Choose development to deaths

The other day listening to a debate on the burning topic of Rahul versus Modi, I was aghast to hear a senior Muslim leader’s comment, “If I have to choose between development and deaths in elections, I will vote for the latter.”

He was referring to his vote against Modi because of Godhra killings. Perhaps the provocation was the comment, “Why can’t we move beyond 2002, 1992 and 1984.”

I know it’s hard to forget the gruesome killings and equally harder to forgive the killers for the victims of 1984 Sikh riots, 1992 post demolition riots, 2002 Sabarmati Express carnage and the subsequent Godhra riots.

But why live with that? One can certainly move forward while demanding justice and not mere apology.

Why should we be so fixed about Modi not apologising or not sounding remorseful? How can apology balm the wounds? Only justice can, that is punishment to the culprits.

Recently when Maulana Mahmood Madani, general secretary of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, issued a statement that there is a perceptible change in the Muslims’ attitude towards Modi, hell broke loose.

Clerics were angry as they felt Madani was either doing politics or playing into the hands of the politicians.

My contention is why keep on harping anti-Modi sentiments and for what? Instead why can’t the community and their clerics demand more jobs, more educational facilities to grow in their lives?

Agreed, the Muslim leaders are called for debates but it is up to them to drive home the point that the Muslims of today want to move forward and not remain stuck in their painful memories of the past.

The clock can’t be stopped because they don’t want to choose development to deaths.

Perhaps there is a lesson for all of us to learn from the hard working and equally religious Sikhs who after 1984 riots not only rebuilt their personal lives but also helped others in their community.

Does this mean their pain was less or they had forgiven the powerful culprits? No, they continue to fight for justice while marching forward in their lives.

Let’s come out of our ghettos and be an Indian first, then a Hindu or a Muslim.

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