Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday said he did not know what “love jihad” is and assured the minority communities that there will be no discrimination in the name of religion or caste.
“Arey yeh hai kya? Hume nahi maloom (What is it? I don’t know),” Singh said at a press conference when asked about the latest issue of RSS mouthpiece Panchjanya, which carried an article on “love jihad”. When reporters persisted with questions on the issue, he said, “I have no idea.”
Addressing the press conference called to showcase the achievements of his ministry on the completion of 100 days, Singh said the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) did not pose any immediate threat to India and the group was not “very active on recruitment front in India”.
On his equation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Singh said, “He is our Prime Minister and an effective Prime Minister and I am the Home Minister in his government. What else?” After a pause, he said, “Humare sambandh madhur thhe, madhur hain aur madhur rahenge (Our relations were cordial, are cordial and will remain cordial).”
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“Working in the Home Ministry is neither a 20-20 nor a one-day cricket match but a test match where one has to play a long innings for which we need to have a strong opening. We have got that a good opening stand, I think. We aspire to play a long innings and even a second innings,” he said.
On a question related to arrest of several young Muslim youths on false terror charges, Singh said, “Minorities should have faith in our government. We will not discriminate against anyone in the name of religion or caste. We will ensure justice to everyone. Injustice will not happen to anyone… If you have any information about anyone specific, please let me know. I will inquire into it.”
He said the withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan in 2015 was a cause of concern for India. “We are discussing the issue of (US) troops withdrawal from Afghanistan and how to deal with the situation. We are taking action… whatever the challenge is, we will face it boldly. I want to assure the people of the nation that there is no need to fear,” the Home Minister said.
Asked about the al-Qaeda’s purported message sent through a video threatening action in some states, he said the authenticity of the CD was still being examined. “We cannot say much about the CD but I want to tell you that we have enough strength to face any challenge from organisations like the al-Qaeda,” he said.
On the possibility of Prime Minister Modi discussing the al-Qaeda threat issue with President Barack Obama during his forthcoming visit to the US, Singh said if the US wants to discuss it, there could be a discussion.
Singh said there was no information on al-Qaeda carrying out any recruitment drive in the country. He appreciated Muslim organisations for condemning an al-Qaeda message declaring a recruitment drive for the subcontinent. “All Muslim organisations have condemned it. Everyone wants communal harmony and peace… The Muslim organisations’ outlook is very positive,” he said.
On the Naxal issue, Singh said talks with the extremists were possible if they shun violence. “We are ready to talk to anyone who leave the path of violence. We have even asked their ideologues to come to the negotiating table,” he said.
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