Muslim-Dalit Working To Forge An Alliance Before 2019 Polls

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New Delhi: Efforts made by JamiatUlama e Hind leader MehmoodMadani has given him some hope with a series of successful Dalit-Muslim conferences over the past couple of months in states such as Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Telangana. Muslims leaders and Dalit leaders are trying to forge a joint “social justice” movement in the run-up to the 2019 general election.
The MahmoodMadani-led faction of the JamiatUlama-e-Hind, a prominent Muslim organisation, which led these conferences, said the purpose was to forge “long-term social alliances”. The All India Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM), whose members include those from the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), have also attended these conferences.
Four major Dalit-Muslim conferences have been held so far on the theme “Mulk Do Rahe Par” (the country is on divergent paths): in Delhi on February 22, in Lucknow on March 10, in Bengaluru on March 8 and in Hyderabad on March 21.

Smaller, local-level, Dalit-Muslim associations by participation in each other’s rallies and events are taking place throughout Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. “Both are suppressed and deprived communities. We have long felt that the two must stand together for each other’s rights,” Madani said. In Saharanpur, home to the influential Islamic seminary DarulUloomDeoband, young Muslims are joining the BhimSena, a Dalit group, Madani said.
The Delhi meeting was attended by 170 Muslim and Dalit representatives. They include PrakashAmbedkar, grandson of Dalit icon BR Ambedkar; KanchaIlaiah of the Maulana Azad Urdu University, Ashok Bharti of the National Confederation of Dalit Organisations; BN Tejavath of the All India Scheduled Tribe Federation; and ShivarudraMahaswamigalu of the Shree BelimathaMahasamsthana.
“There has to be a basis for people to come together. The basis is the social oppression being faced by Dalits and Muslims at the hands of communal forces,” said Ambedkar, adding that the larger struggle should also be about the economic situation. “Muslims have traditionally voted for the Congress, which also believes in Vedic persecution of Dalits. They should make it very clear they will vote for any new alternative that can take on communal forces,” Ambedkar said.

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