• Congress accuses BRS Govt of persistent neglect in handling minority welfare in Telangana • Congress releases chargesheet against BRS Govt on minorities’ welfare
• AICC Minorities Dept chief Imran Pratapgarhi unveils ‘Sirf Congress’ campaign for Assembly polls
Hyderabad: The Congress party has launched a scathing attack on the BRS Government’s handling of minority welfare, accusing the ruling party of persistent neglect and failure during Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao’s nine-year rule.
These allegations were made during a special executive meeting of the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) Minority Department held at Indira Bhavan in Gandhi Bhavan premises on Wednesday. The meeting saw the participation of All India Congress Committee (AICC) Minorities Department Chairman and Rajya Sabha MP Imran Pratapgarhi, Nalgonda MP & former TPCC President Capt N. Uttam Kumar Reddy, TPCC Minorities Department Chairman Shaik Abdullah Sohail, and several senior leaders.
During the meeting, a chargesheet was released, outlining the alleged failures of the BRS Govt in upholding the welfare of minority communities in Telangana.
An audio-visual presentation shed light on various issues concerning minority welfare. The Congress party highlighted several areas where they believe the BRS Govt has fallen short, including unemployment, housing, education, the Urdu language, the Shaadi Mubarak Scheme, the safety of religious structures, rising crime rates, Wakf properties, the minority welfare budget, and diminishing Muslim representation in top positions.
Congress raised concerns about the unemployment rate among minority youths, estimated at 15 lakhs. They alleged systemic discrimination in loan issuance and job placements, particularly affecting Muslim candidates from the Old City of Hyderabad. The party also emphasized the lack of adequate housing allocation, citing the Sudhir Commission report, which states that 43% of Muslims in Telangana live in rented homes and fewer than 1,000 families have benefited from the promised 10% allocation under the 2BHK housing scheme.
On the education front, Congress revealed the closure of over 80% of minority institutions and the absence of scholarships or fee reimbursement for Muslim students. They also raised concerns about the shutdown of hundreds of government schools in minority-dominated areas. The party accused the BRS government of neglecting the Urdu language despite its recognition as a second official language, resulting in limited appointments of Urdu officers and translators and the dysfunction of the Urdu Academy.
Allegations were also made regarding the Shaadi Mubarak Scheme, claiming that thousands of applications for financial assistance towards marriages are pending, causing hardship to impoverished families who have been awaiting their cheques for years. The Congress party expressed concern about the demolition of six mosques, including two on the Old Secretariat premises, and the failure to rebuild them.
The rising crime rate in Muslim-dominated areas, such as the Old City of Hyderabad, was highlighted, with the Congress party citing unchecked instances of murders, drug abuse, and liquor abuse. They also accused TRS leaders of encroaching on Wakf properties worth hundreds of crores and criticized the lack of judicial powers given to the Wakf Board.
Furthermore, Congress accused the BRS government of utilizing less than 50% of the budget allocated for minority welfare and ignoring funds for job creation for minorities. They also raised concerns about the diminishing representation of Muslims in top and nominated posts, despite Muslims constituting approximately 14% of the population in Telangana.
AICC Minorities Department Chairman Imran Pratapgarhi directed party cadre to contest the next Assembly elections strategically, utilizing the available resources. He emphasized the need to approach voters properly, highlighting the example of Karnataka Assembly elections where the Congress party successfully exposed the failures of the BJP Government. Pratapgarhi urged party workers to understand the problems faced by the people and take up ground-level activities. He criticized both the BRS and BJP Governments for pursuing communal politics.
Congress MP Capt N. Uttam Kumar Reddy highlighted a series of discrepancies regarding the BRS government’s purported achievements concerning minority development claimed in a report released by the Chief Minister’s Office on May 30, 2023 (Tuesday).
The BRS government claimed to have spent Rs 9,166 crore on minority welfare since Telangana’s formation in June 2014. However, Uttam Kumar Reddy pointed out that this amount equates to just 0.463% of the state’s total budget from 2014-2023. This is a gross under-representation considering that Muslims make up nearly 13-14% of the total population. He also revealed that out of the total Rs 15,980 crore allocation for minority welfare, Rs 6,814 crore remained unspent.
The Congress MP accused the government of withholding funds meant for poor Muslim girls’ marriages under the Shadi Mubarak scheme. He alleged that over 25,000 applications are still pending and the delayed disbursement of funds forced many families to take high-interest loans.
Addressing the issue of education, Uttam Kumar Reddy challenged the government’s claim of establishing 204 minority residential schools. He argued that by shutting down more than 4,000 primary schools, especially those in slum areas, the government denied many minority students access to quality education. He also pointed out inconsistencies in the government’s claims of providing financial assistance to minority students for overseas education, citing numerous pending and rejected applications.
In further criticisms, he questioned the delay in constructing a Rabat in Ajmer Sharif Dargah, the irregular payments to Imams and Muezzins, and the unfulfilled promise of a Telangana Islamic Cultural Convention Center. He also accused the government of failing to empower minority youth by not providing subsidized loans for entrepreneurship, instead focusing on a driver empowerment program.
TPCC Minority Department Chairman Shaik Abdullah Sohail outlined a detailed strategy for the forthcoming Assembly elections. Recognizing the significant Muslim population within the state, Sohail emphasized the need for a Macro and Micro approach. Under the Macro approach, programs will be organized in 22 seats that have a Muslim population of over 10%, excluding the 15 constituencies of Hyderabad district where the Muslim population fluctuates between 40 to 50%.
Sohail further revealed plans for a Micro-level approach, which includes conducting programs in mandals with substantial Muslim populations and arranging various types of meetings with local youth, community members, and elders.
The TPCC Minorities Department is also focusing on the constituencies with significant Muslim, Scheduled Caste (SC), and Scheduled Tribe (ST) populations. They identified 12 seats where these three communities together constitute over 50% of the population, 25 seats with a combined population of 40-50%, and 31 additional seats with a joint population of 30-40%.
Sohail urged voters belonging to minority communities to support the Congress party in the next Assembly election with the slogan “Sirf Congress.” He emphasized that the Congress party has empowered minorities through good policies and programs and is sincerely committed to their welfare.