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HindustanTimes Thu,10 Jul 2014

SP sacks Siddiqui for his Modi interview

HT Correspondents, Hindustan Times  New Delhi/Ahmedabad, July 28, 2012
First Published: 11:10 IST(28/7/2012) | Last Updated: 00:05 IST(29/7/2012)

Worried about its Muslim vote base, the ruling Samajwadi Party of Uttar Pradesh on Saturday disowned its former Rajya Sabha MP Shahid Siddiqui for interviewing Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi for his Urdu weekly Nai Duniya.

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"Hang me if I am guilty (Main gunehgaar hoon toh mujhe phaansi par latkaa do)," Modi said in an interview conducted by editor of Nai Duniya.

The cover-page candid interview runs into six pages and covers issues like state of Muslims in Gujarat, post-Godhra riots and other sensitive issues.

Announcing the expulsion, SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav said: "Shahid Siddiqui is not a part of the Samajwadi Party and the SP has no relations with him."

"We appeal to the media to not portray Shahid Siddiqui as part of the Samajwadi party," Yadav added.

His interview with Modi set up by a Gujarat-based Muslim businessman Zafar Sareshwala had evoked strong reactions from the rights activists and opposition party who ridiculed Modi's melodramatic posturing.

"Instead of being so melodramatic in an interview that is a clear pre election PR exercise, all Modi has to do is surrender himself before the magistrate's court hearing the Zakia Jafri/CJP case and say he is willing to be prosecuted under sections 166 and 153 a and b of the Indian Penal Code as recommended by Amicus Curaie Shri Raju Ramachandran," rights activist Teesta Setalwad said.

Interestingly in last July, Maulana Ghulam Mohammad Vastanvi was removed from the post of mohtamim (vice-chancellor) of Darul Uloom, Deoband,  by the Majlis-e-Shoora, the powerful governing body of the institution.

His removal was recommended by a committee that investigated charges against Maulana Vastanvi, who had sparked a controversy by praising Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, after he took over as VC in January 2011.

Vastanvi, an MBA and of Gujarat, had said at a function in his home State that like all other communities, Muslims too had progressed under the Narendra Modi rule, and that the Muslims should look beyond the post-Godhra communal riots and press ahead.

His statement was seen as giving clean chit to the controversial chief minister, who is largely held responsible for anti minority riots in which over 1200 people were killed in 2002.


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