Working for an India without Muslims

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The leader of the rightwing Hindu outfit Vishwa Hindu Parishad Sadhvi Prachi once sparked a controversy on Tuesday by stating that it was time to make India ‘Muslim-free’ and that she was “working on it”  Sadhvi who is infamous for her hate speeches said that after successfully achieving the Congress-free India mission, it was time to get rid of Muslims in the country.

“Now that we have executed successfully the mission of making a Congress-free India, it is time to make India Muslim-free. It is our mission and we are working on that,” she said on the sidelines of an event in Roorkee in Uttarakhand. 

Sadhvi also said that the Hindus had ensured that Shahrukh Khan’s two successive films flop at the box office. She also urged the majority community in India to ensure that Aamir Khan’s upcoming release Dangal also bites the dust. Incidentally, she was speaking near the site where a communal clash left at least 32 people dead on June 1. The incident took place when supporters of a local politician reportedly tried to forcibly evacuate a scrap dealer’s shop. 

Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Council witnessed a ruckus over Sadhvi’s statement following  which the education minister, who is also the state government spokesman, termed the remarks wrong. The issue was raised by the opposition National Conference MLC Shehnaz Ganai who demanded that the Council condemn Sadhvi’s hate speech  Ganai was supported by her party colleagues and members from Congress. But far from condemnation, the issue ran into mutual recrimination between some legislators from Jammu and those from Kashmir.  

However, while Sadhvi’s statement is even beneath condemnation, it is but part of a new pattern in the country. Such hate speech has now been naturalized to an extent where it has become normal. If anything, Sadhvi’s anti-Muslim remarks once again underlines the troubling new direction India is taking. Take Dadri, for example. After killing Akhlaq for allegedly consuming beef, the villagers are now demanding registration of the case against the family for eating beef. It almost means as if Muslims matter less than the cows in the country.   

However, there is a method in this madness. The truth is that Uttar Pradesh is heading for all-important Assembly polls next year.  BJP attempt has always been to unite and consolidate Hindu vote bank. And the one sure-fire way to do is to invoke the hate against Muslims.  This has been one abiding template of the saffron politics in the country. When all else fails, BJP raises Muslim bogey to try and forge a monolithic Hindu vote bank. The strategy has been a factor in the rise of BJP as a national party, up from two seats in 1984 polls. But now with BJP enjoying an absolute power at the centre and Narendra Modi emerging as an all-powerful leader, this kind of politics from the party including the Prime Minister himself is a grave cause for concern for the country’s largest minority. If the prime minister makes no bones about his bias, by always maintaining studied silence over Muslim killings and the hate speech against the community, how will the system that is presided over by him behave. The situation can only change for the better if PM practically stands by his own slogan ‘Sab ka Saath, Sab ka Vikaas’. 

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