More than a week after pro-Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) missionary Father Jegath Gaspar Raj’s video calling for unity among members of Muslim community and advocating that they seek separate land commensurate to their population went viral, he told CNN-News18 that his speech was twisted by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
Father Raj was speaking at an event organised in Chennai, under the banner of the Social Activists Forum (Samooga Seyarpattalargal Kootiyakkam), on June 19.
In the video doing the rounds, Father Raj said: “If you are 40%, you ask for 40% separate land. There is nothing wrong. You can live peacefully. If you ask for 20% land — if Muslims ask — the land will be the size of Tamil Nadu, Andhra. Telangana and Karnataka included. We have no place in Parliament. We have no place anywhere. So give us 20% land. Or, at least, give us the Sahara desert. We will live there…”
Speaking to CNN-News18 about the speech, Father Raj said: “RSS Parivar has twisted my speech. I wasn’t calling for a partition. That is a wrong and mischievous interpretation.”
He said his speech was to highlight the increasing alienation of the Muslim community. He also said he would stand by his words, and would not apologise.
“People are feeling an increasing sense of alienation among the Muslim community and a very, very visible lack of representation in the institutions of power. It is in that context that I thought I was making a valid, academic point. I stand by that. I have no apologies for that,” he said, adding, “As long as it is a Constitutional India, where all communities feel genuinely represented, it is all fine.”
He also added that transforming India’s landscape into a religion-based landscape will not bode well for the fabric of the nation.