The Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s (VHP) spokesperson Vinod Bansal said on Saturday that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had to clarify whether it supported the views expressed by its spokesperson Shazia Ilmi in her recent article published in a national daily, in which, he alleged, she was trying to “divide the party and vitiate its image by supporting the anti-India gang crying for ‘jihadist’ forces”.
Ms. Ilmi, in her write-up titled “Doing right by Bilkis Bano” on the early release of 11 men convicted in the Bilkis Bano case, said that her personal sense of justice had been betrayed by the incident.
Mr. Bansal alleged that the article was a conspiracy to defame the VHP, an organisation that works on the principle of treating every woman as a “mother”. Ms. Ilmi was comparing the VHP with “jihadis”, he said.
“She portrayed as we in the VHP are also forcing women to undergo ‘ halala’, triple talaq and spend their lives inside veil, which is not true,” said Mr. Bansal, who questioned the BJP via social media and demanded that the party clarify whether it supported the views of its spokesperson or not.
Mr. Bansal alleged that Ms. Ilmi’s write-up was inspired by WhatsApp messages that had nothing to do with facts.
“The article of Shazia Ilmi published in an English national daily’s opinion page is indicative of the author’s scanty knowledge or perverted mindset. I must say that the newspaper should also have published the article after checking the facts,” said Mr. Bansal, who termed Ms. Ilmi as an “imported” spokesperson of the BJP as she had joined the party after leaving the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
Sources from the VHP told The Hindu that the organisation is also considering legal action against the write-up. “We will wait until the BJP clarifies its stand,” a senior office-bearer of the VHP said.