Misleading Appeals — General Election 2014

By Naushad Ansari

Some Muslim-looking “leaders” have appealed, particularly to the Muslims, to come out of the vote bank era and to vote for Modi.  They stated in their appeal that Muslims are very prosperous and safe in Gujarat and that India had thousands of communal riots and why should one remember the 2002 Gujarat riot only?

Such misleading appeals to vote for the BJP will hardly affect a single secular-justice-loving voter.  Today the voters know the clear line of demarcation between secularism and communalism, between Hinduism and Hindutva. They will never betray the country’s ethos of communal harmony. They can analyse that the secular parties are, more or less, governed by the Constitution.  But for the communalists, Gujarat 2002 pogrom is what the Muslims deserved. They believe that the Babri Masjid demolition was moral and a matter of belief, that there are no democratic rights but only majoritarianism and might, law or no law.

The BJP leadership sheds tears on how powerless Muslims have been treated as mere a vote bank by the secular parties.  But the same party opposes implementation of Prime Minister’s 15-point-programme for the development of Muslims.  Even the government of Gujarat challenged the legality of the Sachar Committee report. This confirms that they have no real interest in the welfare of Muslims. 

Keeping an eye on the PM’s seat, Modi is trying to come out of the stigma of 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom.  Indeed, the scale of killings, rapes, physical loss and property destruction was so huge, in terms of time and geographical spread, that this could never have occurred without the collusion of the Government machinery over which Mr. Modi presides with an iron grip. He never uttered a word of remorse or sympathy for the victims for 2002 nor a word of regret.  This is worse than the original sin.

As for “development” in Gujarat,  CAG reports and data on economic and social development from various sources make it evident that the much-touted “Gujarat model” of development is non-inclusive, socially divisive and highly ineffective in key areas.

Representations made to Sachar Committee reveal what issues Muslims think are important to them.  For no other state, security was such an important issue as for the Muslims of Gujarat -- they ranked it as their third most important issue while on an all India level this issue was placed fifth out of nine categories. Again, poverty incidence is placed at 34 percent for Muslims of Gujarat residing in urban areas, which is better than many states but almost double Gujarat’s own average of 18 percent.

Unfortunately, by stages, the communal extremist forces have come to challenge the very fabric of secularism.  This general election shall be a test of the political maturity and wisdom of the people of India. It will be decide if we continue our march on the road of secularism and inclusive development or take a sharp turn to the fascist road. 

Afrad ke hathon mein hai aqwam ki taqdeer

Har fard hai millat ke muqaddar ka sitara

The author is General Secretary of Patna-based Peace Foundation

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