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Monday, 22 August 2011

Jan Lokpal Bill: Why didn't Anna take us along, asks Bukhari

NEW DELHI: Contending that communalism was a bigger a threat to India than corruption, Syed Ahmed Bukhari, Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid on Monday asked Anna Hazare why he and his campaign managers did not do more to involve Muslims in their anti-graft movement.

At a time when Hazare's campaign has caught the imagination of the country, Bukhari said the Gandhian needed to learn more from the Mahatma on how to spin all sections of the society together in a mass movement.

Bukhari said while he very much believed that corruption needs to be weeded out of the country, it was equally important to tackle communalism by addressing the problems of Muslims.

"He could at least have met some members or leaders of the minority community and offered to rub a balm on our wounds. He could have also made references against communalism as part of his campaign to make it look more inclusive," Bukhari told PTI, recalling how some days earlier Hazare had praised Narendra Modi.

The Imam also pointed out that slogans of 'Vande Mataram' and 'Bharat Mata ki Jai', that were a staple of Anna's campaign, did not make Muslims any comfortable.

"Why not raise more inclusive slogans like Hindustan Zindabad or Jai Hind," he asked, complaining that there was no effort on part of the campaign leaders to involve the community into their fold.

"When Gandhi took up a cause, he made sure he included in it grievances of every Indian constituency, only then did his campaigns take up the shape of an unassailable national movements," he said.


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