In the context of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen leader Asaduddin Owaisi’s refusal to chant the slogan “Bharat Mata ki Jai”, the AIMIM’s mouthpiece, Etemaad, in a commentary on March 20, writes: “The question is, is it mandatory to chant ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ to prove one’s patriotism? The RSS has presented ‘Bharat Mata’ as a devi (goddess) before the people of the country and in its programmes and celebrations there is a picture of Bharat Mata holding a saffron flag before a map of a greater India extending till Afghanistan. Bharat Mata is, in fact, a devi, that is an invention of the RSS. A Muslim, according to her monotheistic faith, can neither worship any devi or devta nor can chant a slogan for its ‘Jai’. It may be recalled that during the freedom struggle, the nation’s brethren respected the religious sentiments of the Muslims and did not compel them to sing ‘Vande Mataram’ that was basically a ‘Prarthana’ that symbolised the ‘shakti’ of Durga Maa. Instead, the Muslims raised the slogan ‘Inquilab Zindabad’.”
While severely condemning the suspension of MIM MLA Waris Pathan from the Maharashtra assembly for his refusal to raise the slogan “Bharat Mata ki Jai”, the Hyderabad-based daily, Rahnuma-e-Deccan, in its editorial on March 21, writes: “Talking honestly, it is the choice and concern of every
citizen to raise or not to raise the slogan ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’. But if Muslims raise this slogan, their faith would certainly not be in danger, because God sees one’s neeyat (intention)… It is obvious that both [RSS chief Mohan] Bhagwat and [Asaduddin] Owaisi are reaping their political benefits by playing with the sentiments of the people. The objective of both is purely political and there are elections to various state assemblies, including in UP…”
The daily Inquilab, in its editorial on March 30, writes: “The Central government applied Article 356 of the Constitution leading to president’s rule in Uttarakhand. But it has to be asked what options it examined and acted upon (as mandated by the Supreme Court in the S.R. Bommai case) before it hurriedly imposed president’s rule in the state, a day before a confidence vote was to be taken. It appears Harish Rawat was in a position to prove his majority but the Centre was too anxious to dislodge his government.”
The daily Sahafat, in its editorial on March 29, says: “It would have been appropriate for President Pranab Mukherjee to convey to the Central government that a decision about majority has to be taken on the floor of the assembly. Demonstrating a fascist mindset the party in power had promised a Congress-mukt Bharat. Is this the democracy for which Dr Ambedkar is being applauded day in and day out?”
Commenting on the recently held World Sufi Forum in the capital, the daily Siasat, in its editorial on March 20, writes: “There seemed to be a wide gap between the speech of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his past image. Even then as the PM he demonstrated the sincerity of his feelings and sentiments before an international audience, and this can prove helpful in disseminating a message of peace and brotherhood”.
Jamaat-e-Islami’s bi-weekly, Daawat, in its main frontpage commentary on March 28, writes: “[W]hen the PM publicly applauded Islam and the Quran, it was not liked by those in the ruling party who hold Islam and the Quran responsible for the present atmosphere of terrorism. If it is seen from the angle of Muslim intellectuals having an eye on the confrontation between Islam and anti-Islamic forces, this gathering (Sufi forum) was a part of a global effort to distort the real values of Islam. Such efforts are continuing at the governmental level in the US for long”.
Viewing the Sufi forum as a conspiracy to spark sectarian bitterness among Muslims, Roznama Khabrain, in its editorial on March 22, draws satisfaction from the fact that many religious leaders made statements emphasising mutual bonds of faith among Muslims of all shades.