India

Safeguard Secularism, Urges Indian Americans

As BJP’s Mr. Narendra Modi has sworn in as 15th Prime Minister of India, Indian Americans have urged all Indian to remain vigilant in safeguarding secularism. The advocacy group also requested the Muslim community to work towards development and pursuit of justice. Reproduced below is their press release. – Editor

Press Release:

Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) an advocacy  group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has called on all Indians to be vigilant in safeguarding the secular institutions under the NDA (National Democratic Alliance) administration. It has also urged the Muslim community to utilize the democratic institutions to secure their constitutional rights and work towards strengthening the secular pillars of the nation.

BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party), the primary constituent of NDA, scored a simple majority in the recently concluded elections on the plank of development and good governance. Its vote share of 31% however, is a reflection of the electorate’s continued rejection of the Hindutva ideology, which BJP has espoused throughout its history.

On the occasion of the swearing-in of the new government, Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC remarked, “We should respect the decision of the voters, but work to counter the influence of Hindutva that seeks to relegate the minorities to second class citizens. Several factors including the alliance’s promise of economic growth and development contributed to their victory. However it does not mean that the masses have abandoned the pluralist ethos.”

“Ideological swings in elections is part and parcel of a democratic system, but the struggle for justice and for upholding constitutional guarantees goes beyond the results of any one election. While sincerity towards secular principles varies between the different political parties, the need for the populace to hold every elected leader accountable for upholding equality before the law of all citizens is always present,” Shaheen Khateeb, a former President of the organization commented.

IAMC urges the community and its leadership to move beyond the election results and focus on the upliftment of the community by getting more creative and resilient in the face of the odds. “The BJP can become an inclusive people’s party if it distances itself from the fountainhead of Hindutva, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). On the other hand, they will be successful in furthering the RSS agenda only if civil society does not challenge their actions. The Indian Constitution guarantees equal rights to all citizens and the democratic institutions of the country should be utilized to ensure it remains that way. Muslims, as the largest minority in the country, ought to be leading the way in defending human rights and religious freedom for all citizens,” Ahsan Khan exhorted.

Khalid Ansari, Vice-President of the organization said, “I have a simple message for Muslims: Stay optimistic and forward looking. The solutions to the challenges facing the community can and should be addressed by using available opportunities and creating new avenues. Be vigilant and positive to prevent the youth from getting radicalized. Demand your rights and fully participate in the development of the nation as equal citizens. Be relentless in the pursuit of justice for all the aggrieved and disadvantaged sections of society. IAMC will support all initiatives of the Muslim leadership in India to develop a comprehensive roadmap for the upliftment of the community.”

Indian-American Muslim Council (formerly Indian Muslim Council-USA) is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation.   For more information, please visit http://www.iamc.com/.

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