Why didn't Anna take us along, asks Bukhari

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Anna Hazare
New Delhi, Aug 22: Contending that communalism was a bigger a threat to India than corruption, Syed Ahmed Bukhari, Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid today (Aug 22) asked Anna Hazare why he and his campaign managers did not do more to involve Muslims in their anti-graft movement.

At a time when Hazare's campaign has caught the imagination of the country, Bukhari said the Gandhian needed to learn more from the Mahatma on how to spin all sections of the society together in a mass movement.

Bukhari said while he very much believed that corruption needs to be weeded out of the country, it was equally important to tackle communalism by addressing the problems of Muslims.

"He could at least have met some members or leaders of the minority community and offered to rub a balm on our wounds. He could have also made references against communalism as part of his campaign to make it look more inclusive," Bukhari told PTI, recalling how some days earlier Hazare had praised Narendra Modi.

The Imam also pointed out that slogans of ''Vande Mataram'' and ''Bharat Mata ki Jai'', that were a staple of Anna's campaign, did not make Muslims any comfortable.

"Why not raise more inclusive slogans like Hindustan Zindabad or Jai Hind," he asked, complaining that there was no effort on part of the campaign leaders to involve the community into their fold.

"When Gandhi took up a cause, he made sure he included in it grievances of every Indian constituency, only then did his campaigns take up the shape of an unassailable national movements," he said. 

Bukhari said Gandhi took everyone along but Hazare, whom many regard as the modern day Gandhi, has never taken up any issue of concern to the Muslims.

"He did not fast for a day, when Muslims were killed in Gujarat in 2002. We never heard from him when anti-Muslim riots happened in his home state's capital Mumbai. He could at least have made an effort to involve the community. We are hurt by this," said Bukhari.

Asked about his view that Muslims should not take active part in Hazare's anti-corruption movement, he said he had merely expressed his view and he could not stop the Muslims who were still participating in the campaign.

Bukhari said corruption will not end in a day or just by signing a bill and it was the society that needs to be changed and therefore it is very important to take up more than one issue of national importance in any such national campaign.

PTI

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