PM’s confidants suggests that Muslim leaders have reiterated full support in his endeavours
New Delhi : Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent acts demonstrate his attempt to build bridges with the Muslim community to remove its mistrust for obvious reasons. His meeting a delegation 30 Muslim leaders behind closed doors and wide publicity given to it is a pointer to his wider strategy in a subtle manner.
Besides being a second such meeting with a Muslim delegation, Modi had just a day earlier emphatically asserted his resolve to protect the minority communities in India in an interview to a news agency and reiterated this resolve in this meeting. A wide publicity has also been given to a proposed visit of Modi to the oldest Mosque in Kerala.
Modi had a similar meeting with a Muslim delegation two months ago also, though its members were lesser known in the Muslim community. The members of present delegation had some faces who are well known in the community. He told this delegation that he neither believes in politics, which seeks to divide people on communal lines, nor will he ever speak communal language.
The delegation was led by Imam Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, chief Imam of All India Imam Organisation, and included prominent faces such as Dr Firoz Bakht, grand-nephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, having links with BJP; Dr Parvez Ahmed, son of former President late Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed and world renowned heart specialist, Dr Aslam Parvaiz, principal, Zakir Hussain College, Delhi; and Maulana Lukman Tarapuri, Imam, Jama Masjid, Anand (Gujarat) and also the national president, Global Imam Council.
Interestingly, Ajit Doval, National Security Adviser (NSA) to the Prime Minister, was present in both the meetings. While junior minority minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi was present in the second meeting, Cabinet Minister Najma Heptullah seems to have been kept away from both the meetings.
After the April meeting, Doval was quoted as saying, “The Muslim leaders reiterated full support of the community to the Prime Minister in meeting his objectives of ensuring speedy economic growth, promoting communal harmony and peace and strengthening national security.”
Commenting on this meeting a prominent Muslim news-website said, “When Modi had met Muslims two months ago, it was clear that he had failed to woo the ‘usual suspects’ of Muslim leadership and thus had settled for people that most Muslims had never heard of.”
It was so because the first meeting of the PM with the Muslim leader did not attract any prominent personalities from the Muslim organisations like All India Muslim Personal Law Board, All India Muslim Majlis Mashawarat, Jamaat-e- Islami Hindi, Jamiat ul Ulema and All India Milli Council.
Absence of leaders from any of these organisations prompted a caution from the commentator that the engagement between the government and Muslim community should be “transparent and through proper channels and not via people with dubious credentials who seem to be working only for their own narrow gains.”