SM Fasiullah for BeyondHeadlines
A few days after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh’s statement that an “apology” would be offered to Muslims for any wrong done in past (though not specifically referring to 2002 Gujarat riots), BJP Karyalay Vapi published an advertisement illustrating Muslims favoring Narendra Modi.
The advertisement that appeared in the 27th February Delhi edition of Indian Express on Page 9 reads: “Now we Muslims have realized that Modi is good for us”. Through this advertisement containing quotes of Shahid Siddiqui, Zafar Sareshwala and SM Mushrif, BJP desperately tries to woo Muslims to vote for the party.
The advertisement shows that Zafar Sareshwala, Shahid Siddiqui and ex-Inspector General of Police (Maharashtra) SM Mushrif apparently support BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
Perhaps capitalizing on the quote by Nai Duniya Editor Shahid Siddiqui that there were not a single riot in the past 12 years, BJP attempts to disseminate that “we (Muslims) are sure if Narendra Modi is PM there will not be any communal riot in India in future”.
The callout of SM Mushrif along with his picture in the advertisement reads: “The most safe place for Muslims today is Gujarat. I dealt with several states. But no Chief Minister is as good, as strong and determined as Modi. Now even Muslims realize that Modi is good for them.”
But when contacted, SM Mushrif denied giving any such statement to BJP. What was taken as his quote by BJP was a part from an article published by Dr Zafarul Islam Khan’s The Milli Gazette.
In the long article, he said: “And strangely enough (my Muslim brethren will forgive me for saying so), the most safe place for Muslims today is Gujarat, only because its Chief Minister Mr. Narendra Modi has “banned” entry to the Intelligence Bureau (IB) in Gujarat. After spending more than 40 years in the RSS, Mr. Modi has now understood the games the hardcore elements in the RSS have been playing in the guise of the IB. After ‘banning’ IB, the Muslim atrocities in Gujarat have stopped. That is what is required to be done if we want to put a full stop to fake encounters, false terror attacks, their fabricated investigations and arrests of innocent Muslim boys.”
The two points that emerge out of this advertisement are: 1. Taking anyone’s statement without his/her consent or the publisher (if it’s already published) for a commercial is against professionalism and may invite legal action; 2. A few individual does not represent the entire diverse Indian Muslim community. Therefore, BJP being a national party is expected to come up with concrete and convincing policies for Muslims, rather than publishing such trivial advertisements.