Amid Shiv Sena protests and police flip-flops on granting permission for a conference in the city, Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi addressed the event, batting strongly for Muslim reservation. Addressing the Muslim Reservation Conference organised by Mulnivasi Manch and Maharashtra Action Committee, Owaisi took on the saffron combine ruling the state, and criticised the previous Congress-NCP government for not doing much in this regard. He was not at his caustic or satirical best, being restrained by a police directive but that did not stop Owaisi from peppering his remarks with light humour.
The event that in its run-up had run into controversy related to permission pertaining to the venue was attended by a huge crowd in a closed enclosure at Kausar Baug grounds in Kondhwa.
Owaisi, the president of the All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), attacked the Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the ruling Shiv Sena and BJP for using the Muslim community as a vote bank and not doing anything substantial for the community.
Former Justice B G Kolse Patil, and MLA Imtiyaz Jaleel attended the conference, among others.
Owaisi strongly criticised the ruling BJP-Sena for “openly opposing Muslim reservation” and said that though the NCP and Congress made a show of sympathy by passing a 5 per cent quota for Muslims, the ordinance was never translated into law.
“Despite the Bombay High Court approving reservation for Muslims in education, the current Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP government in the state did not replace the ordinance (job and education reservations for Muslims and Marathas) that was struck down by the High Court, with a bill. What’s shocking is that while PM Modi strongly advocates ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’, the BJP government in the state turns a blind eye to equal opportunities,” said Owaisi who listed areas where he said the Muslim community was lagging behind.
Owaisi sprinkled his speech with humour and took jibes at Prime Minister Narenda Modi over his pinstripe bandhgala suit and his claim of being the ‘Pradhan Sevak’.
Owaisi made it clear that MIM wasn’t opposed to Maratha reservation, and said the BJP had displayed its double standards when it tabled the Maratha Reservation Bill and withheld the Muslim Reservation Bill on flimsy grounds. The Congress and NCP, he said, had been taking the community for a ride for decades with empty rhetoric and symbolic gestures.
“All these years, the Congress and NCP have been taking our votes attending iftaar parties, wearing skull caps and visiting Ajmer Sharif Dargah. What has this symbolism given the community? We want jobs and education. Hence, reservation to Muslim community is the need of the hour,” said Owaisi.
The event that began at 4.30 pm was over by 6.30 pm as directed by police. It was originally planned at Golibar Maidan in Pune Camp but police administration denied permission citing security and traffic issues.
According to Anjum Inamdar, one of the organisers, police gave them permission on Wednesday morning on the condition that Owaisi would not make any inflammatory speech and that the rally is not telecast live.
When Owaisi was addressing a press conference at Ashoke Mews in Kondhwa earlier in the day, police issued him a notice under Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code directing him not to attend any gathering for which prior police permission was not taken. Owaisi mocked it as a “Love Letter” by the Maharashtra Police and said it curtailed his fundamental rights. “I have addressed several rallies in Maharashtra at various venues and nowhere has it caused any law and order issue. During Assembly polls, I campaigned for our 24 candidates across Maharashtra but not even rival parties complained of any inflammatory speech. Then why does police issue such notice curtailing my rights under Section 19 1(A) and Section 25 (freedom of speech, religious freedom),” he said.
AIMIM MLA from Aurangabad Central Imtiaz Jaleel criticised the police for creating hurdles for organisers of the event.
“This is an event to raise an important issue of Muslim reservation. We are merely participating in this non-political event. But we had to face hassles to get permission,” said Jaleel.
AIMIM chief for Rs 3000-cr budget allocation for minorities in state
PUNE: AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi has demanded that the state government increase budgetary allocation for minorities to Rs 3,000 crore. He said his party had written a letter to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in this regard.
“We have urged the government to raise the plan outlay for minorities to Rs 3,000 crore or at least 5 per cent of the total plan outlay of the state in the ensuing financial year 2015-16, in keeping with the requirements of the minorities who constitute almost 20 per cent of the state’s total population,” said Owaisi. He said the allocation for Muslims, who constitute 11 per cent of Maharashtra’s population, was alarmingly insufficient during the Congress-NCP regime.
“In united Andhra Pradesh, Muslims constituted only 9 per cent of the total population, but the plan allocation was Rs 1,000 crore. In Maharashtra, the population is 11 per cent, but allocation was only Rs 220 crore in the last budgets,” said Owaisi.
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