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Set up high-powered committee to resolve Muslim issues: Modi urged
Saturday May 24, 2014 8:54 PM, Staff Reporter

While participating in a television show, various representatives from the Muslim community identified education and jobs as two top most priorities for alleviating the conditions of Muslims and urged Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi to set up a single high-powered committee to resolve crucial issues relating to minorities.

[Zafar Sareshwala and BJP's spokesperson Asifa Khan in Rajat Sharma's Aap Ki Adalat.]

When one of the representatives asked how many accused had been convicted for the 2002 Gujarat riots so far, Zafar Sareshwala, participating in Rajat Sharma's show Aap Ki Adalat, to be telecast tonight on India TV, replied that so far 63 Hindus, including former BJP leader Maya Kodnani, have been given life term imprisonment ranging from 30 to 38 years. 460 Hindus have been convicted so far in seven cases, and trial is going on in two cases for the last 12 years, he added.

Sareshwala, Narendra Modi's Muslim adviser, who is a businessman from Gujarat, also pointed out that in the past, more than 5,000 Muslims died in the Ahmedabad riots in 1969, which was followed by riots in 1985, 1987, 1990 and 1992 under different regimes.

"During the Nineties", he said, "People in Ahmedabad faced curfews for 200 days in a year, and night curfews stretched for six months."

"There has not been a single communal riot in Gujarat since 2002", he added.

Sareshwala revealed how Modi was stumped recently when a Muslim delegation told him that the Centre had removed Arabic and Persian as optional languages from UPSC Civil Services examination.

"The Muslim delegation first met Minister of state for Personnel V Narayanasamy, who said that there were three Muslim ministers in the Cabinet but they were not opposed to this decision.

"When the delegation met Narendra Modi, he said, the Centre should have at least understood that 66 per cent of India's external trade was taking place with countries where Arabic and Persian are spoken.

"Modiji promised he would reverse the decision, when he would come to power", said Sareshwala.

Recalling another incident, Sareshwala said, how a Pakistani trade delegation which had attended a Tourism Fair in Gujarat approached Modi with the request that they be allowed visa to travel to Ajmer.

"Modiji told the Tourism Secretary who had come with the Pakistani delegation to at least understand that the Ajmer shrine was as holy to Muslims, as Varanasi is to Hindus.

Besides Sareshwala, others who fielded questions from the Muslim community include Asifa Khan - BJP spokesperson from Gujarat, Mufti Azad Ahmed - Member All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Maulana Sajid Rashid - President All India Imams Association and Syed Zafar - former MD of Deutsche Bank and an investment banker. [Read the original report here:]

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