Polarisation notwithstanding, young Muslim students root for country’s secular fabric
A commitment to protecting the secular fabric of the country, a firm no to the politics of religion and faith in young political leadership have emerged as the top issues for a section of young Muslim students in the Uttar Pradesh assembly election.
To gauge the mood of these young Muslim students, HT visited the Islamic Centre of India, which runs one of the oldest madarsas of the country.
Prominent Islamic scholar Maulana Khalid Rasheed Farangi Mahli is president of the Islamic Centre.
In a freewheeling discussion with students, both boys and girls, Team HT tried to know what they were thinking.
“A party which believes in secularism must form the next government in Uttar Pradesh. We want peace,” said Mohammad Ishtiaq.
This was the opinion of every student taking part in the discussion. It was very clear that young Muslims loathed the politics of hatred and communal frenzy.
Another student, Mohd Arif, said, “Religion and politics must be kept apart. Politicians must not polarise voters on religious lines to seek votes.”
Security for women tops girls’ agenda
Increasing incidents of crime against women perturbed Muslim girl students also.
“Incidents of rape are a cause of concern for us. Security of women must be on the priority list of all political parties. There must be severe punishment for rapists,” said Sana Khan.
Fauzia advocated more fast track courts for ensuring speedy justice to rape victims.
Girls also demanded stern punishment for those behind riots.
“To keep a check on riots, there must be stringent punishment,” said Huda Parveen.
The students said there should be no political interference in Muslim personal laws.
“The Indian constitution has given equal right to every citizen to practise his or her religion. The issue of triple talaq is not so important for Muslims. There are many other issues like implementation of recommendations of the Justice Sachar Committee for Muslims,” said Sufyan.
“Percentage of divorce cases is very low among Muslims as compared to other communities,” he said.
Employment and education also figured on the priority list of students of this Islamic seminary.
“There must be reservation for Muslims in jobs. Muslim parents do a lot to ensure good education for their children. But when this child ends up jobless, the parents lose hope,” said Sahif-ur-Rahman.
‘DEMONETISATION NOT A GOOD DECISION’
They said demonetisation will definitely be a poll issue in UP as “it caused much harm to poor and marginalised section of the society”.
“It was not a good decision. It did not help in checking the menace of black money,” said Fauzia Zaki.
Another student Abdul Latif said, “After demonetisation, a large number of factory workers lost their jobs. Daily wage labourers and artisans suffered a lot.”
Atiq-ur-Rahman said cashless or digital payment was not an option for a large number people who were illiterate and had no access to Android phones.
YOUNG LEADER PREFERRED
Most of the students rooted for a young leadership over an old political leadership.
Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav’s decision to form an alliance with Congress for UP polls got a positive nod from these Muslim youths.
“The Samajwadi Party and Congress alliance for UP polls is good,” said Mohammad Azam.