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Key Recommendations from Anhad's National Meet on Status of Muslims

National Meet on the Status of Muslims in Contemporary India

Delhi 3 to 5 October 2009

A national meet was organised on the theme ‘What it Means to be a Muslim in India Today’ by Anhad in collaboration with Siasat and other organisations Delhi from 3 to 5 October 09. A large number of individuals as well as representatives of organisations participated and spoke about their experiences and problems late into the evenings. A detailed report is under preparation. However, this is a very brief summary of some of the major findings and recommendations that emerged from the hearings.


The predominant finding of the meet was that there is an intense, almost universal sentiment of fear and growing despair among Muslim citizens of the country. Many of those who testified in the meet went so far as to declare that they felt reduced to second class citizenship. They shared their mounting disillusionment with all institutions of governance, and more so with the police and judiciary, as well as with political parties and to some extent the media.

There is on the one hand the constant dread of being profiled as a terrorist, or of a loved one being so profiled, with the attendant fears of illegal and prolonged detention, denial of bail, torture, unfair and biased investigation and trial, and extra-judicial killings. There is on the other hand the lived experience of day to day discrimination, in education, employment, housing and public services, which entrap the community in hopeless conditions of poverty and want. This is fostered in a situation of pervasive communal prejudice in all institutions of the state, especially the police, civil administration and judiciary; and also the political leadership of almost all parties; large segments of the print and visual media; and the middle classes, and the systematic manufacture of hate and divide by communal organisations.

It was repeatedly emphasised that this is not simply a problem of victimhood of or injustice to a particular community. It is a grave challenge to the basic values of the Indian Constitution, including democracy, secularism, fraternity and the rule of law.


Posted by c-info at Wednesday, October 07, 2009

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