The much-publicised 'Muslim conference' being organised by Samajwadi Party general secretary Beni Prasad Verma in Sultanpur on February 15 has run into rough weather.
While the local SP unit has distanced itself from the function, Ulema (clerics) have given a call for its boycott. Interestingly, the Family Welfare Minister Ahmad Hasan, who visited Sultanpur on February 9, expressed his reservation about the conference and said that Muslims should not be misled by anybody.
Beni Verma, who is embroiled in a tussle with Labour Minister Dr Waqar Ahmad Shah, has called the 'Muslim conference' with the help of SP MP from Allahabad Atiq Ahmad. Verma said it was a non-political programme.
However, SP district general secretary Mohd Ahmad Khan told Hindustan Times over phone that resentment was brewing among Muslims against Beni Verma because of his diatribe against Dr Shah and his statement against reservation to the community as per recommendation of the Mandal Commission. Beni Verma is opposed to reservation to the community within 27 per cent of commission. Khan said the local unit had not been consulted as the programme was being organised by former municipal committee chairman Manu Bhai.
The chairman minority cell Wakil Ahmad, however, counseled Beni Verma to cancel the programme in the larger interest of the party. Claiming that the community was against the programme, he said it would lead to further disenchantment against the party in the community. Minority cell general secretary Muzzamil said there was widespread opposition to the function in the community.
Since the Opposition had accused SP MP Atiq Ahmad of being involved in the rape incident at Kareli Madarsa in Allahabad, Mohd Ahmad said it had further complicated the situation here. The local chief of Ulema-e-Hind Maulana Usman and Maulana Qasim has asked the people to stay away from the conference. Apart from Beni Verma and Atiq Ahmad, Madarsa board chairman Mohd Kamal Yusuf, Maulana Khalil and some other Muslim leaders are likely to attend the function. However, they have failed to garner local support. Wakil Ahmad said the conference would prove to be a flop show.
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