Indian right-wing party Shiv Sena sparked controversy as it demanded the revocation of voting rights for Muslims.
“Vote bank politics is being played in the name of fighting against the injustice meted out to Muslims. Their educational and health status is being used politically. This politics was once played by the Congress and now every other person calls himself secular,” an editorial said, according to the Times of India.
The editorial published on Sunday in Saamana, the mouthpiece of the right-wing Shiv Sena party reiterated its late founder Balasaheb Thackeray’s statement that advocated the withdrawal of voting rights for Muslims.
“If Muslims are only being used this way to play politics, then they can never develop. Muslims will have no future till they are used to play vote bank politics and thus Balasaheb had once said to withdraw Muslims voting rights. What he said is right,” the editorial added.
“The secular masks of all the so-called secular political parties will be worn out, once their voting rights are withdrawn.”
The statement invoked the condemnation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as well as the opposition Congress party and several others.
“The Indian Constitution has given every citizen, irrespective of his/ her caste, community or religion, the right to vote,” said BJP spokesman Madhav Bhandari. “Those who express such views are blatantly violating the Indian Constitution. Strict action should be taken against them for such remarks.”
Further, the editorial lashed out at All India Majlis-e-Ittahadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) MP Asaduddin Owaisi for challenging Sena president Uddhav Thackeray to come to Hyderabad.
“Owaisi dares us to come to Hyderabad. But we want to ask him if Hyderabad is in India or in Lahore, Karachi or Peshawar. The pride of Marathis is known in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Kandahar as well.”
“By saving the hiding place of snakes, you cannot kill them. Owaisi and his party are like a snake which, if fed, will do no good to the nation. AIMIM is an old snake,” it added.
The statement came a day after a Hindu Mahasabha leader claimed that Muslims and Christians should forcibly be sterilised to restrict their growing population, which, according to her, posed a threat to Hindus.
“The population of Muslims and Christians is growing day by day. To rein in this, Centre will have to impose emergency, and Muslims and Christians will have to be forced to undergo sterilisation so that they can’t increase their numbers,” vice president of All India Hindu Mahasabha Sadhvi Deva Thakur said