Prasad faces flak over 'sanctity' to Muslims remark
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad's remark that the government has given "sanctity" to Muslims even though they do not vote for the BJP on Saturday drew strong criticism from the opposition, but he stoutly defended it.
The Congress, Left and other parties said the Constitution bestows on all Indians some fundamental rights, including Muslims, and that these were not "charity" extended by a minister.
Congress leader M Veerappa Moily accused the minister of trying to divide the society. "It is most unfortunate...He is trying to create a divide...trying to divide the population of this country. He is trying to empower himself to give that kind of certificate on who is sanctified and who is not. I think he has to apologise for the statement as it sends out very wrong message," he said.
Prasad had on Friday said that Muslims do not vote for the BJP, but its government has given them "proper sanctity".
"We have got 13 chief ministers of our own. We are ruling the country. Have we victimised any Muslim gentleman working in the industry or service? Have we dismissed them? We don't get Muslim votes. I acknowledge very clearly, but have we given them proper sanctity or not?" Prasad said at the Mindmine Summit here.
The Law Minister, on Saturday defended his remarks, saying the Modi government believes in an inclusive society and respects the vibrant cultural diversity of India.
"My stand is very clear. The Narendra Modi government believes in inclusive society. It respects the vibrant cultural diversity of India. Every Indian, be it Hindu, Muslim, Christian or a citizen of marginalized deprived community. Development of all is our primary concern. We don't measure the development of Indian citizens on the yardsticks of vote bank," he said in a series of tweets.
He also cited incidents of Modi acknowledging services of Muslims from different walks of life.
Prasad said he was proud of Imran Khan of Alwar whose Information Technology work was talked about by Modi in his speech in London.
"I salute Karimul Haq, tea garden worker whose selfless ambulance service to people impressed Narendra Modi to honour him with Padma Shri," he said in a tweet.
Moily, a also former Union law minister, said he does not know why the minister of a country who happens to be a spokesperson for the constitutional integrity, constitutional propriety of this country should speak in that language.
"What do you mean we gave them sanctity? Is it a charity the minister of law and justice is doing?" CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury asked.
He said Muslims, Christians, Sikhs are all Indian citizens and the sanctity is provided by the Indian Constitution and not because of the charity of a minister.