All India Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi was at the centre of a controversy over his election speech made two weeks ago in UP. In his speech, Owaisi warned the state police not to indulge in, what he called, “atrocities against Muslims”.
Owaisi said, “I want to remind police officers that they must know that Modi and Yogi will not always be there (in power). Things will change, then who will come to save you? Yogi will go to his ‘math’ (Gorakhpur) and Modi will retire to the mountains, then who will come to save you. Today we the Muslims are surely living under pressure, but remember we are not going to forget your atrocities. We will remember your atrocities. Allah will destroy you with his power.”
Several BJP leaders shared this video clip on social media and it went viral. BJP leader Gaurav Bhatia alleged that Owaisi was threatening both Hindus and Muslims, and that both the Election Commission and UP government must take action against him for his hate speech. Another BJP Muslim leader Mohsin Raza said, Owaisi should not treat India as Afghanistan. “There is no Taliban rule here and he should avoid giving such hate speech”, he said. Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Vinod Bansal compared Owaisi with the founder of Pakistan, Mohammed Ali Jinnah.
Reacting to allegations, Owaisi tweeted: “In order to distract from #HaridwarGenocidalMeet, a clipped 1 min video is being circulated from 45 min speech I gave in Kanpur. I’ll set the record straight: I did not incite violence or give threats. I talked about police atrocities in Kanpur and was addressing such cops who think they have immunity to violate people’s liberties because of Modi-Yogi. I said do not confuse our silence for acquiescence. It’s an essential part of my faith to believe that Allah does not allow injustice. He punishes oppressors….. I said, we’ll remember these police atrocities. Is this objectionable? Why is it offensive to remember how police have treated Muslims in UP?
“We cannot forget the oppression that was meted out to Anas, Suleiman, Asif, Faisal, Altaf, Akhlaq, Qasim and hundreds of others. I told people to not lose hope and assured them that things will change. It’s not a crime to assure people that things will change for the better. I asked cops: who’ll come to save them when Modi-Yogi retire? Indeed, who will? Do they think they have life time immunity? I believe in rule of law: every crime will be met with justice and every criminal will face punishment. …”
There is no doubt that Owaisi was provoking Muslims with his speech, and the video clip was not doctored. I sought details about the ‘atrocities’ that Owaisi mentioned in his speech and tweet. In the case of Mohammed Rafiq in Kanpur Dehat, where it was alleged that his beard was pulled and attackers urinated on his face, I checked and found that Rafiq Ali’s daughter-in-law had made this allegation against Kanpur Dehat police under Rasoolabad police station.
The fact is: the station in-charge of Rasoolabad p.s. was found semi-conscious after he was attacked by Rafiq Ali who came with 3-4 persons and beat the police officer black and blue. When a police team reached Rafiq’s house, his daughter-in-law made the counter charge against police. Soon after, the family fled. An FIR on attack against the police inspector was lodged on April 21 this year, but Owaisi is alleging that Rafiq’s beard was pulled and people urinated on his face.
The other incident, which Owaisi mentioned, is true. A Muslim rickshaw puller was attacked by some people and his daughter was found weeping. We showed this story in ‘Aaj Ki Baat’, after which action was taken against some policemen. But to say that Muslims are being oppressed by police in UP is unfair.
To blame the entire UP police force as enemy of Muslims for the action of a few policemen is unacceptable. Owaisi may reap political benefit from such speeches, but it harms the image of the state of UP in particular, and India, in general. Such speeches bring India a bad name in world community. Owaisi is not alone in this race, there are hot-headed people among Hindus as well.
A Dharma Sansad was held in Haridwar from December 17 to 19, where several Hindu sadhus and sadhvis gave provocative speeches asking Hindus to arm themselves with weapons. Uttarakhand police has filed an FIR on the basis of such hate speeches, and police officials have assured that action would be taken against those responsible for spreading hatred and tension between communities.
Hate speeches, both by leaders like Owaisi and aggressive Hindu sadhus are condemnable. One claims to be the leader of Muslims, while others claim to be the sole representatives of Hindus. Those who indulge in pitting one community against the other cannot be called religious. Such provocative speeches can cause communal violence. Therefore, quick action must be taken against such hate-mongers. These hate-mongers must be exposed.
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