खबर लहरिया Blog PM Modi says ‘never made Hindu-Muslim’ remark, but his speeches contradict claim | Fact Check

PM Modi says ‘never made Hindu-Muslim’ remark, but his speeches contradict claim | Fact Check

Fact Check by Logically Facts

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed surprise at the interpretation of his controversial remarks regarding ‘infiltrators’ and ‘those with more children’, claiming that they were not intended to target the Muslim community.

                                                                         Photo of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Source: Reuters)

In a recent interview with Indian news channel News18 India (archive here), Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed surprise at the interpretation of his controversial remarks regarding ‘infiltrators’ and ‘those with more children’, claiming that they were not intended to target the Muslim community.

Modi said, “I am shocked. Who told you that whenever one talks of people with more children, the inference is they are Muslims? Why are you so unjust towards Muslims? This is the situation in poor families too. Where there is poverty, there are more children, irrespective of their social circle. I didn’t mention either Hindu or Muslim.”

(Modi’s comments can be heard at the 17:15 timestamp of this video.)

The prime minister was referring to a comment he made during an election rally held in the North Indian state of Rajasthan on April 21, where he had said that the Congress party wants to take away the gold, property of people, and distribute it among ‘those with more children’.

A video from the rally uploaded on Modi’s YouTube channel (archive here) shows him saying, “When they (the Congress) was in power, they said that Muslims had the first right on the country’s wealth. This means they would collect the wealth and give it to whom? The ones who have more children. They will give it to the infiltrators.”

He added, “This is what the Congress manifesto says, that they will do a survey of mothers and daughters’ gold, get information on them, and then distribute these possessions. And they will distribute to them — for whom the Manmohan Singh government had said that Muslims have the first claim to resources. (sic)”

(His comments can be heard at the 36:05 timestamp of this video.)

The Opposition, including the Congress, has accused Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of hate speech and polarization by targeting the Muslim community in India. The Congress also filed a complaint with the Election Commission of India (ECI) about poll rules violations over what it called “deeply objectionable” comments about Muslims in the April 21 speech.

Speaking to News18, the prime minister, however, went on to say that he has never spoken in terms of Hindu-Muslim binaries. Modi, who filed his nomination papers on May 14, seeking a third consecutive term as a Lok Sabha Member of Parliament (MP) from Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, added in the interview, “The day I start doing Hindu-Muslims, I won’t be entitled to live in the public domain. I won’t do Hindu-Muslim. This is my pledge.”

Different speeches, same rhetoric

Despite claiming that he has never and will not speak in terms of Hindu-Muslim polarities, just a day after this interview, on May 15, Modi (archive here) revived the contentious topic at a rally in Nashik, a city in the western state of Maharashtra.

Hitting out at the Congress party, he said that the party’s government in the past wanted to spend 15 percent of India’s total budget on Muslims, and it was his party that stopped this. Modi’s comments can be heard at around 23:50 timestamp of this video.

At another rally in Kalyan (archive here), a city under the Thane district of Maharashtra, he said that if Congress is voted to power then it “will make two budgets on the basis of religion.”

“I will not allow the Budget to be divided as a ‘Hindu budget’ and ‘Muslim budget’ and will not allow quotas based on religion,” he added. His comments can be heard at the 17:50 timestamp of this video.

On May 7, 2024, Modi posted another video clip from one of his election speeches on his official X account (archive here) with the caption, “We must decide what the route we want to take — Ram Rajya (a reference to the Hindu mythological God, Ram and his rule) or Vote Jihad is.” Modi can be heard saying that the Congress party has called for “vote jihad” against Modi, adding that “people from a particular group” have been asked to unite and vote against him.

During another election rally (archive here) speech in Araria, a district in the East Indian state of Bihar, on April 26, 2024, Modi alleged that Congress is biased towards the Muslims.

Remarks on Congress favoring Muslims

Earlier in May, Modi spoke to news channel TV9 Bharatvarsh (archive here) about the Opposition’s allegations that if the BJP comes to power with 400 seats, it will change the Constitution. His comment can be heard around the 25:00-minute mark.

In this interview, he said that he wondered if Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had struck a deal in Wayanad, a Lok Sabha constituency in the South Indian state of Kerala, promising reservation for Muslims in lieu of helping him win the seat and the election.

This harks back to a comment Modi made during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. During an election speech at a rally in Maharashtra’s Wardha (archive here), he said that the Hindus will teach the Congress party a lesson for coining the term “Hindu terror”. The remark can be heard around the 41:00-minute mark.

Referring to Gandhi’s decision of contesting from Wayand, he said, “They no longer dare to contest elections from where the majority lives. They have been punished for calling these Hindus terrorists, and so they have been forced to run away and take refuge where the majority is in the minority.”

Reiterating his assertions that the Congress would implement ‘reservations based on religion’ if elected, Modi claimed during an election rally on May 7 (archive here) that the party is planning to give preference to minorities even in sports.

Earlier on April 25 (archive here), he had accused the Congress of giving “religion-based reservations to Muslims” and said that the party included all Muslims in the list of OBCs overnight in Karnataka and gave the community the entire “27 percent reserved for the OBCs”. However, Logically Facts found it to be untrue.

In an April 12 speech (archive here) in Udhampur, Jammu and Kashmir, Modi criticized the Congress-led Opposition, claiming that their public cooking of meat during the sacred Hindu month of ‘Sawan’ was disrespectful to the sentiments of the people of the nation, describing it as a “Mughal mindset.”

He also claimed that this was being done to please their “vote bank”. Modi’s comments can be heard around 31:55 timestamp.

Not just the prime minister

Rhetoric stressing on the divisions between Hindus and Muslims have also found a place in the election campaign speeches and public statements of other senior BJP leaders.

During an election rally held in Uttar Pradesh on April 23, 2024, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath asserted that the Congress is engaged in appeasement politics. He claimed (archived here), “In the Congress’ manifesto, they openly advocate the implementation of Sharia law if they come to power.” This was echoed by Union Home Minister and BJP leader Amit Shah.

“Sharia” or “Shariat” is a body of religious law that comes from the Quran and other religious sources, but in India, this is only applicable when it comes to issues of personal law.

Both PM Modi and Adityanath have also termed the Congress manifesto as having an imprint of the Muslim League, a reference to the political party founded during the British colonial rule in the Indian subcontinent.

On May 1, 2024, during a roadshow in Hyderabad, Shah stirred up a controversy by claiming that Hyderabad has been ruled by ‘Razakars’, an apparent reference to the All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) and its leader Asaduddin Owaisi, for the last 40 years.

“For 40 years, the representatives of Razakars have been ruling Hyderabad. This time, we are fighting to rid the city of them. Everyone should vote and try to bring the city into the mainstream,” Shah said. (archive here). Congress criticized Shah’s use of the term ‘Razakars,’ terming it as an attempt to target Muslims and create “communal tension and division in the society”.

Clearly, there are several instances of the prime minister and other BJP leaders talking about  religious (Hindu-Muslim) binaries in their speeches.


(This story was originally published by Logically Facts and republished by Khabar Lahariya as part of the Shakti Collective.)


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