Indian NGO To Start Drive For Muslims

RIYADH, 23 February 2007 — A major nationwide campaign to improve the socio-economic conditions of Indian Muslims in line with the recommendations made by the Sachar Committee will be launched in India on March 11. This fortnight-long campaign in the form of an “All India Caravan-e-Insaf (AICI)” (march for equality and justice) will pass through thousands of cities, towns and villages including 24 prime cities across India.

“The caravan will seek to ensure equal participation of Muslims in the mainstream Indian society with more opportunities and added incentives to uplift them socially, educationally and economically,” said Amanullah Khan, AICI’s chief organizer, who is currently visiting the Gulf countries to seek support from Indian expatriates. The AICI is being organized by a major nongovernmental organization popularly known as “Uttar Pradesh Rabita Committee”, which is headed by Amanullah himself.

Amanullah said that the caravan, which would be led by a prominent Muslim figure Saiyid Hamid, chancellor of Hamdard University, would “seek to generate a countrywide awareness among the Muslims regarding their pathetic conditions as exposed by Sachar Committee report.”

The AICI will be flagged off from the Indian capital city and will convene public meetings en route in different places across that country including Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. Asked about the need of such campaigns, Amanullah said that the Indian Muslims have the worst educational indices even in comparison to the OBCs, and as per the committee report, education levels among the 20-30 year olds is pathetically low.

“When compared to the other disadvantaged communities, the report draws out the stark realities with chilling figures,” he said. “It says that only five per cent of Muslims are graduates who are least likely to reach the post-graduate levels,” said Amanullah.

He called on the Indian government agencies to take urgent remedial measures to address the grievances of Muslims on priority basis. He, however, welcomed the government’s plans to launch focused programs to improve the lot of Muslims in over 700 identified towns with substantial Muslim population. “But, mere announcement or rhetoric will not serve the purpose,” he said. He pointed out that another government report also shows that Muslims are even more disadvantaged than low-caste Hindus.

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