Vastanavi not to share platform with Modi on Republic Day

By TCN Special Correspondent,

Ahmedabad: Maulana Ghulam Muhammed Vastanavi, recently appointed as Mohtamim (vice chancellor) of Darul Uloom Deoband, will not be sharing a stage with Chief Minister Narendra Modi on the Republic Day in Surat. This was told to mediapersons by Vastanavi’s son Huzaifa. Huzaifa, however, admitted that his father had been invited to a function on the Republic Day at Surat.

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He said that his father was very busy with other programmes at Deoband and that he would not be visiting Surat on the Republic Day.

But Vastanavi’s appreciation of Modi and invitation extended him to share a stage with Modi on the Republic Day in Surat indicated the relationship of Vastanavi with the political party in the state.

Though a native of Vastan village in Mangrol taluka of Surat district, Vastanavi’s area of operation is Akkalkuan in Nandurbar district of the neighbouring Maharashtra. He runs a number of engineering and other professional institutions at Akkalkuan.

He invited wrath of the Muslim community in Gujarat and the rest of the country after he praised Chief Minister Narendra Modi in an interview to a national English daily and said that Muslims faced no discrimination under Modi regime in the state.

However, Vastanavi had to apologise to the community under pressure from the public and management of the Darul Uloom. Several human rights activists from Gujarat had also demanded his resignation.

On Monday, Muslim Jagrut Samaj organized a demonstration outside the Sidi Saiyed’s Jaliwali Masjid in Lal Darwaza area here in Ahmedabad, with banners and placards denouncing Vastanavi’s appreciation of Modi. Youths from all schools of Muslim thought dominated the participants in the demonstration.

Senior advocate Gul Hameed Saiyed, addressing the demonstrators, said that there was no occasion to shower praises on Modi, yet Vastanavi spoke in praise of the Hindutva leader under whom Gujarat witnessed the worst communal riots in 2002, resulting in killing of 1182 persons, mostly Muslims.

Another leader Habib Meo said that Vastanavi should have avoided commenting on Modi if he had no knowledge about the issues in Gujarat. “It has sent a wrong message to the world and could harm the struggle for justice being fought by the riot victims’’, said Meo.

Commenting on Vastanavi’s claims that Muslims were not discriminated against in Modi’s regime and were dealt with fairly, another activist Nadeem Saiyed said that the accused in the Best Bakery mass carnage were acquitted by the courts in Gujarat. But they were meted out punishments only after the trial was conducted in a Mumbai court, outside Gujarat.

He said that Vastanavi’s statements had damaged the image of Darul Uloom.