Will protect spirit of Constitution: Maharashtra OBC Muslim meet

Mumbai: Ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, All India Muslim OBC Organisation conference on Tuesday resolved that it would “resist and prevent” any moves to change the Constitution or tamper with its basic tenets. “We will not allow the Constitution to be changed. It will not happen,” said AIMOBCO President Shabbir A. Ansari, addressing the Samvidan Samman Sammelan.

He pointed out that threats to the Constitution are now new and it has been manipulated or disturbed since the early days of Indian democracy. “Many of the total 123 amendments made to the Constitution have hit its basic spirit and essence of religious equality, intended to help the party in power or to support a particular segment of the population,” Ansari said.

He referred to the example of a Presidential order of August 10, 1950 which said that no person professing any religion other than Hinduism would be deemed to belong to a Scheduled Caste. According to Ansari, that was ‘patently anti-secular and grossly anti-democratic’ which was strongly resisted by the Sikh and Neo-Budhist Dalits.

After strong protests, the Indian state was compelled to extend the SC status to the Sikh and Neo-Buddhist Dalits, but the same continues to be denied to Christian and Muslim Dalits, he said. This was a clear violation of the Constitutional rights of these groups comprising millions of people and tantamount to discrimination on the basis of religion by the Indian state itself, revealing a pro-Hindu bias, Ansari claimed. Senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal said the country is going through a critical phase and is witnessing “a state of undeclared Emergency.”

“The Constitution is in the wrong hands. If the current dispensation (BJP) manages to win the next elections, they will end democracy. Now is the time for all like-minded parties to unite and fight the upcoming general elections,” said Bhujbal, who is president of the Mahatma Phule Samata Parishad, a powerful body of OBCs.

Speaking on the occasion, Maharashtra Fisheries Minister Mahadev Jankar concurred that Muslim OBCs are not entitled to benefits extended to Hindu OBCs.

“For this, it is imperative for both communities to sit together and work out a solution,” the minister suggested. Jankar said the representation of Backward Classes in local governments, assemblies and parliament is very low as compared to their (OBCs) population.

“Political parties must ensure that they nominate OBC candidates in those constituencies with substantial OBC voter population and work for their victory, while the government must take care of proportionate OBCs representation in all committees and other bodies,” Jankar urged. Other speakers called upon the government to ensure that the true spirit of the Constitution, as envisaged by its architect, Babasaheb Ambedkar, is adhered to and any attempts to change or manipulate it must be strongly condemned and rejected.

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