ECI, political parties, media conspired to marginalise Muslims: Ex-Maharashtra IGP Abdur Rahman

ECI, political parties, media conspired to marginalise Muslims: Ex-Maharashtra IGP Abdur Rahman

Abdur Rahman, who resigned from public service in 2019 to oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, was speaking at an event in the city to inaugurate his new book.

Musab QaziUpdated: Friday, October 06, 2023, 12:48 PM IST
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Former Maharashtra IGP Abdur Rahman (fourth from left), who resigned from public service in 2019 to oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, wrote a new book, Absent in Politics and Power: Political Exclusion of Indian Muslims. |

Mumbai: All components of the country’s political ecosystem, including the Election Commission of India (ECI), political parties, press and intelligentsia, are to blamed for poor representation of Muslims in Parliament and state legislatures, former state inspector general of police Abdur Rahman said on Thursday.

Providing data of the religious composition of Parliament and legislative assemblies across the country during the past 75-odd years, the former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer said that the proportion of Muslims in the seats of power has been much lower than their share in population. He said this under-representation is the primary cause of socioeconomic marginalisation of the community. It also undermines the ideal of political justice and inclusive democracy envisaged in the Constitution.

Abdur Rahman, who resigned from public service in 2019 to oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, was speaking at an event in the city to inaugurate his new book, Absent in Politics and Power: Political Exclusion of Indian Muslims. The book, while delving on the reasons for the “political deprivation” of the minority community since independence, also discusses the possible pathways to remedy the situation.

“Political empowerment is the real empowerment. We are shouting, why our voice not heard. The reason for it is that we are not there at legislative assemblies and Lok Sabha. That’s why I wrote the book,” said Rahman, who previously wrote two books on the Sachar Committee Report and the situation of Muslims following the release of the report, respectively.

The ex-cop said that the ECI played a key role in reducing opportunities for Muslim representatives by reserving several Muslim-concentrated constituencies for backward castes. Calling it a form of “adverse gerrymandering”, he asked the community members to be vigilant and ensure that the minority community gets a fair deal in the upcoming delimitation exercise.

“The ECI has worked on a number of issues such as proving representation to smaller parties and electronic voting, but not on Muslim representation,” he said.

Rahman also targetted political groups across the spectrum for not giving adequate tickets to Muslim contestants in the general and assembly elections. He listed a number of Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha constituencies in Maharashtra with sizeable Muslim populations without a representative from the community.

The former IGP said that the community must also share the blame for this situation. “Muslims didn’t take effort to generate leaders and the existing leaders didn’t have vision. If politics decides everything, we should be trained in it,” he said.

“Why don’t we work for all? Why don’t we develop a secular way of politics? Why do we just concentrate on religious issues? We should work for secular issues. We should try to win the confidence of Dalits and other marginalised groups,” he added.

In his book, Abdur Rahman also sought to provide a political roadmap to the community. He suggested that the minorities should devise their political strategy according to their presence in respective area. While Muslims should act as pressure group and get secular candidates in parties elected conditionally where their population is relatively low, they should demand their own candidates of they are more than 30-35% in a constituency, he suggested.

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