How should we interpret your conspicuous silence, Mr Prime Minister?

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi handing over the "Chaadar" to be offered at Dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, Ajmer Sharif, to the Minister of State for Minority Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, in New Delhi on April 21, 2015.

By TCN News

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New Delhi: In the wake of increased anti-Muslim violence in India, President of Zakat Foundation of India, Dr. Syed Zafar Mahmood has written a letter to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi questioning him on his silence on important issue of the day.

Here is the full text of the letter:

Respected Sri Narendra Modi Ji,

You would kindly recall my presentation before you made in Ahmedabad on 29 June 2013 followed by my letter to you dated 27 July 2014. Through these communications we tried to impress upon you and, through your good offices, upon the the BJP and the Sangh Parivar as to what are the grievances of the Muslims of India and what we would like all of you to do. We are pleased that, after my Ahmedabad presentation, you got deleted from the BJP website the three hateful anti-Muslim articles that purportedly reflected the party’s philosophy. Later, your upgrading the Skill Development department to a separate central ministry manifests the acceptance of another of our demands. We are surely thankful to you. In your maiden speech in Parliament the concern expressed by you for Muslim backwardness and your pledge to take necessary steps for its amelioration were music to our ears.

However, during the 17 months of the current NDA rule at the centre we are yet to notice any ground level affirmative action to help out the Muslim community come out of the abyss of regression. On the other hand, the anti-Muslim and anti-Christian utterances and happenings during these 17 months have vitiated the atmosphere of our mother land. Indian Muslims & Christians and their sympathizers do note that frequent public gesturing by many persons associated with the Parivar is meant to keep the air warm against these two communities to discreetly keep the uninformed Hindu masses emotionally surcharged to encash the sentiment at any upcoming election.

In the backdrop of such mass mental commotion and despondency, first the churches were attacked across India and then, just on the eve of Bihar assembly election, the hapless dad of an Indian Air Force officer Mohammad Akhlaq is murdered by a horde of hooligans on the suspicion that he slaughtered a cow. This heinous act received unequivocal condemnation across the nation and the globe. But, you Mr Prime Minister, chose to remain silent on this topic even though you kept on tweeting on various other issues after the murderous assault on Akhlaq.

So, how should we, the people of India, interpret your conspicuous silence, Mr Prime Minister ? Should we take this as your tacit approval of anti-Muslim and anti-Christian political atmosphere now looming large in our country ? How does your silence mesh with our constitutional pledge to ‘uphold the dignity of the individual’ ? How does your silence square up to Article 25 which says that all people are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice and propagate religion ?

How does it mesh with the belief of Swami Vivekananda in the ‘divinity in every soul and the purity of love’. How does it mesh with the wisdom of Mahatma Gandhi who said that the different religions are beautiful flowers from the same garden; branches of the same majestic tree ? How does it mesh with the basic truth that all persons have the right to practice their faith how they choose and to do so free of persecution, fear and discrimination ? How does it mesh with President Obama’s caution given during his speech at the Siri Fort auditorium, ‘we have to guard against any efforts to divide ourselves along sectarian lines’ ?

We shall be grateful for your kind response.

With regards … though with a sad heart,
Yours sincerely,

Dr Syed Zafar Mahmood

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