UP BJP MLA Suresh Rana throws taunts at Deoband Muslims

Deoband(TH): In an indication of the polarised discourse of the Uttar Pradesh by-election, Suresh Rana, BJP MLA from Thana Bhawan in the State on Friday termed Muslims living in Deoband as “those who plan Pathankot-like attacks” while addressing one of the last campaign meetings in Deoband for the by-poll scheduled for February 13. Though campaigning ended on Thursday, video and audio clips of Mr. Rana’s provocative speeches were being shared on social media platforms such as Whatsapp and Facebook groups.

Suresh Rana is not the first BJP leader to raise allegations about terrorists being trained in madrasa. File photo

In the clips being shared on social media platforms, another BJP leader Manoj Chaudhary is seen stating that he would cut any finger that was raised against Hindus.

Mr. Rana also made several references to “people who do not believe in saying ‘Bharat Ma ki jai’”. There were several controversial references to Darul-Uloom Deoband which the town is famous for, without naming the seminary.

“You should raise the slogan of Bharat Mata so loud that those living in Deoband who plan terror attacks like Pathankot should hear Bharat Mata ki jai. So that the slogan goes to all the lanes of Deoband and comes back to this Ram Chowk and those who plan Pathankot attack disappear from Deoband,” said Mr. Rana amid passionate slogans of “Har Har Mahadev” and “Jai Shriram”.

Mr. Rana is not the first BJP leader to have raised allegations about terrorists being trained in madrassas. Several leaders of the BJP such as Sakshi Maharaj and others in the past have made controversial statements about Islamic seminaries.

Mr. Rana, an accused in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots cases, also invoked the riots, the rape of Hindu women and “goondagardi of a particular community” while asking for votes in Deoband.

“Everybody who talks about the honour of our sisters and mothers is slapped with the National Security Act… I want to tell Mulayam Singh and Akhilesh Yadav that nobody has the guts to stop me from talking about saving the honour of our sisters and daughters,” he said, while sharing the stage with Rampal Pundir, the BJP candidate from Deoband.

Mr. Rana was jailed and is out on bail for his alleged role in inciting the riots. The Samajwadi Party government had slapped NSA on him which was later withdrawn by the Allahabad High Court.

“The government registered false cases on us during the riots. I have a dream that the actual culprits of Muzaffarnagar riots will be made to suffer”, he said.

Referring to protests by the Muslim community over the “objectionable” statement of a Hindu Mahasabha leader Kamlesh Tiwari against the Prophet, Mr. Rana said, “Do not try to scare people by gathering a crowd of a few thousand. If you can gather four thousand, we have the power to call a crowd of fifty thousand.”

“Can our sisters go to tuition centres alone early morning or at odd hours?” he asked, while invoking the narrative of “Hindu women under attack from Muslim men”. “Saving the honour of Hindu women” is the prominent campaigning slogan of the BJP in the by-poll.

Mr. Chaudhary, a former BSP MLA, who last week joined BJP along with the Deoband BJP candidate Rampal Pundir, said he would work to finish the goonda raj of one particular community.