Zee Media Bureau/Ajith Vijay Kumar
New Delhi: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has kicked up a huge political storm by claiming that some Muslim youths from riots-ravaged Muzaffarnagar were in touch with Pakistan`s intelligence agency, ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence).
Prominent Muslim clerics have come out strongly against Rahul’s statement and termed it `most unfortunate`
Maulana Kalbe Sadiq, senior vice-president of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board, said that anyone who casts aspersions on the integrity and loyalty of the minorities for the country was doing a great dis-service to the country and the Muslims.
Maulana Saif Abbas Naqvi, a prominent Shia cleric, said statements not only painted the Muslim community in bad light but also strengthened the communal forces. He said these were a "grave insinuation" on millions of peace loving and patriotic Muslims in the country.
He also alleged that instead of understanding the plight and pain of the riot victims, the Gandhi scion was playing politics with the communal riots and the victims.
Speaking at a rally in Madhya Pradesh, yesterday, Rahul had claimed that he was briefied by an "intelligence official" on the ISI having "contacted" youth whose kin were killed in the Muzaffarnagar riots.
Rahul claimed that the intelligence official told him that he was convincing the youngsters to stay away from the influence of Pakistani operatives.
Accusing the BJP of igniting communal tensions for electoral gains, Rahul said it is the Congress which douses the communal fire.
Expectedly, the BJP has hit out against Rahul for his ISI in Muzaffarnagar claim.
"It is a very irresponsible statement by the Vice President of Congress. Telling the people of the country that Pakistan is trying to make terrorists out of young victims is downright deplorable to say the least," party spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
Prasad’s colleague Shahnawaz Hussain said, "Rahul Gandhi has tried to point the needle of suspicion at Muslims by his remarks today. These Muslims did not go to Pakistan at the time of partition and decided to live here."
"Gandhi has raised questions about the patriotism of Indian Muslims by saying they were approached by ISI. This is unfortunate. He should apologise for his remarks," said Hussain.
At an election rally in Indore Thursday, Rahul Gandhi had made a sensational claim that singed by the riots and killings in Muzaffarnagar district of the state, many Muslim youth were in touch with Pakistan`s intelligence agency ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence). The riots and communal violence in the district in September had left 62 dead and 43,000 homeless.
Samajwadi Party leader Kamal Faruqui also said the remark has put unnecessary doubt over the integrity of Muslims in the country.
"Yesterday`s statement of Mr Rahul Gandhi is very unfortunate because it unnecessarily creates doubt over the integrity of the Muslims.... Anybody who does indulge in any kind of activity that effects the integrity of the community is very, very regrettable. I was not expecting these kinds of remarks from Mr Rahul Gandhi," Faruqui said.
"The Muslims had enough reasons to be swayed away by the ISI or any other persons during the Babri Masjit demolitions and the riots after during 2002, and several hundreds of thousands of other riots. But the Muslims do have faith in the judicial system and the internal democratic system of the country. They love their country because they are born here and they have given all kinds of sacrifices for the freedom struggle. They have contributed to the might of the country," he added.
Faruqui also questioned Rahul Gandhi`s basis for having access to this information, as he was not the Home Minister, but only the vice president of a democratic political party.
With agency inputs