Back to Hate Speech by DR. MOHAMMAD MANZOOR ALAM (DECEMBER 08, 2007)


It is said that a leopard can never change its spots. Similarly, you cannot expect the Sangh and its stalwarts like Narendra Modi to abstain from hate rhetoric for too long, writes DR MOHAMMAD MANZOOR ALAM

As the day of reckoning in Gujarat draws close the nervousness of BJP and Narendra Modi’s backers is getting obvious. BJP government’s tall claims about “development” lies punctured (I will come to this topic in a later article) Mr Modi has every reason to resort to this old, familiar tactics of demonising Muslims.

On October 5 he declared grandly that Afzal Guru should be given to Gujarat to be hanged. He thought the fact of Guru’s being a Muslim would please his Hindu voters. Excited by his own cleverness he went a step further, justified and virtually owned up the extrajudicial murder of Sohrabuddin.

Interestingly, the case is being heard by the Supreme Court and a high-profile “encounter specialist”, GD Vanzara, along with other policemen have been charged with Sohrabuddin’s murder in a false encounter.

It is not commonly known that Mr Modi has been returning to his anti-Muslim rhetoric every now and then even during the last few months. Anytime that he feels his development tack is not working he gets down to the tried and tested formula of Muslim-baiting.

Towards the end of monsoon this year he was criticised for diverting Narmada waters. Taking a swipe at Congress, he made Muslims the target of his malice. He said he wanted Narmada waters in the Hindu holy month of Shravan, but the Congress seemed to want it in the month of Ramadhan.

Reinforcing the general misconception that Muslims bathe only on Fridays, he obliquely made fun of them. The Narmada waters are there for everyone to take a bath everyday. “But, if some people bathe only on Fridays they too are welcome to do that”, he added.

In one of his too clever by half remarks, he said let there by a case against him in Pakistan, suggesting that any case against him can be possible only in a Muslim Pakistani court, not in a court in Hindu India.

The Supreme Court of India may not agree with his views. The Election Commission of India has already demanded an explanation. For a while Mr Modi has been forced on the back foot. But that is just a tactical retreat.

(Watch this space)


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