GUWAHATI, April 7 - Leaders of the State�s indigenous Muslim organisations have given a guarded response to the BJP-led State Government�s announcement to set up a development corporation meant for them, and to conduct a socio-economic survey to assess their position. Some of them have called for clear-cut proposals from all political parties for all-round development of the indigenous Muslims of the State.
Talking to this newspaper, AAM Enamul Haque, president of Sadou Deshi Janagosthiya Jatiya Sangsad, Assam, welcomed the State Government�s decision to set up a development corporation for indigenous Muslims and said that the corporation should be formed immediately following the proposed socio-economic survey.
He added that the socio-economic survey proposed to evaluate the status of the indigenous Muslim communities, should be conducted thoroughly covering all the indigenous Muslim communities � Deshi, Goria, Moria and Jolha (of the tea garden communities).
Haque demanded that the indigenous Muslims should be given protection under Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, taking their ethnic identities as the sole criterion. The indigenous Muslims should also be granted OBC status, he said.
There should be a survey to assess the land � originally belonging to the people of the indigenous Muslim communities � that were eroded by floods during the past 30 years. After reclamation or recovery, such plots of land should be handed over to the original owners, Haque said.
Funds allocated for development of the religious minority communities should be divided among them in proportion to their demographic size, he added. All quotas reserved for religious minorities with respect to government jobs, admission in educational institutions, etc., should also be distributed on a similar basis.
Cases of �doubtful� (D) voters lodged against indigenous Muslim people should be withdrawn forthwith, Haque demanded.
Meanwhile, describing the State Government�s announcement as historic, the president of Sadou Asom Goria-Moria-Deshi Jatiya Parishad Hafizul Ahmed said: �We are hopeful that the decision of the State Government to set up a development corporation and conduct a socio-economic survey will help these communities a lot.�
But he maintained that all political parties should make their respective stands on the indigenous Muslim communities clear and warned that his organisation would monitor activities of all political parties on issues concerning the indigenous Muslim communities.
He rued that the indigenous Muslim communities have so far been left out of the development process. Allocations made for the development of the State�s religious minorities have been pocketed by people of a particular Muslim community, which is used as a vote bank by the political parties, he alleged.
Ahmed pointed out that in 2007, an amount of Rs 703 crore was allocated to the State under the Multi-Sectoral Development Programme (MSDP) schemes and only 13 districts were identified as religious minority-dominated for implementing the schemes, leaving out the majority of the indigenous Muslims.
Fazlul Karim Hazarika, general secretary of the Gariya-Mariya-Deshi Janagosthiya Parishad, said that though they are hopeful that some improvement in the condition of the indigenous Muslims could be effected through the proposed development corporation and socio-economic survey, they are not fully convinced about the sincerity of the Government in translating the announcement into reality.
�We want the socio-economic survey on the status of the indigenous Muslims to be conducted thoroughly, expeditiously and flawlessly. We also want that the chairman of the proposed development corporation should be picked up from amongst those belonging to the communities who have rendered remarkable service as bureaucrats, academicians, doctors, engineers, scientists or historians,� he said.
Hazarika also maintained that all political parties should come up with concrete proposals for the development of the indigenous Muslim communities ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.