'Muslim Sanctity' Remark: Ravi Shankar Draws Flak From Political Parties
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 rew strong criticism from the opposition on Saturday, but he stoutly defended it.
File Photo of Union Law Minister ravi shankar Prasad.
New Delhi: 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 drew strong criticism from the opposition on Saturday, but he stoutly defended it.
The Congress, Left and other parties said the Constitution bestows on all Indians same 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.
The Law Minister, today sought 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, 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.
"I was shocked really. A responsible person having taken the oath as a minister he should not forget this. He has taken oath in the name of Constitution. It is our duty, more so the minister's, to always keep the sanctity of the constitutional provisions," he said.
He added that the Constitution does not create any category of citizens and gives equal status and respect to everybody.
AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi said, "It is really surprising and shocking that the honourable law minister can speak in such language.
"Yes, this is my democratic right whether I vote for someone or not. That is what the law provides me. But the minister for law saying you have not voted for us but we give them sanctity....this kind of patronising and threatening attitude...it does not behove a minister who holds the post of union cabinet minister of law to speak in such a language," he said.
Owaisi said it is the Constitution which gives each and every Indian the fundamental rights. He said he will continue to exercise this right to vote for BJP or not to vote for it.
"Article 29 and 30 give me ample protection but minister using this language that we gave them sanctity... No Sir, not you, it is the Constitution which has given me all the fundamental rights. You being the constitutional authority should implement those rights you can't deny me those rights," he said.
"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.
"Let them not talk in these terms as it is very unbecoming being a minister," he said.
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