Gadkari visit shakes up Islamic Centre

  • Zia Haq, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 27, 2014 02:41 IST

The India Islamic Cultural Centre’s (ICC) move to host Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday sparked a row in the body, with some prominent members slamming his visit and threatening to go to court.

Gadkari was invited to the centre by its president Sirajuddin Qureishi, a meat baron, to discuss problems faced by the meat industry. Qureishi sought easier transportation rules for ferrying cattle and Gadkari promised all possible help for the meat sector.

“The Muslim community would be convinced about the BJP’s policies when they see the good work it will do for them,” said Gadkari.

Qureishi was one of the backers of the now-defunct Vajpayee Himayat committee, a BJP support group for Muslims. He is also known to be close to BJP leader LK Advani and has also officially invited PM Modi to visit the centre.

The PMO has acknowledged receipt of the invitation but hasn’t made a commitment yet, said sources.

After Gadkari’s visit, several members accused Qureishi of turning the centre into a “political platform” and using it for his personal gains, and threatened to go to court.

“Using the centre for politics is against the centre’s constitution,” alleged Mohd Adeeb, a Rajya Sabha MP. He alleged that no permission was sought from members before inviting Gadkari.

However, Qureishi’s spokesperson Sajid Wadood said, “There was nothing political about Gadkari visit. It was purely to discuss problems of meat traders.”

Another member, Yameen Qureishi, along with Mohd Adeeb, said they would submit a memorandum to Modi, alleging irregularities at the centre worth over `1 crore. The matter is now sub-judice, he said.

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