A CALL for Burnley to fulfil its legal duty to give cash funding for better race relations in the area has come from the town's biggest Asian organisation.

It was made by Ejaz Hussein, general secretary of Burnley Community Organisations Forum at the group's annual meeting yesterday.

He said it was more than two years since Burnley Council, Lancashire County and the Commission for Racial Equality pulled the plug on funding Burnley and Pendle Racial Equality Council, leaving Pendle Council as the only body giving cash backing.

Although Burnley Council has expressed hope of setting up a new racial harmony organisation, little progress appeared to have been made.

In his annual report, Mr Hussein said work on race relations had been severely affected by the withdrawal of funding by the councils and commission.

He told the audience of several hundred at the annual meeting in Daneshouse Community Centre: "Stephen Lawrence's case has been an eye opener for race relations in this country, but the situation in Burnley and Pendle still remains the same." He said Forum members had volunteered their services to help with race relations matters but the current situation was unsatisfactory.

"We ask Burnley Borough Council to take an effective step to fulfil its statutory duties towards better race relations in this area," he said.

Outgoing chairman Mohammad Azam Khan said over the last 12 months the organisation, a federation of several local Asian groups, had made much progress and achieved many successes in the Daneshouse and Stoneyholme area.

The newly elected Forum chairman is Mr Masood Ahmed Mirza and Coun Mozaquir Ali will take over as general secretary.

The annual meeting was attended by the assistant high commissioners for Pakistan and Bangladesh and several local and Euro election candidates.

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