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Not one Muslim from my village has anything bad to say about me: BJP MLA Vikram Saini

By Aas Mohammed Kaif, TwoCircles.net

He may have hit national headlines with his controversial statements, but BJP MLA Vikram Saini insists he has no issues with Muslims and believes that no Muslim from his region has any issue with him.

Saini, who is a resident of Kawal village and a MLA from Khatauli in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, said recently that people who are scared to live in India must be bombed. While his statement caused an uproar, residents of his village and constituency said making such statements was a regular affair for Saini and added that his statements should not be taken seriously.

Saini shot to fame after the Muzaffarnagar riots in 2013, when he became a member of the Zila Panchayat and went on to become an MLA in 2017. During the riots, his village was in the thick of the action and saw three people killed. He was in custody for over a year under the National Security Act.

Saini says that his words were ‘twisted’ by the media. In a conversation with TwoCircles.net, he says, “Not one Muslim from my region has anything bad to say about me. Of course, like any other politician I too have political rivals who twisted my words and created the controversy. I said that traitors must be bombed; people who live scared in this country do not deserve to be alive. In my village everyone lives peacefully. My statement was targeted at people who live here but praise ‘the other’. I have nothing to do with Naseeruddin Shah.” The famous Indian actor had recently said in an interview that he was worried for his children in India amid growing intolerance in the country.

Mahendra Saini, former head of Kawal ( Photo: Aas Mohammed Kaif/ TwoCircle.net)

According to Mahendra Saini, former head of Kawal,  “Vikram Saini has a history of spreading poison and disharmony. He actively participated in the Muzaffarnagar riots because of which he was also sent to jail. Then the BJP took him under their wing and because of that today he is a MLA. He thinks he is the next ‘Hindu Samrat’ and that is why his own community is also angry with him.

Another resident Kall Qureshi believes that people are paying too much attention to what he said. “We are angry at what he said, but he keeps doing this on a regular basis. I remember, once he shouted at his wife during a public meeting.”

Pankaj Kashyap (Photo: Aas Mohammed Kaif/ TwoCircles.net)

What was interesting during our visit to Saini’s Village was that a number of Hindus also expressed extreme displeasure with his tenure and alleged that he was using his newfound status of an MLA to settle personal scores. According to another resident, Jaypal Prajapati. “Saini has got several cases filed against locals. The post of MLA has made him arrogant.” Another resident Pankaj Kashyap, while supporting Saini’s statement, said that the MLA was making such statement only to hog the limelight as there was nothing he could do to back his claim.

Saini, according to locals, use to run a Chaat (Indian savoury snack) stall in his village apart from working on his two-acre land. According to the documents filed with the Election Commission of India, Saini attended school only upto Class 10. He clearly lived a hard life and that explains why some of the locals continue to believe that he is essentially a good person at heart. Mohammed Afab, 45, says that Saini maintains friendly relations with all his fellow villagers and that he shares a strong bond with current village head Islam Qureishi.

However, past actions show that Saini is not averse to acting against Muslims if he so desires. One of his first actions after becoming the MLA was to get rid of all roadside stalls which were selling Biryani thereby leaving over 12 families unemployed, all Muslims.

Mohammed Aslam(Photo: Aas Mohammed Kaif/ TwoCircles.net)

According to Vakeel Ahmed, the president of Rashtra Lok Dal, Khatauli, “The fact that he targeted one community shows Saini’s psychology. Now he wants to become a MP so he is getting deeper into intolerance and divisive politics.”

the cross road of kawal where the killings tool place in 2013 (Photo: Aas Mohammed Kaif/ TwoCircles.net)

According to Abbas Ali Khan, Saini maintains good relations with Muslims from his village while ignoring Muslims from other areas of his constituency. Local social worker Arif Sheeshamhali says that Saini’s statements are in line with his larger aims. “He has struggled a lot in his life and he does not hate Muslims. He knows that such politics can help him so he is trying to use these shortcuts to rise in his career,” he added.