Ansari accuses TMC of trying to keep ‘Muslims confined within boundaries of Madrasa education’

Days after a Muslim youth was killed in Pune by members of a radical right-wing outfit, Hindu Rashtra Sena (HRS), the West Bengal unit of the BJP took out a rally featuring hundreds of Muslims here on Tuesday.

It is one of the rare occasions when a few hundred members of Muslim community raised their voices against the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC).

The rally is indicative of the BJP’s growing interest in Bengal’s Muslim vote bank as the party has realised it is virtually impossible to win any election in the State that has 25 to 26 per cent minority population without wooing the Muslims.

So the BJP’s State committee and the Central leadership have stepped up their activities to win over the minorities, right after the Lok Sabha elections. Last week, the party had dispatched State-level teams to probe the killing of Sheikh Rahim, a daily wage-earner in Birbhum district, while announcing its plan to get the members of the minority cell to investigate the death of Mr. Rahim.

On Tuesday, the party launched a rally through the heart of central Kolkata to protest the killing of Mr. Rahim. Minority Morcha President of the BJP, Shakil Ansari, told The Hindu that such ‘protest-demonstrations were already yielding results’.

“Muslims are now joining the BJP because they have seen through the TMC and the CPI (M)’s falsehood that if BJP came to power Muslims would be slaughtered. Now Prime Minister Narendra Modi is taking a lot of steps for minority development,” said Mr. Ansari. He accused the TMC of trying to keep the ‘Muslims confined within the boundaries of Madrasa education, doing Namaz’.

“Madrasa education will not help Muslim youth become doctors and engineers. They need modern education to achieve progress.” Taking a dig at Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s decision to provide monthly honorarium to Muslim clerics, Mr. Ansari said that by Madrasa education, Muslim youths would only become imams.

When asked by journalists earlier in the day as to why any BJP leaders are not condemning the murder of a Muslim youth in Pune, BJP State president Rahul Sinha avoided giving a direct answer.

He said, “I am not authorised to make comments on what happened in Pune as the State president of the BJP. Only Central leaders, who are authorised to talk on national matters, can speak on this.”

Mr. Sinha, however, slammed the TMC for the murder of Mr. Rahim and said, “They (TMC leaders) always raise such a hue and cry about minority development, but their first victim after the general elections is a member of the minority community.”

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