, by SAHAR KHAN
By making a political announcement before the Friday prayers, the BJP National Minority Morcha seemed to have committed a major faux pass that resulted in evoking a strong protest by a large number of devout Muslims in Raipur.
The announcement which related to a National Wakf seminar has raised the hackles of devout Muslims who strongly feel that the morcha has committed sacrilege by making such political announcements during Friday prayers. The BJP minority morcha had blared the controversial announcements from various mosques in the state capital on Friday (September 7).
The morcha leaders associated with Wakf Cell had requested religious leaders (Mutawallis) to ensure the presence of all members of the community by this announcement at the venue, on Sunday. Invitations and pamphlets for the seminar carrying the BJP’s symbol were also distributed from various mosques in the city.
The BJP’s Wakf Cell created this year in Delhi under the National Minority Morcha had proposed to hold as many 18 National Seminars across the nation. The seminar in Raipur is the second; the first was held at Mumbai.
The Chhattisgarh Sunni Muslim Samaj has strongly objected to the Wakf Cell for encroaching on religious places to propagate its agenda. "Such declaration before the auspicious Friday prayer is totally against the Shari’ah and Hadith (sayings of Prophet)," said Nasir Khan Quadri, president of the organisation.
Shahar Qazi Maulana Rais Ahmed has denounced the move adopted by the Wakf Cell to use religious places for promoting its political plans. "It is purely a political programme and the Muslim community condemns this move by the BJP’s Wakf Cell to use mosques to highlight its agenda," he said.
However the Chhattisgarh Wakf Board Chairman Saleem Ashrafi, who is also the national convener of party’s Wakf Cell, found nothing wrong in using the occasion of Friday prayers to convey message to Muslims about the event.
While justifying his stand, Ashrafi said, "The seminar is being held in the backdrop of controversies over massive embezzlement of the Wakf properties across the nation for which the Congress Party is accountable and we took the occasion to publicise our programme through the mosques which are also a part of Wakf property."
He however parried a query on why representatives from national wakf board, the concerned union ministry and others related participants were not invited. The main opposition Congress Party has questioned the intention of the saffron party in organising the seminar. "It is just an election ploy of the BJP, known for its anti-minority stances, to prepare grounds to seek Muslim votes," said Congress spokesperson Ramesh Varlyani.
The state Muslim leaders here feel that in the guise of the Wakf Seminar the Muslim community is being misled. "It’s tricky; how could a party which opposes welfare measures made for the Muslim community become so concerned about the Wakf properties," said a noted Muslim leader M U Siddiqui. "Mosque is for prayers and professing of one’s faith and not for fulfilling the purpose of any party," said mosque imam, Roshan Jamal.
The BJP’s Minority Morcha president Shahnawaz Hussain, chief minister Dr Raman Singh and various senior BJP leaders were to attend the National Seminar.
When it comes to safeguarding and defence of the Wakf Properties, it seems that BJP National Minority Morcha believes in having different sets of rules for different areas.
Such double standard of Morcha was apparently surfaced by its own national president and a Member of Parliament Shahnawaz Hussein who was in Raipur on September 9 to attend a National Seminar on Wakf properties organised by it.
Ironically when the Morcha is holding such seminars across the nation pledging to undo the wrong done on massive misappropriation of the Wakf properties since last five decades, Hussein was tight-lipped when he was asked whether his Minority Morcha would also recover the land that has been grabbed and a makeshift Ram temple constructed on the Wakf land in Ayodhya. The Hindutva forces have reportedly have taken possession of over 40 acres of land out of the 67 acres in Ayodhya that is regarded as Wakf land.
While talking to Radiance Viewsweekly in Raipur, Hussein shunned a query on Wakf land acquisition in Ayodhya, in their so-called nationwide efforts through seminars, stating that such issues should be better avoided. He showed his inability to take such question for himself.