Pune: AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi Sunday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP government at the Centre of “deceiving” Kashmiri Pandits as they had failed to rehabilitate the community in the Valley.
The Lok Sabha MP from Hyderabad was speaking on the ‘Demise of Secularism- The Future of Secularism’ at ‘Words Count’ festival here.
He was being interviewed by Prafulla Ketkar, editor of Organiser, a publication affiliated to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
Replying to a question from a Kashmiri Pandit in the audience who said Owaisi spoke about Rohingya Muslims but not the displaced community, the latter refuted the allegation.
“In my speech (in Parliament in 2014), I had said Kashmiri Pandits must be sent back to the Valley,” the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president said.
“But what has (PM) Modi done in four-and-half years? Are you satisfied with this? What atmosphere have they created in Kashmir?” he asked.
“Who is responsible? Kashmiri Pandits have been deceived by Modi and BJP. You should realise and smell the coffee. They have not done anything for you,” he told the member of the audience.
Incidentally, Modi was on a visit to Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday where, during a rally in the state’s Vijaypur area, he spoke about the community.
Referring to Kashmiri Pandits, the prime minister said the Central government was committed to giving respect and dignity to the displaced community.
“The pain that they had to undergo, they had to leave their homeland. I have never said this but their pain is within me too,” PM Modi said.
Replying to another query on J-K by a woman Army officer, Owaisi said, “In the Valley, the Army is there and it is facing a challenging task and I respect them.”
“But in the last seven years, we have had the highest number of Army personnel dying in J-K. This is a national problem and not a Muslim problem,” he added.
“It is the government which is responsible. Security personnel are getting killed, systems are failing. We do not have a policy. We can’t even hold elections there,” Owaisi said further.
He claimed over 100 children were blinded by pellet guns and accused the government of not having a policy to help them.
Owaisi further said he did not believe the RSS’ view that India was secular because of Hindus or Hindutva, adding that the nation was secular because of its Constitution.
He hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress for “misgovernance”, and said there was “competition” between Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and Modi to prove who was a “stronger Hindu”.
Speaking on an alliance between Dalits and minorities, Owaisi said it was important for these communities to come together.
“It is really unfortunate that most of the Dalit, Adivasi and Muslim representation is in the number of jail (inmates) rather than in Parliament or at the national level,” the AIMIM president claimed.
He went on to add that there were just 22 Muslim MPs in the Lok Sabha and none of the them were from the ruling BJP.
He also lashed out at the “hypocrisy” of the state and Central governments on the Sabarimala temple-entry issue and the abolition of triple talaq.
“When it comes to criminalising triple talaq, it is a matter of gender justice, but opposing the Sabarimala verdict (allowing entry of women between ages 10-50 into the shrine) is a matter of faith,” he said.
“Such hypocrisy should not be practised by state or Central governments,” Owaisi added.