News / Asia

India's Modi Condemns Anti-Muslim Remarks

FILE - A supporter of India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wears a mask depicting the face of  Prime Minister candidate Narendra Modi, during an election rally in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, April 9, 2014.
FILE - A supporter of India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wears a mask depicting the face of Prime Minister candidate Narendra Modi, during an election rally in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, April 9, 2014.
Reuters
Indian opposition leader Narendra Modi on Tuesday distanced himself from colleagues on the Hindu far right, saying they must focus on development issues in the election campaign, rather than rail against minority Muslims and liberals.

Modi, the prime ministerial candidate of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is running on a platform to revive an economy going through the worst slowdown since 1980s.

But half-way through a five-week campaign to win over the country's 815 million voters, some members of the BJP and its hardline affiliates are facing accusations of trying to whip up a partisan agenda.

“Petty statements by those claiming to be BJP's well-wishers are deviating the campaign from the issues of development & good governance,” Modi, the biggest campaigner for the party, said in a Twitter post.

“I disapprove any such irresponsible statement & appeal to those making them to kindly refrain from doing so.”

On Saturday, Giriraj Singh, a leader of the Bihar state wing of the party, said those opposed to Modi would have to leave India and go to Pakistan after the BJP won the election and formed a government.

A couple of days later, television channels showed a video in which Praveen Togadia, a firebrand member of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, a sister organization of the BJP, was seen offering advice on how to prevent Muslims from buying property in Hindus-dominated areas.

Togadia denied that, saying he only asked Hindus to seek the help of police to resolve property disputes involving Muslims.

The statements, however, have re-ignited concern about religious minorities under a BJP government, which rivals say has a deep-seated bias against India's 150 million Muslims.

'Crocodile tears'

Modi himself is tainted by accusations that he encouraged or turned a blind eye to Hindu-Muslim riots in 2002 in Gujarat, the state he has governed for 13 years. More than 1,000 people, most of them Muslims, were killed in the violence.

He has always denied the accusations and a Supreme Court inquiry did not find evidence to prosecute him.

“These crocodile tears ... will not do,” said Abhishek Manu Singhvi, a leader of the ruling Congress party, referring to Modi's Twitter posts criticizing colleagues' statements.

“People know the truth.”

While opinion polls are predicting Modi's BJP-led alliance will win the biggest chunk of the 543 parliamentary seats being contested in the election, that ends on May 12, most of them show he will need allies after the polls for a majority.

An anti-Muslim pitch is not only expected to make it tougher for him to find coalition partners, but could also drive away some of middle-class voters, whose support Modi is banking on to unseat the Congress party.

But some of Modi's colleagues remain defiant.

BJP leader Singh, who is contesting the election in the northern state of Bihar, said he stood by his statement. “I have said what I felt. I will give my explanation.”

This month, the election commission banned one of Modi's top aides from election rallies on charges of making inflammatory speeches against Muslims.

The ban was lifted last week after the aide, Amit Shah, vowed not to use abusive or derogatory language. The commission said that it would monitor his campaigning.

Separately, a leader of the BJP's alliance partner in the Western state of Maharashtra said on Monday Modi would teach a lesson to Muslim rioters. Shiv Sena leader Ramdas Kadam made the comments at a joint election rally with Modi in Mumbai.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid