In yet another vitriolic comment from the Bharatiya Janata Party against the Muslim community, a party MP has alleged that madrassas "teach terrorism" and "breed jihadis".
This comment came from BJP MP from Unnao Sakshi Maharaj on Sunday, who is just the latest in a long line of hate-spewing party leaders to have made extremely communal statements. What is surprising is that none of these loose-lipped members have yet been pulled up by the high command in the party.
Maharaj, who was speaking at an event in Kannauj, questioned the government aid given to madrassas, said that the institutions have no "connection with nationalism", and should be given aid only if they "follow the same curriculum as other schools instead of teaching terrorism".
"Education of terrorism is being given in madrassas. They (madrassas) are making them terrorists and jihadis. It is not in national interest," he said.
And like several other BJP leaders who seem to be deeply concerned about the issue of 'Love Jihad', Maharaj said that Muslim youth were being encouraged in madrassas with 'cash rewards' for "trapping" women of other religion.
He also went on to state the cash rewards allegedly offered - ₹11 lakh for an "affair" with a Sikh girl, ₹10 lakh for a Hindu girl and ₹7 lakh for a Jain girl, according to The Indian Express.
This statement comes just a few days after former BJP president and now Home Minister Rajnath Singh feigned ignorance on the controversial term, responding to media queries with "What is Love Jihad?" This nonchalant statement only reflects the free rein being given within the party to attack a community that has long seen the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) – influenced party as a nemesis.
Just last week, BJP MP Yogi Adityanath had courted controversy when he blamed communal riots in western Uttar Pradesh on the large numbers of a 'particular community'. An earlier video of his hate speech on Love Jihad had also surfaced recently.
In another instance, BJP MLA from Indore Usha Thakur had issued orders to Garba organisers to to ensure Muslim men are not allowed entry to the dance venue as they could indulge in 'Love Jihad' and convert Hindu women.
A Goa academic has questioned the silence of Muslim leaders within the BJP on such outrageous remarks, while also pointing at Modi.
"What are leaders like Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Najma Heptulla doing; Modi should put a lid on such statements," Urfan Mulla top official of the Goa Urdu Academy told IANS. "India and Muslims in Goa are hurt with Maharaj's comments that Muslims are being taught about terrorism in madrasas. We study Quran in madrasas, where we are also taught about India and love for India," he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who himself has had a chequered history with the community with many still believing his complicity in the 2002 Gujarat riots, has remained uncharacteristically mum on the issue.
Even before he was voted to power on a huge mandate, fears had brewed in some sections of the minority community of bias and communalism, and Modi may well be feeding those fears by choosing to remain silent on increasing attacks by his party on the community.