Home News Modi calls Muslims ‘infiltrators’ who will take away India’s wealth

Modi calls Muslims ‘infiltrators’ who will take away India’s wealth

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday called Muslims “infiltrators” who would take away India’s wealth if his rivals came to power – for a man who usually leaves others in charge of polarizing Hindus and Muslims. This is unusually direct and divisive language for a leader who does the dirty work of dividing.

While addressing voters in Rajasthan, Modi mentioned a quote once said by Manmohan Singh, his predecessor in the opposition Indian National Congress. Modi claimed that Mr. Singh “said that Muslims have the primary right to the wealth of the country. This means that they will distribute this wealth to those who have more children and to infiltrators.”

Modi targeted his emotional appeal to women, telling “my mothers and sisters” that his Congress opponents would take away their gold and give it to Muslims.

Insinuations like this – that Muslims are having too many children, that they are coming for Hindu wives and daughters, that their very citizenship as Indians is in question – are all things that the Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) proposed by representatives.

Mr Modi himself raised alarm when he used language like this while campaigning for a third term: May become inflamed right wing Vigilantes Targeting Muslims, and raised the question of what prompted him to change his communication style. Typically, Modi avoids even using the word “Muslims,” ​​instead coyly finding ways to indirectly refer to India’s largest minority group, home to 200 million people.

Congress president Mallikarjun Haq called Modi’s remarks “hate speech”. Asaduddin Owaisi, who represents the only national party for Muslims, lamented that “ordinary Hindus fear Muslims while their wealth is used to enrich others”.

Bharatiya Janata Party spokesman Tom Vadakkan said Modi’s speech had been misunderstood. “This has nothing to do with our fellow Muslims,” ​​he said. Vadakan said Modi was only talking about “infiltrators”.

The prime minister’s impassioned speech in 100-degree heat in the arid town of Banswara in Rajasthan was in stark contrast to the image he projects in international contexts.

During his visit to the White House in June, Modi said there was “no problem of discrimination” in India. Three months later, when he hosted the G20 summit in New Delhi, he chose the theme “The World is One Family” (Sanskrit, the main liturgical language of orthodox Hinduism).

He projects a Hindu-centric India as a benevolent “world teacher” by appearing in soft power outreach programs such as World Yoga Day and broadcasting from Times Square .

The campaign to divide Hindus and Muslims could help energize Modi’s far-right Hindu base among his otherwise broad-based electorate, especially in places like Banswara, where Hindus outnumber Muslims by three. Compare one.

Modi’s comments may have been an attempt to bridge the divide among Hindus in Rajasthan over whether to support the Bharatiya Janata Party, where a prominent group staged a protest against a party official’s remarks.

But the Prime Minister’s speech was also clearly intended for a wider audience. He shared a clip on his official social media channel.

Six weeks of voting will end on June 1, with votes to be counted three days later and the BJP remains the favorite to win a parliamentary majority. Congress president Haq called Modi’s (perhaps hopeful) speech a sign of desperation, adding that opposition candidates must perform well in the early stages of voting.

Neerja Chowdhury, a columnist and author of “How the Prime Minister Decides,” agreed with Mr Haq and said that in her view, “Voters are expressing their dissatisfaction more openly this time .” She added that the BJP has the ability to correct course quickly because “they get feedback very quickly.”

Rahul Gandhi, the public face of the Congress PartyModi’s remarks were aimed at diverting attention from topics that trouble ordinary voters, such as unemployment and inflation, he said.

The prime minister made full reference to religion in his speech, sparking complaints that he may have violated India’s election rules.

Candidates should be prohibited from claiming votes in the name of religion or caste. But BJP leaders often invoke the presence of Hindu gods during campaign rallies. The country’s electoral commission, which enforces the rules, has taken almost no action against the party, although it has taken action against members of other parties in similar cases.

Modi’s former ally Uddhav Thackeray, now running against the BJP, has declared that he will now ignore the Election Commission’s order to remove the word “Hindu” from his party’s campaign song.

Modi based his attack on a 22-second excerpt from a 2006 statement by Sikh economist Manmohan Singh, Modi’s previous prime minister. Singh listed many traditionally disadvantaged groups in India, including lower-caste Hindus and tribal populations, as well as “particularly the Muslim community” and said all should have a fair share of the country’s wealth.

Since Mr Modi took office in 2014, Muslims have been underrepresented in the economy. India’s economy is stable and Social development. Not a single one of the 430 candidates fielded by the BJP in this election is a Muslim.

Singh’s 2006 speech may seem dated now, but it came four years after riots in Gujarat under Modi. Hindus and Muslims hacked and burned each other, killing at least 1,000 people, mostly Muslims.

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