November 8th, 2008 - 9:30 pm ICT by IANS Tell a Friend -
An organisation of Dalit Muslims in Bihar has warned the state government to withdraw upper caste Mallick Muslims from the backward caste list, otherwise they will be “forced to take a stand against Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) in the coming elections”, an official said Saturday.The All India Pasmandsa Muslim Mahaz, an influential backward and Dalit Muslim body, Saturday threatened to launch a campaign to “expose Bihar government’s double standard vis-a-vis Dalit Muslims”.
“We had warned the state government to withdraw Mallicks from the backward caste list and not to ignore our demand,” said Mahaz’s newly elected president Saleem Perwez.
Mahaz’s spokesperson Irshadul Haque said that Dalit Muslims will not tolerate a decision that goes against their empowerment.
“Dalit Muslims will be forced to take a stand against Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) in coming elections that will prove costly for him,” Haque said at a Mahaz function attended by hundreds of Dalit Muslims from across the state.
In 2005 Bihar assembly elections, Dalit Muslims reportedly voted against Railways Minister Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal and in favour of Nitish Kumar’s JD(U).
Mahaz, which celebrated its 10th anniversary here Saturday, declared to fight against communal forces and continue to awaken Dalit Muslims for their rights and empowerment.
Most of the leaders of Mahaz protested the decision to declare Mallick Muslims as backward. They threatened a state-wide agitation and a legal challenge to the government’s decision.
“We have passed 12 resolutions. The first resolution was opposed to inclusion of Mallicks in the backward caste list by the state government and demanded to withdraw it immediately,” Haque said.
Dalit Muslim leaders described it as a historical wrong by the state government to declare Mallicks as a backward caste.
According to officials, Mallicks are educationally, economically and socially second to none including upper caste Muslims like Syed, Khan, and Shaikh.
Mallicks are mostly spread in about 50-odd villages of the districts of Patna, Jehanabad, Gaya, Nawada, Jamui, Munger and Nalanda, which is Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s home district. In urban centres of these districts, too, they have a sizeable population.
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