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PDF to Centre: Ask Raman Govt to withdraw order

india Updated: Aug 31, 2006 01:41 IST

Recital of Vande Mataram

PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC Front (PDF) has demanded that the Centre should instruct the Raman Singh-led Chattisgarh government to withdraw the order making the recital of Vande Mataram compulsory in all educational institutions in the state, including ‘madarsas.’

Addressing a news conference here, PDF general secretary and All India Muslim Forum (AIMF) chairperson Nehaluddin said that the order of the Chattisgarh government violated Article 25 of the Indian

Constitution that guaranteed freedom of expression to all citizens irrespective of religion.

“We demand that either the order be withdrawn immediately or the President of India dismiss the Chattisgarh government,” he said. He said it was absurd to make the singing of Vande Mataram as a criterion for measuring one’s patriotism or loyalty towards the country.

“People must realise, that one’s love for the country is distinct from worshipping it,” he pointed out.

“Vande Mataram,” whose opening words mean “Mother I bow to thee” is totally against the monotheistic faith of Muslims, which does not allow the bowing of head  to any entity except Allah,” he explained. The PDF is a political front chaired by Maulana Abul Irfan Miyan Farangi Mahali.

Prominent cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawad, who had earlier relinquished the post of PDF chairman, on Wednesday communicated in writing that he continued to be a patron of the front’s core committee.

On the issue of Haj subsidy, the Front demanded that the national carrier’s ‘monopoly’ be broken in ferrying Haj pilgrims and an open tender system be floated to benefit the poor Muslims.

The government only provided a subsidy of Rs 12,000 on Rs 85,000 ticket to each Haj pilgrim on Air India and Indian flights. “However, private airliners fly the distance for Rs 60,000 to Rs 65,000, against the ticket price of Rs 73,000, excluding the subsidy,” said the PDF general secretary.

The outfit assailed the State Government for failing to file an affidavit in the High Court over a PIL filed in 1996 demanding waiving of subsidy to Haj pilgrims.

Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court had recently barred the central and state governments from funding or providing financial subsidy for Haj pilgrimage.