Mumbai: Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Mumbai Gopal Shetty stepped down from his post on Friday after sparking a row, calling Christians 'angrez' (foreigners). Shetty's controversial remark came while he was addressing a gathering during the Eid-E-Milad organised by the Shia Kabrastan Committee at Malvani in Malad in Mumbai on Sunday.
The BJP leader, however, claimed innocence saying that his words were wrongly interpreted. He further said that he has not said anything which could subject him to an apology. He expressed unhappiness towards his party for not withdrawing support and not standing by him.
Mumbai BJP president and MLA from Bandra West Ashish Shelar said that Shetty was asked to withdraw the statement. Defending Shetty, Shelar said that the BJP MP didn't mean what he said. The party, however, doesn't support such statements, added Shelar saying that they fully support the Christian community.
The BJP leader had on Sunday claimed that it was only the Hindus and the Muslims who played a role in India's freedom struggle and not the Christians.
"Christians were British, hence they didn’t participate in the freedom movement. India was not freed by Hindus or Muslims, we fought as one, as Hindustanis for our independence," Shetty can be heard as saying in the video.