`Silent influence` of Muslim community in Amritsar municipal elections

  • | Friday | 24th November, 2023

AMRITSAR: While constituting a relatively small fraction of the overall voting bloc in Amritsar, the Muslim community in the city holds considerable sway in supporting candidates for the municipal council. Despite their influential role, community leaders demonstrate limited political activism, primarily concentrating on individual pursuits and contributing to a relatively modest and close-knit community.Surprisingly, Muslim leaders in Amritsar seem unaware of their population and voting strength in the city, shying away from explaining their demands, except for a few related to graveyards. A senior Muslim resident and head of Anjuman Islahul Muslimeen in Amritsar remarked, "We are not highly politically active; our focus lies on community affairs and the citys development." He estimated the Muslim population in the city to exceed 1.5 lakh, with over 25,000 Muslim voters often participating in Amritsar Muslim Corporation (AMC) elections.Expressing concern, he lamented the decline in the number of Muslim graveyards from over a dozen to just two due to the development of residential colonies and marketplaces on existing burial grounds.Anwar, a representative of the Muslim community, noted, "The majority of Muslim voters migrated to Amritsar from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in the mid-fifties, engaging in various professions, including factory work, labor, and jobs for those who pursued education."Manik Ali, the president of the Muslim Welfare Society, echoed Anwars sentiments, emphasizing that the absence of boundary walls around the graveyards often leads to unpleasant experiences for the community. He stated, "Despite raising the issue with local leaders and municipal councillors, we only hear promises that are never fulfilled."Ali revealed that a few Muslim leaders had attempted to contest AMC elections in the past but received little support, even from within the community. He estimated the Muslim population in Amritsar to be around 2 lakhs, with over seventy thousand Muslim voters.

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