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Deoband rector draws ire for Modi praise

By Mohammed Siddique
January 20, 2011 20:56 IST
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Ghulam Mohammed Vastanvi, the first Gujarati rector of the Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband in Uttar Pradesh, is finding himself in the eye of the storm, barely 10 days after he appointed to the post. The Muslim community across the country has been up in arms against Vastanvi after his remark on 'prosperity of Narendra Modi's Gujarat'.  

The rector has earned the wrath of community leaders by saying in a newspaper interview that Muslims were benefiting from the development in Gujarat and the time had come to move forward. This was interpreted as an attempt to give a clean chit to the much-hated Gujarat chief minister.

Piqued over the statement, several prominent personalities of the community have demanded that Vastanvi should be immediately sacked.

Hyderabad Member of Parliament Asadudin Owaisi was among those who strongly condemned the remarks. "Nothing can be more obnoxious than praising a man whose hands are stained with the blood of innocent people. Has he ever expressed remorse or admitted his guilt that Vastanvi should give him a clean chit?" Owaisi asked.

Criticising Vastanvi's claim that the situation in Gujarat had improved for Muslims, Owaisi said, "Does he not know that the CBI has sought moving the Sohrabuddin case out of the state, as it feels that justice may not be delivered in the Gujarat court. How can he forget that many cases pertaining the Gujarat riots were being tried outside the state," he said.

"There is no Haj committee and no minorities commission in the state. No welfare programmes for Muslims are being implemented there," the MP added.

According to Owaisi, Vastanvi had his own personal reasons to make such statements. "Vastanvi has forgotten the high position he holds as the rector of the Darul Uloom Deoband," he said.

The rector also drew the ire of religious heads. Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani, rector of Al-Maahad Al Aali al Islami in Hyderabad, said that life was still very difficult for the Muslim community in Gujarat. "It's very difficult for Muslims to get the permission in the state for opening their educational institutions. For the Muslim community, Modi is a blot on the face of India's secular democracy," he said.

Another cleric Maulana Khalid Rahmani said that Modi murdered Muslims and did not repent it. "If his attitude has changed, let him openly tender an apology to Muslims and show by his actions that he regrets the past actions," he said.


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