BJP Fumes over Iftar on Banks of Ganga

October 20, 2006

Source: The Times of India

Has Mulayam Singh Yadav stirred a controversy on the banks of the swirling Ganga in Hardwar by organising an Iftar party in a bid to project himself as a champion of minorities?

The Iftar party at Hari-Ki-Pauri on October 14, organised with an eye to garnering Muslim votes for the forthcoming UP and Uttaranchal assembly polls, has given the BJP and the Congress ammunition to attack Mulayam for defiling one of Hinduism's holiest cities for cheap political gains.

Describing it as an "unholy war" for Muslim appeasement, senior BJP leader Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank said, "It was an act of defiance on the part of Yadav."

Why is Nishank saying so? Hardwar after all does have a 30,000 Muslim population. The reason, it seems, is that Hardwar is officially a Hindu holy site and activities that offend Hindu sensitivities aren't permitted under city bylaws.

The city still does not have a mosque, the nearest being in Jwalapur, about eight km away. Violation of bylaws is an offence punishable with fine or imprisonment or both.