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As BJP reaches out to Pasmanda Muslims, All India Pasmanda Muslim Manhaz asks Muslims to be ‘cautious’, focus on raising their dangerous ‘demands’

With political parties including BJP battling for Pasmanda Muslim votes in states like UP and Bihar, the demand of Jamiat and AIPMM poses a real and present danger to the Hindu community and BJP would do well to be cautious of the potential problems stemming from their outreach.

In July 2022, at a BJP National Executive Meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked his party to focus on an outreach program for Pasmanda Muslims. The meeting at the time was held in Hyderabad. While addressing the meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi talked about focusing on the upliftment of Pasmanda Muslims. In October 2022, in a first-of-a-kind endeavour, a meeting between BJP leaders and key members of the Pasmanda Muslim community was held in Lucknow, about 4 months after PM Modi’s clarion call to woo them. Since July 2022, several meetings with Pasmanda Muslims were held by BJP in various states – like this one in Delhi.

In August 2022, BJP OBC Morcha, at the Pasmanda Muslim Sneh Milan Evam Samman Samaroh, demanded a 50% reservation for the Pasmanda Muslim community in Muslim institutions like Aligarh Muslim University, Jamia Millia Islamia etc. 

According to reports, with the all crucial Uttar Pradesh and Bihar states approaching assembly elections, BJP had in 2022 chalked out a strategy to build a new support base comprising Extremely Backward Classes (EBCs), Pasmanda (backward) Muslims, and non-Jatav Dalits in these states in the run-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Now, however, the All India Pasmanda Muslim Manhaz has now issued a statement asking Pasmanda Muslims and Muslims of other castes to be careful of BJP and its ‘new found love’ for them. According to reports, All-India Pasmanda Muslim Mahaz (AIPMM) has warned more than 50 sub-castes of Muslims to beware of political parties, including BJP, for their ‘sudden love’. They have demanded that Dalit Muslims and Christians be included in the scheduled caste (SC) category and reservation for SC category be increased. It is pertinent to note that the founder President of the AIPMM is Ali Anwar, former Rajya Sabha member from JD-U.

According to a Hindustan Times report, Ali Anwar has said, “Instead of misleading Pasmanda Muslims, the Narendra Modi government should take necessary action to include Dalit Muslims and Christians in SC category and increase reservations for SCs in jobs and education.” In July 2022 too, Anwar had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking for SC status for Pasmanda Muslims. “Even if the BJP is extending a friendly hand towards Pasmandas for their votes, could you at least take these few steps immediately: There are about a dozen castes within the Pasmanda Muslims such as Halalkhor (scavenger, Bhangi), Muslim washer man, cobbler, Bhatiyara, Gadhedi etc for whom the Sachar Committee and the Ranganath Mishra Commission have recommended SC status. Has your government, in response to a query from the Supreme Court last year, replied it will not accept this recommendation? Will you end this religion-based discrimination by increasing the quota for scheduled castes?” he had written in the letter.

Interestingly, in December 2022, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind had moved the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the Union government to grant the Scheduled Caste status to Dalit converts to Islam. The intervention application filed says that it is important for Dalit converts to Islam to be considered Scheduled Caste so they can get equal opportunities in government jobs, educational institutions and the employment sector. 

The petition stated that somehow, the non-inclusion of these converts stops them from freely propagating their faith. According to reports, the plea says that the denial of the Scheduled Caste status to Muslim converts deprives them of political, educational, and other benefits given to non-Muslim and non-Christian Scheduled Castes persons and it is a calculated historical wrong to restrain the free profession, practice, and propagation of religion. It was submitted that the truth of the caste system cannot be denied and the effect of society is inevitable on all the religious communities it inhabits.

‘In the present issue, a person belonging to a Scheduled Caste is provided benefits if he is a Hindu, Sikh or Buddhist. However, if the same person is a Muslim, he will not be provided with those benefits. This distinction is totally arbitrary and is sans any reasonable classification,’ the petition stated.

With the BJP reaching out to Pasmanda Muslims and Muslim organisations, including AIPMM and Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind raising demands to grant SC status to converted Muslims, the implications of this dangerous demand becomes far more apparent.

When the Jamiat had filed its intervention application in Supreme Court, OpIndia had raised alarm over the demand coupled with BJP’s outreach to Pasmanda Muslims. With BJP and its leaders making arguments saying that the ancestors of Pasmanda Muslims were Hindus who converted to Islam, and Pasmanda Muslims forming 70-80% of the Muslims, the BJP furthering this trope becomes particularly dangerous. They are essentially insinuating then, that most Muslims today converted to Islam because of the discrimination they faced when they were Hindus and that they are still in bad economic and social conditions because of their identity when they were Hindus.

This argument furthers the liberal argument that the root cause of problems even within Islam and Christianity stems from Hinduism, which is patently incorrect. If they convert from Hinduism owing to their social status to more egalitarian options, they cannot possibly continue to blame their Hindu past for their current plight.

Further, it is also important to note that the SC status and subsequent reservation to 80% Muslims of India (Pasmanda Muslims) would only encourage conversion from Hinduism to Islam and also Christianity since it would act as an incentive used to coerce gullible Hindus. With political parties including BJP battling for Pasmanda Muslim votes in states like UP and Bihar, the demand of Jamiat and AIPMM poses a real and present danger to the Hindu community and BJP would do well to be cautious of the potential problems stemming from their outreach.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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