SRINAGAR— Former Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad is under fire for claiming that “all Indian Muslims were Hindus who converted to Islam.”
“Islam has come to our Hindustan only a few years back but Hinduism is very old. So 10-20 people must have come from outside in the army of Mughals and the rest all are converted from Hindus,” he said.
On Kashmir, he said: “In Kashmir, all Muslims were converted from Kashmiri Pandits. Everybody is born in Hindu Dharma only.”
The statement triggered a political storm forcing Azad, who quit Congress last year and floated his own party, to issue a clarification. But the damage had already been done.
VHP and Bajrang Dal rallied behind Azad for his bold statement. Bajrang Dal national convener Neeraj Douneriya said that Azad’s statement is a favorable indication and in line with the stance of Hindutva outfits.
“Ghulam Nabi Azad’s statement is a favourable indication as even Bajrang Dal, since a long time, has said that the Muslims and Christians in the country have converted from Hinduism,” Douneriya told a news agency
Vinayak Rao Deshpande, central organization general secretary, VHP, said, “I welcome Ghulam Nabi Azad’s statement in which he said that the Hindu religion is older than Islam and that Kashmiri Muslims were Hindus.”
People’s Democratic Party (PDP) President Mehbooba Mufti, however, launched a frontal attack on Azad for what she called appeasing RSS-BJP.
She termed Ghulam Nabi Azad’s statement on Indian Muslims as highly regrettable. Mehbooba said that it echoes the ideology and narrative of the RSS-BJP against the Muslims of the country.
“Azad’s remarks were dangerous and divisive and they resemble the language of the RSS, BJP, and Janasangh,” she said.
Mehbooba said such remarks “manifest in the atrocities and violence against Muslims in the country”, as evidenced by the recent incident in Uttar Pradesh where the parents of a Muslim boy who had married a Hindu girl, were lynched.
She said Muslims in India are “unsafe” because of this mindset. She said that the government is supposed to build houses, but the BJP government is “busy demolishing them selectively, especially those that belong to Muslims”.
Mehbooba said the government was punishing people who stood by and propagated the Idea of India in Jammu and Kashmir. “Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah Saheb is a case in point who the BJP wants to erase from history. Nothing less can be said about Mufti sahib who held the idea of India so dear to him,” she added.