On the surface this might look like yet another case of gang-rape.  Another minor assaulted by a bunch of pervert criminals.
But is there is a silver lining? Let’s first get the news.

Mother Takes Son to Police for Allegedly Raping Minor

All India | Press Trust of India | Updated: September 06, 2014 15:33 IST

CANNING, WEST BENGAL: A young bus conductor from West Bengal was arrested by the police for allegedly raping a minor girl near a school after his mother complained to the police.

Ainur Bibi lodged a complaint against her son Najir Seikh at the Diamond Harbour police station in the South 24-Parganas district after rescuing the seven-year-old girl yesterday, a senior police official said.

According to the police, Ainur Bibi came to know about the incident after Nazir talked about it after returning home in a drunk state.

Najir and three others had allegedly raped the Class 1 student when she had gone outside the school to urinate as the school toilet was closed. She was left unconscious near a bush.

“After hearing about the incident, Ainur Bibi rushed to rescue the girl. She took the girl to Diamond Harbour hospital and then lodged a complaint against her son with the police,” the official said.

The family members of the girl were unaware of the incident when Ainur Bibi took the girl to the hospital and later reached the police station.

How significant is this whole incidence?

First it re-emphasizes the need for toilet facilities in school, especially for girl students.

Besides being a major cause of girl student‘s drop out from schools, lack of the privacy of a toilet has forced a vast section of our women population to continue this undignified practice, increasing their vulnerability to sexual predators

Just the other day, on an ‘uncharacteristic’ use of the Independence Day speech platform, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi dared to touch on such unglamorous topics as female feticide, dignity and security of women and challenged the government and corporate world to rise to the occasion and do the minimum to provide toilets in all school within the time frame of one year, specially keeping the girl students in mind.

As an extension, a goal has been set for every house to have toilet & safe drinking water facility by 2019.

Secondly, this incidence opens our eyes to the appeal that the Prime Minister made to all parents. “Parents ask their daughters hundreds of questions, but have any parents ever dared to ask their son as to where he is going, why he is going out, who his friends are. After all, a rapist is also somebody’s son … .. if every parent decides to impose as many restrictions on the sons as have been imposed on our daughters – try to do this with your sons, try to ask such questions of them.”

How better can a mother respond to such a clarion call than what Ainur Bibi did?

How can one judge her as a mother? Can we criticize her for failing to protect and shield her son from the law? Or should be salute her for having the courage to try to bring her son back to the right path, to educate and make him more humane?

Thirdly, is this a kind of news that should be spread as an example? Should this lady be felicitated? Should her story be allowed to reach each and every home in the country? Should the media promote it with an equal vigor of a Shah Rukh movie or a comparable glory of a Sachin Tendulker century?

Dr A. P.J. Kalam, our president reportedly, once lamented, “Why is the media here so negative? Why are we in India so embarrassed to recognize our own strengths, our achievements?”

Should our media, busy is raising issues and criticizing, alleged often with obvious bias and vested interest, for once, rise to the occasion and take the responsibility and challenge to make Ainur Bibi a household name so that more and more parents take a renewed interest in building the life of their children and in the process, build the nation, one person at a time.

May be then we can hope for a modified India, in not so far a future.


Loksabha election 2014! What a show of democracy! Kudos to the Indian electorate. Congratutalions to the millions who voted for a change.

And salute to the person who rose from a tea stall, worked through the ranks without personal ambitions, gathered name and fame as an able and dedicated administrator, amd worked, undaunted by relentless attacks of opportunistic subhumans over the years, with a singular mission of improving the life of his countrymen and a vision to make India ‘ek Bharat, shreshtha Bharat’.

This is a huge personal pleasure for me as a admirer of this great personality, since I had written some 5yrs ago, arguing for Narendra Modi as Prime Minister.


A prayer for Mr. Narendra Modi.

Arindam Bandyopadhyay, MD

Congratulations, Mr. Narendra Modi, for your stupendous success in the 2014 Loksabha election.

You have been chosen by the Almighty to lead India. The 1.25 billion people of India have participated in a democratic revolution, the largest in the history of mankind, to give you the unequivocal mandate. They have come forward, shedding their glooms and grievances, with the great hope and aspiration that achche din aane waley hai.

We are aware that the road ahead is not going to be easy. You have been successful, through work more than words, in instilling a sense of belief and confidence. Still a billion plus people will likely have an equal measure of expectations and some are bound to be disappointed for various reasons. There would definitely be other distractions. Your opponents, politically or otherwise motivated, though temporarily numbed by the election results, will make every effort for a comeback. You will still continue to be under the microscope and every action or word of yours will still be analyzed for any possible aberration. The sinking secularist will keep on clutching to the debate of secularism vs. communalism because that is their sole straw of survival. The news-traders will continue their tirade at every opportune moment. Moreover of the more radical elements, some would still prefer to stop you at any cost while others will continue to consider you as their ‘target number one’.

You have to overcome all these and many more. Our well wishes are with you.

May you remain focused in your vision for India first and restore her lost pride.

May you have the strength to reclaim India, her heritage and her tradition!

May Indians, under your leadership, restore the glory of their wavered, age-old civilization!

May you revive the sense of self-esteem and worthiness in every Indian’s life!

May India get the benefit of maximum governance, minimum government!

May you succeed in providing a transparent, positive and decisive administration!

May you remain unfazed in your resolution to eradicate the curse of discrimination and corruption from Indian life!

May you lead us to our swaraj again, through su-raaj and free us from the shackles of poverty and despair.

May you succeed in promoting development as a mass movement with your mantra of sabka saath, sabka vikas!

May all citizens feel uniformly Indian, irrespective of language, caste, region and religion!

May all Indians, enjoy the fruit of development for all and appeasement for none!

May true secularism, beyond gimmicks of iftar party and politics of skull caps, re-emerge and prevail!

May you guide Hindus to become better Hindus, Muslims to become better Muslims!

May India, as a country, stride into the 21st century, with the respect as a world power!

May the message of vasudhaiva kuṭumbakam, emanating from Bharat, attain its desired global acceptance!

We, the1.25 billion people of India, are with you.

May Parmatma bless you!


Pure Modi Magic! 

Psuedo -seculars must be grunting and sulking!

But the truth is even Muslims are tired of vote-bank politics and are embracing Modi brand of development politics!

Time to throw out the likes of Mamata, Mulayam, Nitish, Lallu and the Nehru-Gandhi clan lead Congress brigade.

Modi-vate the people to Modi-fy the nation.

Jai Hind!


Modi sweep: Muslim majority town elects all BJP candidates


 Ahmedabad, Feb 12: It was a straight fight and the BJP created history by winning all 27 seats of town municipality in Salaya, a Muslim-majority town in Dwarka district. Salaya is know for its mega power project and now it will be known for giving Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi another triumph in the development agenda.

Among BJP’s 27 candidates, 24 were Muslims while remaining three were Hindus including one Scheduled Tribe (ST) candidate.

The BJP’s sweep in a township comprising 90 percent Muslims will take wind of many pseudo-secular elements. Of the 27 seats spread over nine wards, BJP candidates won unopposed on four seats in state municipal elections. Voting for remaining 23 seats took place on Sunday (10th February) with Congress in straight fight with BJP. The Congress party candidates even lost deposit on three seats.

Salaya has been enjoying fruits of development with Essar Energy’s integrated energyc company establishing a power unit to generate 1200 mw. Salaya I is Essar Energy’s first coal fired power project and has been built at a total investment cost of US$1.1 billion. Most of the power produced will be sold to the Gujarat state electricity utility, GUVNL, under a long term contract. When all the units are commissioned, the project is expected to generate nearly 2000 mw power.

Salaya will also be getting a world-class marine infrastructure project with a state-of-the-art material handling facility. The bulk handling port will be capable of handling 20 MMTPA of cargo. The jetty is located in the Salaya Harbour, which is naturally protected by two islands – Kalubhar Tapu and Dhani Be.

Essar has been conducting various projects under its social development initiative in Salaya. To empower the local women, Essar Foundation runs a stitching centre in Salaya. The Foundation is supporting the stitching center by providing skills and creating new business opportunities. This will also provide the associated families with an alternative source of income, by establishing market linkages.

The stitching center at Salaya initially started as a small community program by the local Wagher Muslim Community Jamat, with the idea to provide skill development to the women without them having to leave their houses.

The center is also imparting the women several life skills such as basic literacy, personality development, accounts and business entrepreneurship.

OneIndia News

Published in www.ivarta.com blog

Time to Modi-fy India

Arindam Bandyopadhyay

Enough is enough.

India is sick and tired.

We are sick of lies and deceptions, of scams and cover-ups, of promises and failures, of vote bank and divisive politics, of nepotism and sycophancy.

We are tired of the bickering, pompous politicians and their ignoble associates, the dynastic rulers, the family business of politics and the scams and schemes they manage.

We are appalled by the directionless and disengaged government, awestruck by its leadership or the lack of it, disgusted with its indifference to the need of its citizenry and terrified by its indecisiveness on matters as basic as internal and external security

We are mocked as the mango people of the banana republic. We are made to believe that the country is for the privileged and the influential and the rest only entitled to crumbs. People of debatable backgrounds are pampered as celebrities and those with dubious motives are lauded as activists. Separatists who openly preach sedition get away with open threats and get rewarded with free coverage of their freedom of expression.

Lawlessness is the norm. Our ill-trained police forces are made a laughing stock on and off the screen. Their sacrifices hardly raise any eyebrow. Our security forces are rendered toothless by politician with vested interests. We are made to believe that court cases are supposed to stretch for decades, that justice can be brought or manipulated and that for special convicts, jails can be transformed into five star accommodations. 

Our media has long forgotten its role in nation building, too preoccupied with TRP ratings and sensationalism. Biased and partisan panelists are involved hand in gloves, in the decadence, oblivious of all their accountabilities and commitments.

Even after 65 years of independence, we have not been able to provide the very basic requirements like water, electricity or education to the vast majority of our population. Issues such as pollution, sanitation, health, nutrition and infrastructure are plaguing the country. Yet crores and crores of rupees are misappropriated or embezzled, by unholy nexuses of politicians and their collaborators. No wonder politics happens to be the surest and quickest way of getting rich in the country. And no surprise that India rank 85th on the Corruption Perception Index (CPI), out of 180 countries. It is shameful that even a Prime Minister could do little but lament that only 15 per cent of all funds actually reach the common man.

We are tired of being poor. We are tired of hearing about garibi hatao and poverty lines, of schemes that are supposed to benefit the aam aadmi but do not reach them, of promises to eradicate the parallel economy and of assurances to bring back black money, stashed away in foreign banks. We are ashamed that a third of the world’s poor belongs to India and over 40% of India falls below the international poverty line of US$ 1.25 a day (2005 World Bank statistics).

We are tired of being called a third world country.

We are sick of the chalta hai mentality.

We want to break the shackles of stagnation.

We want change.

We are restless. Our frustration and desperation is visible. We have shown that we are not afraid to come out on the streets with posters and candle lights, to face the batons and water cannons, as during the fight against corruption or the protest against atrocities affecting women.

We are the largest democracy of the world, with a median age of 25 years and with around 70 percent of the 1.2 billion people under the age of 40 years. The generation which has been exposed to the world through television and internet feel that they have the talent to compete with the rest of the world. We aspire to improve our lot, prove our excellence and write our destiny.

We just need a leader to facilitate and guide us.

We want a statesman, unquestionably a nationalist who puts India first, and can stand up for her without being intimidated by international pressure.

We want a person with integrity, who is not only incorruptible himself, but also does not permit others to indulge in corruption.

We want a decisive, bold, no-nonsense leader, an able administrator who gets acknowledged even by his sulking opponents.

We want a visionary who can raise hope and nurture them, who can not only talk about our dreams of nation- building and skill development but actually walk the talk, setting up institutions to encourage research and innovations.

We want a dreamer who can envisage development that includes all and leaves none behind, who can rise above divisive politics and beyond caste, creed and religion. 

We want a leader who raises hope in the minds of a large section of the population from all walks of life and earns rightful appreciation within and outside the country..

Finally we want someone who is a proven achiever, who remains unfazed despite malicious defamation by enemies and whose path of integrity and excellence is unperturbed by the deceit and fraud of lesser mortals..

Let us get that leader.

Let us Modi-fy India.

Poor Shahid Siddiqui!  He thought he was doing a good job, hiding under cover of a journalist. At no point did his interview seem to facilitate Narendra Modi’s defense. In fact, every attempt was made to put Modi in uncomfortable position with dubious questions, tirelessly repeating the media created lies, most of which have already been evaluated extensively and put to rest by the Supreme court appointed SIT in recent past.

Mr Siddiqui must have thought that accolades must be on its way for putting Modi on the dissection table for the nth time. Alas!  That was not to be. He did not expect Modi to turn the table, stand his ground  and reiterate with further conviction, that what he had always stood for, despite the decade old heaps of lies and accusations. 

So now Mr Siddiqui finds himself thrown out of his party and isolated from the same folks from whom he perhaps expected the most approval. Certainly he himself cannot be blamed like the Deoband Chief Maulana Ghulam Mohammed Vastanvi, who had to be removed from his post for his “non-secular” comments on Modi.

The pseudo seculars are alarmed and growing intolerant everyday. They wanted a gladiator’s fight – you either kill your enemy in the arena or we will kill you! 

The question is what does the Muslim population in general think.

Is it time to disown these pseudo-secular leaders and parties?



SP Disowns Shahid Siddiqui for Interview With Modi

PTI, Lucknow, July 28, 2012
The Samajwadi Party today distanced itself from Shahid Siddiqui, saying he is no longer a part of the party two days after his interview with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi made waves.”The party wants to clarify that Siddiqui had left SP long back and joined BSP on whose ticket he contested Lok Sabha election from Bijnor,” party’s national general secretary and spokesman Ram Gopal Yadav said in a statement issued here.

He said that later Siddiqui joined the Rashtriya Lok Dal.

“Siddiqui is not a SP member and has nothing to do with the party,” Yadav said, asking the media not to project him as SP leader.

Yadav said terming Siddiqui as a SP leader was “outrightly wrong”.

Siddiqui, who is the editor of Urdu weekly Nai Duniya, had recently interview Modi in which the Gujarat Chief Minister had refused to apologise for the post-Godhra riots and instead said he would prefer to be hanged if found guilty.

In an image makeover exercise, Modi had said in the interview, “If my government had done this (post-Godhra riots), I should be hanged in public in such a way that it remains a lesson for the next 100 years so that nobody dares to do it (such a crime)”.

Siddqiqui was a SP MP before he joined the RLD only to rejoin the Samajwadi Party in January this year.

Ram Gopal Yadav said that Siddiqui may be interested in an alliance with Modi.

SP leader Azam Khan said, “In politics neither friendship nor enmity is permanent. But we can’t maintain friendship with a murderer like Narendra Modi. Modi is an enemy of humanity. I feel this is wrong. It is not right for a person like Modi to have been given an opportunity to give his opinion to a major Urdu daily.”

Reacting to the SP’s move to distance itself from Siddiqui, BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain said, “As a journalist it is not necessary to only publish the views of those you agree with. His paper won’t only publish news related to Mulayam Singh Yadav.

“As an editor, he has the right to interview whoever he wishes. However, it is an old habit of SP to alter their actions to cater to their votebank. How can you demand clarifications and not listen when answers are provided,” he said.

Gujarat BJP leader Yatin Oza said, “For the first time someone has asked Modi about his view. For this removing a senior member of the party is politics of minority appeasement and hypocrisy. This is an autocratic way of functioning. 

Almost 10 years of relentless attack by political oppositions, bogus activists, bleeding heart pseudoliberals and pseudosecular Indian media and the result is a BIG ZERO.

Hope Modi can concentrate now on more worthwhile agenda.


Never asked police to allow Hindus to vent their anger

On the contrary, I had issued orders to maintain peace, communal harmony at any cost”

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi had told the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team — which is probing some of the gruesome carnages during the 2002 communal riots in the State — that he never issued any instructions to top police officers to allow Hindus to “vent their anger” against Muslims in the aftermath of the Godhra train carnage.

“It is a baseless allegation. On the contrary, I had given categorical and clear-cut instructions to maintain peace and communal harmony at any cost,” Mr. Modi had told SIT Investigating Officer A.K. Malhotra, who questioned him on March 27 and 28, 2010.

Classified document

The statement made by Mr. Modi before the SIT, which was the first and by far the only investigating agency to question him on the 2002 riots, was considered a classified document and formed part of the SIT report submitted before the Supreme Court. But surprisingly, on Thursday, the “signed statement” found a place on the website of a local Gujarati daily. How and who “leaked” Mr. Modi’s statement before the SIT was not known.

According to the statement, countersigned on every page by Mr. Modi on March 28, 2010, the investigating officer had put to him 71 questions and each of them was answered by Mr. Modi, rarely avoiding an answer, claiming “I do not remember.” The Chief Minister was questioned on almost the entire gamut of the riots, the decision to shift the bodies of the Godhra train carnage victims to Ahmedabad, the security arrangements made to meet the tense communal situation, deployment of the Army and his knowledge about the attacks on the minorities in Gulberg Society and Naroda-Patiya localities in Ahmedabad.

Mr. Modi had claimed that shifting of the bodies was a “collective decision” of the top police and administrative officers present in Godhra and was taken to defuse “building up of tension in Godhra.” He claimed that the Army was deployed in the affected areas without any delay and denied that the slain former Congress MP, Ehsan Jafri, had ever contacted him on phone before being killed in the Gulberg Society attack. The Chief Minister denied having any prior knowledge of the attacks on Gulberg Society or Naroda-Patiya. He also denied having asked the then Cabinet Ministers, Ashok Bhatt and I.K. Jadeja, to sit in the Ahmedabad city and State police control rooms and interfere with the functioning of the police on the “Gujarat Bandh” day, February 28, 2002.

Mr. Modi refuted the allegations that he was in “constant touch” with some of the leaders of the BJP and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, who were later registered as accused in the riots, and denied that the controversial Gujarat cadre IPS officer, Sanjiv Bhatt — who created a flutter later by filing an affidavit in the Supreme Court against the Chief Minister — was present on the crucial law and order meeting at his official residence in Gandhinagar on the night of February 27, 2002, during which he was alleged to have “instructed” the police officers to “allow Hindus to vent their anger.”

Mr. Modi denied that his first reaction to the Godhra train carnage was to declare it a “pre-planned conspiracy,” but admitted that after visiting the site and talking to the police and administrative officials as well as those present at the Godhra railway station who were witnesses to the incident and the injured passengers of the ill-fated coach, he did tell the media in Godhra that the incident “appeared to be a pre-planned conspiracy.” But he had also added that nothing could be said with finality until the investigation was completed. The Chief Minister also denied having ever talked about “Pakistani spy agency ISI’s hand” behind the conspiracy.

Asked about the crucial February 27, 2002 meeting, Mr. Modi had said among those present were the then acting Chief Secretary, Swarna Kanta Varma; the then Additional Chief Secretary (Home), Ashok Narayan; the then Home Secretary, K. Nityanandam; the then Director-General of Police, K. Chakravarthi; Ahmedabad Police Commissioner P.C. Pande; and two senior officials of the CMO, P.K. Mishra and Anil Mukim. “As far as I recollect, the then Additional DGP [Intelligence], G.C. Raigar, was not present. Mr. Sanjiv Bhatt, the then Deputy Commissioner [Intelligence], did not attend as this was a high-level meeting. None of my Cabinet colleagues was present in the said meeting.”

At the meeting, the Chief Minister said he shared information with the officers about his visit to Godhra and the officers briefed him about the precautionary measures being taken by them.

The Chief Minister denied that the State Intelligence Branch (SIB) had given any information about the movement of VHP kar sevaks to and fro from Ayodhya and said if there was any such information, it must be with the departments concerned. On being informed about the train carnage by about 9 a.m. on February 27, he had issued directions that necessary steps be taken to ensure that other passengers were not held up as it could lead to tension and imposition of curfew in Godhra immediately since it was a communally sensitive place.

The Chief Minister said that after reaching Godhra in the evening the same day — after the day’s session of the Assembly was over — he visited the spot and other places and later held a meeting with the government and police officers at the District Collector’s office where a “collective decision” was taken by all present to shift the charred bodies of the victims to Ahmedabad in view of the mounting tension in Godhra. Mr. Modi said the decision was taken because of the knowledge that most of the victims belonged to Ahmedabad or other places beyond Ahmedabad and that their relatives need not go to Godhra for identification and claiming the bodies as Godhra then was under curfew. He also denied that the then District Collector, Jayanti Ravi, had opposed the decision and, on the contrary, she was insistent that the bodies be moved away from Godhra to ease the tension. He also denied that the bodies were handed over to VHP leader Jaydeep Patel as was claimed later. Mr. Modi maintained that the bodies were in the custody of the district administration.

Mr. Modi denied that he had ever given any interview to The Times of India advocating the famous theory of “every action has its reaction.” The newspaper was forced to carry the denial but it was published in an obscure corner and the allegation was repeated against him time and again. He also denied the allegations purportedly made against him by some BJP and VHP leaders in a “so-called sting operation” by the Tehelka Magazine.

The Chief Minister also refuted the allegations made by the retired Additional DGP, R.B. Shreekumar, in affidavits filed before the G.T. Nanavati-Akshay Mehta judicial inquiry commission that his (Mr. Modi’s) officers were trying to influence the retired officer to file false affidavits in favour of the government.

On the petition filed by Zakia Jafri, wife of the slain Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, in the Supreme Court, Mr. Modi said her charges “deserved to dismissed completely and such false and frivolous complaints should not be entertained.”

Reading between the lines, are Muslim organizations in India changing their stance towards Narendra Modi (just in case he does end up becoming a more important person in the lives of Indians, beyond Gujarat)?

Are Muslims finally able to see through the ill-effects of vote bank politics, that most political parties of India have catered to them as minorities, ever since Independence?

For too long, the “Muslim victimhood” sentiment has been projected and propagated by political parties and their leaders for vested interest. Likewise, the fire of the post- Godhra riots of 2002, has been carefully kept burning with periodic fueling by these Modi-haters including the overtly partisan Indian print and news media.

The fact, as per the Parliamentary statement of the former Congress Union Minister of State for Home, that 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were killed in the riots does not quite reveal a picture of Muslim genocide or pogrom as Modi-haters have tried to paint. Similarly, the fact that “126 persons were killed in police firing, of which 77 were Hindus”, according to the National Minorities Commission Chairman, John Joseph, also does not bear testimony to an alleged religiously biased police force, supposingly rendered inactive by orders of the CM to ‘let Hindus vent their anger’, as accused by so called whistleblower supercop, Sanjeev Bhatt. Investigations and court cases are still going on, but nefarious designs of bogus activists and vindictive opponents are getting exposed, eroding the credibility of the anti-Modi brigade. 

In the meantime in Gujarat, Muslims are reported to be drifting towards Modi and his party. “A stage has now been reached where the development oriented initiatives of Narendra Modi are drawing the Muslim community towards the party“, claimed Babi Sama,  who is the first Muslim woman to be elected on BJP ticket in the Municipal corporation elections in 2010.  Muslims have increasingly voted in favour of BJP  in those Gujarat elections as they also did in Bihar, a BJP alliance ruled state.

Muslims in Gujarat are reportedly joining the mainstream to be part of developmental politics, overcoming the years of anti-Modi rhetorics heaped upon them. And the message is spreading beyond Gujarat. The acknowledgement came earlier from former Deoband chief Vastanvi (though he had to pay a price for that).

Perhaps now others are also recognizing that nurturing the perceived victimhood image, hankering for privileges or heeding to appeasement policies has done more harm to the Muslim community over the decades.  Just as a reform in education is needed so also is a reform in mental attitude.

A demand for apology from Modi for a alleged crime that is still sub judice may thus actually be an face-saving attempt of cozying up.


Will accept Modi if he apologises: UP Muslims

Moradabad: Ahead of UP elections next year, Sunni Sufi Muslims have come under an umbrella to back reforms in madarsa system of education. The group which claims to have support of over 80 per cent of Muslims in India oppose deoband system of education calling it regressive.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was on a token fast for peace and harmony in Dwarka in Gujarat on Monday and over thousand kilometers away in Moradabad in west UP, a section of Muslims coming together to make themselves heard. What’s the connection between the two?

Sunni Sufi Muslims have come under an umbrella to back reforms in madarsa system of education. All India Ulema and Mashaikh Board, which claims to have support of over 80 per cent of Muslims in India oppose deoband system of education calling it regressive.

President All India Ulema and Mashaikh Board said, “Sufi Muslims can conditionally accept Narendra Modi. If he says what happened was a mistake and would never happen again. Anybody who is ready to apologise, we will be soft on them.”

Deoband’s chief cleric Ghulam Mohammed Vastanvi was the last prominent Muslim who dared to come out in praise of Modi and he had to pay a heavy price, being forced to retract his statement, the over lakh Sufi Sunni Muslims who gathered here are aware of just how difficult it is to position themselves as in a liberal sense.

Ulema and Mashaikh Board say that the Sunni Sufi Muslims form nearly 80 per cent of the total Muslim population of India. Renouncing the deoband system of madarsa education as regressive, the Sufis say that wahabis in India promote views that poison young Muslim minds.

Distancing themselves from the hardliners within the community, the group with a sizeable support of Muslims favours reforms in madarsas.

With an attempt to redefine the agenda for Muslims, and the road ahead, this gathering with its eye on UP elections next year made it clear they cannot be treated as a single block of vote bank anymore.