NEW DELHI – Early results on Friday from India's five-week long general election indicated a landslide victory for the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Narendra Modi, leaving 160 million Muslims discussing how their life would move under the new regime.
“We know his past record, but we hope that he will not do the same with minorities after taking charge as prime minister,” Zahir Qazi, president of Anjuman-I-Islam, an NGO working for Muslims in Mumbai city, told OnIslam.net.
“We hope that he would do justice with the community and not discriminate in any way with them.”
Muslims’ tense relations with the Hindu nationalist started after the bloody massacre of more than 2000 Muslims in Gujarat in 2002.
During the elections, the country has already become witness to two communal riots: one in the eastern state of Assam and another one in Muslim-dominated Hyderabad city in southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
The Muslims have become target of tribal separatists in eastern Indian state of Assam as a punishment for not voting for their candidate in elections.
The tribal Bodos (an ethnic and linguistic community) have been accused of killing 43 Muslims in the recent violence. The dispute between the Muslims and Bodos has been going on for decades.
The condition of Muslims could be gauged from the statement of the Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi on May 7 when he said, “So far the death toll is put at 43. The killings were indeed barbaric, and even a five-month-old baby was not spared. It is unfortunate the bodies are still being recovered and we have reports that 11 more people are missing."
In another incident in the city of Hyderabad, three people were killed in police firing in communal clashes. However, the clash in Hyderabad was between Muslims and Sikh community.
The trouble began when a religious flag of Sikh community was burnt by some miscreants. Tension gripped the city after Sikh community members attacked two youths of Muslim community blaming them for burning of flag.
Later, three people died in police firing and many others were injured. Curfew has been imposed in major parts of the city after the incident.
Muslims fear that riots could become an order of the day for minorities after Modi’s massive win in the same way he had ruled Gujarat after becoming its chief minister almost 12 years back.
“The state of Assam is being ruled by the Congress party but even they failed to safeguard these people,” said Zeeshan Ahmed, who lives in Guwahati, the capital of Assam.
“But now with BJP coming to power at the Center, the situation could become worse for the community. In the attack, even kids were not spared and attacked mercilessly,” he added.
Showing his moderate face to an extent during earlier rounds of voting, Modi finally talked about claimed illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, sparking deadly conflict in the remote state of Assam.
Moreover, the way Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS) and other Hindu groups have been backing Modi has made many skeptical about whether he is here for the development or has a hidden agenda against Muslims.
“He supported the killings in Assam. He has already heightened religious tension all over India,” Said Maulvi Shams, a Muslim scholar in Uttar Pradesh, told OnIslam.net.
“He is someone who is here with his personal agenda. There is a difference between his words and actions.”
Many Muslims also fear that Narendra Modi could end several schemes meant for minority community launched by the Congress government.
Many minority Indian students get scholarship for their studies from the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs, which could be discontinued by the new government.
“We believe that he should not go to such an extent like scraping schemes meant for Muslims,” said a Muslim officer in the department of minority affairs in India, who did not wish to be named.“We do get some subsidy for Haj pilgrimage and soft loans for small businesses. If he goes for that then there will be a wide gap between the majority and minority communities.”
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