NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has outrightly denied outgoing vice-president Hamid Ansari's assertion on Indian Muslims, saying that there is no better country than India for Muslims, while the Congress has said that the statement is directed towards the Centre to change its policies towards the minorities.
“There is no better country than India for Muslims and no better friend than Hindus. The Muslim community is safe and bestowed with rights in India only. The Indian Constitution has given Muslims equal status as that of the majority community,” BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain told ANI on Thursday.
However, Congress leader Pratap Singh Bajwa said that Ansari in a way directed the current government to change the nation policies.
“Whatever Hamid Ansari said was the truth. In a way, he directed the current government to change the nation policies. There are other communities which are in minority sections like Sikhs, Christian etc. His concern implements on them as well,” Bajwa said.
Ansari, whose second five-year term as the vice-president ends today, made these remarks in the wake of incidents of "intolerance" and cow vigilantism.
Ansari, in his last interview to Rajya Sabha TV before demitting the office, said, “A sense of insecurity is creeping in as a result of the dominant mood created by some and the resultant intolerance and vigilantism.
Ansari referred to incidents of lynching and alleged killings as a "breakdown of Indian values, breakdown of the ability of the authorities at different levels in different places to be able to enforce what should be normal law enforcing work and over all the very fact that Indianness of any citizen being questioned is a disturbing thought."
When asked why he thought Indian values were breaking down, Ansari answered, "Because we are a plural society that for centuries, not for 70 years, has lived in a certain ambience of acceptance."
"I am an Indian and that is it," he said.
Asked if he shared his concerns with the prime minister, Ansari said that he had.
"What passes between the Vice-President and the Prime Minister in the nature of things must remain in the domain of privileged conversation," he said.
Earlier, at an event in Bengaluru on Sunday, Ansari had said that the "version of nationalism" that places cultural commitments at its core "promotes intolerance" and arrogant patriotism.