Waseem Rizvi: The Muslim posterboy of Hindu extremists

Prime accused in the Dharam Sansad hate speech case, the former UP Shia Central Waqf Board chief has a history of exploiting religious fault lines to his advantage.

Syed Waseem Rizvi had been a Muslim for the last 46 years. He wasn’t religious but his entire identity was built around Islam. It helped him get elected as a corporator from his Muslim neighbourhood in Lucknow in 2000. It helped him become the Uttar Pradesh Shia Central Waqf Board chief in 2009. Even when he started his tirades against his community members in the last few years, he could pitch himself as a newly woke Muslim trying change the system from within.

But something changed last December. Yati Narsinghanand, a priest from Ghaziabad notorious for his anti-Muslim sermons, organized …


Omkar Khandekar

Omkar specializes in long-form narrative features and has reported from India, the UK, Germany and the Maldives. He writes across beats, from politics and crime to cinema and sports. His works have been published in Indian and international outlets including The Caravan, Mint Lounge, the BBC, Al Jazeera and The Huffington Post.

Senior Features Writer