NEW DELHI: An umbrella body of Muslim organisations has acknowledged "some signs of change'' in Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's attitude, but laid down stiff conditions, including an apology and "expression of sorrow'' for the 2002 riots, before extending him support "in rebuilding Gujarat''.
The Joint Committee of Muslim Organisations for Empowerment (JCMOE) comprises 10 outfits: Jamiat-ul-Ulema Hind, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind; All India Majlis-e-Mushawarat, All India Milli Council, Movement for Empowerment of Muslim Indians, All India Momin Conference, All India Shia Conference, Markazi Jamiat-e-Ahle Hadith, Imarat-e-Sharia, and All India Muslim Educational Society.
JCMOE chairman Syed Shahabuddin noted that the BJP and Modi are giving special attention to Muslim voters ahead of the assembly elections in Gujarat, but said the community in the state and elsewhere in the country has not forgotten the 2002 massacre. He asked Modi to offer at least 20 assembly tickets to Muslims acceptable to the community, where they constitute more than 20% of the electorate instead of repeatedly announcing his faith in secularism.
"This would give the community representation according to its population (10%) in the state. Token nomination of one or two Muslims, personally known to you, will not do,'' Shahabuddin said.
"Alternatively," the former IFS officer wrote, "The Muslim leadership will advise Muslims not to divide their votes and vote massively and unitedly for one candidate, irrespective of party or religion, who is likely to defeat the BJP." Shahabuddin sought "a promise to give Muslims equitable share in the benefits of development at all levels, particularly in education and employment''.
He said Gujarat's Muslims have rebuilt their lives on their own with limited resources in the last 10 years as they have realized they have nowhere to go but to live in the state hoping to get equitable benefits in development and employment.
JCMOE also called for compensation to the families of those killed in 2002 at par with the 1984 Delhi riot victims, reimbursement of expenditure incurred by the injured in private hospitals, rehabilitation of the displaced people in camps, rehabilitation of those unable to return to their homes in dignity and security and with restoration of their property, compensation for their houses demolished during the massacre.