BJP MLA Vikram Saini Tuesday sought to clarify his remarks that India was for Hindus and the country would have been better off if all Muslims had gone to Pakistan.
The MLA, who is an accused in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots case that claimed over 60 lives and was detained under the National Security Act, had publicly said on Monday, “I’m a hardcore believer in Hindutva. Our nation is called Hindustan, which means a nation for the Hindus. Today, everyone gets benefits without any discrimination”.
In a dig at what the Hindutva groups term as “appeasement” of Muslims, the lawmaker, who represents Khatauli in the Uttar Pradesh assembly, had also said, “Earlier the system was — the longer the beard, the bigger the cheque”.
“Some scatter-brained leaders made the bearded ones stay, which is why we are in trouble today. Had they left, all this land would have belonged to us,” he had said addressing a rally in Muzaffarnagar.
However, Saini Tuesday sought to wriggle out of the controversy by saying he did not intend to hurt any religious sentiments.
His remarks, he said, were directed against Pakistan in the backdrop of the discourteous treatment allegedly meted out to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav’s wife and mother in Islamabad. Jadhav is accused by Pakistan of terrorism and espionage and is currently on death row.
“I did not intend to hurt religious sentiments. I was enraged over Pakistan’s behaviour with Jadhav’s family members. My remarks were not against Muslims,” he said. Last year, Saini sparked controversy when he threatened to break the limbs of those who kill and disrespect cows.