Saturday, June 22, 2024

“It’s hate, frustration for not voting for BJP”: Residents of Mumbai’s Shivaji Nagar demand action against BJP leader who called voters “Bangladeshis”

Muslim activists and residents in the Mankhurd Shivaji Nagar Assembly constituency in Mumbai are demanding action against senior BJP leader Kirit Somaiya, who delivered hate speeches against Muslims and described the religious minority-dominated region as a “Bangladeshi area” following the saffron party’s loss in North East Mumbai in the general election.

Following the General Election results, the INDIA Alliance candidate from UBT Shiv Sena in North East Mumbai, Maharashtra, emerged victorious with a margin of 29,861 votes over BJP candidate Mihir Kotecha.

Subsequently, Senior BJP leader and former MP Kirit Somaiya posted on X that the defeat was due to the Mankhurd Shivaji Nagar legislative assembly constituency, referring to it as a “Bangladeshi area.”

He further remarked that the loss occurred in the Bangladesh locality, posting these comments in both Marathi and English on the X social media platform.

Residents of Shivaji Nagar are distressed by these derogatory remarks and lodged a complaint at the Shivaji Nagar Police Station.

Responding to this, local activists and politicians came together to lodge a complaint against Kirit Somaiya.

Atik, a social activist and AIMIM Mankhurd Shivaji Nagar President, told Maktoob, “You (Kirit) were a two-time MP from here, won from voters from here; then it was not Bangladesh. Since people rejected you and your ideology, it becomes Bangladesh. It shows the cheap mentality of him. He is calling a part of India Bangladesh just because they rejected you. A proper inquiry has to be taken against him as he is repeatedly giving a part of India to Bangladesh. UAPA should be applied to such anti-national and anti-India people, and he should be put in jail. We have lodged a complaint against him under Section 153A, Section 295A, and Section 505, and we will go to higher authorities if required as per the law.”

Atik Khan even added, “Such kind of people have a free hand from authorities and government to say anything. Earlier he called this region ‘mini Pakistan’ and now ‘Bangladesh.’ If I (Atik Khan) were in place of him, what would be the reaction from the authorities? NIA would definitely have taken action, and UAPA would have been slapped on me. There would be no bail for me from the court and I would rot in jail for 5-7 years. This kind of language from BJP is only their frustration and hatred towards Muslims, and strict action should be taken against him so that in future nobody dares to say anything against India, whether it is Kirit Somaiya or Atik Khan.”

Another social activist, Nafees, said, “Why is it that a locality dominated by marginalized communities, Muslims, and Dalits is called Bangladeshi? Just because the majority of people are Muslims, the area is labeled as Pakistan and Bangladesh. This statement is against the Muslims of India, as Muslim-dominated areas are termed as Bangladesh. If it is Bangladesh, why do you expect these people to vote for you? And those 28,101 from this constituency who voted for you are also Bangladeshi. So, how are their votes valid if their nationality is Bangladesh? This type of statement only creates tension and division in society and can lead to unforeseen scenes in the locality and Mumbai. So, an FIR should be filed against Kirit under relevant sections, and he should be put in jail.”

The Shivaji Nagar-Mankhurd constituency is dominated by migrants with the lowest Human Development Index and provides labor supply to Mumbai, primarily from UP, Bihar, Maharashtra, and other states.

Muslims constitute the majority, followed by Dalits and other communities like Marathi Hindus and Jains.

During the election campaign, the BJP candidate Mihir Kotecha referred to Mankhurd-Shivaji Nagar as “mini Pakistan” and the “crime center” of Mumbai, created by Patil, and vowed to change the name of the place from “Mankhurd” to “Chhatrapati Shivaji Nagar.”

“It has become a pattern that areas dominated by Muslims are called Pakistan and Bangladesh, with no action from authorities. Are Muslims not Indians? You are trying to create Muslims as another nation, as areas dominated by majorities are not called Pakistani or Bangladeshi. This creates a sense of fear and insecurity among the Muslim residents, making us question whether we are at par with our non-Muslim citizens or not. We are citizens of this country, and what can we say when you repeatedly label us and our locality this way? Are we Bangladeshis? Why don’t you inquire about this? Who allowed us to come to India from the border? The Army? Who gave us voter IDs? Government employees? Put all of them in jail then! You should stop such cheap anti-Muslim narratives as they only increase the problems of an already marginalized community. Kirit Somaiya should be arrested,” said another student activist, Mateen Siddiqui, who is pursuing law.

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