Indian Democracy is unfair to Muslims: Shabana Azmi

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New Delhi, Aug 16 (UNI) Secularism may be one of the guiding principles of our Constitution but noted actor, MP and social activist Shabana Azmi feels that despite India expressing time and again its commitment to a secular policy, Muslims in the country are victims of discrimination.

Alleging that Mulsims in this country are victims of discrimination, despite India's proud claims of being secular, Ms Azmi, speaking in an interview to a television channel, said,''I wanted to buy a flat in Bombay and it wasn't given to me because I was a Muslim and I read the same about Saif. Now, I mean, if Javed Akhtar and Shabana Azmi cannot get a flat in Bombay because they are Muslims, then what are we talking about?'' In the interview, on the 'Devil's Advocate' on CNN-IBN channel, Ms Azmi said,''I think there is not enough understanding of the fact that in a Democracy, how you treat the security of the minority must be a very important part for the success of a Democracy. You can't only make token gestures and actually let them be in the state that they are as the Rajinder Sachar Committee report shows. So what has happened is token gestures are made but real issues are never addressed.'' Blaming the politicians in India of promoting a stereotype image of the Muslim community and not allowing moderate liberal Muslim voices to be heard, Ms Azmi, in the interview to be telecast at 2030 hrs tomorrow, said,''You look at the politicians, whether it is Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Indira Gandhi or anybody else. The minute it is a Muslim question, you will get all the dariwalas and all the Maulvis only to speak.'' At the same time, she blamed the Muslim community to allow itself to listen to fundamentalists.

''The community is also allowing itself to listen to fundamentalists, who actually are not their leaders at all,'' Ms Azmi said.

Asked if she felt that Muslims need their own leaders, she said,''No, no, no, no. Jawaharlal Nehru was a leader of Muslims and that's the way it should be. You don't need a Muslim leader for that.'' More UNI AR SBC HT1628

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