'Putting Yogi Adityanath in the CM's seat two years before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls is something to be read carefully.'
'Opposition parties would be dishonest themselves and unfair to secular people if they failed to unite and work as a single force to defeat the BJP.'
Justice (retd) Rajinder Sachar headed the Sachar Committee which studied the socio-economic and educational status of Muslims in India.
A champion of civil liberties for decades, the 93-year-old former chief justice of the Delhi high court spoke to M I Khan in Patna about India today.
In recent months, hate crimes against Muslims seem to have increased. Is it a reflection of rising intolerance or something else?
Oh yes, hate crimes against Muslims are rising, but it is not mere intolerance. It is far worse than intolerance.
As a matter of fact, this danger has become further catastrophic after the BJP's (Bharatiya Janata Party) victory in Uttar Pradesh.
The most dangerous signal came after Yogi Adityanath was made UP chief minister. It is part of a deliberate plan by the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh).
Let us not forget that (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi is only the face.
Earlier, he was chief minister in Gujarat. Thanks to corporate backing, he was propagated as a development man.
Modi as PM hardly bothers to say a few words to check and control hate crimes against Muslims.
The RSS has now made up its mind that 2019 is its target to declare India a Hindu Rashtra after the BJP returns to power, I think the danger of which is not being realised by the Opposition parties.
Putting Yogi Adityanath in the CM's seat two years before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls is something to be read carefully.
All Hindus have nothing to do with the RSS and are not its supporters or sympathisers. They belong to different cultures, different traditions, have different food habits.
Why is the RSS so upbeat in your view?
Look, the BJP victory in UP has given more strength to the RSS. Now it controls a state with the largest number of seats in Parliament (the Lok Sabha).
Opposition parties would be dishonest themselves and unfair to secular people if they failed to unite and work as a single force to defeat the BJP.
What happens if the RSS pushes its agenda of a Hindu Rashtra?
It is not possible and when I say not possible, I mean there will be lots of resistance.
If India declared itself a Hindu Rashtra, it will not progress. There will certainly be resistance by Hindus themselves in different parts of the country. They will be the biggest hurdle.
A large number of people do not want a Hindu Rashtra at all. Today, there may only be a few people who are vocal against it.
(The Shiromani) Akali Dal in Punjab will never want a Hindu Rashtra. It will not support it.
Minorities, not only Muslims, but Christians and Sikhs are also against it.
Who wanted the British empire? Nobody wanted British rule. Ultimately, people fought against it and won.
To avoid the danger of 2019, I would suggest that Opposition parties come together.
Take the case of Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress in West Bengal. The CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist) and Congress should realise that Mamata is more powerful than them like the BJD (Biju Janata Dal) is in Odisha, the RJD (Rashtriya Janata Dal) and the JD-U (Janata Dal-United) is in Bihar.
The Opposition only talks about stopping the BJP, but what practical measures are they taking to take it on?
BJP leaders including Union ministers have said Muslims should no longer be treated as a minority as their population has grown.
Not only Muslims, Christians, Jains, Sikhs are religious minorities. They are minorities because they belong to different religions with a population less than the majority community.
There is no question that Muslims will not be minorities in India.
If we remove the minority tag from Muslims, then we cannot be a member of the United Nations. The international community will boycott us.
It has been clearly mentioned in the UN's minority council that a special commission should be set up for minorities in each country. The council also recommended a targeted approach for the upliftment of the minority communities.
Union Minister of State Giriraj Singh has stated that the Muslim population in India has reached such a level that the minority tag should be removed from it.
According to the Sachar Committee report, at the end of the (this) century, the population of Muslims will consolidate at 18 to 19 per cent approximately. Even in this scenario, the population of Hindus will remain at about 80 per cent.
The latest figures have revealed that Muslims have a lower birth rate than others including Hindus in the last decade.
A decade after the Sachar Committee submitted its recommendations, the RSS and BJP say the move to constitute such a committee to study the socio-economic status of Muslims was a wrong approach in a secular country.
But the reference to the Sachar Committee categorically specified that it was tasked to collect the comparative figures of poverty, education, service of Muslims vis-a-vis upper caste Hindus, Other Backward Classes and Dalits. So, it was a comprehensive report. It was clearly not a communal approach.
The report was not only for the Muslims. The report mainly highlighted Muslims because if you look at the parameters -- education, poverty, health and others -- they were at the bottom of the table.
One of the most important recommendations of the Sachar Committee report was the setting up of an equal opportunities commission. This exists in the United Kingdom and the United States.
There is also talk about Muslim appeasement.
The socio-economic status of Muslims is very low and poor. Muslims are still deprived and marginalised. You can see it for yourself if you visit any town across the country.
If you are improving the lives of Dalits, who are Hindus, then can you call it appeasement?
Like any other community, Muslims are citizens of this country. Their condition is improving, but there is urgent need for an equality commission.
Muslims have been part of this country for centuries, large numbers of Muslims have converted (in the past) for different reasons.
Swami Vivekananda said they (the Muslims) converted because they were in the worst conditions.
Hindus and Muslims coming together, Vivekananda said, is the only remedy for India.
IMAGE: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Sarsanghchalak Dr Mohan Bhagwat at an RSS rally.
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