‘I am not anti-Muslim’: PM Modi opens up after ‘infiltrators’ remark

“Muslim families used to live in our neighbourhood. On Eid, we didn’t used to cook food in my house as the food used to come from neighbouring Muslim households,” he said.

Weeks after saying that Congress will take wealth of the citizens and distribute it among Muslims during an election rally in Rajasthan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi clamed that he never mentioned Muslims on stage.

Despite having the videos online in which the PM is heard referring to Muslims as ‘infiltrators’ and ‘those with more children’, in an interview with News 18, he said that there have been deliberate attempts to tarnish his image and show him as an anti-Muslim since 2002.

When asked if it was necessary for him to call Muslims ‘people with many kids’, the Prime Minister said, “I am shocked that people think I was referring to only Muslims. Why do injustice to Muslims.”

The Prime Minister was in Varanasi to submit his candidature for the seventh and last phase of the Parliamentary elections scheduled on June 1. He said, “I have lived among Muslim families in childhood. I have a lot of Muslim friends. But after 2002, efforts were made to tarnish my image.”

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He said that he is not anti-Muslim as Opposition parties try to depict him. “I do not deserve to be in public space if I have spoken anything against the Muslim communities,” he said.

“Muslim families used to live in our neighbourhood. On Eid, we didn’t used to cook food in my house as the food used to come from neighbouring Muslim households. On Muharram, we were taught to go under the taziya,” he said.

This is the first time Modi spoke about Indian Muslims after he made derogatory remarks against the Muslim community in Tonk, Rajasthan.

He added, “In Ahmedabad, there is a place called Manek Chowk where people go to eat in the evening. But during the day, all businessmen are Muslims and all buyers are Hindus. I sent some people to survey that market. When one of them spoke against me, the shopkeeper stopped him and said, ‘Do not say a word against Modi. My kids are going to school because of Modi’.”

On a question if Indian Muslims would vote for him for a third straight term, he exuded confidence saying, “I believe that the people of the country will vote for me. The day I start doing Hindu-Muslim, I won’t be fit to live in public life. I will not do Hindu-Muslim divide, this is my commitment.”

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