Patna: CPI leader Kanhaiya Kumar Saturday voiced disapproval of AIMIM leader Waris Pathan’s ’15 crore Muslims can be heavy on 100 crore’ remark and asserted that there was a difference between being “religious” and a “fanatic”.
The former JNU student leader, who was here after completing a state-wide Jan Gan Man Yatra against CAA-NPR-NRC, was responding to queries about Pathan’s comments and the ‘Pakistan zindabad’ slogan raised by a young woman at an AIMIM rally in Bangalore, which resulted in her being slapped with a sedition case.
Pathan had made the statement while addressing an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act rally in Karnataka February 16.
“There always seems to be the need of a whipping boy. Four years ago it was me, at the receiving end of abuses everywhere, including social media. Now, I may have become outdated, so new objects of hatred have been discovered,” the 32-year-old, who first came into limelight upon being slapped with a sedition case in 2016, said.
He, however, added that he was against any attempts to incite people in the name of religion. “It also needs to be understood that there is a difference between being religious and being a fanatic and using one’s belief to justify hatred,” he told reporters here.
The CPI leader will spend the next few days here holding public outreach programmes against CAA-NPR-NRC across Patna district, before concluding his drive with a rally at Gandhi Maidan February 27.
Kanhaiya also underscored that the country-wide protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act-National Population Register-National Register of Citizens were part of a larger fight to protect civil liberties that have come under attack in the current regime.
“We are happy to have done our bit in Bihar. The government in the country seems to believe in the doctrine of divert and rule, just like the British followed the policy of divide and rule. These unnecessary measures are just a ploy to divert public attention,” he alleged.
“We have, therefore, coined the slogan Bihaar maange rozgaar, nahin chaahiye NPR (Bihar needs jobs, not NPR),” Kanhaiya said.
He reiterated that the drive was not aimed at electoral benefits and conducted “with support from people of various parties”, pointing towards Congress MLA Shakeel Ahmed Khan, who sat by his side and had accompanied him during the yatra.
“We got a tremendous response which is a proof that we have struck the right notes, raised issues which matter. Of course, there was politically engineered hostility. But, we succeeded in covering 38 districts with attacks at just nine places,” he remarked with a wry smile.
Replying to a question, he said, “I have received no invitation from Prashant Kishor (poll strategist) to work with him. But, I must make it clear, I am in support of all those who have a vision for betterment of Bihar and I consider none of them as my competitors.”
The young leftist leader’s press conference was hit by roadblocks as a city-based institute, which was originally chosen as the venue, cancelled the arrangement at the eleventh hour and slammed its doors shut on journalists who reached there.
Hurriedly, arrangements for the press conference were thereafter made at the CPI state headquarters which, Kanhaiya said, “We wanted to avoid to drive home the point that our movement is not a party event”.