‘Bihar poll result lesson for fringe Hindu elements’
NEW DELHI: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti said on Saturday the defeat of the BJP in the Bihar elections had done a “great job” in discouraging the fringe groups that have been “misusing” Hinduism for political gain.
Mufti’s comments, made at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi, were ostensibly directed at some Union ministers and BJP leaders’ controversial remarks which have fed a raging national debate over growing intolerance.
“In our country there are fringe elements who are misusing the name of Hinduism and they also compare it with nationalism which is worse,” she said.
“The mentality is the same… It is the thought process that counts,” she said when asked how her party, which has an alliance with the BJP in Jammu and Kashmir, justifies calls from some Union minister that those who support eating beef must “go to Pakistan”.
Several BJP ministers and leaders, including VK Singh, Kailash Vijayvargiya and Yogi Adityanath, had recently courted controversies with their statements, prompting the party leadership to urge restraint at a time when the government is trying to win parliamentary approval for key reforms legislation.
“When people are trying to fight a battle with rising prices, don’t get onions, and suddenly some people start dictating which meat one should consume. This is not done. This is not acceptable,” she said.
“But the Bihar polls have done a great job. Certain things are larger than elections. Tolerance is the strength of India. Hinduism had provided this tolerance while Islam had given equality and Christianity compassion and charity.”
Mufti also asserted there will be no “fiddling” with Article 370 that accords special status to Jammu and Kashmir, reacting to suggestions earlier this year from certain BJP leaders that the constitutional provision would eventually be scrapped. She said the constitutional provision only strengthens the region’s bond with India.
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When people are trying to fight a battle with rising prices... suddenly some people start dictating which meat one should consume. This is not done. This is not acceptable.
MEHBOOBA MUFTI, PDP president
■ PDP president Mehbooba Mufti at an HT Leadership Summit session. She said tolerance was India’s strength.