An umbrella group of various Muslim organisations in Telangana has appealed to the state government to withdraw its decision to organise birth centenary celebrations of former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao, saying the move has hurt the sentiments of the Muslim community.
United Muslim Forum (UMF) said that Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao's move to organise year-long programmes to celebrate the centenary had especially hurt the sentiments of Muslims.
UMF is headed by Moulana Raheemduddin Ansari, who is the chairman of Telangana Urdu Academy, a government body.
The group is close to All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), a friendly party of KCR's Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).
Though AIMIM is also part of UMF, the statement issued by the body did not carry the name of any party leader. The clerics and other prominent people who issued the statement are considered close to AIMIM chief and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi.
AIMIM's critics have questioned Owaisi's silence over the centenary celebrations launched by KCR on Sunday.
The Hyderabad MP has friendly ties with KCR and has been a supporter of the latter's outlook, which is considered secular. Owaisi's party, UMF and other Muslim groups backed TRS in the 2018 Assembly elections and last year's Lok Sabha polls.
UMF pointed out that it was during Narasimha Rao's regime that Babri Masjid was demolished at the disputed site in Ayodhya, causing huge damage to the country's secular fabric.
"Narasimha Rao while being in Congress implemented the agenda of Sangh Parivar," it said and reminded KCR that hundreds of Muslims were killed in the post-demolition riots and Muslim youth were jailed under black laws like Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act and tortured.
UMF said KCR's sympathies with Narasimha Rao and the move to organise centenary celebrations created unease among minorities.
The Muslim leaders advised the Chief Minister to cancel Narasimha Rao's centenary celebrations and instead focus on containing spread of COVID-19 in the state.
Meanwhile, Jamaat-e-Islami has also opposed the TRS government's move to organise centenary celebrations and termed this as a burden on the public exchequer and a waste of time.
Jamaat's Telangana unit chief Mohammed Hamed Khan said that at a time when COVID-19 was spreading fast and people were worried over lack of proper healthcare facilities and infrastructure, the TRS government was wasting public money, time and energy on birth centenary celebrations of Narasimha Rao.
Khan told the Chief Minister that centenary celebrations would reopen the 'wounds' of Muslims. He also pointed out that it was due to Narasimha Rao's condemnable actions that his own party Congress dumped him.