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Lynchings are ‘domestic terrorism’, says AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi

LiveMint logoLiveMint 05-07-2017 Yunus Y. Lasania

Hyderabad: Asaduddin Owaisi is not known to mince his words, especially when it comes to censuring the central government. In an interview with Mint, Owaisi, who represents the Hyderabad Lok Sabha constituency in Parliament, termed the recent spate of lynchings in India “domestic terrorism”. In this atmosphere, how will Muslims celebrate Bakri Eid which comes up in the next two months, wondered Owaisi, who heads the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM). Edited excerpts:

Given the recent incidents of lynchings of Muslims, why do you think such crimes are being committed?

The first message is that these people (Gau Rakshaks) do not believe in rule of law, and that (they believe) all Indian Muslims are cow and beef-eaters, which is untrue. In their opinion, the life of a cow is more premium than that of a human being. They want to create fear in the hearts of Dalits and Muslims. And it is happening in (mostly) BJP-ruled states, so why can’t they stop it? They do not believe in pluralism and want to send a message that we are second class (citizens) and are not equal in India.

In Kashmir also, a policeman was lynched by Muslims themselves, that too outside a mosque during Ramzan. What do you make of that?

Many incidents are happening there which personify the (ruling) PDP-BJP government. When people become animals, they believe that they are superior and it is not a question of affinity. If you are a human being, you will never kill anyone.

Though the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) says that AIMIM is a ‘friendly’ party, it is supporting the BJP’s candidate for the presidential election. Who is your party supporting?

We will take a decision very soon. The TRS has its own policy and, I cannot influence it. But one thing is for sure, is the TRS’s commitment towards minority upliftment is for everyone to see. There are certain things on which we disagree with them, but we support other things which it has done.

The prime minister also sent out a message asking people not to take law into their hands. Given the nature of these lynchings, do you think that it could lead to riot-like situations if they continue unabated?

That day itself, I said that the prime minister’s request was feeble and not an outright condemnation. I cannot rule out anything. You and I do not want any untoward incident to happen and want peace and prosperity. It is these groups who are indulging in domestic terrorism. In another two months, there is Bakri Eid; Can you imagine how Muslims will celebrate it in this environment?

What is your opinion of the TRS’s three-year rule so far since the state’s formation?

Corruption scandals have not come out and power is available (in the state), though there were some problems in Ramzan. These two have been important features of this government. Third, the establishment of resident welfare schools is another important thing as well, for which MIM had also made representations earlier.

During his visit in May here, BJP president Amit Shah had said the BJP will target your seat in the 2019 general elections. Any cause for worry?

In democracy, we cannot choose our opponents. I welcome them. In fact, I have even said that Amit Shah should contest the elections against me; so let him come.

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