AFTER being denied permission several times to hold rallies in UP, Hyderabad MP and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi on Thursday addressed his first public meeting in Muslim-dominated west Moradabad. Addressing a gathering at the Government Inter-College ground, Owaisi accused the SP government of keeping “Muslims backward in a pre-planned manner, the way Congress had done before”.
“There is no university between Bareilly and Meerut, an area with a large Muslim population. The government is distributing rickshaws in Moradabad. We don’t want rickshaws. We want education. The government can bring lions for safari in Etawah, but cannot open an university in Moradabad,” he said, citing the backwardness of the minority community in jobs and education.
Owaisi also stressed on the loss of lives and property in communal riots and the absence of punishment for rioters. “There were communal riots in Moradabad in 1980. As many as 265 Muslims, including children, were killed. A inquiry commission was set up but it has not submitted its report till date. There was no justice. The town lost all its business in the riots,” he said.
Targeting SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav over riots in Muzaffarnagar in 2013, Owaisi said thousands were displaced by the violence and many are still suffering. “No Muslim MLA of SP has raised issues affecting the community… If AIMIM won even 10 seats (in the 2017 UP polls), it will make up for the loss of 70 years,” he added. Owaisi also took a dig at SP leader Azam Khan for his recent derogatory remark against B R Ambedkar. “After coming to UP, I came to know that SP’s slogan is — ‘vacant plot is ours’,” he said. At the inauguration of Haj House in Ghaziabad on Monday, Azam had said: “All across Uttar Pradesh, there are statues of a person whose finger seems to say that not only does it own the plot of land on which it is standing, but also the plot towards which it is pointing its finger.”
Last month, Owaisi had addressed two public meetings in Lucknow and Sultanpur. However, the meeting in Lucknow was held in an auditorium. AIMIM state president Shaukat Ali on Thursday said the government has denied permissions to 23 programmes of Owaisi in UP. The Kanpur district administration, last month, had denied permission for Owaisi’s proposed public meeting in the city on August 28, citing “opposition by SP leaders on the possibility of division of Muslim votes”, among other reasons. It had also said that “there is an anger among Muslims against Owaisi for criticising the schemes of the SP government”.
“The government is threatened. They gave permission for this meeting only two days ago. We could not even publicise it fully. Still, around 10,000 to 15,000 people came,” Ali said, adding that the party would seek permission for upcoming programmes of Hyderabad MP. The party plans to hold a series of meetings in Muslim-concentrated districts. Owaisi is scheduled to hold a meeting in Bahraich on September 18, in Saharanpur division on September 20, in Sant Kabir Nagar on September 25 and Aligarh on September 27.