Mumbai: Following a nationwide furor over his “communal hate-speech”, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) ex-legislator of Maharashtra Waris Pathan withdrew his controversial remarks here on Saturday.
“I had no intentions to hurt the sentiments of any community…My remarks were not ‘anti-Hindu’, I hereby withdraw my statement,” Pathan told media persons here this evening.
He added that attempts were being made to portray him as “anti-national”, but he clarified that his remarks were not intended to create any kind of discord among people or communities.
A huge political storm erupted after Pathan addressed an anti-CAA protest in Kalburgi (Gulbarga) in Karnataka on February 15 and said that “15-crore (Muslims) will prove stronger than the 100-crore majority (Hindus).”
The Bharatiya Janata Party and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena have demanded stringent action against the AIMIM ex-MLA, while activist lawyer Syed Ejaz Abbas ‘Naqvi’ wrote to Mumbai Police urging them to lodge an FIR against Pathan.
“They say we have kept our women at the forefront. I want to tell these people — only the lionesses have come out and you are in a cold sweat. You can understand what would happen if all of us come together.
“We are just 15 crores but can be a bigger force than the 100-crore majority population,” Pathan said. He added that the minority community could well snatch “your azaadi”.
As the issue snowballed, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Friday “gagged” Pathan and has told him not to speak with the media and reportedly sought an explanation from him.
On Friday, Pathan issued a statement contending he was “totally quoted out of context” by the media on his Kalburgi meeting, where even Owaisi and other senior leaders were present.
“I hereby wish to reiterate that I can never say anything intentionally or unintentionally that hurts the sentiments of any caste, community or gender. I am a proud Indian and respect the plurality of this country,” said Pathan.
He added that like many other Indians who have faith in the Constitution, he was angry by the sheer neglect of the government in addressing the issues concerning the CAA-NRC-NPR against which people have been protesting all over the country in a democratic manner.
“Neither I nor my party supports anything that creates a divide between people on the basis of caste, creed, and religion. Jai Hind,” said Pathan.