In a fresh controversy, a video has surfaced showing AAP candidate from Ghaziabad Shazia Ilmi sitting amongst a group of Muslims and saying that “Muslims would have to be communal”. While where and when this video was taken is not clear, the AAP reacted quickly, seeking to distance itself from Ilmi’s comments in the video.
A party statement said, “Regarding Shazia Ilmi’s clip, AAP does not believe in this kind of politics nor does it endorse it. All our representatives should be careful in their choice of words so that there is no scope for misinterpretation.”
In the video, Ilmi says that instead of Muslims being secular, they should be more “communal”. “Musalmaan apno ko nahi deta vote. Arvind Kejriwal aapke apne hai. Aap log itna secular na hoiye, apne ghar ka dekhiye iss baar. Baaki partiyon toh nahi karta, unka bandha hua vote hai. Apna fayeda dekhiye, controversial baat hai lekin zaroori baat hai (Muslims don’t vote for their own community. Arvind Kejriwal is one of your own. You all should not be so secular, look after your own home. Other parties have fixed votes. Look after your own interests. This is controversial but necessary),” she says.
Faced with a barrage of criticism, Ilmi said told ANI that she was not inciting hatred, but “telling them to think of themselves”.
“The comment wasn’t to incite hatred, was telling them to think of themselves. I said it half sarcastically that don’t be so secular, you need to be communal, think of yourselves. I was telling them that you don’t need to be a slave to any party. Told them you people are very very secular, you need to think of your betterment, why do you live in fear?,” she said.
Senior AAP leaders, however, said the comments should not have been made. Manish Sisodia said, “I have seen the video, believe that Shazia should not have said that. We do not believe in this kind of politics. Our politics is to unite all Indians.