Rahul Gandhi playing Hindu card: Muslim clerics
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Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi's remark that Pakistani agencies are reaching out to Muzaffarnagar riot victims has drawn sharp reactions from Muslim religious leaders, some of whom accused him of playing the "Hindu card". They said an "irresponsible" statement like this hardly befits a senior leader of the country's oldest political party.
"On one hand, the Home Minister writes to states to release innocent Muslims riot victims languishing in jails and take action against officers who arrested them and, on the other, the party's vice-president quotes an unnamed IB officer, raising suspicion about Muslims. Seems like he is playing the Hindu card. Now that the Congress is convinced that Muslims do not trust it any longer, especially in UP where they have an alternative, he seems to have set his eyes on Hindu votes," said Syed Ahmed Bukhari, the Shahi Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid.
Condemning Rahul's statement, Imam Umair Ilyasi, who heads the All-India Imam Organisation, said it is time politicians, especially young ones like the Gandhi scion, understood that the days of politics of religion are over. "It is very clear that he made the statement to attract Hindus towards the Congress party. Such politics of religion will not work anymore because people have become too wise to fall for it. Only politics of development will work. What he said and the way he said it is a matter of shame and pain not just for Muslims but for the entire country."
Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind general secretary Mahmood Madani was less harsh but no less critical. "This is a very irresponsible statement. Even if we assume for argument sake that it is true, the public articulation will cause fear in people. At this point of time when Muslims are already living in dread, a statement like this from such a senior leader will only make matters worse," he said.
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