Letter to PM Modi from Muslim intellectuals sets off controversy

Letter to PM Modi from Muslim intellectuals sets off controversy
Screengrab: ANI

Mir Ayoob Ali Khan

Hyderabad: The letter written by a group of eminent Muslims to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday praising his promise to reach out to Muslims has received a mix response.

Prof. Faizan Mustafa, Vice Chancellor of Hyderabad-based National Academy of Legal Studies and Research (NALSAR), told Siasat.com that he is not a signatory to the letter. “What I have to say on Prime Minister Modi’s statement, I have said in my two recent articles. I have nothing to do with this letter…,” he said.

Prof. Mustafa has also tweeted reiterating what he has told this news portal.

Kamal Farooqui, Member of All Indian Muslim Personal Law Board, who is the initiator of the letter, said that Prof Mustafa’s name was carried by mistake. There is one other person who had agreed with the content of the letter but did not wish his name to be published is Justice Sohai S. Siddiqui, he said over the phone from New Delhi.

Zafar Javeed, a senior functionary of the Congress in Telangana, said that if what the Prime Minister has said could be translated into action there should be qualms in welcoming it. But the problem is that the BJP government has not even tried to stop the killing of Muslims and Dalits even in its second term so far.

Dr. Fakhruddin Mohammad, Chairman MESCO, is the only person who has signed the letter from Hyderabad. “I received a call from Kamal Farooqui sahib who briefed what he plans to do. I said, yes, go ahead. It is a good idea,” he said.

Zafarul Islam Khan, Chairman Delhi Minority Commission, a signatory to the letter was forthright. “Welcoming any positive initiative from the government is okay. If the government, let’s say, does not show any results in six months in what it has said then we should criticize it. It is a statement, not unconditional praise of the government,” he said.

To the criticism that “these so call intellectuals” are bending backward to make friends with Prime Minister Modi who has done “nothing to protect or help the minorities” in his previous term, Khan said problems cannot be resolved by sitting angrily in a corner. “We have to keep trying. Those who are criticizing have no idea of the ground realities in India,” he asserted.

Similarly, Dr. Zafar Mahmood, a former member of the Sachar Committee, said that the community cannot live without interacting with the government in power. “I have written to the prime minister earlier, made other representations, therefore, when Kamal Farooqui told me about his initiative I agreed to go with it,” he said.

In the letter, the signatories have welcomed the speech of Prime Minister which he gave to parliamentarians on May 26 wherein he asked his representatives to find ways to resolve the educational and economic problems of the minorities. The letter has offered to engage with him on issues of educational backwardness, skill development and confidence building measures.

Prime Minister Modi had said, “The way the poor have been cheated, the minorities have been deceived the same way. It would have been good if their education, their health had been in focus. Minorities have been made to live in fear by those who believed in vote-bank politics. I expect from you in 2019 that you would be able to make a hole in that deception. We have to earn their trust.”




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