Sakshi Maharaj, the BJP’s Unnao MP, and Union minister Maneka Gandhi are not terror experts. Yet no one in the government or the party they represent, the BJP, seems to be reminding them of that reality and asking them to stop spreading their woolly headed ideas on terrorism. On Sunday, Mr Maharaj said that madarsas across the country were imparting terror education and instigating “love jihad”. He claimed that the Muslim youth were being motivated for “love jihad” with separate cash rewards, depending on the community of the women they are supposed to lure, and alleged that madarsas did not raise the Tricolour on August 15 and January 26, adding that he would request the central government to stop financial aid to such seminaries. His party colleague and Union minister, Ms Gandhi, went a step further: The minister said that there was a direct link between the slaughter trade and terrorism.
Let’s take Mr Maharaj’s comment first: While raising the Tricolour on August 15 and January 26, or for that matter any day of the year, is a matter of pride and joy, raising the flag is not the only marker of patriotism. Moreover, Mr Maharaj should know that the Centre itself has a scheme of promotion of madarsa education by giving them financial assistance for introducing science, mathematics, social studies, Hindi and English in their curriculum so that students studying in these institutions attain academic proficiency. As for Ms Gandhi, the sole purpose of her comment, though she clarified that she was not targeting any community, was to target a particular group that controls the trade. No prizes for guessing which community.
Neither Ms Gandhi nor Mr Maharaj will shut up in near future and be prepared to hear such unsubstantiated comments in the coming months: There is too much of political space at stake for them to quietly recede to a corner. They know it, the BJP knows it. Period.