Yogi Adityanath is not a hardliner for his Muslim aides | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Yogi Adityanath is not a hardliner for his Muslim aides

UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath may have the image of a Hindu hardliner and a rabble-rouser but his Muslim associates see him as a generous man who stands up for every needy person, irrespective of his religion.

india Updated: Mar 21, 2017 00:47 IST
Abdul Jadid
Man Mohammed is the lone Muslim volunteer at the Gorakhnath temple’s cow shelter, which has around 500 bovines.
Man Mohammed is the lone Muslim volunteer at the Gorakhnath temple’s cow shelter, which has around 500 bovines. (HT Photo)

UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath may have the image of a Hindu hardliner and a rabble-rouser but his Muslim associates see him as a generous man who stands up for every needy person, irrespective of his caste.

Yaseen Ansari (70), a cashier at Gorakhnath temple, Altaf Hussain (45), a bangle seller, and Irfan Ahmed (40), a leader in BJP’s minority wing, are some of the Muslims who claim Yogi has never discriminated people on caste or religious lines.

“He is not against Muslims. He opposes those who praise another country and live here. I have been serving here as a cashier and supervisor for 34 years and have never seen him discriminating on religious ground,” said Yaseen.

Yaseen’s father-in-law also worked at the temple as a gardener while his mother-in-law Hameeda Begum looked after the community kitchen. “Yogiji respects honest people... He helps all, be it a Hindu or a Muslim,” he said.

Man Mohammad, who has been serving at the temple’s ‘gaushala’ (cow shelter) since the age of 10, has no different opinion. “This temple is like my home. I will continue working here for the rest of my life as Yogiji has given a lot of respect and love to me,” Man told HT.

The 30-year-old youth shares a special bond with the temple’s head priest and state’s new CM Yogi Adityanath.

“Yogiji likes my dedication towards the service of cows, including Nandini, his favourite one,” he added.

Hailing from a poor family, he was initiated into the service by his father Inayatullah who himself was a volunteer when mahant Digvijay Nath and mahant Avaidyanath were the priests of the temple.

“Though he (Yogi) has the image of a Hindutva hardliner but when it comes to personal bonding, he stands for everyone, irrespective of religious identity,” Man said.

Irfan Ahmed, a BJP leader who led a campaign demanding Yogi as the next CM, said: “It was just because of Yogi that we became a part of the BJP. He is the only one who has the capability to lead the state.”

Irfan, a motorcycle mechanic, had put up posters portraying Yogi Adityanath as Lord Rama taking on his enemies (political rivals).

“Gorakhnath temple has helped us eke out our living. I have been running shop here for 16 years and if any trouble arises, it is sorted out with the help of Yogiji,” said Altaf Ahmed, who runs a bangle shop at the temple.

There are two dozen Muslim-dominated areas around the iconic Gorakhnath temple. Fayyaz Ahmed, who used to play in the temple during his childhood days, said: “There has always been communal harmony in the area. Though Yogi is perceived to be more radical than his predecessors, Muslims have not faced any problem here.”