujarat. Sources said Milli Council secretary-general Maulana Abdullah Mughaisi and Kamal Farooqi visited Gujarat last week to assess the situation there. SC/ST confederation chairman Udit Raj and Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind general secretary Maulana Mahmood Madani visited the state several times in the wake of the riots.

Apart from politically empowering them, the idea is to wean the Dalits away from the “false propaganda” of the Sangh.

“Dalits must realise that it is not Muslims or Christians who made them untouchable, poor and landless,” said Raj.

Madani said the idea is to foster unity at the grassroots and middle level between Muslims and the Dalits instead of forging an alliance among the leaders. The move is aimed at blunting divisive politics, besides addressing the basic issues of unemployment, health and education.

Raj and Madani have announced that a conference is being organised here on September 15 to work out the strategy for a movement. Some 200-odd people — intellectuals, community leaders and politicians of all colours — are being invited to the meet.

Coming down heavily on VHP chief Ashok Singhal, Madani said: “Singhal is an ISI agent. He is a traitor. He is making all these statements to hide his ISI links.”

Singhal was quoted as having said in Amritsar recently that Gujarat was a “successful experiment”. “Godhra happened on February 27 and the next day, 50 lakh Hindus were on the streets. We were successful in our experiment of raising Hindu consciousness, which will be repeated all over the country now,” Singhal said.

Raj said the VHP chief violated the Constitution by making the speech. “Singhal should have been behind the bars by now.”

The Dalits and Muslims have been misguided by “hierarchical and discriminatory” caste system and as a result both the communities suspect each other, he added. Our efforts will be to make the Dalits and Muslims, who antagonise each other, thanks to the false propaganda of vested interests, have greater social interaction, Raj said.

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