Ranchi: He has been sent to jail during Jai Prakash (JP) Andolan. He happens to be one of the founders of the old All Jharkhand Student Union (AJSU) which had played a pivotal role during the Jharkhand Andolan along with Surya Singh Besra and Prabhakar Tirkey. He has also been a member of the Prime Minister 15-Point’s Programme, Coordinator of Jharkhand Sadvawna Manch, and is an acquaintance of Harivans, the deputy speaker of Rajya Sabha (Upper House), whose calendar on disaster management has been released by the Jharkhand government itself.
These are the many introductions for Bashir Ahmad, a member of the Jharkhand Union of Journalists, and a resident of Hindpidi Ranchi, who has been named in the FIR for violating Election Model Code of Conduct and creating communal disturbance.
One Vijay Kumar Uraon, a Jharkhand government officer, lodged an FIR against 16 Muslims on the basis of news reports, which had reported about a meeting, where Muslims had said that they would contest election on five Lok Sabha seats, if established political parties did not field at least three candidates from their community.
“First, the meeting was not just for seeking candidates from Muslim community but to make voters understand the need to ask for hospital, school and other facilities. Secondly, we have not mentioned any other caste or religion to press our demand of Muslim candidature. And the most important, there was not a single political leader present nor any poster-banner was used during the meeting. The meeting was not against anyone, but to make our community aware about our own rights,” said Ahmad while talking to eNewsroom.
But Bashir believes the issue of representation of Muslims in political parties (especially in Mahagathbandhan) is not the factor because of which the case has been registered. He feels that the administration has done so, intentionally to give the issue a communal twist.
“The FIR says that we have tried to disturb communal harmony, how is that possible when we do not mention any caste or religion during the meeting? But it is the FIR, filed by the administration the entire episode has been given a communal twist,” added Bashir.
Significantly, on condition of anonymity, a JMM leader after going through eNewsroom’s report on the FIR filed against 16 Muslims in Ranchi, reacted, “We have never ran away from having minority representation in our party. The only thing that we at present want to keep in mind is the time, when and how it can be managed. This 2019 election is completely different from all the other elections that have taken place in the history of Indian democracy, so we wish that the people from minority community will react to our strategies as it will benefit the parties who have the sole agenda of causing harm to them.”
Meanwhile, it has been reported that the Ranchi administration had lodged a similar case against a section of the Brahman community, who had organised a meeting to seek their representation in the ongoing Lok Sabha election.
On the FIR against Brahaman community leaders, CPI (ML) leader Vinod Singh claimed that it has been lodged to justify the first FIR, but now Election Commission should immediately interfere and take action against the administration, which is barring people from expressing their choice.