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Azam Khan:'My remark that Muslims won us Kargil should have been saluted'

April 30, 2014 12:44 IST

'Are we Muslims the children of dogs?'


Syed Firdaus Ashraf/ in Lucknow

'In every five-star hotel where the BJP is ruling, cow meat is sold. Narendra Modi isn't angry about these things...'

'Muslims are ready to go to this extent for the nation, just give us a chance. Do recognise our love for the country and don't call us traitors. It's an abuse to us.'

'They say people who do not support Modi must go to Pakistan. But what action is taken against people who propagate this?'

'The destruction of Muslims will destroy India. The progress of Muslims will make India a successful country.'

Controversial Samajwadi Party leader and Uttar Pradesh Minister Azam Khan raises some stark questions in this exclusive interview to Syed Firdaus Ashraf/

Banned from campaigning by the Election Commission for his 'Muslims won Kargil for India, not Hindus' remark, controversial Samajwadi Party leader and Uttar Pradesh Minister Azam Khan tells Syed Firdaus Ashraf/ he has no regrets and insists that his statement should have been saluted rather than condemned.

Election fever has gripped Uttar Pradesh and the whole nation, but you are confined to your home following the ban by the Election Commission...

I feel good. In the last 60 years of Independence, this Constitutional body has shown its true face. They (the Election Commission) have no idea about what happened in Gujarat. For 50 years, the Congress has ruled the country and there were so many riots, but the EC has no issues with it.

Muslims' place of worship was broken down (the Babri Masjid), but it had no problems.

The language of the Muslims, Urdu, is dying, but the EC doesn't care.

Our road is to Pakistan, we are told, but still it has no problems.

Are you referring to the BJP's Giriraj Singh, who said 'Send all Modi critics to Pakistan'?

Of course, the EC should stop such dirty politics. What role have they played?

Are we (Muslims) the children of dogs?

What action has been taken against Narendra Modi after he spoke against the Pink Revolution (banning meat exports)?

Doesn't the EC understand the meaning of these statements?

Just because he is Narendra Modi, no action is being taken against him.

Modi told ABP News that even the Jain community is into the meat export business and his idea of stopping the Pink Revolution is not about the Muslim community alone...

Not a single Muslim has ever been caught for leaking any secret of the country. If he's a Jain, what's so surprising? Anybody can be a traitor

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Image: Uttar Pradesh Minister and Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan at his Lucknow home.
Photographs: Asif Ansari


'Muslims stayed back because they loved India, Hindus had no choice'

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Syed Firdaus Ashraf/

Modi clearly said Muslims alone are not into the meat business; others too are involved...

The other communities are doing this for money, but sacrificial meat is allowed in Islam. According to the Quran, many animals can be sacrificed, but we, Muslims, in India keep in mind that the religious sentiments of other communities should never be hurt.

If you see India's history, cow sacrifice was first banned by the Mughal emperor Babur. Even today, a cow cannot be slaughtered in India.

I fail to understand why Modi is unaware of the fact that five-star hotels in Gujarat serve cow's meat. Does he not see that? In every five-star hotel where the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) is ruling, cow meat is sold.

Modi isn't angry about these things, but wants to send us to Pakistan because we are puppies.

Is this the culture of India's 'king'? Is this how he will keep India united? People who do not support Modi must go to Pakistan, but what action is taken against people who propagate this?

But action was taken against Giriraj Singh.

His tongue has not been tied, yet. Narendra Modi is sending those Muslims to Pakistan who preferred to stay in India and remain loyal.

Muslims had an option to migrate to Pakistan (after Partition), but Hindus didn't.

In spite of having this option, Muslims didn't go to Pakistan because Mahatma Gandhi and Maulana Azad asked us not to leave.

Muslims didn't go because the graves of their ancestors are here and places of worship are here.

We stayed back in India because we loved India, unlike Hindus who had no option but to stay in India.

And still, we are often called ISI ((Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence) agents.

We have lived our lives, but what will we tell our children?

There are advertisements for jobs, which clearly say that Aligarh Muslim University students need not apply.

Where is this society going?

Where are those television anchors who talk of equality by sitting in their studios?

Where did you see these ads?

Many national dailies carry advertisements which clearly discriminate against Muslim students.

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Image: An activist of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad takes part in an election awareness campaign in Allahabad.
Photographs: Jitendra Prakash/Reuters

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'My remark that Muslims won Kargil should have been saluted'

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Syed Firdaus Ashraf/

Modi's aide Amit Shah has apologised for his comments on Muzaffarnagar (Vote for BJP if you want revenge, Shah had said.) Why didn't you apolgise?

Point out my mistake. I still say that it was Muslim blood that was spilled in winning the Kargil war. What is wrong in it?

This happened under the leadership of Colonel Ajit Singh, and I said it with pride. This statement should have been welcomed and saluted, but instead I am being criticised.

One should have highlighted this statement and brought it to the notice of youngsters whose feelings are being poisoned against Muslims by fascist forces.

According to your statement, it was only Indian Muslims who fought the Kargil war and not other Indians like Captain Vikram Batra and Captain Saurabh Kalia.

It's just a difference of one word, bhi ya hi (also or only) For this, I was so severely punished.

But your statement implied that Hindus did not sacrifice their lives in the Kargil war...

I said Colonel Ajit Singh was the leader of the Charlie Company (which captured Tiger Hill).

Muslims are ready to go to this extent for the nation, just give us a chance.

Do recognise our love for the country and don't call us traitors. It's an abuse to us.

Do you not agree that the Indian Army, which does not think on communal lines, was made to look communal because of your comment on Kargil?

Is the Indian Army so weak that it is such a big insult to our army?

A small man like me from a small state makes a statement and the army is divided.

The Indian Army may not even know what is happening in the world. Their world is different.

Where are they shown such realities of life? But is it not true that we have a Sikh regiment, Jat regiment, Rajputana regiment. You will then say that this was formed by the British. I feel this should have ended after the British left India.

Till this date, we are following their rules and that too long after creating our Constitution and Parliament.

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Image: A soldier stands guard at a snow-capped mountain near Srinagar.
Photographs: Fayaz Kabli/Reuters

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'I feel like spitting on those who call themselves desh bhakts and loot our country'

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Syed Firdaus Ashraf/

So you are saying your statement was not communal at all?

No way. It's a statement of a man who believes in love. It is a statement of a man who has only one bank account and that too in the Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha Bank. I have no account in any other bank in the world.

I feel like spitting on those people who call themselves 'desh bhakts (patriots)' and loot our country by depositing money in foreign banks. They loot our country every day.

There is not a single corruption charge against me. If you find me guilty, please hang me from the Qutub Minar.

And let me say that the youth must learn from me. Let them make me their idol.

Is your comment on the Kargil issue the Samajwadi Party's stance or Azam Khan's?

The Samajwadi Party had sacked me once. It may not have other good qualities, but the one good quality is that every member is independent; they can work and talk freely.

You are one a rare Muslim leader who talks about communal issues openly...

People are abusing the Quran, making fun of my religion. They have the freedom of speech and the freedom to write what they want, according to them.

But when I highlight the atrocities faced by me, I'm wrong.

If I mention the Gujarat riots, I'm wrong.

If I speak about Bhiwandi, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Moradabad, Ayodhya, I'm bad because I show people the mirror.

You are talking about Gujarat, but the Special Investigation Team, that was formed by the Supreme Court, said Modi was not guilty of the 2002 riots. So how can you blame him?

I feel the biggest court is God's court. And people may remember it or not, but what was the condition of Gujarat?

There were hailstorms, earthquakes, don't you recall that?

Therefore I say, 'Oh! People of the Earth, do justice to people of the Earth or else God will do justice'.

I had said that (former Congress leader) Sanjay Gandhi was flying in the air. I said so because after his plane crashed (on June 23, 1980, killing him), even his mother could not recognise him.

I had seen the atrocities he committed at Delhi's Turkman Gate during the Emergency.

I was a student at the Aligarh Muslim University then. I saw hundreds of homes being demolished and young children fleeing with their mothers carrying small tiffin boxes.

I asked them what wealth were they carrying? Then I learned that they were carrying cereals, salt and mirchi (chilly) for their dinner.

Their houses were bulldozed and the next day there was a statement by Sanjay Gandhi in the newspapers that he won't allow a 'chhota (mini) Pakistan' to be created in New Delhi.;

All these jhuggi-jhopdis (slums) were chhota Pakistan, according to him.

Will history ever forget what he did in the name of sterilisation?

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Image: Uttar Pradesh Minister and Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan at his Lucknow home.
Photographs: Asif Ansari

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'No Modi wave in Uttar Pradesh, it is just the innocence of Muslims'

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Syed Firdaus Ashraf/

You are just making allegations...

(Interrupts) Who opened the locks of the Babri Masjid?

Who ordered the shilanyas (the stone-laying ceremony in Ayodhya)?

Who sent bulldozers to Harminder Sahib? Who is responsible for all this?

You are accusing others, but what about the Muzaffarnagar riots?

Bahut badi badnaseebi hai (this is our ill-luck). I have told every riot victim that we share every pain of theirs. And for such statements, I received seven notices from the Supreme Court.

I also appealed to the Muslims of Muzaffarnagar to keep calm and not allow fascists forces to take advantage of such situations.

Following the riots, the Modi wave has swept western Uttar Pradesh...

You cannot call it the Modi wave, but the innocence of Muslims.

Their vote has been divided in the region (Muzaffarnagar) by three parties. I feel we will lose two to three seats in the region.

(BJP leader) Subramanian Swamy's dream will come true. He had said in a television interview that the day Muslims are divided, India will be theirs.

I have explained the same to them (the Muslim community) and told them to be united and not let Swamy's dream come true.

What, in your opinion, sparked the Muzaffaranagar riots?

I was upset and my displeasure had come out in the open. Now the wounds have healed and therefore I don't want divulge any details.

It is a very sad and a long story. Let us not discuss it this time.

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Image: Muslims participate in Modi's roadshow in Varanasi.
Photographs: Sumit Bhattacharya/

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'No relief can compensate for loss of lives, houses in Muzaffarnagar'

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Syed Firdaus Ashraf/

Don't you think Muslims will dump the Samajwadi Party after the Muzaffarnagar riots?

There were riots in five districts of Muzaffarnagar and Muslims are in huge numbers across (Uttar Pradesh). They have lots of issues, the right to life being the biggest issue they face and there is no denying in this.

Let me tell you that there were no loopholes from our side and we did our best to resolve the problem. Therefore, I say we need to take a re-look at our junk system established by Britishers and change it.

IAS and IPS officers cannot be controlled by their respective governments at all times.

The government did its best, but the administration failed.

As far as the compensation of life or burnt houses is concerned, no relief can compensate that.

However, the Uttar Pradesh government helped victims in every way possible. And even today if they face some shortage, I promise that we will visit them after the elections with the chief minister (Akhilesh Yadav) and ask people in what way we can help them.

Mulayam Singh Yadav invited Bollywood stars to Saifai, his hometown, even as the riot victims suffered. You talk of the Muslim cause. Didn't you feel it was wrong to organise this event soon after the Muzaffarnagar riots?

In Saifai (based in Etawah district), a mela (fair) is organised every year.

Etawah is different from Muzaffarnagar, where people have different issues, they have different problems; they have different measure of happiness and sadness.

Why will anyone want to add a sad tinge to the happiness of the people in Saifai?

This is the truth, which people will have to accept it. It will take some time to accept this, but this is the truth.

Netaji (Mulayam Singh Yadav) and I had planned to visit Muzaffarnagar together, but we realised that fascist forces would give a complete different spin to this. That is why we didn't go.

When Rome was burning, Nero was fiddling. Mulayam Singh is no different...

Don't give such examples please.

In that case the whole country was burning and in Muzaffarnagar only five districts.

The whole of Uttar Pradesh wants progress and peace.

Is it not true that whenever Mulayam Singh's government comes to power a Muslim knows that he will not be unnecessarily harassed by policemen?

A Muslim will not be thrown out of a crowded train because of his beard.

He too can get a job and if he wishes he can meet Mulayam Singh Yadav anytime.

Fascist forces try to destabilise the government and they have only one solution, that is, riots.

The treasury is with the ruling government and they see that huge sums have been allotted for the welfare of Muslims. The details will break the hearts of fascist forces.

Muslim girls have got their dues and Muslim youths received employment benefits.

Computers and laptops were given to Muslim girls and boys. Did this ever happen before?

Your focus is only on Muslims and not Indians...

The questions are related to Muslims, therefore, I am responding in this manner. Muslims cannot discriminate.

The Quran says, Rabul-Alameen and not Rabul-Muslameen (Allah is for everyone and not for Muslims alone).

Muslims are the backbone of this country and we are one-fifth of the population.

If the backbone is broken, the body cannot stand.

The destruction of Muslims will destroy India. The progress of Muslims will make India a successful country.

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Image: A relief camp in the village of Kutba, Muzaffarnagar, in Uttar Pradesh.
Photographs: Anindito Mukherjee/Reuters

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'Modi can do anything to become PM'

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Syed Firdaus Ashraf/

Are you a bigger desh bhakt than Narendra Modi?

You see, Narendra Modi... (pauses). I don't know whether he is a desh bhakt or not. But yes, to become the prime minister, he can do anything.

He is an opportunist. He sacrificed veterans like Lalji Tandon, Jaswant Singh, L K Advaniji and Murli Manohar Joshi. Murli was made to leave Banares and Joshiji went to Kanpur.

What is your opinion about the Modi wave in Uttar Pradesh?

Your camera zindabad, all you (journalists) zindabad. It is but obvious that owners want money to run their channels.

Every channel needs around Rs 10 crores to Rs 20 crores (Rs 100 million to Rs 200 million) a day. Where will they get the money from?

Azam Khan is a fakir; he cannot give it. The rickshaw-wallah, stonebreaker, cycle repairwallah, they too cannot offer that kind of money.

It is the likes of (Gautam) Adani who can give that kind of money (to the BJP).

How many seats do you think the BJP will win in Uttar Pradesh?

(Laughs) Itni milengi, itni milengi ke unhoney socha bhi na hoga (They will get so many seats, so many that they wouldn't even imagine the number).

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Image: Narendra Modi arrives to file his nomination papers in Varanasi.
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

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'BJP's 'khoklapan' wins it support from people like Ramdev'

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Syed Firdaus Ashraf/

Can you give a number?

575 seats (laughs) if you count the NRIs, because their money is also coming to him.

What a horrible statement Ramdev made about the Dalits!

It is this man who ran away from the Ramlila grounds (where he was holding an agitation in June 2011) dressed as a woman.

He is talking of being manly. He should think first about his own deeds at the Ramlila grounds. He ran away after Section 144 was imposed.

Imagine how he must have looked dressed in a woman's attire with a dupatta on his head.

He could not become a proper man in that situation and unfortunately not a proper woman too.

How can such people serve the country?

It is this khoklapan (emptiness) of the BJP that wins support from people like Ramdev.

Are secular votes benefiting Modi in a big way?

Yes, in some places.

But in the elections that just happened (the six phases), Modi is afraid that it isn't enough for him to open his account.

And in the coming elections of April 30 just wait and watch what the BJP goes through.

It will be a clear victory for us; there is nothing in it for the BJP.

What makes you confident that the Samajwadi Party will do well in Uttar Pradesh?

Except the Muzaffarnagar riots, the Uttar Pradesh government has performed very well. It is the best period in the history of Uttar Pradesh.

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Image: Narendra Modi hugs Ramdev, who recently made anti-Dalit remarks, during a yoga 'mahotsav' in New Delhi.
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

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'Akhilesh should be a little strict'

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And is Akhilesh Yadav behind this success?

What's missing in him? Nothing.

He is decent, innocent, cultured; everything about him is excellent. Sometimes I complain that he should be a little strict.

People say it is not Akhilesh, but Azam Khan and Mulayam Singh who run the government. How far is it true?

People say 5.5 people rule Uttar Pradesh. There will be 4.5 if I am sacked.

There is a common complaint that Azam Khan is the only Muslim face of the Samajwadi Party. No other Muslim leader gets a chance to make it big in the party...

I am the most experienced politician in the assembly. I have been Leader of the Opposition too. I am an eight-time MLA.

I, especially, know how to deal with the Bahujan Samaj Party and BJP.

Image: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav
Photographs: Parivartan Sharma/Reuters

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