When BJP chief Amit Shah announced the list of new office-bearers for the organisation Saturday, Farooq Khan’s name stood out. Khan, a Dogri-speaking Punjabi Muslim, has been given charge of Minority Morcha and party’s affairs in Nagaland, a state where BJP is keen to expand its current base.
The rise of Khan, the second high-profile Muslim who joined the BJP after author and former Congress MP M J Akbar, ahead of Lok Sabha polls, has been quick. Khan, the former Inspector General of J&K police, joined the BJP in March 2014.
Khan said he joined BJP because he is a “true nationalist” and the BJP is the only party that works for the nation. “I had been associated with the BJP during my college days and my earlier career days,” he said.
Khan was the hero in the police action that led to the clearing of the famous Hazratbal shrine in 1996 in which 18 militants were killed.
Khan was alleged to have had a role in the Pathribal fake encounter in which five civilians were burnt alive. However, a CBI probe gave him a clean chit in 2003.
As a person who believes Indian Muslims were “misled by some political parties and the media”, Khan said things have started changing. “Indian Muslims were as much nationalists as anyone else… But who made them suspects, who made them fearful and disgruntled for their own political reason?… It was the Congress. But it has started changing. The overwhelming support Narendra Modi got from the Muslims is an example,” he said.
As the leader in charge of BJP’s Minority Morcha, he said he would help the party bring more Muslims into the mainstream.
He also said the RSS is the “cleanest” organisation whose “leaders have given up worldly things, (are) disciplined and dedicated”. He added, “What’s wrong in standing for Hindutva? Are there not organisations that stand for Islam, Christianity? Just because Hindus are majority, you cannot say standing for them is a crime.”