Shia Cleric Kalbe Jawwad’s slamming of Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav in his ongoing protest against the appointment of Waqf Board chairman Waseem Rizvi has put the ruling party’s Shia leaders in a dilemma – whether to stand by their party or align with Jawwad in his protest.
Jawwad and his supporters are demanding a CBI probe into the alleged corruption in Waqf Board and the removal of its chairman. The agitation which began as a religious protest has now turned against the ruling party with the cleric openly calling Mulayam a “bagula bhagat”. Moreover, to push for their demand, Jawwad and four others even offered court arrest from Shahi Masjid in Hazratganj on Wednesday.
“There is no difference between the SP and the RSS. The SP government is similar to the government in Pakistan as both are killing Shias. The government is supporting terrorists to get votes,” claimed Jawwad.
“Even Sunni Muslims understand it. In Muzaffarnagar riots, Sunnis were killed and not Shias. It was the ‘gift’ from the SP government,” he added.
The situation put Shia community leaders in SP in a catch 22 situation on whom to side with. The party has two legislators who belong to the Shia community. While Bukkal Nawab is an MLC, Shadab Fatima is the MLA from Zahoorabad in Ghazipur. Both are also members of Shia Central Waqf Board. Incidentally, Nawab had proposed the Rizvi’s name for the post of chairmanship of the board after which the agitation started.
“It was the party’s instruction to propose his (Rizvi’s) name and I followed it. I have been with the party for the past two decades,” Nawab said. The leader, whose son Faisal Nawab is the SP’s local corporator in the area, remarked over the ongoing agitation, asking “What can I do?” “Agitation is being held, I can’t help it.”
The two Imambaras (Bada and Chhota) where the agitations are being held are located at a stone’s throw distance from Nawab’s residence. His stand on Rizvi has irked the protesters so much that his name now finds a regular mention in their slogans.
MLA Shadab Fatima, on the other hand, is considered close to Jawwad. It is reported that during a function held last year, Jawwad had asked minister Shivpal Yadav to include Fatima in the state cabinet. Now, Fatima too finds herself being in a piquant situation. “I am a junior person in the party. There are senior leaders like Azam Khan who can take a call on the issue. I can’t comment more than that,” she explained.
Former MLA Abbas Ali Zaidi, another Shia leader and considered close to Mulayam, candidly admitted that the government should sit down and hold dialogue with Jawwad. “Actually, the chairman is elected by board members and the government has no role in it. Still, both the religious and political leaders should sit down to settle the issue,” he said.
Mohabbad Ebad, who heads the SP’s Mulayam Singh Youth Brigade and is considered close to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, however, claimed that the government is holding talks with the protesting group, and that the matter will be sorted out soon. “Those raising slogans against the government are political workers of BSP and BJP,” he said.
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