Hyderabad: Taking exception to Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad's statement that BJP-led government had given Muslims "sanctity", MIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Saturday said that rights were given by the Constitution, and not by the government.
"He said `Muslims don't vote for us, but we gave them sanctity'. Where did this 'we' come from? Governments come and go. Today it is their government and some other government will come (in future).
"But Ravi Shankar Prasad is law minister. I would like to tell him, don't use 'we'. It is the Constitution that gave us rights. You have not given us rights," Owaisi said.
It was the responsibility of the government to enforce these rights, the MIM chief said, speaking to reporters.
"This is democracy in India and not Saddam Hussein's democracy....Constitution is supreme and he needs to understand that," the Hyderabad MP said.
Prasad had said yesterday that Muslims do not vote for the BJP, but the government has given them "proper sanctity".
"We have got 13 chief ministers of our own. We are ruling the country. Have we victimised any Muslim gentleman working in the industry or service? Have we dismissed them? We don't get Muslim votes. I acknowledge very clearly, but have we given them proper sanctity or not?" Prasad had said.
Owaisi also alleged that the PDP-BJP government had failed to bring normalcy to Kashmir, and wondered how can the "hearts and minds" of Kashmiris be won if alleged incidents like security forces tying a local man to the front of a jeep and taking him around occurred.
"Despite 94 per cent people not voting, he comes out and gives his vote to a political party and you tie him up on a vehicle....What is the message you are sending? Stone-pelters have to be condemned... (but) how can you win hearts and minds?" Owaisi said.
The main theme of the all-party delegation that visited Jammu and Kashmir under the leadership of Home Minister Rajnath Singh was winning hearts and minds, he said.
"I leave it to the wisdom of the people who are ruling Kashmir; if they feel this is appropriate, good luck to them," Owaisi said.