Home Minister Rajnath Singh today feigned ignorance about ‘love jihad’. He also claimed that his relations with Prime Minister Narendra Modi were cordial. In recent weeks, ‘love jihad’ has emerged as a key campaign by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders like the party’s UP state unit chief Lakshmikant Bajpayee and Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath.
However, the home minister, who also hails from UP, today claimed he had no inkling about the phenomenon, which according to Sangh Parivar and Shiv Sena is a “global conspiracy” where Muslim men “entrap” Hindu women to marry them.
“Arey yeh hai kya. Hume nahi maloom (What is this. I don’t know),” is how Singh replied when asked that BJP leaders from UP, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat issuing statements asking Hindu girls to stay away from Muslims.
Singh’s reply evoked laughter from the gathered media there to attend Home Ministry’s interaction with the media on Modi government completing 100 days. “I have no idea,” was all that Singh was willing to say when persistently queried.
Earlier this week, M Venkaiah Naidu, another senior minister in the Modi government, had told a television channel that he disagreed with UP BJP leader Bajpayee’s comments against a minority community. He had also said he didn’t know what ‘love jihad’ was, that Hindus and Muslims needed to live together and community leaders should sit together to resolve differences.
Adityanath had recently stated that, “jihad in the name of love is unacceptable” and that only a BJP-led state government can “stop forceful conversion of Hindu girls”. Party sources say some of the senior leaders in the party are not comfortable with aggressive elements like Adityanath and even Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh affiliated outfits like Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad monopolizing the social and political discourse and pushing saner voices to the margins.
The Home Minister also claimed his relations with the PM were cordial. “He is our Prime Minister and an effective Prime Minister and I am the Home Minister in his government. What else?” Singh said. After a pause, he said, “Humare sambandh madhur they, madhur hai aur madhur rahenge (Our relations were cordial, are cordial and will always remain like that).”
The Home Minister on a wide array of issues, including his government’s willingness to talk with left wing extremists if they shun the path of violence. “We are ready to talk to anyone who leave the path of violence. We have even asked their ideologues to come to negotiating table,” he said.On the floods in Kashmir, the Home Minister said of the 1,200 affected villages in Kashmir Valley, 400 were completely submerged under water and 1.3 lakh people were rescued by Army, Air Force, Navy and NDRF teams.
He said 1,100 villages were hit by floods in Jammu, of which 300 were completely submerged.Singh said disaster relief funds of Rs 1,100 crore were with the Jammu and Kashmir government and 90 per cent of this money was contributed by the Centre.