The Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM), backed by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), will conduct a survey beginning next month “to study the economic condition of Muslims” across the country. The survey will begin from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi with focus on Muslim weavers, the problems they face and the measures needed for improving their business.
RSS volunteers will help the MRM in conducting the survey that is also aimed at identifying the need for programmes and bank loans “to improve the skills of Muslims involved in traditional businesses and get necessary help from the Central government”.
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“MRM will work as coordinator between the Muslim community and the Centre through this survey. We will survey the working conditions of Muslims and also identify the measures that need to be taken for improving their source of earning. A report on their economic condition and requirements would be submitted to the Union ministries of minority affairs and textiles so that the Centre could come up with some schemes for them in the next general budget,” said Mohammad Afzal, MRM’s national convener.
The survey, which will begin in October and conclude by December, will also focus on education and employment status of Muslims. “The survey will be conducted by organising workshops and meetings in areas where Muslims do their traditional business,” Afzal said.
The first meetings will be held in Varanasi followed by Meerut, Bhadhohi, Mirzapur, Saharanpur, Moradabad, Aligarh, Kanpur and Agra where Muslims in large numbers are engaged in small scale business of handicrafts.
“Focus of the survey will be on northern and north east states. In Bihar, it will be conducted after Assembly elections,” Afzal said.
He claimed to have recently made “a preliminary survey visit” to some villages in Punjab near Pakistan border where he found “Rath” Muslims engaged in traditional dairy business living in penury. He claimed the Muslims there were mostly illiterate and were not getting the benefits of the central schemes meant for minorities.
Afzal claimed that RSS recognises MRM as a nationalist organisation. Senior RSS leader Indresh Kumar is the patron of MRM. “The survey will be done under the guidance of Indreshji who want Muslims to find a place in mainstream of society. We will be taking help from the RSS because it has strong cadre base and its volunteers have useful information about the economic and social status of every section of society,” Afzal said.