The Federation of Minorities NGOs, an umbrella body comprising Muslim organisations, has vowed not to back the Congress, NCP in Maharashtra, and vote for other parties in the next elections.

They say they are open to voting even for the BJP and the Shiv Sena as they are angry with what they call the Congress-NCP government’s indifference towards Muslims. They say they took the decision after the Mumbai police forced them to cancel a scheduled meeting where they were supposed to discuss the Dhule riots and the arrest of innocent Muslims in the state.

“We had booked a hall at Colaba’s Radio Club but were forced to change the venue at the last minute as the police called up the management asking them to refuse us entry to the premises. They even blocked the way to the Club because of which we had to take our meeting to the Royalty Hall,” says Dr Azimuddin, president of Movement for Human Welfare, one of the organisers of the meeting.

Around 150 Muslim NGOs and activists, religious heads of ulema councils as well as businessmen from the community attended the meeting at Royalty Hall in Colaba on Wednesday.

Azimuddin says that no one from the NCP-Congress turned up at an earlier meeting they held at Khar Gymkhana to discuss the riots.

“We wanted to convey to them the message that Muslims are not happy with what is happening to them in their state. But not a single leader turned up, not even the Home Minister. If they are not interested in us, and treat us only as a vote bank, we too are not interested in supporting them,” he adds.

Farid Batatawala, president of the Muslim Front says that since 2000 Maharashtra has witnessed 1,182 riots, where Muslims have been targeted wrongly.

“We will not take this anymore. We will be inviting other political parties like the MNS, the Samajwadi Party and anyone who supports the welfare of Muslims and stops their victimization. Our decision will affect nearly 70-80% of the Muslim vote in the state,” said Batatawala.

M.A. Khalid, co-pioneer of Federation of Minority NGOs and general secretary of All India Milli Council says that they will boycott the Congress and NCP.

“The Congress-NCP government is supposed to be secular, while the Narendra Modi government in Gujarat is anti-Muslim. Yet Maharashtra has more riots than in Gujarat.”

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