Syed Ahmed Bukhari, shahi imam of Jama Masjid, has called upon Muslims from all the political parties to come under one umbrella in order to consolidate their voting power so that they can have greater bargaining power.
He had convened a National Conference of Muslims in New Delhi on Saturday, that was attended by more then five hundred delegates including Muslim clerics, scholars and religious heads and leading politicians. He said that the conference was a first step towards launching a new political outfit totally devoted to the Muslims of the country.
Addressing a press conference Bukhari said the Muslims of India have carried almost all the political parties on their shoulders in last fifty seven years with the hope that they would do something to uplift the lives of the Muslims living in India.
"Time has come that we all get under one umbrella. So far we have been begging for our rights. We have backed almost all the parties in last 57 years but what have we got.
It is Mulayam, Mayavati or Sonia Gandhi who decide what to do and what not to do. Lalu said that he provided security to the Muslims living in Bihar but that is the responsibility of the government in power as per the constitution of India.
So he did not do anything new or did us a favour," Bukhari said.
He,however, could not give a specific assurance as to when the new party that he is planning to launch would be floated. " We will think about it. Let us first finish with the conference where over 500 delegates from all parts of India are taking part," he said.
Talking about terrorist attack on the Sankat Mochan Mandir by the terrorists early this month, Bukhari said that this was a well planned conspiracy to defame the Muslims. " I compliment the Hindus and Muslims of Banaras who did not fall into the trap and joined hands to condemn the terrorist attack.
I do not agree with Mulayam Singh Yadav, chief minister of Uttar Pradesh,that man who was killed was a terrorist. It was a well planned conspiracy to defame Muslims like the one engineered in Godhra in Feburary/March 2002. Let the courts decide whether the man who was killed was a terrorists or not," he said.
He complimented Dr Manmohan Singh,prime minister of India, for respecting the Muslim sentiments and asking the Danish Prime minister to cancel his trip to India in view of the growing anger in the Muslim community on printing the cartoons of Hazart Mohammad.
" We did not want the US president George Bush to come but he came. But the government has done a good job by asking the Danish prime minister to cancel his trip as it was the Danish newspaper that carried the cartoons first," he said.
Professor Abdul Gani Bhatt, former chairman of All Party Hurriyat Conference, Chand Mahal Ibrahim, Union minister for infromation and broadcasting in the Deve Gowda ministry were amongst the prominent persons attending the conference.