A war of words has broken out among political parties in Uttar Pradesh following the issuance of a decree by Islamic seminary Dar-ul Uloom terming Bahujan Samaj Party's slogan 'Jai Bhim' as un-Islamic and violative of Shariat.
While BSP supremo and UP Chief Minister Mayawati has downplayed the decree (fatwa) saying the "greeting" had no religious connotation and was not binding on its workers, the Samajwadi Party has been quick to grab the opportunity to try and stoke Muslim ire against the ruling party.
SP leader and spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary has claimed that "the slogan of Jai Bhim has been forced on BSP workers".
While the decree has caused some concern among BSP's Muslim leaders, a cleric from the seminary Asad Madani, who joined the party recently said the slogan was not a compulsion for party workers.
Senior BJP leader Hriday Narayan Dikshit said, "Jai Bhim is simply a form of salutation. It is really unfortunate that now fatwas are being issued on how people interact with each other."
Naib Imam of Idgah (Lucknow) and member of All India Muslim Personal Law Board Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali, however, said, "A political party cannot compel Muslims to hail an individual as that is un-Islamic."