KOLKATA/NEW DELHI: Mr Anna Hazare is a “fake Gandhi”, a top Muslim cleric of West Bengal said on Tuesday while slamming the activist’s demand for a stronger anti-corruption bill.
“Why Anna Hazare was mum when Gujarat was burning? Why he did not fast when Babri Masjid was razed to the ground? I have seen too many fake Gandhis all these years,” said the Shahi Imam of the state.
The cleric was referring to the 2002 Gujarat riots in which the Chief Minister, Mr Narendra Modi was allegedly involved. The Babri mosque in Ayodhya was razed in 1992.
“We feel Hazare is a farce. He is the same man who has praised Narendra Modi and Uddhav Thackeray. By leading few thousands from a capacity of 120 crore doesn’t excite us much,” said Aziz Mubarki, media advisor to the Shahi Imam.
Meanwhile, strongly criticising Jama Masjid chief cleric Syed Ahmed Bukhari’s anti-Anna comment, many members of the Muslim community in New Delhi on Tuesday said they support the campaign against corruption and Bukhari’s comment was an unnecessary attempt to communalise the situation.
Bukhari had said that Mr Hazare’s slogans were anti-Islamic and added that the social activist used to work for the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
“Bukhari’s comments are an unnecessary attempt to communalise the situation. An ordinary Muslim in the country is just as harassed by the monster of corruption as any other individual…so Anna Hazare’s movement has struck a chord among all,” Mr Zafar Iqbal, a student, told IANS.
“True, Islam says that one should bow in front of none but god himself. But to accuse Anna Hazare and call him anti-Islamic is unacceptable…he is raising a very pertinent issue,” Mr Zafar added.
Agreed Mr Fauzan Umar (24), a resident of Darya Ganj in central Delhi.
“Bukhari’s comments are his personal views and are not representative of what the community feels. India is my motherland and no one should have a problem if I bow before her,” said Mr Umar, who works in an event management company.
“Such foolish comments are a proof of his (Bukhari’s) narrow minded approach,” he added.
The cleric’s comments have drawn flak in the virtual world too, with people venting their ire on social networking sites.
On Facebook, Mr Mohammad Arif Khan wrote: “These type of clerics typecast the entire Muslim community.”
Ms Sheetal Choudhury added: “The tragedy of our times is that we have too many of these self proclaimed leaders of communities who think they can get away after saying anything.”
“Bukhari’s comments have not gone down well with most people…I have a lot of Muslim friends who don’t agree with what he said. Corruption is a problem faced by all and if there is any hope of that coming to an end, everyone will benefit,” she added.