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5-State Assembly Poll Results: JIH voices concern over communal politics, lack of Muslim representation

– Anwarulhaq Baig

New Delhi, Dec. 5: Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) has expressed deep concern over the recent assembly election results and the trajectory of national politics, highlighting the polarizing tactics played out, particularly in the Hindi heartland, and the absence of Muslim representation in the winning parties.

Addressing a press conference held here at the JIH Headquarters today, JIH Vice President Malik Motasim Khan appealed to both winners and losers to engage in profound introspection and consider their ramifications on the core constitutional values. He denounced the rampant use of communal statements by top politicians, as well as personal attacks, character assassination, and unsubstantiated charges that marred the election campaigns. According to him, these actions lowered the level of political discourse, leading to a divisive electorate along religious lines. He lamented that the party that won the elections in these states did not offer a single ticket to any member of the Muslim community in any state.

Strongly criticizing the ineptitude exhibited by the Opposition, citing their victimization to reactionary politics, their ‘soft Hindutva’ approach, a lack of seriousness, poor selection of campaign leaders, faulty ticket distribution, the JIH Vice President reminded the Opposition that it could not regain the trust of the people unless it demonstrated unwavering commitment to the fundamental constitutional principles of equity and justice for all religious and caste groups.

Mr. Motasim Khan said that the Opposition should also reflect on its failure to establish a practical seat adjustment and seat-sharing mechanism.

Taking strong exception to the mainstream media’s role in exacerbating communal polarization during elections, the JIH Vice President expressed disappointment in its transformation into a mouthpiece for the ruling party, abandoning its crucial role as a watchdog and the fourth pillar of democracy. He also advised the BJP to engage in genuine introspection, abandoning communal agendas and animosity towards minorities.

On this occasion, giving a message to the Muslim community, he emphasized faith in Allah, hard work for development, and vigilance in protecting constitutionally guaranteed rights and civil liberties. He also urged Muslims to remain united and serve as role models for humanity.

Briefing the media on the JIH Central Advisory Council resolution to ensure transparency in electoral bonds, JIH Vice President Prof Salim Engineer has noted that the current opaque system of electoral bonds for election funding is causing an abnormal increase in the coffers of the ruling party and the imbalance is beginning to show during elections.

Prof. Salim demanded that the government make the system of election bonds transparent and devise effective measures and regulations to curb excessive money in elections.

Prof. Salim urged political leaders and parties to adhere to value-based politics and eschew malicious tools like hate speech and polarization. He also expressed deep concern over the continuous decline in the standard of politics in the country, the violation of democratic and moral values, and the constantly increasing dominance of capitalists, criminals, and communal and fascist powers in the country.

Prof Salim lamented that actions like disrespectful comments by political leaders, lying, excessive use of money, false promises to attract voters, character assassination of candidates and leaders, hate speeches and statements against different communities were, unfortunately, becoming important tools for conducting election campaigns. “This situation is not only weakening democracy in the country but also aiding in the capitalists’ grip on power,” he added.

Observing that the ruling party has been silencing its opponents and the parties belonging to the Opposition with the help of CBI, ED, and Income Tax raids and targeted demolitions carried out by the Municipal Department, Prof. Salim called on the government to shun political misuse of bureaucracy and restore the dignity and autonomy of all such venerable government institutions. “While this hurts the freedom of expression, the people’s trust in the bureaucracy weakens. It also becomes a source of corruption in government departments,” he added.

Briefing the media on the resolution of Palestine, the JIH Vice President has strongly condemned the inhuman Israeli attacks on Gaza and demanded the international community and the United Nations to immediately implement a permanent ceasefire by imposing sanctions on Israel.

Prof Salim demanded that the Israeli Prime Minister must be tried in the International Criminal Court for the ongoing genocidal killing of common, unarmed citizens, especially innocent children and women, indiscriminate bombing of hospitals and schools, and other inhuman acts.

Expressing grave concern over the alarming decline in the enrollment of Muslim students in higher education, JIH Media Secretary KK Suhail noted that the representation of Muslim students begins to dwindle gradually from Class VI, reaching its lowest point in Class XI and XII.

The recent report, based on an analysis of data obtained from the Unified District Information System for Education Plus (UDISE+) and the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE), has been prepared by Arun Mehta, a former Professor of the National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration, with its foreword by Najma Akhtar, Vice-Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia. According to the report, out of a total enrollment of 6.67 crore students at the upper primary level (Class VI-VIII) across all communities, Muslims make up around 14.42%. At the secondary level (Class IX-X), this percentage slightly decreases to 12.62%.

Emphasizing the need to provide financial assistance and support to deserving Muslim students from low-income families who struggle to afford the cost of higher education, Mr Suhail called on the government to enhance and increase the number of scholarships, grants, and financial aid opportunities specifically targeted at Muslim students to alleviate their financial burden.

At the higher secondary level [Class XI-XII] it declines further to 10.76%. The states like Bihar and Madhya Pradesh have relatively low Gross Enrolment Ratio for Muslim students, which indicates that many Muslim children in these states are still out of the education system. The report says that 18.64% of Muslim students enrolled in the secondary level drop out of school. This dropout rate is 6% higher than the 12.6% dropout rate for all students. Assam (29.52%) and West Bengal (23.22%) recorded high dropout rates among Muslim students, while Jammu and Kashmir recorded 5.1% and Kerala 11.91%. Earlier, the AISHE Survey 2020-21 had pointed to the decline in representation of Muslim students in higher education. It had found that enrolment of Muslim students was less than that of students from OBC, SC and ST communities.

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