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Indian Muslim

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    By IANS,

    Jammu : The Jammu and Kashmir government Sunday said the pulse polio immunization campaign has been extended by two more days to cover nearly two million children.

    Shabir Ahmad Khan, minister of state for health, said the state has not recorded a single polio case since 2010 thanks to the pulse polio immunization programme.

    No polio case has been reported since January 2011 in the country because of which the World Health Organization (WHO) has removed India from the list of polio endemic countries, he said.

    He said the immunization campaign that began in the state Sunday will continue for another two days to ensure that nearly two million children are administered pulse polio drops.

    As many as 45,370 trained medical staff have been deployed and 11,477 pulse polio administration centres established across the state in the first phase of the campaign, he said.

    For children who might have been left out in the first phase, trained medical staff would go house to house.

    Special focus would be on children living with parents at construction sites, brick kilns, slums and other such medically sensitive locations, he said.

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    By IANS,

    New Delhi : A delegation of Jain community leaders, led by Minister of State for Rural Development Pradeep Jain, met Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi here Sunday and sought his support for the notification of the Jains as a minority community at the national level.

    A Congress press release said the Jain leaders told Gandhi about their long-pending demand for a minority status to the community.

    Gandhi recognised the role played by the community in the social, cultural and economic development of the country.

    "He assured the delegation that he would do his utmost to ensure fair and equitable recognition and representation for the Jain community," the release said.

    The delegation told Gandhi that "national minority status" will help the community access central funds meant for welfare programmes and scholarships for minorities.

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    By staff reporter,

    Kozhikode: Khudai Khidmatgar, the organization which was founded by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and revived in India few years ago, plan to launch campaign to recruit new members and form new state branches.

    The campaign will begin today at Kozhikode (Calicut) to form Kerala state unit. Today is the death anniversary of freedom fighter Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan also known as Frontier Gandhi.

    The campaign will end on January 30th, the death anniversary of Mahtma Gandhi.

    Since its revival Khudai Khidmatgar has organized padyatras to spread the message of brotherhood, to raise awareness on important social issues. Khudai Khidmatgars are engaged in teaching in schools, have organized cleanliness campaigns in villages, have made interventions to diffuse tension and have also been involved in relief and rehabilitation works.

    The important places, where units would be inaugurated and/or membership drive would be launched, are as follows:

    20th January - Calicut (Kerala state unit formation), Yuva Sahitee Samajam, Abdu Baramy Road, Calicut
    21st January - Puducherry, Near Gandhi statue, Puducherry Beach.( Member Ship Drive)
    22nd January - Pachaura, Govt. Rest House, Pachaura, Maharshtra.( State Unit Formation)
    23rd January - Silchar- Halkaghar, L.P. Road,Dist Cachar, Assam.( Member Ship drive)
    24th January - Kupwara, Al habeeb Educational Trust,Handwara, J&K.( Membership drive)
    25th January - Meerut, UP, Begum Bridge, Meerut, Uttar Pradesh.( Membership Drive)
    26th January - Dharwar, J.M Orchid, 2nd floor, Market Place, Karnataka.( Membership drive)
    27th January - Nainital, Naiphal Trust office,Uttarakhand ( State Unit Formation)
    28th January - Bhilwara, Rajasthan, (Membership drive)
    29th January - Hali Kitab Ghar, Kairana Road, Panipat (Haryana state unit formation)
    30th January - Tees January Marg, New Delhi ( Member ship drive)

    Contact- 09968828230,09911292235, 9871700595, 9555999150.

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    By P. Mohammad for,

    The Internal reforms within the Institutions of Muslim Indians is the need of the hour as almost all Muslim Institutions are within a control of very narrow, selfish and petty interests and so called secular political parties are promoting these elements within the community very actively so that the democratization of Muslim Institution should not be taken place.

    The recent Muzaffarnagar communal riots and the response of so called secular party in power was so inhuman, demeaning and humiliating for any Indians but in-spite of all these, almost all Muslim Institutions and the Intellectual class was not at all responding to the situation within the given democratic and secular space.

    The institutions like Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Jamia Millia Islamia(JMI) and Jamia Handard and their vast network of Alumni spread across the world has very much failed in their very organized responses. The intellectual class of these three institutions and their Alumni, if organized properly and even ten organized group of reputed Professors from these institutions was enough to push Samajwadi Party Government to the corner and hold them accountable in front of public by holding an organized protests and demonstration with the help of many secular and progressive individuals and the organizations across the India.

    The worst part is that the western Uttar Pradesh(UP) within a reach of 100 kilometers from new Delhi and having a capacity to organize Dharna and protest like Anna Movement in Delhi but Muslim Institutions and Intellectuals failed to respond to the situation. These institutions are just behaving like degree-minting centers and creation of employments of a certain section of people. The quality of debate and discussions within their alumni networks are one of the indicators of the degradation of these institutions from their core. The types of very narrow, myopic and selfish politics the teaching staffs are engaged in within their campuses are uninspiring at best.

    This is the time to initiate and facilitate the democratic debates and discussions within the community as without utilizing the effective tools of the democracy within the Muslim community and utilizing all democratic secular space within the Indian political systems, the situation of the community will not be improved. I think there must be positive interactions with all emerging political forces in India from the scommunity intellectuals for creating long-term value in the form of modern education, progressive outlook, health care infrastructure, employment, rule of law and this will facilitate a healthy institution building. All right thinking people and institutions must play their part to improve the situation otherwise these so called secular parties will only use and exploit Muslim in the form of vote bank without any change from within.

    P. Mohammad is an AMU alumni working in Delhi and can be reached

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    By staff reporter,

    New Delhi: With 2014 Lok Sabha elections in mind, a group of activists and organizations have come together to “defeat communal forces in 2014 General Elections.”

    The platform for secularism is called Janvadi Vichar Andolan, Bharat (JAVAB). The announcement was made yesterday by Lalji Desai (Jameen Adhikar Andolan – Gujarat (JAAG)), Indu Kumar Jani (Editor Naya Marg), Rajnibhai Dave (Editor Bhoomiputra), Gagan Sethi (Janvikas), Manan Trivedi (Anhad) and Shabnam Hashmi.

    The Andoland will have “twin agendas of countering communal forces in the forthcoming elections and advocating for a truly inclusive society, politics and economics.”

    Full statement

    Defeat Communal Forces in 2014 General Elections

    The general elections are but a few months away. Many of us have been working for years in the field of human rights, health, water rights, land rights, Dalit/Adivasi rights, women’s issues, civil rights. Many of us are writers, academics, teachers, students, activists. While we may think of our work as deeply political, we have not been engaged directly in politics, or at least electoral politics. 2014, however is different. The danger of communalism is imminent. The portends are dark already. As we inch closer to the elections, the façade of development talk is forgotten and an unabashed Hindutva agenda begins to unfold. Uttar Pradesh is the best illustration of this.

    As has been said by election watchers, political analysts and commentators, the fate of the avowedly communal political force, the Bharatiya Janata Party, is tied to its electoral fortunes in the state of UP. The arrival of Amit Shah last year as the BJP’s UP in charge coincided with the heralding of the old style communal propaganda. These are again – as earlier – matched by their real ability to foment violence, engineer riots, and drive vulnerable minority groups out of their homes and villages. Muzafarnagar burnt. But the entire belt of Western Uttar Pradesh remains on edge, the traditional unity between Jats and Muslims fractured because of cynical political calculations.

    The success in Muzafarnagar may be attempted to be replicated elsewhere. As communal polarization becomes the sole guarantee of electoral success, tensions will be deliberately infused in places, which have witnessed communal peace and harmony in the past. In such a scenario, we are experiencing a restlessness and anxiety. We feel that we need to intervene urgently to the best of our ability to ensure the defeat of communal forces. Indeed, the danger is far greater than simply the threat of communal takeover. The manner in which activists have been targeted by registration of vindictive FIRs for pursuing the legal process in the case of 2002 pogrom; the muzzling of all dissent, provides a glimpse into the authoritarian vision of this communal force. Indeed, the very existence of liberal, democratic and secular consciousness seems to be under assault.

    Activists, academics, artists, writers and social workers are coming together to form a National Platform for Secularism called JANVADI VICHAR ANDOLAN, BHARAT ( JAVAB) with the twin agendas of countering communal forces in the forthcoming elections and advocating for a truly inclusive society, politics and economics. This Platform will be guided by the sensibilities forged in our collective struggles for dignity of dalits, the rights of Adivasis and other marginalised communities (pastoralists, fisherfolk, landless wage labour, informal and casual labourers), gender justice, the battles of the working class, increasingly fissured and invisibilized; mobilizations for a more equitable and sustainable development, environmental movements, as well as the democratic aspirations of peoples everywhere in the country.

    While we are not aligning with any particular party, it will be our effort to appeal to all secular forces to ensure that the anti-communal vote does not splinter. But more than that this, the platform will work in some select constituencies to repel any communal polarization through its grass roots campaigns and meetings right up till the elections.

    Many people from across India have already endorsed this platform. Over the next ten days we will be contacting individuals and groups across India to join us. We will release the addresses of offices across India by January 30 and have a website functioning so that people can join the platform.

    This platform will have local branches in select constituencies. The local committees will conduct door to door campaigns, hold aman panchayats, foster dialogue between communities, ensure that people’s issues remain at the centre of the election campaign, and be vigilant against any communal-fascist propaganda.

    We are calling upon all democratic and secular citizens, groups and networks to join this Platform.

    Aban Raza, painter, Delhi
    Aisha Siddqui, Lucknow
    Amit Sengupta, journalist, Delhi
    Anand Patwardhan, Film maker
    Asad Ashraf, Jamia Students Solidarity Forum, Delhi
    Asad Zaidi, publisher, Delhi
    Bhavana Ramrakhiani, Convenor, Ahmedabad Community Foundation
    Bhavna Sharma, service, Delhi
    Deepti Raju, senior activist, Ahmedabad
    Dr Harshvardhan Hegde, surgeon, Delhi
    Dr. Dilip Borah, Gauhati University, President Assam Sahitya Sanmilanee
    Dr. Indrajeet Bezbaruah, Lumding College. Writer, Social activist.
    Dr. Sabeeha Anwar
    Dr. Subash Barman, Secretary, Assam college Teachers, Association, Goalpara
    Dr.Monirul Hussain,Gauhati university
    Emanuk Haque, Secretary, Bhasha o Chetana Samity, West Bengal
    Gaurang Raval, Sauhard, Ahmedabad
    Hafiz Ahmed, Convener, All India Secular Forum, Assam.
    Harinesh Pandya, Janpath, Ahmedabad
    Harsh Kapoor, South Asia Citizens Web
    Indukumar Jani, Journalist, Editor Naya Marg, and senior activist, Ahmedabad
    John Dayal, Catholic Union
    Kedar Misra, writer, poet, Orissa
    KN Panikkar, Historian, Kerala
    Lalji Desai, senior activist, Ahmedabad
    Madhumita Ray, activist, Orissa
    Mahesh Bhatt, Film director
    Manan Trivedi, activist
    Manisha Sethi, academic, activist, JTSA
    Manisha Trivedi, ANHAD
    Mansi Sharma, activist, Delhi
    Mohan Rao, Academic, Delhi
    Mohd Aamir, Anhad
    Mona Das, Academic, Delhi
    Muniza Khan, Lucknow
    Nandita Narain, Associate Professor, Dept of Maths, St. Stephen’s College.
    Naresh Saxena , Lucknow
    Navaid Hamid, Secretary, Peoples’ Integration Council
    Noorjehan Safia Niaz-BMMA, Mumbai
    Pankti Jog, RTI activist, Ahmedabad
    Persis Ginwalla, social activist, Ahmedabad
    Pralayan Shanmuga Sundaram - theatre actor, director, Chennai
    Prof Rooprekha Verma, Saajhi Duniya, Lucknow
    Prof. Mohini Manglik, Lucknow
    Prof. Ram Puniyani, writer, activist, Mumbai
    Rajnibhai Dave, Editor Bhoomiputra and senior activist, Ahmedabad
    Rahul Govind, Academic, Delhi
    Raju Deepti, senior activist, Ahmedabad
    Rakesh, Lucknow
    Sagar Rabari, senior activist, Ahmedabad
    Sahir Raza, cinematographer, Mumbai
    Sanghamitra Misra, Academic, Delhi
    Seema Mustafa, journalist
    Shabnam Hashmi, activist
    Sohail Hashmi, film maker
    Sukumar Muralidharan, journalist
    Suman Bhattacharyaya, media professional, Kolkata
    Tanveer Nasreen, Associate Professor History, Kolkata
    Tanvi Soni, activist, Gujarat
    Tanweer Fazal, Academic, Delhi
    Tarique Anwar , journalist, Delhi
    Vijay Bharatiya,
    Vivan Sundaram, artist, Delhi
    Zakia Soman-BMMA

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    By TCN News,

    New Delhi: Students from Jawaharlal Nehru University, led by Campus Front National General Secretary Inamur Rahman distributed relief materials to the Muzaffarnagar riot victims.

    They collected nearly 30 thousand rupees from students in the campus and bought relief materials for them. CFI extended its gratitude who came forward to help the riot victims.

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    By Zaidul Haque,,

    Kolkata: Renowned Journalist and Executive Editor of a Muslim Bengali Daily `Kalom,’ Ahmed Hassan Imran has been nominated to the Upper House of the Parliament by Trinamul Congress.

    Trinamul Congress has announced four candidates to contest the Rajya Sabha seat from West Bengal. The other three candidates are Actor Mithun Chakraborty, Artist Jogen Chowdhury and Industrialist from Jharkhand K

    Ahmed Hassan Imran

    The term of four Rajya Sabha memebers from the state Shyamal Chakraborty, Prasanta Chatterjee, Barun Mukherjee, Tarinikanti Roy of CPIM and Independent Ahmed Syeed Malihabadi will end on April 2.

    On January 19, All India Secretary of TMC Mukul Roy announced the name of the candidates.

    West Bengal has 294 MLAs, but one MLA has now resigned. It should have four members in the upper house. With 187 MLAs in the state Assembly, TMC can safely send three representatives to the Rajya Sabha (Votes of 49 MLAs required for one seat in the Upper House).

    The fourth candidate of the pro-Trinamul Muslim daily is now left with 39 votes from TMC. Meanwhile, three Gorkha Janamukti Morcha MLAs have extended their support to the TMC nominee. Four Congress MLAs who have joined TMC Wilson Champamari, Hamidul Islam, Chand Mohammad and Soumitra Khan have also agreed to support the TMC nominee. He is, however, still short of two votes.

    The Left parties together have 61 votes, and thus have excess of 12 votes. Both the Congress party with 39 votes and Left still appear undecided to contest elections. With the contest it would be interesting to see if Imran clinches victory.

    State President of Congress Pradip Bhattacharya said that they have only 39 MLAs votes in hand and hence they may not field candidates. However, if the High Command directs them to contest elections, they may field candidate.

    CPM state Headquarter source said that they have only 12 votes and hence it would be difficult to for them to win, unless they get the support of the Congress, which is unlikely.

    Veteran CPIM leader and former Minister Abdur Rajjak Molla told journalists that TMC has tactically nominated a popular Muslim face, to get support from other parties as well. He also said that if he wins, he expects Imran to work for the Muslims in the state.

    The nomination of Imran to the Upper House has been welcomed by the community leaders as well. Imam of Nakhoda Mosque Maulana Muhammad Shafique, AIMPLB Member Maulana Ishak Madani, Golam Ahmed Mortaja and several other community leaders hoped that he wins.

    Kalom is a Bengali language ‘Muslim’ daily newspaper published in Kolkata by the Kalom Welfare Association. It was launched as a monthly magazine in 1981 and became a weekly in 1983. The Saradha Group bought it in 2011 and turned it into a daily newspaper with a circulation of up to 40,000. In 2013 after the Saradha Group financial scandal it was again bought by Kalom Welfare Association, on the initiatives of the TMC government.

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    By Staff Reporter,

    Kolkata: Following its mission and vision to spread education in the educationally backward areas of Seemanchal, Human Chain – a non-government society successfully ran 10 days winter coaching classes in Uttar Dinajpur district of West Bengal this past week.

    Zeeshan Shaheni, President of Human Chain AMU Chapter had conducted the free coaching classes for the students of Class IX and X at Manora High School situated close to district headquarters of Kishanganj (Bihar). Shaheni said, “The classes conducted from January 5 to 14, 2014, received huge response from the students of the school and teachers. A total of hundred students including girls and boys attended the classes of physical science.”

    Manzar Habib addressing.

    Adding further, Shaheni who himself is a student of M.Tech in Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Aligarh mentioned that the coaching classes were offered to financially weak students in memory of Late Mukhiya Amaluddin Aadil and Shah Jahan Rahi, who had given valuable contribution in the field of education for the area.

    Mohammad Aslam, President Human Chain has expressed satisfaction over the successful completion of coaching classes. “I appreciate the sincere effort of Zeeshan Shaheni. Instead of enjoying leisure moments during winter vacation with his kith and kins Mr. Shaheni had devoted his time for the financially weak students. This is a big sacrifice for the cause of community and I am sure members of Human Chain and others studying in better institutions would conduct such classes during their vacations for needy students in similar pattern,” said Mohammad Aslam.

    Prize distribution.

    On the final day of the coaching award and recognition ceremony was organised which was attended by Naushad Shaheni, Head Master Manora High School along with school staff Anjum Ahmad, Mustaque Ahmad, Mazhar Alam, Abdur Razzaque, Anwarul, Imteyaz and Anzar. Manzar Habib, an AMU Alumni and youth political leader was present as the chief guest along with Qayyum Rahi, Firoz Alam, Izhar Ashraf and Kalimuddin. While addressing the gathering, Habib had lauded the activities of Human Chain and insisted that such classes are the need of time as they would be beneficial for the students in long run. Prizes were also given away to three students for their excellent performances including Aamir Nawaz (1st Prize), Zafar Hussain (2nd Prize) and Mohd Dawar Reza (3rd Prize).


    The ceremony concluded with the speech of Zeeshan Shaheni. On behalf of Human Chain he thanked the school management, students and guests for joining hands with the mission and vision of the society. In his talk he said, “I am obliged to the governing body of Human Chain for allowing me to organise the classes under the banner of the society and guiding me all through especially President Mohammad Aslam, Mujahid Akhtar Naaz and Mumtaz Naiyer. I am also thankful to people to my friends and elders who had supported me a lot and without them it was not possible for me to conduct the classes smoothly namely, Asim Reza, Zulfekhar Alam, Asad Ahmad, Nahid Alam, Arshad Aaiyub, Aamir Ahmad, Fakhruzzman, Nahid Akhter, Akram, Saddam, Nazar Mohsin, Shahanshah, Mithun, Samad, Rabbani, Faisal and Azhar Mahmood.

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    Dear Arvind Kejriwal and all the AAP leaders,

    Let me first make a confession, as a reporter who was covering Delhi elections I was really amazed by the kind of ‘wave’ as first timers you people made, although till last minute I was pessimistic about the outcome. I must also add that I may have had my reservations with your party or with your style of functioning (in true Bollywood style combination of Anil Kapoor starer Nayak and Amitabh Bachchan starer Shahenshah). But the way you people have forced other parties to follow the trends is simply commendable.

    I understand that the main plank of your party is corruption free India and the reason you deride the Congress and UPA is precisely because you see them as facilitating corruptions. I am also aware that your party has publicly said that you see no difference between the Congress and the BJP, when it comes to corruptions. And as Professor Yogendra Yadav suggested, AAP is beyond any ‘-ism.’ As we are aware that the “rainbow coalition” for the larger agenda of weeding out corruptions and removing Congress might have achieved short term goals, but failed in the long run. I have also been observing how AAP has consciously tried to chart a separate path from the Anna Movement, which clearly had right wing tilt and some support base.

    As a ‘mango’ person myself, who also happens to be an Aam Indian Muslim (ordinary Indian Muslim), I still have my reservations with your party, particularly with the silence your party has so far maintained on issues that concern the ‘community’ most. You manifesto does mention about some of you plans (which by the way are not very different from what most parties assure the community, but in your anti-corruption rhetoric, we do not get to hear your clear stands on other pertinent issues of communalism, castes, reservations, and the imminent fascism. As if once corruption from bureaucracy and police removed, communalism too would end and illegal arbitrary arrest of Muslim youth too end.

    It’s good to see that your party realizes that while most groups, including educated middle class, migrants Dalits, etc voted for you, one major ‘vote-bank’ Muslims continued their ‘loyalty’ with the Congress. (This may also have been as the Muslim candidates from Congress are ‘heavy weights’ in their own rights in respective constituencies.) And I appreciate your party’s decision to form a Task Force to reach out to Muslims, in particular. It is precisely because of this that I dared to write this open letter.

    In an interview with me before the elections, Professor Yogendra Yadav emphatically said that AAP is “trying to move beyond two kinds of politics that dominate any discussion on the Muslim question towards a third kind of politics which moves beyond pseudo-nationalism and this completely bankrupt form of secularism which being practiced.”

    While attacking both the BJP style of “nationalist” politics and the “so called politics of secularism,” which “reduces the concerns of Muslims to problems which are exclusively Muslims. So the entire thinking revolves around the question of security and identity, as if Muslims do not need water, as if they do not need electricity, as if they do not need education and health.” And I am totally in agreement.

    File Photo of AAP leader Yongendra Yadav and Prashant Bushan during a campaign in Babarpur.

    He also acknowledged that there are "community specific problems". “There are some problems which are very specific to Muslims. One there is a question of identity. As a Muslim do you need to be consistently accountable and answerable for your nationalism, which is related to the question of suspicion that Muslim always feel surrounded by,” he underlined, adding, “there is a real issue of security and the discrimination they face from government agencies, from security forces,” which he admits, leads to alienation.

    However, he did not give out any clear answers to his party’s stand on most of these issues. And your party has not made its positions cleared yet. I am hence writing to you to appeal for a clearer answer on those issues.

    Corruption clearly is something with which all Indians, irrespective of caste, creed or religion suffer, but as Prof Yadav too acknowledges there are also issues of communalism, fascism, issues of security of minorities, discrimination, etc directly affecting them.

    Besides the sham of development, BJP clearly also has a divisive agenda that comes from pseudo and hyper forms of politics of nationalism that wants to homogenise the country. As a party raring to contest the general elections and for the government of the ‘people,’ strangely we do not see AAP challenging the communal and fascist force on the same pitch.

    We are yet to know the stand of the Aam Aadmi Party on how it plans to counter the communal, divisive forces. Your diatribe against BJP appears softer – or has so far appeared - compared to Congress. Let me cite few examples, while AAP’s most known and strongest candidate and your current CM contested the Assembly election against Sheila Dikshit, but you fielded a novice against BJP’s chief ministerial candidate. Not only that, soon as elections got over Kumar Vishwas announced that he would contest from Amethi against Rahul Gandhi. We do not yet know who will contest against Narendra Modi!

    Now that the Delhi CM appears willing to contest the Lok Sabha elections, after spectacularly defeating Sheila Dikshit in the Assembly elections, is he ready to contest against Gujarat CM? You have taken on the Congress, whom you termed as the ‘mascot’ of corruption, will you now also challenge Modi, the mascot of communal fascist forces?

    AAP supporters at Hajipur junction in Bihar.

    During the heat of your campaign Muzaffarnagar burned and the deplorable conditions of those in relief camps still continue. I am aware that your party indirectly said few weeks back that political forces with use divisive agenda for political gains. But now that your party has decided to contest all seats in UP, I am yet to see the pro-active role of AAP on ground, amongst riot victims.

    As a party whose core team comprises of academicians like Prof Ananad Kumar, Prof Yogendra Yadav, civil rights lawyer Prashant Bhushan; and now also former Journalist Ashutosh and the likes of others, clearly I have no hesitation in accepting your party’s ‘good intent.’ But how are you going to implement it?

    Anyone associated with social science research realizes the backwardness of Muslims (like many other communities) and Sachar Report has documented it well. Clearly one major grievance of the community against the UPA government has been that they failed to deliver on the recommendations of the Sachar Committee and Rangnathan Mishra reports respectively. Gujarat Government, under BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, recently filed an affidavit in the Apex Court terming Sachar Committee as “neither constitutional nor statutory,” whose “target was to help Muslims only” for the vote-bank politics.

    What is your party’s stand on taking affirmative actions for the community, like some sort of reservations for the backwards among Muslims, helping them financially through cheaper loans or scholarships, etc. And more importantly as your party too acknowledges that Muslims (also other communities like Dalits) are discriminated. How is your party going to tackle these? Will simply by weeding our corruptions, inherent bias too will end?

    Advocate Naushad Ahmad Khan joined AAP recently and has filed the internal application to contest elections.

    Surely, I do not doubt the credentials of Prof Yadav, or Prashant Bhushan (or even Arvind Kejriwal), or several new entrants like Mallika Sarabai, Prof Kamal Mitra Chenoy, amongst others. But a party that appears desperate to enroll anyone and everyone (who literally gives a miss call on a number), like several other concerned citizens, we are waiting to know your party’s stand on the pressing issues, concerning our country (whether based on ideologies or larger interests).

    It’s high time, AAP should ponder over all these issues as well as on reservations, and other matters of national interests, like AFSPA, nuclear energy, economic policies, etc. But several commentators have been writing on those and hence I will restrict myself to the issues concerning Muslims.

    Postscript: After AAP’s empathic performance (I would call it emphatic although you fell little short of the majority mark), like everywhere I see a greater enthusiasm amongst Muslim leadership as well as common men on streets in your favour. Several educated Muslim youth queuing up for your party’s memberships too. Clearly that is a healthy sign.

    But let me also caution you that in this race to enroll as many people and to contest elections from maximum seats in the upcoming general elections, you must not compromise on your basic criteria. The reason I am saying this, for I have a hunch (and I reiterate it’s only my hunch) that several opportunists and ‘wananbe’ politicians and so called community leaders would see a greater opportunity with your party now and join you with the agenda of contesting elections.

    Of course this holds true across the country, but without taking names, let me specially warn you about many so called Muslim activists/leaders who have shown interests or are joining your party, although before the elections they were pessimist about AAP’s ideologies as well as your performance.
    Thank you

    A prospective AAP voter

    (M Reyaz is the Assistant Editor of


    AAP or Aam Aadmi’s movement!

    Muslims are slowly opening up to AAP, although confusions remain

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    By Vikas Datta, IANS,

    Jaipur : The prejudices of an "ideological state" like Pakistan cannot be swept away by one democratic transition and it will take many years before attitudes change and militancy is curbed so that the country sees entrenched democracy and a pluralist society, says Husain Haqqani, a former Pakistani envoy to the US.

    "The democratic transition (after the 2013 elections) and development of parliamentary democracy is a welcome step but the deep-rooted prejudices of an ideological state cannot be swept away with one democratic transition," Haqqani told IANS in an interview at the Jaipur Literary Festival here.

    In a first for Pakistan, the Pakistan Peoples Party government, which came to power in 2008, completed its full five-year term in office - albeit with two prime ministers - and handed power to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) after losing the 2013 elections.

    "It will take many years before militant elements adapt and change...," said the 57-year-old former journalist turned diplomat and author. He is now director of the Center of International Relations and a professor in international relations at Boston University.

    Haqqani called for the ideological basis of the Pakistani regime to be replaced with a government which can solve the shortcomings of the administration and society, including declining school enrolment, the dismally low proportion of exports in the country's GDP, the shortfall in tax and revenue collections and other such problems.

    "Pakistan doesn't need any more ideology in its governance but instead needs to become a functional government," stressed Haqqani, who identifies himself as one of the 95 percent of the Pakistani population born after the Partition, and thus "not needing raison d'etre" for their existence and deem.

    Haqqani said schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai, who was shot and critically injured by the Pakistani Taliban for advocating education for girls, was a role model for the country, and not Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafeez Saeed.

    "I hope all democratic forces work together so a pluralist Pakistan emerges, excluding the terrorists and jihadis," he added.

    Asked how he saw the future of his country, Haqqani asserted as a Pakistani, he had "no option but to be optimistic about its likely prospects."

    Haqqani, who has written "Magnificent Delusions: Pakistan, the United States, and an Epic History of Misunderstanding" on the long-standing but difficult ties about the two countries, to a query on how these had affected relations between Pakistan and India, stressed he had used the word "delusion" in the plural because there were delusions on both sides.

    "The alliance never met or fulfilled the expectations of the US, nor did they meet the needs of Pakistan.

    He said the relations, and the delusions, had three consequences.

    "Firstly, they made Pakistan dependent on the US. Secondly, they prolonged the hostilities between India and Pakistan due to the high levels of military assistance Pakistan received from the US... and India, in turn, from the then Soviet Union," he said.

    Third was that it led to dysfunctions in the internal dynamics of Pakistan and helped the rise of jihadis, which has had direct consequences for the relations between the two neighbours.

    He pitched for good ties between the neighbours, pointing out that the two countries shared the same subcontinent as well as 5,000 years of common history and just 66 years as two independent nations.

    "There are six million families in Pakistan with relatives across the border in India," said Haqqani, who resigned as his country's ambassador to the US in 2011 following the "Memogate" episode in which a Pakistani-American businessman alleged Haqqani had given him a memo for Admiral Mike Mullen, then chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, soon after the raid in Abbottabad in which Al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden was killed, seeking the US government's help in preventing a military takeover in Pakistan.

    At a JLF session earlier, Haqqani had advocated that India should tell Pakistani leaders who make a litany of complaints over unsettled issues to instead look inwards and solve their country's and society's own shortcomings in its polity, society and economy.

    "Any time Pakistani leaders make complaints over unsettled issues, India should tell them to look inwards and solve their own issues - the sharply declining school enrollment, the falling level of exports which are just 10 percent of its GDP, its low tax collections and so on," he said.

    Making Pakistan insecure is not a solution, he maintained, but noted that Pakistan must also realise that as a nuclear weapon state, its existence is not in danger.

    Apart from serving as envoy to the US (2008-11), the Karachi-born Haqqani, who began his career as a journalist and worked with Pakistan Television, has also served as advisor to Nawaz Sharif in his first term as prime minister and then to Benazir Bhutto in her second term as prime minister.

    (Vikas Datta can be contacted at

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    By IANS,

    New Delhi : The Saudi government has withdrawn the time-share concept for non-Saudis in the two holy cities of Makkah and Madinah, an embassy statement said here.

    "Due to intensive infrastructure construction activities undertaken by the government of Saudi Arabia, which entails construction of dozens of news hotels, for the benefit of pilgrims to the two holy cities of Makkah and Madinah, the practice of time-share activity in tourist units in the two cities (other than through inheritance) has been prohibited for non-Saudis with immediate effect," the embassy stated quoting a government announcement.

    The Saudi government had, in 2005, begun the time-share concept for tourist real estate units, such as hotels and guesthouses,and defined the responsibilities and obligations of contracting parties,with penalties for violators of the regulations.

    Makkah draws up to two million Muslims to the annual Haj pilgrimage, when they spend weeks in the holy city. This prompts increased demand for a variety of accommodation, from shared rooms in flats to luxury rooms in the city's upcoming five star hotels.

    The purpose of the regulation was to protect all parties from intentional or unintentional misuse of the time-sharing.

    The concept of time-share is a common tourist and recreational activity globally, and many countries had developed and modernized the regulations governing this activity. The time-share system allows distribution of costs related to construction, furnishing, management, operation and maintenance on more than one stakeholder - the tourist, the hotelier, financiers, etc. - thereby reducing the costs for tourists, especially as tourism is no longer limited only to high-income people.

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    By Shilpa Raina, IANS,

    Jaipur : The 26/11 Mumbai terror attack grabbed global headlines and the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) succeeded in everything it wanted to do, said an author who has written on the savagery.

    Asked why the terrorists chose to kill people instead of kidnapping them in Mumbai, Adrian Levy, co-author of "The Siege: Three Days of Terror Inside the Taj", said the event made it to the "global headlines".

    "The fourth largest city in the world was hijacked on television for three days," he said.

    "This grabbed worldwide headlines. Lashkar-e-Taiba succeeded in everything they wanted to do," he added.

    A total of 166 people, including 26 foreigners, were killed in the around 60 hours of mayhem.

    Levy also felt the terror attack was a "watershed" moment for India and a benchmark for the next government to safeguard its people.

    "It wasn't just any other event in the history of India, it was a watershed moment.

    "And looking at the state of affairs now, I would say India hasn't learnt from this attack," he added.

    Levy, along with co-author Cathy Scott-Clark, interviewed over 1,000 people for their book and married powerful narrative with facts and observations.

    During the conversations, they could sense the "frustration" of Indian security personnel.

    "There is a feeling of huge frustration and anger among security personnel in India. There has to be some structuring in the system because what outside perception is doesn't really match with the reality."

    Levy also discussed in detail about 26/11 planner David Headley's initial struggle to join hands with the LeT as he was an "unsuitable candidate".

    "You just can't be a part of LeT as they follow a certain procedure. They have enormous control over education and teaching their ideology, and then comes military training.

    "He was wriggling to get into LeT. But they had declared him an unsuitable candidate who was old," he added.

    But then he secured meetings with people who had a different agenda and slowly things fell in place.

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    By IANS,

    Patna : Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Monday directly attacked BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi by saying that neither can the 2002 Gujarat riots be forgotten nor people behind it be forgiven. He also ruled out his JD-U's alliance with the Congress for the Lok Sabha polls.

    "One thing is certain. Neither 2002 Gujarat riots can be forgotten nor people behind it be forgiven," Nitish Kumar told media persons after his weekly "janata darbar" here.

    Without naming Modi or the Bharatiya Janata Party, he said some vested interests are trying to ensure that killing of innocent people in the Gujarat communal riots should be forgotten and those behind it forgiven.

    But the country is not ready for this because people are sensitive and are concerned about one another.

    Sunday, Nitish Kumar attacked Modi when he said that the country's leadership should be handed over to a man who has faith of all sections of people and vision for the entire country.

    He also ruled out an alliance of his party, Janata Dal (United) (JD-U), with the Congress in Bihar for the Lok Sabha polls.

    "There is no question of an alliance of JD-U with the Congress in Bihar for the Lok Sabha polls," Nitish Kumar told media persons here.

    He said media speculations over possibility of the JD-U alliance with the Congress is baseless. "It is a non-existent thing," he said.

    But, when asked about a tie-up with the Lok Janshakti Party of Ram Vilas Paswan, he said: "LJP will have to decide with whom it will go in the next general elections."

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    By IANS,

    New Delhi : It will be a grievous error to view the decline in the number of terror attacks in India in the past two years as evidence of terrorism coming under check, West Bengal Governor M.K. Nayaranan said Monday.

    The former National Security Advisor also noted that there was a possibility of both the intensity and the number of attacks being stepped up "in the period ahead".

    Delivering the first R.V. Raju Memorial Lecture at the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Day function here, he said India would be the next target if the Taliban established its sway in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of US-led troops this year.

    Narayanan said terrorism remained a grave threat to the civilised world, contrary to the perception of some security and strategic analysts in the West.

    Narayanan said both the Indian Mujahideen (IM) and the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) networks remained active in the country.

    He said Pakistan appeared determined to support jehadist elements to keep India off balance.

    "Both LeT and IM networks remain active despite claims to the contrary," he said. "It would be a mistake to believe otherwise.

    "On the other hand, given the new terrorist dynamic, one should envisage the possibility of both the intensity and the number of attacks being stepped up in the period ahead.

    "The likelihood of possible 'suicide missions' also needs to be factored into future calculation," he said.

    He said separating terrorist outfits from bodies that profess to be political in character was indeed a major challenge.

    He said Pakistan's new army doctrine even stipulates "disproportionate response" in future wars with India, implying a willingness to use the nuclear option if India responded to terror attacks like the one Mumbai witnesses in 2008.

    "We have to be prepared for more attacks of this kind," he said. "What is particularly worrying is that Pakistan shows no inclination to desist from pursuing 'high risk' strategies."

    Noting that the principal focus of the NIA should be proper investigation of terrorist incidents and crimes, he said the agency should not branch out into speculative analysis.

    Narayanan urged the government to avoid the temptation of using the NIA in areas that do not fall within its core tasks.

    "There has, unfortunately, been a tendency on the part of the government, in case of other central agencies, to employ them in areas that do not fall within their core responsibilities."

    Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who presided over the function, said India's enemies, who were "against the idea of India will try to keep us on tenterhooks and unsettle us".

    Referring to terrorism, Shinde said: "The epicentre (of terrorism) remains in (India's) neighbourhood."

    Narayanan said the threat posed by terrorism in India was dependent on what prevails in the volatile and difficult neigbhourhood.

    "In Afghanistan and Pakistan, a combination of state weaknesses and the presence of myriad terrorist (groups) constitutes a direct threat.

    "Taliban extremism in both countries shows no signs of muting itself. Surrender to extremist forces like Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan's willingness to hold unconstitutional talks with the Taliban thus have gravest consequences for us," he said.

    Narayanan said India cannot afford to ignore the extraordinary comeback of several Al Qaeda affiliates across parts of Asia and Africa and Russia.

    He said they were seeking to use advanced technology to improve their destructive capabilities.

    He said an overwhelming number of terror attacks in India were the handiwork of Pakistan-based outfits and the IM, created by LeT following the Gujarat riots of 2002.

    He said rightwing Hindu outfits also carried out sporadic terror attacks such as those on the Samjhauta Express and at Malegaon in Maharashtra.

    He said the 26/11 attack was an entirely LeT operation, backed by the Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan.

    Narayanan said the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) had been one of the fountainheads of Islamic extremist ideology in India.

    "The emerging dynamic suggests that there were no clear ground rules which dictate how, and where a terrorist attack takes place.

    "Consequently, complacency that a reduction in the number of terrorist incidents signifies that the threat from terrorism has been reduced would be a serious error," he said.

    NIA was was set up in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attack to investigate offences affecting security, sovereignty and integrity of the country.

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    By IANS,

    Dubai : The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is drawing support from Indian expatriates in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with a party leader, Shazia Ilmi, visiting this Gulf nation over the weekend.

    Ilmi, who is also a spokesperson for the party, attended the alumni functions of the Jamia Millia Islamia university and the Aligarh Muslim University in Dubai and Abu Dhabi Friday and Saturday.

    She said she was overwhelmed by the support expatriates here have voiced for the year-old AAP which rules Delhi, The National reported.

    Said Ilmi, a former broadcast journalist: “We want to create a citizen’s voice and not play on any religious card. Corruption has no religion and misgovernance has no caste.

    "Also, poverty and illiteracy have no religious colour,” she said.

    On Friday and Saturday, more than 500 people gathered to hear Ilmi speak in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

    “NRIs are concerned about corruption, bad roads, cleanliness and deteriorating security situation. They want to invest more in India but corruption bothers them,” Ilmi said.

    Some of the Indian expatriates reportedly spoke to her about their desire to contest elections on AAP ticket.

    Sayed Qutbur Rehman, head of a construction company in the UAE, was quoted as saying: “There is a revolution taking place in India. This is a time of transformation, and to miss it would be a big mistake."

    Anis Ahmad, a manager at a car company, said the AAP had inspired expatriate Indians to work for their country. “People want to contribute in any way they can.

    “The party is fighting for justice for the common man and the minorities who are suppressed. We too hope change will come in India. The only way to bring about change is to cast your vote,” he added.

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    By IANS,

    Hyderabad : Remarks made by some legislators in Andhra Pradesh assembly on the Nizam during the debate on Telangana bill led to an uproar Monday with MIM stating that it is proud of the ruler of the erstwhile Hyderabad state.

    Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) leader in assembly Akbaruddin Owaisi termed Nizam as a good and able administrator, who set up many industries in Telangana.

    "We are proud of Nizam and his rule," he said while responding to certain remarks made by legislators of both ruling Congress and main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP).

    Owaisi wanted to know how the Nizam was responsible for bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and dared Congress leaders from Seemandhra to come out against their own leadership for taking the decision.

    "If you scratch the old wounds, they will bleed and hurt both the sides," he said while referring to the events that led to Hyderabad State's merger with the Indian Union in September 1948.

    Describing the Nizam as a patriot, the MIM leader pointed out that Nizam donated 120 kg of gold for the army during India-China war in 1962.

    The MIM leader pointed out that the assembly building where they were sitting and discussing Telangana bill was also built by the Nizam.

    Later participating in the debate, Owaisi said the Nizam donated money and other valuables to various temples including Tirupati, Bhadrachalam and Yadgirigutta. He said it was the ruler who set up educational institutions in Hyderabad from 1854, built electricity and drinking water projects, railway station and airport.

    TDP legislator D. Narendra criticized Owaisi for praising Nizam and pointed out that he suppressed people fighting for independence.

    Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leader E. Rajender also defended Nizam and pointed out that he set up many industries including Nizam Sugars, which was established in 1921. It was then Asia's biggest sugar factory.

    Earlier, MIM lawmakers rushed towards the speaker's podium when TDP member P. Keshav made certain remarks against Nizam while speaking about the Telangana armed struggle against his tyrannical rule.

    Opposing the demand for separate statehood to Telangana, Keshav accused TRS and other pro-Telangana groups of distorting history to justify the state's division. He said Telangana armed struggle by the Communists was not against Andhra but was against landlords and the oppressive rule of the Nizam.

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    By IANS,

    Jammu : Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said Monday that all political stalwarts should write autobiographies to provide a transparent account of their life and deeds and set the record straight.

    "All political stalwarts should write their biographies to provide full account of their view point and the struggle they have made to achieve the goals in a candid and transparent manner," he said, while releasing "Yaadon ki Saugat", the autobiography of former Congress minister Mir Ghulam Ali Poonchi.

    "This will provide the younger generation an opportunity to know about the life and political works of politician as also help the writers to clear the misgivings and contradictions if any about their style of political working.

    "They can set the records straight by penning down their autobiographies."

    Autobiographies not only tell the readers about the historic happenings, social order, educational environment, economic status, political awareness, but also help people to know the track record of the life and work of the writer, he said.

    He referred to "Aatish-e-Chinar", the autobiography of his grandfather and National Conference founder, the late Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, saying it has cleared so many aspects and answered so many questions about the political life of Sher-e-Kashmir, as Sheikh Abdullah was popularly known during his lifetime.

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    By IANS,

    Srinagar : The Jamaat-e-Islami, the parent body of hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani, Monday questioned the octogenarian leader's right to donate his property to an autonomous trust.

    The Jamaat said in a statement that its central advisory council met Monday with its chief, Muhammad Abdullah Wani, in chair. The meeting was attended by all the Kashmir Valley-based members of the council besides district presidents and others.

    "The meeting asserted that the property at Rehmatabad Hyderpora in Srinagar currently used by Syed Ali Geelani for residential and official purposes actually belongs to the Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir.

    "The meeting unanimously reaffirmed the decision previously taken by the Jamaat that the said property will remain in the lifelong possession of Syed Ali Geelani.

    "Nevertheless, after Geelani Sahib, Jamaat will be authorized to take any decision about it."

    The meeting decided to send a delegation of Jamaat to verify reports that property had been donated to some trust.

    Geelani is respected by the Jamaat-e-Islami, to which he has belonged right since his early days.

    After he formed his breakaway Hurriyat group in 2002, Geelani announced the formation of another separatist party, the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, which he heads.

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    By Syed Amin ul Hassan Jafari,

    Hyderabad: The Andhra Pradesh government has dealt a body blow to self-employment schemes for SCs/STs, BCs and Minorities implemented through welfare finance corporations by effecting a wholesale revision of guidelines in the last quarter of the financial year. As a consequence, the welfare departments are likely to utilise only a part of the massive funds allotted for self-employment schemes in the 2013-14 budget. They may grossly miss the target of providing subsidy to the tune of Rs 1,708 crores to 6.24 lakh beneficiaries in the next 70 days before the closure of the financial year.

    Curiously, the Government issued GOMs No. 101 through the social welfare department on December 31, 2013, spelling out "comprehensive guidelines" for implementation of self-employment programmes by all the welfare departments during 2013-14. The guidelines were revised, based on the recommendations of a 13-member Group of Ministers constituted in June 2013 for formulating the modalities for economic support schemes of Social, Tribal, Backward Classes and Minorities Welfare, women and child development and disabled welfare departments.

    GOMs 101 has changed the subsidy pattern, eligibility criteria, norms for selection of beneficiaries and implementation and monitoring mechanism. Earlier, the economic support schemes were targeted at beneficiaries in the age-group of 18 to 55 years. The family income ceiling was fixed at Rs 60,000 in rural areas and Rs 75,000 in urban areas. 50 percent subsidy was offered upto a maximum of Rs 30,000. The maximum unit cost was upto Rs 2.5 lakh. The beneficiary contribution was pegged at 10 percent of the unit cost and the remaining amount was to be provided through bank loan.

    Now, the eligibility criteria have been altered drastically. Beneficiaries have to be in the age-group of 21 to 40 years in case of BCs, minorities and handicapped groups and 21 to 45 years if they belong to SCs and STs. Relaxation of five years is allowed for vulnerable groups among SCs and STs as well as HIV and atrocity victims. Preference will be given to candidates with higher qualifications or requisite qualifications required for a skill or those who were trained under any skill improvement programme of the government or welfare corporations in the current or previous year.

    Beneficiaries who are availing the economic support schemes for the first time will be accorded priority. One-third of the beneficiaries will be women. However, only one economic support scheme is to be granted per family and the beneficiaries availing financial assistance for the financial year 2013-14 will not be eligible under the scheme for the next five years. The targeted beneficiaries are to be sub-divided for the districts and mandals/municipalities in proportion to the population of the particular category by the concerned welfare corporation. In view of the short time available during the year, the selection of beneficiaries will be done at the mandal level by a screening-cum-selection committee.

    The subsidy payable from the financial year 2013-14 onwards will be 60% of the unit cost limited to a maximum of Rs 1 lakh for SCs and STs and 50% of the unit cost limited to Rs 1 lakh for BCs, Minorities and Disabled. Under SERP and MEPMA, there is no change in the funding pattern. Further, the selection of beneficiaries is to be completed during January 1 to 21, 2014. All applications have to be registered through the online beneficiary monitoring system (OBMS) and the subsidy for the beneficiaries will also be administered through the online system.

    The new guidelines have come as a bolt from the blue for thousands of applicants who have registered online during the first nine months of the financial year (April to December 2013). Now, those below 21 years of age or those above 40 or 45 years of age have been rendered ineligible overnight. Applicants have been asked to register afresh based on the new eligibility criteria.

    For instance, the AP State Minorities Finance Corporation, which has been given an annual target to assist 33,334 beneficiaries by providing subsidy assistance amounting to Rs 100 crores during 2013-14, had received 41,226 applications till December 17, 2013. Only 11,897 applications were sanctioned with subsidy quantum of Rs 32.90 crores. Out of this, 1,942 applications were actually grounded and subsidy amount of Rs 4.71 crores was disbursed. AP State Christian Finance Corporation set a target to assist 4,592 beneficiaries with subsidy of Rs 18.50 crores. However, only 391 applications were grounded and subsidy of Rs 1.14 crores was disbursed. Both the corporations together are likely to return unutilized funds to the tune of Rs 100 crores during the year to the State government because of the new stringent guidelines.

    (The writer is a former journalist and member of legislative council on MIM ticket. The article was first published in Times of India. Reproduced here with the permission of the writer.)

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  • 01/20/14--10:07: Jains get minority status
  • By IANS,

    New Delhi : The Jain community was Monday granted minority status by the central government which will enable them to avail benefits in government schemes and programmes.

    The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting here, an official release here said.

    The decision comes a day after Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi took up this issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

    A group of Jains had met Rahul Gandhi Sunday to press for their long-standing demand for minority status and he then spoke to the prime minister.

    Once recognized as a minority, the around 50 lakh strong community would get a share in central funds earmarked for welfare programmes and scholarships for minorities. They can also manage and administer their own educational institutions.

    The community already has minority status in states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan but the new decision extends this across the country.

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