By: Liz Mathew
BJP on Monday distanced itself from party MP Sakshi Maharaj’s remarks that the madrasas were making the students “terrorists” and “jihadis”, and said it is the “job of the intelligence and investigation agencies to find who train terrorists.”
“Terrorism is an international problem. Terrorism has no religion and it is against humanity, peace and development. Our government has zero tolerance towards terrorists and terrorism. But it is the job of the intelligence and investigation agencies to probe who train them,” BJP national media convener Srikant Sharma said.
“What Sakshi Maharaj said is his personal view. The party completely disassociates itself from his statement,” he added. BJP distancing itself from the Unnao MP’s comments assumes significance in the wake of party’s poll plans for Maharashtra. In the past, the party has not always been so stridently opposed to the kind of statements Sakshi Maharaj or other saffron leaders made.
In fact, in 2005, senior BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi had said it was a serious concern that instead of excellence, some madrasas are increasingly producing extremists. The party had also not reacted when Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s Praveen Togadia repeatedly demanded a ban on madrasas to save India from terrorism.
The party leadership, which had been silent on controversial comments on “love jihad”, has been learnt to be upset with Maharaj as he made the comment “without any provocation”.
The ruling party had not condemned nor distanced itself from a series of comments on ‘love jihad’ made by its leaders in Uttar Pradesh during the run-up to the September 13 byelections. In fact, it maintained that the comments were “reaction to the ground realities” in Uttar Pradesh where it said the state-ruling Samajwadi Party has tried to create “communal polarisation”.
Now, that BJP is gearing for Assembly polls in Maharashtra, where Muslims constitute 13.4 per cent of the total population and can influence the elections, the party does not want to be seen making statements that would hurt the minorities.
“The party’s official stance against (Maharaj’s) statement is a clear message that we do not want to entertain it,” admitted a party leader. According to a party leader, the leadership is likely to caution its “hot-blooded” leaders and put up a moderate face of BJP as it “is preparing for elections in Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir”. In its first Budget presented in July, the BJP-led government has allocated
Rs 100 crore for madrasa modernisation.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines