Modi has crossed all limits of decency and propriety

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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This speech has crossed all limits of decency and propriety

By Justice Markandey Katju

Politicians no doubt want to attain/retain power. One can therefore understand their political compulsions when they give passionate speeches to attract votes.

But then everything has a limit, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi surely crossed all limits when in an election meeting he gave a virulent speech in Banswara, Rajasthan spouting venom against Indian Muslims, bringing the political discourse in India to a new low.

Modi said that the Congress party wants Muslims to have the first right on India's wealth and resources.

He quoted former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in this connection, but the truth is that Manmohan Singh never made that remark. What he had said was that the weaker sections of society e.g. scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and minorities have the first right on the nation's assets and resources.

Modi also called Indian Muslims 'ghuspethias' ( infiltrators ).

But Indian Muslims are about 200 million out of the 1400 million population of India ( i.e. about 15% ). How can they be infiltrators ?

Over 95% Indian Muslims are local converts. And even those whose ancestors came from abroad were quickly Indianised. For instance, Mughal Emperor Babur, who invaded India in 1526, may have been a foreigner. But his grandson Emperor Akbar was very much an Indian, and could by no stretch of imagination be called a foreigner.

Similarly, Indian Muslims and their forefathers have been living in India for centuries. How can they be called infiltrators ?

Modi said that the Congress party wants to take the gold of Hindu women and distribute it among those who have many children, implying the Muslims

He also said that the Congress will take away the 'mangal sutras' of Hindu women, and give them to Muslims. This again was a provocative remark to incite hatred against Muslims in Hindus.

Opposition parties have strongly reacted to this speech

One may wonder why Modi went berserk and made such a venomous, hateful, malevolent speech against Muslims?

The answer is that he seems to have sniffed the change in the political wind in India, and felt that power, which he excercised since 2014, may be slipping out of his hands. As mentioned in this article, the Modi wave and Modi charisma has vanished in India, and the parliamentary election result on 4th June will show drastic reduction of BJP seats in the Lok Sabha, and may even bring about a coalition INDIA alliance government. This thought seems to have unhinged Modi's mind.

The speech seems to be a last ditch effort to consolidate and galvanise Hindu votes in the next phases of the ongoing Indian parliamentary elections of 2024, but I doubt it will achieve anything. Moreover it is clearly a corrupt practice as defined in section 123 of the Representation of People's Act, 1951.

One is reminded of Hitler's rants when the Soviet army was closing in on Berlin in April 1945.

(Justice Katju is a former Judge, of the Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, the Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own)

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