Imams and clerics of West Bengal under the banner of All India Milli Council have written a letter to Muslims of the state urging them to vote unitedly in the Lok Sabha polls and not to make a mistake in 2019. Imams of the Council in other states are writing similar letters to make a similar appeal.
They are also using sermons and speeches to urge community members to vote for a secular party that has the maximum chance of winning in their respective areas, as division in the Muslim vote bank has led to a rise of “fascist forces”.
Fazlur Rehman, president of the Bengal chapter of the Council and who leads the largest Eid congregation on Red Road in Kolkata, told The Indian Express that with letters and sermons, they are urging Muslims to thwart “fascist forces” and vote for a secular party that has maximum chance of winning.
The letter, signed by Rehman and Maulana Shafique Qasmi, Imam of Nakhoda Mosque in Kolkata, says, “We get an opportunity to elect our government every five years. For every mistake you will have to wait five years to rectify it. So it is imperative that you think and make up your mind that there will be no mistake in 2019. No wrong decision to be made. Think very hard before you press the button.”
The Milli Council is writing such letters in almost all states of the country. They do not name any political party. “Through the letters we are urging Muslims not to make a mistake in 2019 polls. We are stating that political consciousness is necessary along with religious consciousness,” said Rehman.
“Last time we saw how division of Muslim votes helped fascist forces come to power. We are asking Muslims not to waste their vote and make it count. Fascist forces are damaging the secular structure of the country, where Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians live side by side.”
Qasmi told The Indian Express, “Our appeal to all is to help strengthen the secular forces. The secular forces should come to power and protect the Constitution and provide security and development to all, irrespective of their religious belief.”
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