Sudden Change of Heart
Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam
The BJP has issued a Vision Document regarding its policy on Indian Muslims. On the face of it the document looks like a radical reversal of the Sangh’s hostile policy of decades overnight. It is too good to believe. And it is not totally wrong.
The BJP is right in saying that the vicious witchhunt against Muslim youth is more a fact of life in Congress-ruled states or a “secular” party-ruled state like UP than in BJP-ruled states. This is a fact to which Muslim organisations have drawn the attention of Union government and UPA Chairperson countless times without avail. The BJP is true to imply that Muslims have been betrayed by “secular” parties, including Congress.
However, the question is whether Muslims should desert secular politics, secular Constitution and notionally secular parties and march into the BJP camp? Let us ask some questions and leave the answer to the voters.
The BJP vision document is silent on why the Party has been trying to justify the cold-blooded murder of Ishrat Jehan and why her killers are being defended by the Party top brass. Nor there is any word on why Zakia Jaffery’s perfectly legitimate quest for justice is being thwarted by the Party.
The BJP has also announced that it would take off the “terror tag” from Muslims. The question is, who the Party thinks it is to put a terror tag on Muslims in first place? And where did it get the authority to put a terror tag on any group of citizens, or to take it off, for that matter?
The common understanding is that the Sangh has been embarrassed by a rash of exposures of its own members’ involvement in acts of terror. So blatantly caught in the act, the Sangh has no option but to keep quiet about other terrorists.
If the Party is serious about protecting Muslims from communal violence it should not have been opposing Communal Violence (Protection and Rehabilitation of Victims) Bill tooth and nail, even going to the extent of calling it anti-Hindu.
So far the entire Sangh, including its political front, the BJP, has been fiercely opposed to any affirmative action to redress Muslim backwardness. It has been opposed to even the documentation of such backwardness, which explains its opposition to the Sachar Committee Report.
In the light of its track record and its present action (like opposition to fixing responsibility for police atrocities against Muslims) its declaration of intent to empower Muslims sounds hollow.
The initiative looks like a bait to catch Muslim votes in coming elections. A sudden change of heart is unconvincing. g