MUMBAI – A report claiming that Indian Muslims would be driven to radicalization if Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi won the election has angered the Muslim community who rejected it as baseless.
"This is a mere assumption and has no basis. Indian Muslims have faced thousands of riots in the last more than sixty years," Shahid Lateef, Chief Editor of Inquilab, a leading national Urdu daily, told ummid.com on Friday, May 9.
“They have been subjected to worst kind of discrimination and torture. But, propaganda apart, history is testimony to the fact that Indian Muslims never retaliated with negative and destructive manner.”
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Over the past month, hundreds of millions of Indians have voted in the world’s biggest-ever elections which have been running from April 7 to May 12.
A Guardian’s report last Tuesday cited experts who warned that an expected victory of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s Modi would encourage moderate Muslims to join extremist groups amid increasing feelings of injustice.
Rejecting the report, Lateef has asserted that Muslims believe in constitution and judiciary which would correct any wrongdoing by Modi’s BJP.
"Despite all odds and after every tragedy, the Muslims have shown their faith in the Indian constitution and judiciary,” he said.
“If at all Narendra Modi becomes prime minister and anything wrong really happens to Muslims, they will once again follow the same path. But, will never indulge in anti-national activities or attract towards extremism.”
He also dismissed the perception that only Indian Muslims are opposed to Modi becoming prime minister, asserting that the majority of India is secular and oppose his election.
“This is not out of any fear. Other Indians like Muslims too believe that BJP and Modi are not fit to rule the country,” Lateef said.
“They believe that BJP government will not do any good to they country. Instead, it will destroy the secular fabrics of the country where people have learnt to live together,” he added.
Similar anger was expressed by India’s Muslim scholars who rejected radicalization reports.
“Modi is ruling in Gujarat since 2002. Since then the Muslims in Gujarat have been subjected to all kind of violence, prejudice and injustice,” Mehmood Daryabadi of Mumbai's Ulema Council said.
“They were even denied their basic rights. Have the Gujarati Muslims retorted with violence? Have they taken arms or have joined extremist groups?" he asked.
He said that such reports are deliberate attempts to further communalize the already charged situation.
"The Congress, BJP and other political parties are all responsible for communalizing the ongoing election. They did it deliberately so that other issues are not discussed. But, people have failed the political parties. The result will show how sensibly the Indians have voted,” he added.
Dr Zafarul Islam Khan, editor of fortnightly, The Milli Gazette, shared similar criticism for the report that suggested Muslims will or are siding with extremism.
He said that Muslims were never involved in terrorism or militancy and will never do that.
"The reports that Muslims have been involved in any kind of violence or terrorism are either fabricated or have the involvement of few Muslims who were informers working for police and intelligence agencies,” he said.
“The police and agencies use them to malign the image of the Muslims and to portray them as monster so that injustice meted to them does not get the needed attention,” he added.
The Milli Gazette editor added that Modi has learnt Gujarat lesson and will never dare to repeat such anti-Muslim massacres.
"He might go ahead with 'silent victimization' as he is doing in Gujarat right now. But, he will not dare do any harm to Muslims or to any one else openly", he said.
Khan, a noted journalist and convener of Citizens for Peace and Development (CDP), asserted that the Guardian’s report was part of a policy to keep Muslims under pressure.
"Such reports are part of a policy. They get space in the media so that they can be used in future as ground to tag Muslims,” he said.
"During election time they employ 'politics of fear' and ask Muslims to vote against communal forces. Once they come in power, they deliberately create an atmosphere of mistrust and suspicion around Muslims. The motive is to keep them under pressure so that they don't dare to demand their rights as defined in the constitution", he said.
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