The Sandesh Yatra started from Town Hall. The participants carried banners and placards of peace and justice messages and raised slogans supporting fraternity, social justice, national unity and communal harmony.
The march culminated at Sardar Bagh in the city, where a large public meeting was organised to spread awareness about the JIH’s aims and objectives.
Hundreds of people from a cross-section of society participated in the march with an emphasis on doing away with the atmosphere of hatred and prejudices currently prevailing in several parts of the country.
The participants included JIH’s Gujarat unit office-bearers, activists and professionals working in different fields, students, academicians and citizens from different communities.
JIH Gujarat unit president Shakeel Ahmed Rajput said the principal message conveyed in the march pertained to affinity among the people and the need to confront hatred and polarisation in society. “Muslims and other marginalised communities need to get equal opportunities and play a meaningful role in society. The yatra infused a spirit of togetherness and encouraged the participants to take up constructive work for the society,” he said.
Rajput said the communal atmosphere in Gujarat, which was at its peak during the pogrom against Muslims in 2002, is at present not explicitly visible in society and daily life. Still, it is subtly practised within the government’s structure, politics and administration. “The rampant use of bulldozers to demolish illegal buildings in the Muslim-dominated areas alone and a systematic marginalisation of Muslims are the instances of tacit communalism,” he said.
Azharuddin Sheikh, a member of JIH who took part in the march, said it had sent a powerful message to counter the systematic hate campaign launched by the rightist outfits against Muslims and other minorities. He said it was the responsibility of every citizen to establish peace in society and ensure justice for those unable to fight for themselves.
Girls Islamic Organisation (GIO) Gujarat Zonal Secretary Fahmida Qureshi said since JIH would be completing 75 years of its existence in April, the Sandesh Yatra had highlighted the organisation’s belief that Muslims had a special responsibility to build a peaceful world where there is no exploitation and the divine values hold good in all walks of life. Qureshi said that building a justice-based society was one of the objectives of the GIO.
The Sandesh Yatra formed part of a series of events being organised in Gujarat to mark the completion of 75 years of JIH. Rajput said a big conference would be organised in Ahmedabad on March 19, while regular interactions with social media influencers, journalists and social activists would be held throughout the month. In addition, some prominent Ulema and Islamic scholars from Azamgarh (UP) and Maharashtra will address the 2,000-strong gathering.
The JIH Gujarat unit has joined the Islamic organisation at the national level to observe the completion of its 75 years while reiterating its commitment to achieving the objective of establishment of the Islamic way of life in all aspects and promoting unity and brotherhood across all religions while striving to eradicate social evils and inculcate strong moral values among the people.