Supporters of India’s ruling BJP at a rally. (Photo by DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP via Getty Images)
The northern Indian state of Bihar saw a political row over the state government’s decision to bring ahead the duty hours of its Muslim staff members by an hour during the upcoming Ramadan celebrations. The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which sits in the opposition in the state, alleged the Nitish Kumar government is being run by officials who are loyal to the ruling Janata Dal (United) and Rashtriya Janata Dal. They also accused the two ruling parties in the coalition government of believing in the ideology of the Muslim radical Popular Front of India (PFI), the Hindustan Times daily reported.
On Friday (17), the state government’s general administration department issued an order to advance the Muslim employees’ duty hours by an hour for the month-long Ramadan and asked the home department to even modify the biometric attendance system in the offices, the report added.
On Saturday (18), state BJP chief Sanjay Jaiswal said the order would benefit the PFI’s objective of making India an Islamic country by 2047, the year India’s independence completes 100 years. Accusing chief minister Kumar and his deputy Tejashwi Yadav, he told reporters in state capital Patna that it is very much part of the agenda of the duo.
It was only a few months ago that the PFI and its affiliates were banned by India’s Narendra Modi government for five years for allegedly having links with terror outfits.
The ruling parties hit back at the BJP saying by making such remarks, its state leaders were insulting the saffron party’s Muslim leaders.
Ajeet Sharma, a leader of the Indian National Congress, said it was a practice to give relief to Islamic followers during Ramadan since they have a fixed time for praying, the Hindustan Times report added.
“Hindus too are given enough liberty during their festival periods,” he was quoted as saying.
The principal secretary of the general administration department said the department has been issuing such orders advancing the duty hours for Muslims employees during Ramadan since 2000.