The Bharatiya Janata Party workers belonging to Muslim community are bewildered over the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act. A considerable number of BJP’s Muslim workers have distanced themselves from the pro-CAA meetings being organised by the party in different parts of India.
There is a deep divide within members of the BJP minority wing, with many upset and angry with the party. During its membership drive in 2018 for the minority wing, BJP had enrolled lakhs of Muslims across India.
A senior Muslim member of the saffron party in Hyderabad explained, “We are very upset. There is no one listening to us within the party. Majority of the members are introspecting on their future role in the party. Few are vocal about it. Those, who believe they still have a future in the party, have decided to keep quiet on this issue.”
This is the reason why they are not attending the pro-CAA rallies or interacting with people. If anybody approaches and questions them about CAA, they maintain they have no idea, just like the common man. A member of the BJP belonging to the minority community says they have been hurt by the decision of the government on CAA.
“Shia Muslims in Pakistan are suffering. They have been targeted in that country from time to time. The BJP patronised a large number of Shia Muslims. The Shia community in Uttar Pradesh even sided with the BJP. But what has the community got in the end? The persecuted Shia minorities in Pakistan have not got justice,” the party member from minority community lamented.
There are 400 families belonging to the Shia community in Hyderabad, who have relatives in Karachi and Quetta in Pakistan. These Shias had migrated to Pakistan from the Nizam state after its accession to India. These families were hopeful that after aligning with BJP, there would be a reprieve for them. But the stand taken by BJP has left them in lurch. The CAA provides for granting Indian citizenship only to non-Muslim minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
“We have been left with nothing. Shias have not been politically active in all the three countries of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh and have suffered due to this reason. There was some hope in India, but even that has been lost now,” the minority wing leader remarked.
National vice president of BJP minority cell Farid Sheikh Liaquat Ali says, “Party workers and common people are asking the same question.”
I have told them what union home minister Amit Shah has said in Parliament, that CAA is not against Indian Muslims. But people are not convinced. Every meeting or social function that I attend, I find that people are angry and upset. I have been with the BJP for 33 years and whatever I hear from the people is being conveyed to the party.”
The incident that occurred at the madarasa in Uttar Pradesh has led to a pointed question: “If this can happen to Muslims in UP, will it not repeat elsewhere?”
CAA: Muslim workers of BJP feel cheated