Three days after his controversial remarks on the arrest of Indian Mujahideen co-founder, Yasin Bhatkal, the Samajwadi Party (SP) sacked Kamal Farooqui from the post of National Secretary. Farooqui had caused a controversy by questioning whether Yasin Bhatkal was arrested on the grounds of crime or religion.
He has also been removed from the National Executive of the SP. Farooqui, former Chairman of the Delhi Minorities Commission, is a member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board. He had joined the Samajwadi Party in June 2011, ahead of the March 2012 state assembly polls.
Farooqui, who is currently in Lucknow, told TEHELKA, “Yes, the party has removed me from the posts of National Secretary and member of the National Executive of the party and I will further comment on this issue only after meeting party President Mulayam Singh Yadav.”
Claiming that the All India Muslim Personal law Board endorsed his views on the arrest of Bhatkal, he said, “I met the chairman of the board, Maulana Rabe Hasan Nadvi at Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama. He praised my stand and patted me on my back. I appraised Maulana Nadvi about the Waqf Board and the Direct Tax Code Bill and also met UP’s Chief Secretary Javed Usmani in connection with some official work.”
He later apologised for his remarks. Both the Congress and the BJP slammed Faroqui for making the arrest of a terror-accused a communal issue. The SP immediately distanced itself from the remarks of Kamal Farooqui. SP General Secretary Ram Gopal Yadav refused to even recognize him as an office bearer of the party: “The comments of Farooqui were not the official position of the party and it could be his personal views as he is not a member of the party.”
The SP accused Farooqui of giving a religious spin to the whole issue by claiming that he could have been arrested because he was Muslim. SP sources said that Kamal Farooqui’s statement was embarrassing as it sent a negative message that the party was pursuing crude methods for the polarisation of voters on communal lines ahead of the 2014 Parliament elections – first by going soft on Hindutuva forces and later, by defending a terror-accused who is a Muslim. “Our party has already drawn flak over the 84 Kosi Parikrama of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. We have been accused of being soft on Hindutuva forces with the aim of fomenting communal polarization ahead of the 2014 parliament election,” said a senior SP leader.
SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, along with his son Akhilesh Yadav, had hosted a delegation of the VHP led by the Babri mosque demolition-accused Ashok Singhal on 17 August. The VHP leaders, after meeting Mulayam Singh Yadav, claimed that the SP chief had offered to mediate for the resolution of the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri mosque dispute. The SP has not yet denied the claim.
Samajwadi Party sources said that SP Spokesman and General Secretary Ram Gopal Yadav gave marching orders to Farooqui on the behest of party president Mulayam Singh Yadav. A letter to this effect was issued from the Delhi office of the Samajwadi Party.
Meanwhile, the UP police sought the remand of Bhatkal in connection with the serial blasts at the district courts of Lucknow, Varanasi and Faizabad in November 2007.