On a warm Sunday afternoon, Prime Minister Narendra Modi blasted the Akhilesh Yadav-led government for creating a rift between Hindus and Muslims.
Addressing a rally at Fatehpur in Uttar Pradesh, the PM said that the ruling Samajwadi Party was discriminating on the lines of religion. He said that facilities should be given to all, irrespective of their religion.
Gaon me kabristan banta hai to shamshaan bhi banna chahiye;Ramzan me bijli ati hai to Diwali me bhi ani chahiye;Bhedbhav nhi hona chahiye-PM pic.twitter.com/tOKd87XYna
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) February 19, 2017
“In a village, if a kabristan (cemetery) can be constructed, so should a shamshaan (cremation ground). If electricity is supplied during Ramzan, electricity should also be supplied during Diwali. There should not be any discrimination on the basis of religion and caste.”
Was that a communal statement? Definitely not by a mile. But some enlightened journalists and opposition politicians, of course, think it is communal.
Here is what Lalu Prasad Yadav said on Monday:
PM Modi is making below the belt remarks,these people want to communalise the society: Lalu Prasad Yadav on PM’s kabristan-shamshaan comment pic.twitter.com/DGvInNCCKQ
— ANI (@ANI_news) February 20, 2017
Note that Lalu Yadav has been in power in one way or the other by playing the caste and religion card in every election in Bihar.
And here is what ‘journalists’ Sagarika Ghose and Rajdeep Sardesai said:
Kabristan? Shamshan? Back to mandir-masjid for the BJP in UP! Diminishing returns of ‘vikaas?’ https://t.co/TXL2gxRsEJ
— Sagarika Ghose (@sagarikaghose) February 19, 2017
Asking Muslims to defeat BJP or talking language of kabrastan -shamshan is divisive and communal. No talk of Hindu Muslim unity in UP sadly!
— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) February 19, 2017
There were other ‘liberal-secular’ voices, too, who made a similar remark. All of them were slammed by the Twitterati for inanity of their statements, but we won’t go into that.
The Congress, which has ruled this country for the most part since independence, took offence, too. This is what Anand Sharma said:
EC should take note of PM’s statement(Kabristan & electricity remarks),this is a clear violation of their directions:Anand Sharma (Congress) pic.twitter.com/rfPlQqCLNB
— ANI (@ANI_news) February 19, 2017
The ANI reports that the Congress will now file a complaint with the Election Commission.
Perhaps Sadanand Dhume’s comment on the deliberate controversy being created by the Opposition and anti-Modi brigade is the best one:
Community X “must have the first claim on resources.” = Secular.
Communities X and Y must be treated equally = Communal. #OnlyInIndia
— Sadanand Dhume (@dhume) February 19, 2017
Dhume is referring to former prime minister Manmohan Singh’s December 9, 2006 remark in which he said that minorities, especially Muslims, have first right to resources.
Singh had said at the 52nd meeting of the National Development Council in New Delhi:
Those calling PM Modi’s remark communal did not find anything wrong with Singh’s statement even though it was a clear case of appeasement of a specific group.