Mamata Banerjee’s Call For ‘Jihad Against BJP’ Should Get More Than Just Condemnation

by Nishtha Anushree - Jul 1, 2022 12:47 PM +05:30 IST
Mamata Banerjee’s Call For ‘Jihad Against BJP’ Should Get More Than Just CondemnationWest Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee

West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar has written to CM Mamata Banerjee asking her to withdraw the “unconstitutional declaration” of 'jihad' against the BJP.

Context: Addressing a public gathering in Asansol, Banerjee called on her party people and supporters to launch a jihad against the BJP from 21 July, a day TMC observes as Shahid Diwas (Martyr’s Day).

  • The BJP expectedly saw red and complained to the state Governor.

  • Jihad, in the current socio-political context, is an Islamist call for killing of kafirs or non-believers and apostates.

Governor said: “The statement is most unfortunate and indicates constitutional anarchy. It defies logic and reason as to how one under the oath of Constitution and holding the position of chief minister could make such pernicious declaration of ‘jihad’ against a political party.”

  • “This is the death knell of democracy and rule of law. Nothing can be more authoritarian and undemocratic... governance in the state is far distanced from the Constitution and law.”

  • “I cannot but take strongest possible exception to your statement. To observe democratic values and constitutionalism, you are urged to forthwith withdraw this most unconstitutional declaration of ‘jihad’ against the BJP.”

Political reactions: Suvendu Adhikari said that Banerjee’s hate speech reveals her “jihadi” mentality. The BJP has demanded the CM's dismissal for her call for violence.

  • Adhikari contended that Banerjee gave the call for ‘jihad’ keeping in mind her Muslim vote bank. “This is part of her vote bank politics. She has encouraged Islamist and terror outfits to set up their bases in Bengal,” he said.

  • TMC functionaries, however, sought to downplay Banerjee's hate speech. Jay Prakash Majumder blithely said that ‘jihad’ means protest and his party chief had only called for a struggle against the BJP.

What jihad means: In academic discussions, Muslim scholars and ‘secularists’ may argue that ‘jihad’ actually means a spiritual struggle within oneself against sins and striving to be a better human being.

  • Islamists, however, use the word to mean waging a war on non-believers and non-Islamic regimes.

  • Jihad’ is invoked by terror outfits and terrorists to launch violent attacks on non-believers and non-Muslim regimes.

  • Banerjee would have been well aware of how terrorists call for jihad against non-Muslims before the CM used the term herself.

Why Banerjee said so: She perceives the BJP as a Hindutva party that is anti-Muslim. And so, she called for jihad against the BJP.

  • The call also reveals Banerjee’s hatred for the saffron party.

  • To her Muslim supporters, it's meant to be a call for a ‘holy war’ against the BJP.

Bottom line: Mere condemnation of this call is not enough. Banerjee must be punished for issuing an Islamist call for violence.

Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.
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