On the anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition, prominent Muslim groups in the state held a meeting to bring their community, Dalits and tribals together on a common platform to thwart the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls.
A public meeting was organised on Wednesday at Rani Rashmoni Road in Kolkata, where two prominent Muslim organisations — among others — called for a joint platform of Muslims, Dalits and tribals in the state. The forum is called Shanti, Sanhati, Sampriti Mancha (Forum for peace, unity and harmony).
The two groups spearheading the movement are the All Bengal Minorities Youth Federation (ABMYF) and All India Sunnat Al Jamayat (AISAJ).
“There is an attempt by BJP to pit Dalits and tribals against Muslims, not only in Bengal, but also the rest of the country. Our initiative is to tell Dalits and tribals that we are not the enemy. Our common agenda is development. Neither Muslims nor Dalits or tribals have reaped the fruits of development in Bengal,” said Muhammed Kamaruzzaman, ABMYF general secretary.
“Our aim is to thwart BJP in 2019. We have started campaigning in villages, calling upon our Dalit and tribal brothers to join hands with us,” he added.
Abdul Matin, AISAJ general secretary, said such a platform is of absolute necessity considering the focus the BJP and Sangh Parivar have placed on Bengal.
“We will have to explain to people of all these three sections that BJP and the current Indian government are not just against Muslims, but also against the Dalit and tribal populations, which are being humiliated and tortured every day. So for the sake of survival and development, unity against communal forces is necessary,” he said.
According to the 2011 census, Muslims make up 27 per cent of the total state population, while the scheduled and scheduled tribes combined count for around 23 per cent.
At the public meeting, Muslim leaders maintained distance from Trinamool Congress as well. “Despite what Mamata Banerjee claims, little development has taken place in Bengal for Muslims. We just want good education and jobs, not sops or show-offs,” said Kamaruzzaman.
During the rally, speakers highlighted the Babri Masjid issue and also lauded Baba Saheb Ambedkar.