Giriraj Singh, the member of Prime Minister Marendra Modi’s cabinet who regularly delivers hate speeches with striking impunity, has said in his latest offering that all Muslims should have been sent to Pakistan in 1947.
“It is the time to commit ourselves to the nation. Before 1947, (Muhammad Ali) Jinnah pushed for an Islamic nation. It was a big lapse by our ancestors that we’re paying the price for. If at that time Muslim brothers had been sent there and Hindus brought here, we wouldn’t be in this situation. If Bharatvanshiyas don’t get shelter here where will they go?” Mr Singh said, speaking in Bihar’s Purnia on Wednesday.
The Animal Husbandry, Dairy and Fisheries minister’s comment comes amid nationwide protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which promises citizenship to only non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who came to India before 2015.
Critics say the law makes religion a test of Indian citizenship for the first time in violation of the constitution and, when used along with the planned National Register of Citizens, can be used to target Muslims who cannot prove their lineage.
The government, however, says the law is necessary to help those who have faced religious persecution in the neighbouring countries.
Giriraj Singh is a well-known member of the government who has openly voiced his strong dislike for Muslims many times and is rarely pulled up by the BJP.
Just four days ago, Mr Singh was reportedly summoned by BJP chief JP Nadda over his comment alleging that the Islamic seminary Deoband in Uttar Pradesh is an “aatankvaad ki Gangotri (fountainhead of terrorism)”. The reprimand has appeared to have little effect.
Since the Citizenship Amendment Act was passed, there have been 65 instances of hate speeches by prominent political leaders in India out of which 61 have been from the BJP, an NDTV analysis shows.
These include Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggesting that violent anti-CAA protesters can be identified with their clothes, Union Home Minister Amit Shah asking Delhi voters to give an “electrical shock” to demonstrators in Shaheen Bagh with their vote and junior minister Anurag Thakur egging on his supporters to chant “shoot the traitors”.
Responding to Giriraj Singh’s latest comment, Left leader Kanhaiya Kumar said the minister was expending far too much time promoting Pakistan. “He should be made the visa minister and open a travel agency office in Lahore,” Mr Kumar said.