Union minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Giriraj Singh stirred a controversy by terming leading Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband at Saharanpur as a ‘’Gangotri of terrorism”.
Darul Uloom Deoband and Samajwadi Party condemned the statement and demanded an apology from the minister while UP Minister of State Mohsin Raza and UP Shia Central Waqf Board Chairman Waseem Rizvi endorsed Singh’s statement.
“I do not know what it is about this place, it produces people similar to ISIS chief Baghdadi and Jamat Ul Dawa chief and Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed. I got to know that both were students of Deoband. I believe that this place is not a centre of learning. In fact, it is a den of terrorism,” Singh said in Saharanpur where he had gone to meet Seer Swami Brahmananand Saraswati at the latter’s ashram on Wednesday.
The Union minister reiterated his remark that those opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in Shaheen Bagh and elsewhere were leading a “Khilafat movement”.
Earlier in December, BJP MP Sanjeev Balyan had also hinted at the role of Darul Uloom Deoband in the violence that occurred during anti-CAA protests in the state.
“They are not anti-CAA, they are anti-India. It’s a Khilafat movement. Had it not been anti-India, then Sharjeel Imam would not have asked to break India and Assam and urge India to become an Islamic nation. Slogans glorifying Afzal Guru and Yakub Memon would not be raised. Hatred is being injected into women, children. Wherever in India, their population exists, they are engaging in Khilafat movement,” the Union Minister said.
Commenting on the population of Muslims, Singh remarked, “Their population has reached 20 crore. Resources available are only 2 per cent. That’s why strictest population control law should be implemented. Those who refuse to accept it, be it from any religion, their voting rights should be taken away.”
Responding to the Union minister statement’s, Deobandi Ulema Qari Sayyid Ishaq Gora condemned the statement and demanded an immediate apology.
“The statement by Giriraj Singh is baseless and unfortunate. He should withdraw his comment and apologise not only to a community but to the whole nation. If he believes that madarsas are the hub of terrorism, then I would like to suggest him to take admission in a madarsa to see what kind of teaching is imparted in this institution. We teach students love and respect for our nation,” he said.
Another cleric, Mufti Asad Kasami, challenged Singh to prove that Baghdadi and Hafiz Saeed were students of Darul Uloom Deoband. The cleric also said that the institution always stood by the country in its fight against terrorism.
Meanwhile, UP Minister of State Mohsin Raza endorsed the Union minister’s statement, saying, “Western UP is notorious for anti-national activities and the presence of ISI modules. Several persons have been arrested by security agencies and that is why Giriraj Singh said this.”
UP Shia Central Waqf Board Chairman Waseem Rizvi said, “Darul Uloom Deoband is a centre promoting extremism and radicalisation of Muslims and the government must take effective action to curb such activities.”
Condemning the statement, Samajwadi Party said, “Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is the fountainhead of terrorism and Singh’s statement is nothing but frustration of the BJP following the debacle in Delhi Assembly polls.”