All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Asaduddin Owaisi on 14 September dared the Narendra Modi government to declare Taliban a terrorist organisation even as he said his party was willing to contest 100 seats in Uttar Pradesh.
The United States is one country that designates countries, outfits and individuals as terrorists based on certain parameters. No other country has this provision in its statutes. The United Nations is known for a similar practice. India does ban terrorist organisations, though, but the list contains the names of only such outfits that have operated on the Indian soil at some point. That Taliban has so far not been one of them.
Overlooking such technicalities, Owaisi told reporters in Patna: “If the government has courage, it should put Taliban in the schedule of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. I have been saying since 2013 that the Taliban’s emergence could be a sign of concern for India, while it might benefit China and Pakistan. But for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), all Muslims are Taliban. The Indian government has made a strategic blunder by isolating Muslims in the National Register for Citizens (NRC). I always maintained that it should not be on religious lines.”
Reacting to UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s “abbajaan” remark meant for his predecessor Akhilesh Yadav’s father Mulayam Singh Yadav, Owaisi said, “Had he worked, he would not have had to take recourse to abbajaan at the time of election. Muslims of Uttar Pradesh have the lowest literacy rate and the highest dropout rate. UP has the highest number of malnourished children. Yogi is only diverting attention from those issues.”
“We are preparing to contest 100 seats in UP. So far there is no tie-up. We can go it alone also…Those who point fingers at us for helping any party should explain what happened in the Lok Sabha election when AIMIM was not in the fray. In Bihar, we fought 19 seats and won five. We are expanding to ensure that the Muslims get their deserved rights, which has not happened and is apparent through their poor economic and educational condition,” he said, adding the state unit of the party would take a call on the two seats going to by-elections in Bihar later this year.
Owaisi was critical of a letter from the district magistrate of Kishanganj for identifying suspected foreign nationals, citing the Patna High Court. He said it looked like an attempt to implement NRC through the backdoor. “I am disappointed. I expected the state government to give clarity on the matter before the court,” he said.
BJP spokesperson Nikhil Anand said Owaisi was trying to instigate Muslims in the name of NRC for his brand of politics, like the Indian National Congress (INC) and RJD always did. “Nobody can stay in any country without passport and visa unless one gets political asylum or is treated as a refugee. Rest are treated as illegal immigrants and every country requires to prepare their list. The same needs to be done in India as well. What is happening in Seemanchal is a normal police process, as the issue of illegal immigration is no secret in the bordering areas such as Kishanganj, Katihar, Araria etc. at present, NRC has not been implemented and Owaisi should refrain from deriving political mileage out of it,” he said.