New Delhi: The BJP on Sunday downplayed party leader Subramanian Swamy's mosque 'not a religious place' remark, saying there can be no comment that that is negative to anyone's beliefs, faith or place of worship.
"I have not seen the statement and I don't know whether it is correct if he has said it in that sense. However, when it comes to anyone's faith and their place of worship, it has to be respected," BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli told ANI here.
"There can be no comment that is negative to anyone's own beliefs, their own faith or their place of worship," he added.
Meanwhile, Swamy defended his remark and said that the Islamic places of worship have been demolished for public purposes in British times.
"As far as the masjid is concerned, the Indian Supreme Court constitutional bench of 1994, in the famous Ram temple matter, observed that a masjid is not an essential part of Islamic religion and, therefore, in the British time mosques have been demolished for a public purpose," Swamy told ANI here.
"In our own experience here, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had moved four masjids out of the way of temples, two from MP, one from Goa and one from Karnataka and at that time the Director responsible was a person called Mohammad, whom I recently honoured in a function in Kerala," he added.
Citing the example of Saudi Arabia, Swamy said that mosques are regularly demolished or given another place in the Islamic kingdom.
"Christian churches are regularly purchased by VHP branch in USA because the number of people going to churches is going down. So, many churches are unable to maintain themselves, economically, so they sell it. The VHP has been purchasing these churches and converting them into temples," he added.
Swamy had earlier said that mosque is not a religious place but is just a building that can be demolished any time.
An FIR under IPC Sections 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy) and 153 (A) (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion) has been filed against Swamy, who had made the controversial statement at a programme in Guwahati, after a complaint by the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS).
The KMSS has accused Swamy of spreading communal disturbance ahead of the assembly polls in Assam.