Narendra Modi’s tenure as Prime Minister has been marked by numerous instances of anti-minority prejudice. With communal trouble increasing in the country exponentially with places like Moradabad and Saharanpur on the boil, the right wing brigade of the Sangh Parivar too has contributed in soaring the communal atmosphere with other instances of goondaism as witnessed during the murder of a Muslim-techie in Pune and force feeding of another Muslim IRCTC employ at the hands of Shiv Sena MPs. Instead of addressing these issues, the PM has maintained uncharacteristic silence which included not extending greetings to the nation on the occasion of Eid. This calls for an urgent need to revisit the debate concerning Modi’s secular credentials.
Those who are left aghast on seeing absolute breakdown of law and order in the days of “Modi Raj” should have known that this was bound to occur. Despite all his pious posturing and tall slogans of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas”, Modi cannot erase the hateful words which he uttered much before he became a political bigwig. As General Secretary of the BJP, Modi made a high profile appearance on one of the episodes of The Big Fight held shortly after 9/11. The programme, which also had Late Rafeeq Zakari in attendance, saw Modi applaud the media for using the term Ïslamic terrorism”. This courteous behaviour of Mr Modi was objected upon by Rajdeep Sardesai, the then host.
The duplicity of the man gets exposed when he welcomes association of Islam with terrorism but scoffs at the usage of the term “Bhagwa aatankwaad”.
In the aftermath of the Gujarat riots, Modi labelled refugee camps as “baby producing centres” during one of his rallies in Bahuchariji and used the infamous phrase “Hum paanch, Humare pachees”. Modi’s association with leaders exhibiting extremist tendencies is well documented. His book “Shriji Guruji: Ek Swayamsevak” is dedicated to the “saintly” life of RSS Sarsangchalak MS Golwalkar who was sectarian enough to say, “In this country, the Hindus are the owners, the Parsis and Jews the guests and the Muslims and the Christians the dacoits.”
The current Prime Minister as Gujarat’s Chief Minister was a close aide of Mohd. Syedna Burhanuddin, the deceased spiritual leader of the Bohras who was repeatedly accused of violating the human rights of his community members. For Modi, sectarian political opportunism is an article of faith and he made it known to everyone when his government put a halt on dismantling illegal temples in Gujarat after threats from the VHP and refused to compensate for the religious monuments destroyed during 2002 owing to Article 27 of the Constitution.
It is a matter of fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has had an exceptionally sectarian political career. Those Modi supporters who lambasted the so-called pseudo-secularists in the run-up to the 2014 General Elections when they expressed concern in regards to Modi’s rise should now come forward and explain to the people why should he be regarded as “vikaas purush” when the first sixty days of his tenure have been marred with communal incidents?
[Saif Ahmad Khan (2016) is a student of MA Convergent Journalism at AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia. In addition, he holds a Bachelor with Honours degree in Journalism from the University of Delhi. He can be reached via email at: saifahmadkhan[@]hotmail.com. He also blogs as ‘The Polemicist’ at saifahmadkhan.wordpress.com and produces video editorials on socio-political affairs accessible at www.youtube.com/user/saifahmadkhan1]