The BJP government in Uttar Pradesh has got Haj House in Lucknow painted in saffron colour attracting criticism from Muslim groups and opposition parties.
The Haj House is where the Haj pilgrimage actually begins; it is also the place staffed with officials who inspect and facilitate documents for travel to Makkah.
The colour saffron is most often associated with Hinduism, and especially with the the Sangh Parivar of which the BJP is a part. A section of Muslims and some opposition parties have objected to the Haj House exterior being painted saffron.
But one Muslim UP minister found nothing objectionable about this saffronisation.
The boundary wall of the Uttar Pradesh Haj office, opposite the Sate legislature building in the heart of the city, has got a saffron look overnight, days after the secretariat building facade was given the same coat.
The painting was carried out late on Thursday night by the Uttar Pradesh estates department and the Haj office employees were not immediately available for a reaction, Friday being a holiday.
The move prompted the opposition Samajwadi Party to accuse the BJP government of indulging in “blatant saffronisation.”
“If the BJP really considers the saffron colour as sacrosanct, it should not indulge in politicisation of the colour and indulge in blatant saffronisation,” SP spokesman Sunil Singh Sajan said.
All India Shia Personal Law Board spokesperson Yasoob Abbas took strong exception to the change in colour.
“What is this? The BJP will paint it saffron, the SP will choose green and the BSP blue…This is politics of colour and should be avoided,” he said.
UP Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mohsin Raza said “I fail to understand the problem of those having issues with the new colour. Is saffron an anti-national colour? Saffron is a colour which symbolises ujala (brightness) and urja (energy).”