Indian leader should speak out on religious tension, say commentators

(Photo: REUTERS / Brijesh Singh)Indian Muslims offer prayers on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr at the historic Taj Mahal in the northern Indian city of Agra July 29, 2014. The Eid al-Fitr festival marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi's is apparently becoming too deafening to commentators as he yet to make a stand on a spate of perceived anti-Muslim incidents in his country.

After video footage showing a Hindu lawmaker shoving food onto a man fasting for Ramadan sparked outrage, a party member of Modi's cast doubt on the nationality of an Indian Muslim tennis star, sparking another controversy.

Observers said the prime minister must speak out against the incidents as his silence might be interpreted wrongly, Reuters news agency reported.

His silence could be open to various interpretations by Hindu nationalists and radical organizations.

For instance, the Times of India wrote in an editorial, "The prime minister needs to come out strongly against such comments in order to reassure the minorities that their apprehensions about the intent of his regime are misplaced.

"Silence on his part will only encourage such elements."

On Wednesday, a lawmaker from the extremist Shiv Sena party shoved a chapatti, a type of flatbread, into a mouth of a Muslim man who was observing Ramadan.

The lawmaker later admitted he was not aware the man was fasting in observance of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

He explained that he was merely trying to make a point about the quality of the food the man's company was serving.

Video footage of the incident triggered chaotic scenes in the Indian Parliament, with a member of the Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), asking to send some opposition politicians to Pakistan.

The lawmaker later apologized for his remarks.

A day later, a BJP politician deplored the plan to make tennis star Sania Mirza a brand ambassador of the newly-created state of Telangana.

He cast doubt on Mirza's nationality pointing out that the tennis star was married to a Pakistani cricketer.

Mirza later lamented on television that it was unfair for her to keep on asserting doubts on her Indian nationality.

The BJP dissociated with the politician's remarks.

An editorial on Firstpost news and opinion website described Modi's silence as "uncomfortably loud."

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