City getting ready for mega ‘triple talaq’ rally on November 20 | kolkata | Hindustan Times
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City getting ready for mega ‘triple talaq’ rally on November 20

350 delegates including Asaduddin Owaisi and Maulana Syed Hussain Ahmad Madani will attend. Giant screens to be erected as the expected crowd will far exceed the 1.5 lakh capacity of Park Circus

kolkata Updated: Nov 08, 2016 11:21 IST
Ravik Bhattacharya
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee has made it clear that she will fight the ruling establishment at the Centre over ‘religious intolerance’.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee has made it clear that she will fight the ruling establishment at the Centre over ‘religious intolerance’.(HT Photo)

Kolkata is set to host a mega rally of Muslim leaders from across the country to drum up support for their battle against the Centre’s bid to do away with personal laws and replace them with a Uniform Civil Code.

While the organisers of the three-day conclave, culminating in a public meeting on November 20, told HT that the turnout could well cross quite a few lakhs, around 350 delegates are to attend the convention and the meeting at Park Circus Maidan. They include prominent national level leaders of the community like Lok Sabha member Asaduddin Owaisi and Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind president Maulana Syed Hussain Ahmad Madani.

Read: By opposing uniform civil code, Mamata may turn a champion of minority rights

Rooms in more than 70 hotels have already been booked for the delegates. Giant screens will be put up in different parts of the city as the meeting ground won’t be able to accommodate more than 1.5 lakh people at the most.

Incidentally, quite a few leaders of the state’s ruling party are expected to share the dais on the occasion, which is likely to turn into a major show of power by the minority community.

A section of the rally in Kolkata in October to protest the proposed uniform civil code. (Ramkrishna Samanta)

But with Kolkata fast emerging as the nerve centre of Muslim groups and outfits, including hardliners, opposed to the BJP and rooting for Islamic laws like the triple talaq, questions are already being raised about the tacit support such organizations are probably getting from the Mamata Banerjee government and her party, the Trinamool Congress. While the show is being organsied by the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, the likely presence of a bevy of Trinamool MPs and ministers, and the silence of the chief minister herself about the event, are strengthening the perception that the initiative enjoys her blessings.

Read: Personal laws can’t be written in name of social reform: Muslim law board to SC

The imam of Kolkata’s Tipu Sultan mosque, Noor ur Rehman Barkati, said, “Bengal under Mamata Banerjee has the most secular environment in the country and this state will speak up for the rights of Muslims. She will lead the country one day. We have already urged all Muslims and secular people to leave their work, shut their shops and businesses and join us on November 20. Religious leaders will explain the tenets of the Quran and why the Code is unacceptable.”

Jamil Manzar, the general secretary of the reception committee, said, “Muslims in India will never accept the Uniform Civil Code. There is no question about it and, on November 20, the country will see the largest gathering of community leaders, intellectuals and religious leaders in Kolkata. Lakhs will hit the streets.” Trinamool MP Idris Ali said, “The Code is an attempt by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to trigger communal tension before the upcoming Assembly elections in a few states. How come he is showing such deep concern about Triple Talaq now?”

Read: Modi has triggered internal war over uniform civil code: Muslim law board

Senior Trinamool leaders and ministers Partha Chatterjee and Firhad Hakim had recently attended a rally organised by Siddiqullah Choudhury, the Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind’s state president and the state’s library minister, where the Centre’s Narendra Modi government was lambasted for trying to push its ‘Hindutva agenda’ and scrap Muslim personal law.

Trinamool MP Idris Ali said, “The Code is an attempt by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to trigger communal tension before the upcoming Assembly elections in a few states. How come he is showing such deep concern about Triple Talaq now?”

Read: Triple talaq has no place in secular India: Centre to tell SC next week

Senior Trinamool leaders and ministers Partha Chatterjee and Firhad Hakim had recently attended a rally organised by Siddiqullah Choudhury, the Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind’s state president and the state’s library minister, where the Centre’s Narendra Modi government was lambasted for trying to push its ‘Hindutva agenda’ and scrap Muslim personal law.

As for Mamata Banerjee, she has been lambasting the BJP ever since she returned to power in Bengal this May. From Hindutva politics to beef ban to cow census, the Trinamool supremo has been scathing in her criticism of the BJP’s politics and the Modi government’s policies. On July 21, at a huge party rally in the heart of the city, she publicly chastised the BJP saying, “What I choose to eat is my own sweet decision and nobody has any business to say anything about it.”