Why Are Muslims Getting Close to Narendra Modi?

Narendra Modi at the World Sufi Forum, in New Delhi on March 17, 2016
Narendra Modi at the World Sufi Forum, in New Delhi on March 17, 2016

Although Muslims are getting close to Narendra Modi, a large section of them has repeatedly demanded – albeit in a timid voice – apology from him for his past mistakes.

By Rakesh Raman

Despite Narendra Modi’s terrible record in Gujarat where thousands of Muslims were massacred when Modi was the Chief Minister of the state, Muslims are now trying to find new ways to show their infatuation to Modi who is now the Prime Minister of India.

A delegation of eminent Muslim citizens called on Modi Wednesday. The members of the delegation included Maulana Kalbe Jawwad – Shia Cleric; Kamar Agha – an expert on International Islamic Affairs; and Shahid Siddiqui, among others.

This is the second major meeting of Muslims with Modi in a month. Last month, Modi was invited by Muslims to address the World Sufi Forum in New Delhi.

The Forum was convened by the All India Ulama and Mashaikh Board, to discuss the role of Sufism in countering rising global terror.

Although Muslims are getting close to Modi, a large section of them has repeatedly demanded – albeit in a timid voice – apology from Modi for his past mistakes.

What mistakes? It’s alleged that in the 2002 Gujarat riots, nearly 2,000 Muslims were murdered besides there were incidents of rape, robbery, and widespread destruction of property affecting Muslims.

[ Also Read: BJP to Muslims: When in India, Do as the Hindus Do ]

It was also alleged that the killings were executed at the behest of Modi who was then the Chief Minister of Gujarat. Although Indian courts have almost exonerated Modi in this case, most Muslims in India still believe that Modi was responsible for Gujarat massacre.

According to Human Rights Watch, the attacks against Muslims in Gujarat were actively supported by state government officials and by the police. Police told Muslims, “We don’t have any orders to save you.”

As a result, the U.S. administration denied visa to Modi in view of the allegations of human rights violations against him in the 2002 incidents of riots and carnage. But now as he has become the PM of India, Modi is visting the U.S. frequently because now he enjoys political immunity.

[ Also Read: Will Indian Muslims Live and Die for India? ]

Muslims in India

Muslims have always lived in an atmosphere of neglect and fear in India after the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947. As compared to other religions, most Muslims are living in extreme poverty and a perpetual state of deprivation.

The Rajinder Sachar Committee, appointed in 2005 by the then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, was asked to prepare a report on the social, economic and educational condition of Muslims in India. The report revealed the backwardness of Indian Muslims.

Among its findings, the Sachar Committee report stated that the status of Indian Muslims is below the conditions of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, which are downtrodden communities in India. Plus, it said that the overall percentage of Muslims in bureaucracy in India is just 2.5% whereas Muslims constitute above 14% of Indian population.

[ What Is the Future of Muslims in India? ]

BJP is particularly averse to Muslims. This was also evident in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The party had fielded only seven Muslims among its 482 candidates (1.45 per cent) and all of its Muslim candidates were defeated. It is the first time that a ruling party has no Muslims in the Lok Sabha.

As a neglected community, Muslims also fear all governments in India that treat them as refugees. After BJP’s Lok Sabha election victory, The New York Times quoted Zahir Alam, the imam of Bari Masjid, a mosque in East Delhi in India, who said, “Fear is a basic part of politics, and it’s actually how politicians gain respect, but for us fear also comes from the general public. The meaning of minority has never been clearer than it is today.”

Since BJP has the compulsions to play a vote-bank politics to keep Muslim voters with it, the party cannot afford to antagonize Muslims openly. However, it has unleashed its associated belligerent Hindu groups to intimidate Muslims at every possible opportunity.

According to Amnesty’s 2015-16 report, there are gross violations of human rights and frequent attacks on freedom of expression and speech in India by the Hindu groups – that many believe enjoy the support of the BJP government headed by a Hindu Prime Minister Modi.

[ Hindu Groups Attacking Human Rights in India: Amnesty ]

Muslims seem to have succumbed. They know that if they have to live in the ocean, they can’t afford to have enmity with the alligator. Now they are doing everything to please Modi.

Maulana Kalbe Jawwad, Shia Cleric, part of eminent Muslim citizens delegation calling on the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, in New Delhi on April 13, 2016
Maulana Kalbe Jawwad, Shia Cleric, part of eminent Muslim citizens delegation calling on the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, in New Delhi on April 13, 2016

On Wednesday, members of the Muslim delegation congratulated Modi on his recent visit to Saudi Arabia. They said people in West Asia, Central Asia and North Africa, especially the youth, are extremely impressed with the development agenda of Modi, and want good relations with India.

[ Can Madrasas in India Provide Modern Education to Muslims? ]

It is clearly a false praise by Muslims because the socio-economic conditions in India have gone from bad to worse under the rule of Modi and his government during the past two years.

However, Modi thanked the delegation and reiterated his commitment to development, laying special stress on education, and especially girl child education.

He expressed hope that the Muslim community in India will be able to derive huge benefit from the welfare schemes initiated by the NDA government.

The closeness between Modi and Muslims is now a huge step forward for making India a Hindu Rashtra.

By Rakesh Raman, the managing editor of RMN Company

This article is part of our editorial initiative called REAL VOTER that covers political developments in India. Click here to visit REAL VOTER.

Photo courtesy: Press Information Bureau

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Rakesh Raman