"Whatever (Gujarat CM) Narendra Modi has achieved today is a different thing. But this does not absolve him of his wrongdoing (alleged complicity in the killing of Muslims in 2002),” said a Darul Uloom official of Deoband on anonymity.
Deoband is coming to a boil on the pro-Modi stance of Maulana Gulam Mohammad Vastavi, the new vice-chancellor of the country’s biggest Islamic seminary. The student community and officials of Darul Uloom are split on the issue.
However, the maulana is unfazed. He told HT on Thursday differences with Modi should be resolved through dialogue. He had earlier said in a media statement that Muslims were prospering under the Modi regime.
There were expressions of anguish on the maulana’s position on the seminary’s walls as well.
"Whatever is happening is depressing. It will harm the seminary," said Syed Ahmad Khizar Shah Masoodi, president of the Tanjeem-e-Ulema-e-Hind (an assembly of the clergy), adding, "it is a complex and sensitive issue and we must wait for the opinion of our clergies".
Expressing concern at the controversy, Mufti Mohammed Arshad Farooqui, a cleric, said: "I must pray to keep Darul away from approaching evils."
Lashing out at the maulana, Syed Haris, the young general secretary of the city unit of the Samajwadi Party, said: "It seems that he (vice-chancellor) wished to finish traditional madarsas."
However, rallying behind Maulana Vastavi, Badar Kazmi, vice-president of the Muslim Majlis, said the controversy was a handiwork of hardliners who did not want the Muslim youth to get scientific education.
"Hardliners who aspire to dominate Darul Uloom are involved in fanning the issue," he said, terming Vastavi a “man of a broader vision and outlook”.
The chairman of the nagarpalika and manager of the Muslim Fund Trust, Haseeb Siddiqui, said people should discuss the acts and deeds of the maulana only after giving him time to work.
"Let him work and perform before making an opinion about him," he said.