On 7th April Sharad Pawar conducted a Facebook live, on the current hot button topic. Covid-19 crisis and impact of congregation held by Tablighi Jamaat, in Nizamuddin. During which he indulged in some very irresponsible politicking. Not expected from one of the senior most and tallest leader! Politicians, just as a mobile handset in search of a network, are in search of opportunity to drive agenda and cater to own constituency. But I thought, this kind of narrow opportunism, when country is facing one of the gravest crises, was below the belt. Sharad Pawar, while dwelling on many things such as, importance of staying home and social distancing asked who gave the permission to hold the congregation. By saying that, put complete onus of the congregation and it’s deadly after effects on Central Government.
Maulana Mohammad Saad (Tablighi Jamaat’s chief) and his followers have been absolved of all responsibility. Whereas it was clear that Delhi Police had issued a stern warning to Tablighi Jamaat leaders against holding the congregation on 13th March. But this much pandering to Radical vote bank was good enough for Sharad Pawar. He goes on to say, Tablighi Jamaat should not be singled out for spreading the infections. Media should avoid using the name. Media should also not discuss how these Jamaatis hiding in the Markaaz and travelling to different cities has crippled the country. By doing that we are targeting the whole Muslim community.
Sharad Pawar is playing dangerous politics. When he says that, that Tablighi Jamaat should not be discussed, he is giving free pass to those who are flouting laws. He is trying to protect those who are challenging the Law and Order apparatus on a large scale. For sample just consider the fact, those who started series of infections amongst Jamaatis were Muslim clerics from overseas (mostly south East Asians). Scores of these clerics came to India on a tourist Visa and were actually indulging into proselytizing. So does Sharad Pawar who (supposedly) carries the glorious legacy of Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj, supports this conversion of Hindus? There have been enough reports to confirm that Tablighi Jamaatis have physically attacked doctors and spat on them. They were also found roaming naked in hospitals and sexually harassing nurses. Does the tallest Maratha leader support this, and these? Going further, when he says, that even discussing Jamaatis amounts to targeting Muslims, how does this escape him that he’s equating all Muslims to Jamaatis? Today, if India is staring at a possible Covid-19 crisis,it’s because of Maulana Saad and his followers. By equating Jamaatis to Muslim community he is not doing any favor to them.
When a leader of Sharad Pawar’s stature tries to deflect scrutiny of such a large scale defiance of law, it sends a perilous message! This is vote bank politics of worst nature! It tells fringe elements and law breakers, that even if you challenge Indian state, I support you. He is telling Muslim clerics get me votes, I will allow you to run riot.
If you think, I am scare mongering, look at incidents which followed. On 14th April, the day PM Modi announced extension of lockdown till 3rd May. His address to the nation was over by 10.30 am. There was no ambiguity, message was clear- lockdown continues. Yet intriguingly, grapevine was abuzz with the news that trains have resumed. And crowd of migrant workers started gathering at 2 PM outside Sunni Masjid which is close to Bandra station. By 4 pm, this swelled to few thousands. And as per Indian Secular politics’ standard practice, Islamist rabble-rousers addressed the crowd. Egging them to side them with Allah and challenge Modi!
What has Allah to do with lockdown? If you are not perplexed enough, take this. None of these travel eager workers were carrying any bag or even a small tiffin! Those who wish to travel thousands of kilometers, will do it without any baggage? By 5 PM crowd had become restless and even after providing food packets they were not placated. A rumor had created near riot like situation in Mumbai. For a moment, the memories of 93 riots (When Sharad Pawar was a CM) flashed. Only when police resorted to lathi charge the crowd dispersed. You see, when we as a country are going into another lockdown, how can Maharashtra Government allow such a huge crowd to assemble? Is this not an intelligence failure? In fact, this is complete failure of governance.
Even in this mayhem what stood out was opportunism of alliance partners. Vinay Dubey (NCP office bearer) on 11th April sent an instigating tweet. Translated which meant, Maharashtra Government should provide a solution to migrant worker’s problem, otherwise they will be forced to walk home. Sena’s another partner Congress went a step further. It’s MLA Zeeshan Siddique, on 14th April, talking to news channels, said “Maharashtra Government has failed to provide food to migrant workers. We (Congress) has done that”.
For God’s sake…what sort of opportunism is this? Instead of fighting this pandemic together, NCP-Cong-Sena are at each other’s throat! And this when, about 25% of national Corona infections are in Maharashtra. And off those 65% are in only Mumbai! The mortality ratio is even worse than this!
What’s happening? Maharashtra, which literally means Great Nation, has gone to dogs! And this when, we have one of the tallest Maratha Leader and many experienced Congress leaders are running the Government!
As things stand now, it’s quite clear that NCP and Congress, since day one are indulging in one-upmanship with Shiv Sena. None should be surprised if this Bandra fiasco further deepens the Corona crisis and Mumbai numbers go up. If that happens Pseudo Secular politics by Sharad Pawar, venomous opportunism by Congress and Uddhav Thackeray’s underwhelming administration are to be blamed. In this moment of national crisis, country, with abated breath, awaits to get Maharashtra Government its act together.