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Muslim clerics urge people not to vote for BJP & 'parties playing caste politics'

Kolkata: Days after All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi visited Furfura Sharif— a prominent religious shrine of Bengali Muslims in Hooghly district–Muslim clerics urged people of Bengal not to vote for BJP or other parties playing caste-based politics.

"People (not only Muslims, but also Hindus, Christians and others) should vote for party which is peace-loving and democratic," said Md Yahiya, Chairman of Bengal Imams Association on Saturday. Owaisi's meeting with Pirzada Abbas Siddiqui—an influential Muslim cleric of Furfura Sharif—had fuelled speculation of a new political understanding ahead of the elections. Without naming the Hyderabad-based outfit, Yahiya condemned the politics played over Muslims in Bengal. "We do not subscribe to religious and caste-based politics and cannot tolerate religious fanaticism," he said. On Wednesday, representatives of 20 to 25 Muslim organisations had conducted a meeting in the city, in which Qari Fazlur Rahman (Imam who leads the Red Road Namaz during Eid) was also present. The representatives presented their opinion and suggestions on the present political situation of Bengal and role of minority votes in the upcoming polls.

"We appeal to the Muslims of Bengal not to make it Uttar Pradesh by voting to any undemocratic party. This is only possible when Bengal's Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and Christians unite," said Moulana Shafique Qasmi, Imam of Nakhoda Masjid popularly known as Badi Masjid of Kolkata.

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