Thursday, June 08, 2023

Ilyas Azmi: A Muslim politician who raised voice courageously over issues pertaining Indian Muslims

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

It's time to talk about late Ilyas Azmi. He was politically active till the end of his life. 

There are many things to remember about him. He was among those who kept talking about Dr Abdul Jaleel Faridi, unlike other leaders of his generation.

But the most important was his role after the Batla House incident in 2008, when TV channels had targeted youth of Azamgarh & East UP, Ilyas Azmi raised voice.

Cops made youth drape keffiyeh before media to stereotype the community youth. Azmi protested wore the same keffiyeh and entered parliament.

Raising copies of Mail Today that had its cover page about the police bias. He and Akbar Ahmad Dumpy strongly raised the issue when most community scholars and leaders were mum. 

There were different phases in his career but this one act of resistance was important and unforgettable. He roared and raised slogans in the house, and it had impact.

In those days, TV channels even used the term 'aatank garh' for Azamgarh. Newsrooms were not much different from today, even if people have forgotten the era. Many of the anchors who are today considered torch bearers of secularism had shown their Islamophobic side and the readiness to fall for any thing claimed by cops.

Azmi broke the psychological barrier then. This is another aspect that they were later taken to task by Mayawati who was angry that he and Dumpy raised slogans on the issue in front of speaker.