Imam, BJP minority cell leader among 4 arrested for pro-Pak slogans during Eid celebration – Kannauj, UP

An imam from a mosque in Kannauj, UP named Maulana Mohammad Afzal was arrested along with 3 others by police after videos appeared of over a dozen men indulging in ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ sloganeering. One of those arrested is reported to be a local BJP minority cell leader.

It was an Eid celebration and late into the evening of 13 May, members of the Muslim community took out a procession without any permission, yelling slogans in favor of Pakistan. The video went viral on social media and citizens started to complain, including members from the Hindu Jagran Manch who promised action if the culprits were not apprehended.

The incident took place near Imam Chowk in Jalalabad. Meanwhile, the videos reached the police who took cognizance of the crime and conducted an inquiry. They arrested four on Monday night and charged 15 persons under sections relating to sedition and hurting communal sentiments and for trying to promote enmity. Along with Afzal, Shahid (the local BJP leader), Salman and Meraj alias Chottu – all residents of the same area have been arrested and sent to jail. Their leader, the Imam, is a resident of Fatehpur near Moosanagar in the Kanpur district.

Maulana Mohammad Afzal and accomplices

The Circle Inspector of Kannauj City, Shiv Pratap Singh said that five of the accused have been identified and named in the FIR. He added that the rest remain unidentified and efforts are on to recognize the others in the video and arrest them.

Barely a week has passed since a similar incident was reported from Ramganj near Amethi in UP where a newly elected village head named Imran Khan was heard raising the same kind of pro-Pakistan slogans. In another case from Sitapur, also in UP, another newly elected village chief named Aslam and his supporters were heard shouting ‘Pakistan Zindabad’. Though they have been arrested, the question remains as to when will such treason end and when will our state tackle the mosque/madrassa network planting such separatist ideas.

The involvement of a Mandal President of BJP Minority Cell in this anti-national act also raises questions about the party’s filtering mechanism and the ideology, or lack of it, the party is teaching its workers. Anyway, do such cells in an avowedly nationalist party perform any useful function or they just widen existing sectarian mindsets?

Until the Muslim community’s indoctrination by its clerics and fundamentalist mainstream religious organizations like JeI, JuH, Deoband, AIMPLB etc continues unchecked, their commitment to any non-Islamic ideology will always be suspect. Through such seminaries and organizations, Islamists control the Muslim mind and the community’s loyalty will remain first and foremost towards its co-religionists.

Right now, BJP’s attitude towards Muslims is essentially promising to outdo the ‘seculars’ and up the minorityism ante. “Congress and other parties used you and didn’t deliver any development, give us a chance and we will uplift you,” is the BJP message to Muslims, which reinforces the Muslim victimhood and entitlement complex. True ‘sabka saath, sabka vishwas’ ideology would focus on integrating the Muslims into the mainstream by treating them as ordinary citizens, not a special category.

Until BJP and our Republic discover the will to break the Islamist stranglehold and end minorityism, it would be best for the party to dissolve its minority cells as was done by the Assam state unit recently. All patriotic Muslims are anyway free to join/support the party along with the rest of the citizenry.


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