Modi govt is breaking the self-confidence of Muslims: Badruddin Ajmal
All-India United Democratic Front MP Maulana Badruddin Ajmal on the Modi government, demonetisation and 2019.
Is secular politics dead in India now?
The BJP has changed the meaning of secularism. It is in power both at the Centre and in Assam. They have their own definition of secularism which is at variance with the definition the world accepts. The BJP is acting only for its agenda.
Are you happy with the Sarbananda Sonowal goverment?
In Assam, Sarbananda Sonowal came to power in the name of change and development but he didn’t do anything. Sonowal government is only taking credit of the previous government’s work. In Assam, Muslims are being targeted in the guise of crackdown on Bangladeshis. Thousands of Muslims, OBC and Bengali people have been evicted. The Assam government is disturbing Muslims. On this issue, I have written many times to the Chief Minister and Prime Minister Narendra Modi but nobody is listening. I have challenged the government to show me any proof against any people. The government is threatening and targeting Muslims. People are named in voter lists but still the government is trying to them.
What is the situation of Muslims in India now?
The BJP government is breaking the self-confidence of Muslims. Muslims are scared in the country. BJP MPs are making statements like Ghar Wapsi, Muslims will have 40 children, the Akhlaq murder, Muzaffarnagar riots. Muslims are not feeling safe. Modi is all talk about Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas but there is no action. As an MP, I have been trying to meet the PM for the last two-and-a-half years but haven’t got time because I am Muslim. The PM recently visited Aligarh but did not Aligarh Muslim University. Why?
How has demonetisation impacted poor Muslims?
Demonetisation has only affected the poor, whether they are Muslim or Hindu. All small business has shut down. The poor are on the roads,125 people died because of demonetisation. They are all poor. PM Modi is not worried about them, he is only bothered about the industrialist.
In the Assam elections, you didn’t ally with the Congress. But the party still called you for campaigning in Uttar Pradesh. What does it indicate?
In Assam, I was anti-Congress and anti-BJP. But after seeing the work of Modi government, I feel we have to go with any large party. Congress is good in that situation. Congress called me for campaigning in UP. I am with Congress to stop BJP. But I won’t do public meeting in favour of Congress. In Assam, the election alliance with Congress didn’t happen because of Tarun Gogoi. But in 2019, we plan to come together with the Congress to stop BJP.
What is your view on Islamic terrorism, and on Zakir Naik?
Terror has no religion.Islam doesn’t allow any sin. Islam teaches you to protect everyone. Whoever takes up arms in the name of Islam, should not call themselves Muslim. They are not jihadi, they are shaitan. About Zakir Naik, he was doing well. He was just teaching people and he was targeted because he is Muslim.
According to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, all the Muslims of India are Hindu. What is your reaction to it?
I don’t agree with him. Mohan Bhagwat has to change his attitude. India is a secular country. I have written letters to the PM that if he enjoys the majority he claims, he should stop these things. BJP leaders are making statements every day that hurt Muslims. Modi is doing some good things also but some BJP leaders are pulling him down.
What will you say on the leadership potential of Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar?
I won’t comment on Rahul Gandhi. It’s an internal Congress matter. Rahul is leading the party only because Congress sees him fit as a leader, if not he would have been sidelined. Nitish Kumar is doing well in Bihar. He is a good chief minister.