An umbrella group of various Muslim organisations in Telangana has appealed to the state government to withdraw its decision to celebrate birth centenary celebrations of former Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao, saying the move has hurt the sentiments of the Muslim community.
United Muslim Forum (UMF) said that Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao's move to organise year-long programmes to celebrate the centenary had hurt the sentiments of those sections of people who believe in secularism, and especially Muslims.
UMF is headed by Moulana Raheemduddin Ansari, who is the chairman of Telangana Urdu Academy, a government body.
The group is close to All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), a friendly party of Chandrashekhar Rao's Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).
Though AIMIM is also part of UMF, the statement issued by the body did not carry the name of any party leader. The clerics and other prominent people who issued the statement are considered close to AIMIM chief and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi.
AIMIM's critics have questioned Owaisi's silence over the centenary celebrations launched by KCR, as the Chief Minister is popularly known, on Sunday.
The Hyderabad MP has friendly ties with KCR and has been great supporter of the latter's secular outlook. Owaisi's party, UMF and other Muslim groups backed TRS in 2018 Assembly elections and the last year's Lok Sabha polls.
UMF pointed out that it was during Narasimha Rao's regime that Babri Masjid was demolished, causing huge damage to the country's secular fabric. "Narasimha Rao while being in Congress implemented the agenda of Sangh Parivar," it said and reminded KCR that hundreds of Muslims were killed in the post-demolition riots and Muslims youth were jailed under black laws like TADA and tortured.
UMF said KCR's sympathies with Narasimha Rao and the move to organize centenary celebrations created unease among the secular forces, especially minorities.
The Muslim leaders advised the Chief Minister to cancel Narasimha Rao's centenary celebrations and instead focus on containing spread of Covid-19 in the state.
Meanwhile, Jamaat-e-Islami has also opposed the TRS government's move to organise centenary celebrations and termed this as a burden on public exchequer and waste of time.
Jamaat's Telangana unit chief Mohammed Hamed Khan said at a time when Covid-19 was spreading fast and people were worried over lack of proper healthcare facilities and infrastructure, the TRS government was wasting public money, time and energy on birth centenary celebrations of Narasimha Rao.
Khan reminded KCR that it was during Narasimha Rao's rule that India witnessed the greatest tragedy of demolition of Bbari Masjid. He told the Chief Minister that centenary celebrations would reopen the wounds of Muslims. He also pointed out that it was due to Narasimha Rao's condemnable actions that his own party Congress dumped him.