Under attack over his alleged inflammatory speech, Union Minister Ram Shankar Katheria on Tuesday claimed he did not target any community.
“What has been published in one of the newspapers is false. I had not taken the name of any community. I had said that the culprits, who had murdered the VHP leader, should be given death sentence. I had also said that the Hindu community should unite for their safety. I will send a notice to the newspaper,” the Minister of State for HRD said.
Katheria, along with BJP MP from Fatehpur Sikri Babu Lal, had on Sunday attended a condolence meeting held for VHP worker Arun Mahaur, who was allegedly killed by some youths from another community in Agra on Thursday.
At the meeting, Katheria had said: “This conspiracy that is being hatched against the Hindu community, we have to be be alert to recognize it and strengthen ourselves. We will have to fight it because if we do not do it now, today we have lost one Arun, tomorrow it could be another Arun…the killers should also go, we have to set such an example”.
Reacting to Katheria’s remarks, Leader of the Congress party in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge alleged that BJP and RSS had plans to divide the country.
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“They speak whenever elections are nearing. They talk about dividing the country and not uniting. If they continue to speak like this, there will be repercussions across the country. Today we are raising this issue because Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh are silent on this issue,” he said.
Asaduddin Owaisi, leader of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, said that he is not surprised by the remarks of the Union Minister.
“This has been the continuous, consistent and obnoxious behavior by the Modi government. I am sure that no action will be taken,” he said.
Owaisi added that this “was good because the real agenda of the government is being exposed”.
“Their real agenda is to promote Hinduvta. A Minister speaking such language clearly shows that he went to Agra not for condolence meeting but to create communal mayhem there,” Owaisi said.
Meanwhile, BJP spokesperson Shrikant Sharma said the Minister has clarified his remarks.
“Katheria has made it clear in his statement that he has said nothing wrong. And after this clarification, there is nothing to comment on.
“I have seen his statement in which he has cleared everything. The real issue is the deteriorating law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh,” he said.