New Delhi: In a statement issued by the Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy (IMSD) on Monday, January 9, the organisation made an appeal to the Chief Election Commission to ensure the necessary follow-up to the FIR issued against BJP leader Sakshi Maharaj on the part of the Uttar Pradesh administration and the police.
According to The Indian Express, the chief electoral officer of Uttar Pradesh sought a report from the district administration on the allegedly communal remarks Maharaj made at a religious event in Meerut on Friday, while the Meerut police lodged a complaint against him on charges of promoting enmity between groups on grounds of religion and caste.
Maharaj had indirectly held Muslims responsible for population-related problems in the country, hence sparking a controversy just days after the Supreme Court made it illegal to seek votes in the name of religion or caste.
“This population rise in not because of the Hindus. Population has risen due to those who support the concept of four wives and 40 children,” The New Indian Express quoted him as saying.
The BJP has distanced itself from the remarks made by its MP from Unnao in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh at a ‘sant sammelan.‘
When asked about Maharaj’s comments, BJP leader and union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, “Such statements or views… are not of either BJP or government. We have nothing to do with such statements.”
In the statement issued by IMSD, the organisation condemned the BJP and Sangh parivar’s attempts to “communalise the polity in Uttar Pradesh on the eve of assembly elections” and appealed to the Election Commission to “not stop at the mere ritual of directing the filing of an FIR.”
The organisation added that the comments made by Maharaj echoes the ideology of the BJP and the Sangh parivar that Muslims are to blame for the population-related problems in the country.
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in August had said, “Which law says that the population of Hindus should not rise? What is stopping them when population of others is rising? The issue is not related to the system. It is because the social environment is like this.”
In a September 2002 rally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was chief minister of Gujarat at that time, made a reference to Muslim men having four wives and producing 25 children.
“We want to firmly implement family planning. Hum paanch, humare pachees (We five, our 25) (laughs). Who will benefit from this development? Is family planning not necessary in Gujarat? Where does religion come in its way? Where does community come in its way?”
According to a PTI report, Congress leader K.C. Mittal termed Maharaj’s speech “offensive” as it was based on caste and religion and went against the recent judgement of the apex court.
“It is a violation of the Model Code of Conduct and Congress is officially filing a complaint against him in the Election Commission,” he said.
The Uttar Pradesh chief electoral officer T. Venkatesh told The Indian Express, “A detailed report has been sought from the Meerut district administration after taking cognisance of the reports received through different media.”
Venkatesh added that a video of the speech and details about the event had also been sought.
According to The Hindu, Maharaj faces eight other criminal cases, including for murder, promoting enmity between groups, criminal conspiracy and defiling places of worship.
(With PTI inputs)