BJP reaches out to Muslim religious leaders in UP to de-escalate tension over Citizenship Act
Meeting community leaders, including clerics and Islamic scholars across the state, is part of the BJP’s firefighting plan, for which the party and government are working in a coordinated manner.
LUCKNOW: In the wake of fierce protests over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) spreading across the state, the ruling BJP is trying to reach out to Muslim religious leaders and Islamic scholars to convince the community that the Act was not against anyone who is an Indian citizen.
The party has entrusted its Muslim faces and minority cell in Uttar Pradesh to meet religious leaders to douse the protest fire. Meeting community leaders, including clerics and Islamic scholars across the state, is part of the BJP’s firefighting plan, for which the party and government are working in a coordinated manner.
While the BJP’s minority cell is reaching out to important Shia and Sunni leaders, the Yogi Adityanath government is in touch with prominent clerics and community leaders to rope them in for quelling the tension.
The Adityanath government succeeded in getting Khalid Rasheed Firangimahal, the imam of Eidgaah, to issue an appeal for peace late on Monday night.
“As far as the issue of CAA is concerned, I would like to tell the community that many have already approached the Supreme Court in this regard and we all have our full faith in the courts. But as we wait for the court’s decision, let us not spoil the peace and I would like to tell all against relying on rumours,” Khalid Rasheed said in his appeal that was widely shared by BJP leaders on social media.
While Firangimahal is an influential cleric belonging to the Sunni sect, Hamidul Hasan, an influential cleric of the Shia sect, was approached by Mohsin Raza, the Muslim face of the Yogi government. The Shia cleric too issued an appeal for peace and urged the youths of the community not to be swayed by emotions.
“Before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, PM Modi spoke of 'sabka saath, sabka vikas'. After the elections, he said it’s time to take everyone along, without thinking of who voted for them and who didn’t. That’s why he said he would want to earn ‘sabka vishwas’ too. So I am sure the PM would address our genuine concerns but our young must understand there was no need to take such steps which don’t lead anywhere,” the Shia cleric said.
Various other clerics -- from Maulana Kalbe Sadiq, who runs several educational institutions to Maulana Agha Roohi and Maulana Yasoob Abbas among others -- are also being approached to contain the unrest that again surfaced in several UP universities. A delegation of Muslim clerics led by minority affairs minister Mohsin Raza also met CM Yogi Adityanath. The CM assured them all security asking them to
inform him if any government staff harassed them. “I shall initiate stern action against such elements,” said the CM.
CM Yogi has urged peace and advised the agitated students against taking the law into their own hands.
“All are free to protest in a democratic manner but none would be allowed to take the law into their own hands,” Adityanath said after reviewing the situation with DGP OP Singh. However, the decision to contact the community’s religious leaders was part of a larger plan to ensure that the tension brewing on the campuses didn’t spill over onto the streets.
Stepping up the peace efforts further party’s minority cell chief Haidar Abbas Chand visited Varanasi to meet religious leaders there.
“Indian Muslims have nothing to fear, the CAA is about giving citizenship to persecuted religious minorities of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh and not about taking anyone’s citizenship right. The protests are sponsored,” said Haidar Abbas.
Along with AMU and Lucknow's renowned Islamic seminary Nadwatul Ulema, the BHU too had witnessed sporadic protests against the police action on students. Since Varanasi is also Prime Minister’s Lok Sabha constituency, the party’s minority cell chief quickly rushed there to cool frayed nerves.
BJP’s minority wing functionaries are planning to approach the Aligarh Muslim University and Nadwa college authorities.
“The protests are the result of vested interests who are busy fanning communal passions. Such mindless violence seems unreasonable especially when the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister have repeatedly assured the Muslims that they have nothing to fear,” said UP Minority Affairs minister Mohsin Raza.