With AAP backing, Shazia Ilmi calls ‘communal’ remark ironic

Shazia Ilmi

A day after a video that showed AAP leader and candidate from Ghaziabad Shazia Ilmi asking Muslims to be “communal” emerged, the party said “those who have uploaded the video” should show the context of the comments. In an official statement, Ilmi said the comments were made in an “ironic” manner.

“Nothing can be farther from my intent and my politics. It is clear from the tone and tenor of the conversation that I am using the word ‘secular’ and ‘communal’ in an ironic manner. And in an informal casual setting wherein a 90 second video clip purports to put context to a half hour conversation,” Ilmi said.

“The point was simply to say that the Muslim community has allowed itself to be used far too long by the so-called secular politics. It would be much better if the community were to turn to their real-life material interests…like education, employment, etc. It should also be noted that I am making a plea to vote for a candidate who is not Muslim (Arvind Kejriwal), and in the name of a leader who is not Muslim. I am shocked to see a statement like this can be distorted and misconstrued as communal or inciting hatred,” she added.

On Tuesday, the AAP had sought to distance itself from the controversy and had said, “The AAP does not believe in mixing politics and religion… All our representatives should be careful in their choice of words so there is no scope for misinterpretation.”

Distinctly more combative on Wednesday, the party said, “The party does not believe in politics of communalism… However, the fact that those who have brought this 80 second clip in public domain have not shared the rest of the video… raises serious questions about the intentions behind the video clip… We request them to share the full unclipped video.”

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