National Commission for Minorities chairman Ghayorul Hasan Rizvi has said that those who support Pakistan by celebrating their sporting achievements should cross the border and go to that country, “or better still, be deported there”.
Rizvi made the comments while attending an iftar party in Meerut on Tuesday. Speaking to The Indian Express later, he said, “I was asked about people, including those in Kashmir, who celebrated Pakistani win (in the Champions Trophy final). I said these are people whose mind and heart are actually in Pakistan, just their bodies are here, so they too should go there. Or better still, they should be deported across the border.”
Rizvi’s comments were in response to reports of celebrations in Kashmir following Pakistan’s victory over India in the final. On Tuesday, The Indian Express had reported that 17 men — 15 in Madhya Pradesh and two in Karnataka — had been charged with sedition, allegedly for celebrating Pakistan’s win.
Separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani had congratulated Pakistan on the win, while Mirwaiz Umar Farooq had tweeted, “Fireworks all around, feels like an early Eid here.
Better team took the day. Congratulations team #Pakistan.”
Rizvi, a former national general secretary of the BJP Minority Morcha, took over as chairman of the National Minorities Commission last month after a nearly four-month hiatus. One of the first statements he made was about his “personal belief” that Kashmiri pandits should be given minority status.
“It is unfortunate that some people say things like Pakistani victory has brought ‘Eid before Eid’. It is sad that they live in India, in Hindustan, and say ‘Pakistan zindabad’. As a Hindustani, this pains me a lot. My statement in Meerut came from those sentiments,” Rizvi said.
Asked why the commission, which is expected to take up pressing concerns pertaining to the six designated minority communities, is getting involved in who supports whom during a cricket match, he said, “I was asked a question. There were three things I could have done. I could have said ‘no comments’, I could have supported those people who live in India but root for Pakistan, or I could have criticised it. I did the last because that is my opinion. It is not as if the commission is taking this matter up at any level.”
Incidentally, on Tuesday, Rizvi was accused by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of taking forward the “separatist agenda” after he announced a helpline to report atrocities against Muslims. “Rizvi, by implementing the agenda of the separatists, is strengthening the feelings of separatism in the Muslim community. (The helpline) makes one feel that the atrocities against the Muslim community have reached such proportions that the extreme step of opening a helpline for the Muslims had to be taken up,” said joint general secretary of the VHP, Surendra Jain.