Want to strengthen, not break India, says Owaisi

Hyderabad, Sep 22 (IANS) Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Tuesday said he doesn’t want to break the country but wants to strengthen it, while fighting rights and development of his community.

“I don’t want to break the country, I want to strengthen it. I want to show Muslims are respected and first class citizens of the country,” said Owaisi while reacting to union minister Najma Heptulla’s allegation made during her visit to the Moulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) here on Sunday.

The Lok Sabha member from Hyderabad said the MANUU has become a propaganda centre for the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Minority Affairs Minister Heptula was at the central university to address a conference on education organised by Chancellor Zafar Sareshwala, a close aide of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Owaisi’s remark also came in the wake of reports that union Human Resource Development ministry ignored Azim Premji, Gulzar, Amitabh Bachchan and other prominent names to choose Sareshwala for the chancellor’s post.

Speaking after giving away educational kits to students of government-run Urdu medium schools at the party headquarters Darusalam, Owaisi said he was fighting for rights and justice.

“I want to eradicate poverty among Muslims and for this I want to see the girls and boys are educated,” he said.

Owaisi said since the dropout rate was high among Muslims due to poverty, the government should not put a cap on number of scholarships.

He said Kundu Committee in its report identified poverty as the main reason for Muslim students discontinuing their education.

The MIM leader said the prime minister talks about “Sab ka saath sab ka vikas” but the report of Kundu committee submitted last year had been put in cold storage.

“When we talk of education, they become silent. When we talk of reservation, RSS opposes it. When it comes to food, they impose ban on meat and beef. When we talk about Quran, they say it is not the soul of this country.”

Owaisi hit back at those criticizing him for his party’s decision to contest Bihar assembly elections in Seemanchal. Quoting figures from a baseline survey conducted by the minority affairs ministry in the four districts of the backward region, he said the literacy rate among Muslims and Dalits is lowest while the dropout rate is highest.

Alleging that the region was always neglected by successive governments in sanctioning schools and releasing funds for scholarships, the MIM chief asked his critics to clarify as to who is responsible for the region’s backwardness.

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