"The Prime Minister reiterated his resolve to provide equal development opportunities for Muslims and work towards easing any apprehensions that the community might have," prominent Muslim leader Qureshi said.
This is surely a laudable step of Prime Minister that he is trying to win the heart of the community in the backdrop of the apprehension the Muslims nurtured over the years that Modi and his party will not do any good to their community. But Prime Minister still needs to do much on this front to restore the lost confidence of the community. The Prime Minister repeatedly made this point during his campaign speech that community is being used and vested interested are instigating them for their electoral gains. In spite of uneasiness, large number of Muslim voted for BJP and the huge mandate Narendra Modi Government received in 2014 Lok Sabha is the proof of that. So, now, it should be pro quid quo time from Modi Government.
Why such fear psychology in the community?
Muslims are quite justified on their position as past are full of such examples, right from 1990s Babri mosque demolition leading to communal unrest to 2002 Gujarat riots. Then involvement of Hindu organisation in various blasts like 2007 Samjhauta Express, Ajmer Dargah attack and 2008 Malegaon blasts further cemented their fear that BJP is not their party. Although BJP terms these a mere allegations but Muslims doesn't find the reason convincing enough to change their stand.
Recent incidences brings trust deficit at fore
Various parts of Maharashtra especially Pune recently witnessed communal conflagration because of a Facebook photo upload where Maratha leader Shivaji was shown in bad light. A young Muslim software engineer was lynched for no fault of his in the communal flare. In another communal clash in Mewat, Harayana two mosques were burnt down.
Notably, all two incidents happened when Modi Government barely had finished one month in office. Point is in none of these incidences, current dispensation at Centre spoke assertively giving the large message to disadvantaged section that it will might occur in near future.
Pseudo-secular parties made fool of them
BJP should leave no stone unturned to make Muslims believe that they are the one who will give them equal right in the country unlike other parties who on the name of secularism made fool of them. And that should be done through action not merely pronouncing freebies kind of stuffs like the Congress. The Congress ruled the country for most number of years but made no effort to change the socio-economic status of the Muslims and that proves from Sachar Committee's Report. Similarly, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samajwadi Party did nothing to improve their position in society and merely used them as vote-banks, so, now onus is on Modi to make them part of development cycle. Modi Government should make effort to implement the Committee's recommendations on the priority basis.
What should be done?
Prime Minister really has to walk the tightrope to shed the image that BJP is not anti-Muslim and they are safe in his rule. His records in Gujarat tell everything what he is capable of. Gujarati Muslims are way ahead than its national counterpart in terms of literacy, per capita income and their social status. Muslims share in police force and Government jobs is also a matter of envy for others. So, time has come to implement Gujarat Model on the national front.
BJP had promised to provide secure environment, equal opportunity and madrasa modernisation programmes in its election manifesto. The manifesto said, "It is unfortunate that even after several decades of independence, a large section of the minority, and especially Muslim community continues to be stymied in poverty. Modern India must be a nation of equal opportunity. BJP is committed to ensure that all communities are equal partners in India's progress, as we believe India cannot progress if any segment of Indians is left behind."
So, now time to ally all the apprehension and fear of the community by quickly implementing all the developmental programmes.
The Government should also ensure benefits intended for communities were not cornered by any sections of society. Reports says funds meant for them are at times cornered by Government officials, especially in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh where Muslims are large in numbers. Allocating fund and its utilisation has been a major problem and that needs to be done away with. According to a Times of India report, during 2007-2012, State Governments did not use even half of the allocated funds with twelve States used less than 50 per cent of funds.
So, the new dispensation give out the note that they don't believe in appeasement politics but in inclusive one. The message should be loud and clear that Modi Government know how to walk the talk.