No Muslim in Maharashtra’s list of national heroes?

Mumbai, Feb 28 (IANS) The Bombay High Court has been petitioned against a Maharashtra government order leaving out Muslims from its new list of national leaders and heroes for celebrating their anniversaries and special days.

The government circular, Ja.Pu.Ti-2215/279/PrKr/285/29, was issued on November 30, 2014, with a list of 26 days when celebrations and functions would be held in honour of various national leaders/heroes.

Senior activist-journalist Sarfaraz Arzu has filed the public suit, naming Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Minority Affairs Minister Eknath Khadse and Chairman of State Minorities Commission Amir Hussain among the respondents.

“It is unfortunate that the government has not been able to find a single great figure from the Muslim community…It’s in national interest that students and the masses should know that Indian Muslims have done service to the Motherland and humanity, but somehow what the people come to know is the gloomy past of some misguided Muslims, creating a false Islamophobia,” the petition said.

It pointed out that the government has become completely blind to freedom fighters like Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Dr. Zakir Hussain, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Paramvir Chakra awardee Company Havildar Major Abdul Hamid, religious leaders like Khawaja Garib Nawaz, Maulana Shaukat Ali, Shahnawaz Khan, Sir Badruddin Tyebji, Tipu Sultan, Bahadur Shah Zafar, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, Ashfaqulla Khan and many more.

“The National Heroes who are Muslims have been deliberately forgotten and suppressed and the common young Indian is kept ignorant of their greatness and contributions,” Arzu said.

He pointed out that the government in power, which swears by the constitution, is expected to take all sections of society in the task of nation-building and public space cannot be appropriated by any one section to the exclusion of the others.

He had earlier written letters on the issue to Fadnavis, Khadse and others, highlighting the grouses of the community.

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