NEW DELHI: After creating a huge controversy with his 'neech' remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former union minister Mani Shankar Aiyar on Thursday said that Indian Muslims should not be held responsible for what 26/11 Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed does.
While addressing a session titled, 'The Current State of India-Pakistan Relations', Aiyar, in an apparent reference to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) regime at the Centre, said the biggest issue of nation-building is integrating Muslim community into rest of country.
While addressing the session along with Pakistan's former foreign affairs minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, the bureaucrat-turned-politician was quoted by ANI saying, "There is a large section in India that believes Muslims were responsible for India's vivisection and therefore draws parallel between Muslims who created Pakistan and the Muslims who remained in India."
"Are we going to integrate them (Muslims)? Can we do it if there is a hostile relationship with Pakistan? We are damaging our own nationhood by enabling Islamabad to continue being considered enemy territory for no reason other than that it is inhabited and created by Muslims," Aiyar further said.
While calling for dialogue with the neighbouring country, Aiyar said, "We need to work out ways of consolidating our own nationhood and one very important aspect of that is somehow creating a relationship with Islamabad which will enable Muslims living in our country not to be held responsible for what Hafiz Saeed does or did or will do."
Facing flak, the Congress suspended its senior leader from the primary membership of the party over his purported casteist slur against the Prime Minister. The action against the long-time Gandhi-family loyalist comes as the grand old party heads into an electoral battle in Gujarat.