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Lok Sabha Election 2019: Imams in West Bengal send 10,000 letters to voters

ADVANTAGE DIDI: Community members urged to vote for ‘secular’ alternative

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Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee stands to gain from imams’ move as the ruling party “has the greatest chance of winning” as per Muslim leaders
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Leading Muslim leaders and prominent imams of West Bengal have written letters to community members to be aware of their voting rights and to ensure that not only they vote but also spread awareness among their friends, relatives and neighbours regarding the need to exercise their franchise.

As many as 10,000 letters have been sent by the state chapter of All India Milli Council, signed by Qari Fazlur Rahman, the imam who leads Eid namaz at Red Road, the highest conglomeration of Muslims for Eid namaz and Maulana Shafique Qasmi, imam of Nakhoda Masjid. While Rahman is the president of the council's Bengal chapter, Qasmi is the vice-president.

Sources said the letters are in Urdu or Bengali (where there is majority Bengali-speaking Muslims).

"There is no alternative for election in a democracy. We get an opportunity to elect our government every five years. For every mistake, you will have to wait for five years to rectify. So it is imperative that you think carefully before you cast your vote," the letter reads.

"We've appealed to Muslims to use the opportunity carefully so that no communal force in the country can raise its head and a secular force is voted to power," Rahman told DNA.

Asked who among the 'secular parties' in West Bengal should the people choose, he said, "Whichever is the strongest and has the greatest chance of winning. In Bengal, it is the ruling party which has the maximum possibility. Muslim votes should also not get split as it will only help fascist forces."

Qasmi said the idea is to prevent the minority vote from getting split. "The letters will be distributed in the entire country so that people work together wherever there is a danger to the law of land or minorities," he said.

The letter quotes a Muslim scholar that even if Muslims were made to say their 'namaz' on time, five times a day, it would amount to nothing if there is no political consciousness among them.

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