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High Court verdict shocks most parties

Apart from BJP, major political parties including Congress and CPI(M) react with shock over the Allahabad HC judgement saying Muslims in UP cease to be minorities, reports Shekhar Iyer.

india Updated: Apr 06, 2007 01:16 IST

Apart from BJP, major political parties including Congress and the CPI(M) reacted with shock over the Allahabad High Court judgement saying Muslims in Uttar Pradesh cease to be minorities.

Many Muslim religious leaders too said they would challenge the judgement in the apex court.

Though prime minister manmohan singh refused to comment, the AICC was not convinced by the High Court judgement. "What is the basis of the judgement? It appears mysterious and unconvincing. The Constitution recognises linguistic and religious minorities. We have no doubt there are sufficient grounds on which the judgement can be challenged,'' said Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi.

He said there is no statute or constitutional rule disqualifying an entire community from being a minority if they are 18 per cent of the population or so.

CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat said the party was “totally opposed” to the High Court order, while its ally CPI declined immediate comments saying it would give its considered response after studying the court order.

Union Minister Ramvilas Paswan demanded the matter be referred to a larger bench.

The BJP, however, welcomed the ruling, saying it was an indictment of the UPA government's “minority appeasement for sheer vote-bank politics”. BJP deputy leader V K Malhotra said “We welcome the judgement.”

Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid Syed Ahmad Shah Bukhari said “We will approach the apex court challenging the Allahabad High Court decision that denies minority status to Muslims in Uttar Pradesh”.

Stating that the court's decision would send a negative message among the Muslim community, he said “the heads of all major Muslim organisations will sit together to take an unanimous decision in the matter”.

Describing it as an "unfortunate" verdict, the Imam of Fatehpuri mosque Mufti Mohammed Mukaram said, "Muslims are in a minority in the country and they should get all the benefits of their status."

Mukaram questioned the criteria for the data relied upon the Allahabad high court.

“The census of 2001 was incomplete and at that time itself we had raised objections about its credibility.”

National Commission for minorities chief, hamid ansari, said “Simple arithmetic sets out which community makes up a minority”.

But Jamat-e-ulema-al Hind leader Mahmood Madani argued “We are the second largest majority in India and are against minority status for Muslims.”

“But, then we should get equal rights, facilities and opportunities enjoyed by majority communities,” said Madani.

First Published: Apr 05, 2007 23:41 IST