New Delhi: The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) on Friday slammed the Jama Masjid Shahi Imam's snub to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying the latter must be given the respect that his office commands.
"The Shahi Imam's actions are against propriety and protocol. First of all, in a secular state there is no space for these kinds of religious extravaganzas. I think that the Shahi Imam probably does not realise that he does not represent the Muslims of India," RJD leader Manoj Jha told ANI.
"We, the RJD, have differences with the Prime Minister and his party. We have been fighting against him. But I cannot deny that he is my Prime Minister," he added.
Jha said that inviting Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharof for his son's coronation ceremony and snubbing Prime Minister Modi for the same was a serious breach of protocol.
"As the Prime Minister, Modi ji has every right to be invited if the state leaders of all the neighbouring countries have been invited as well," he said.
Jha further accused Bukhari of threatening the nation's secularism.
"These kind of leaders, whether they represent the saffron or they are Imams, they have no space in a secular nation. They are simply destroying the secular fabric of India, which in essence constitutes all of us," he said.
Bukhari, who recently named his 19-year-old son Shaban Bukhari as his successor, has sent out invitations to several Indian and foreign political leaders, nearly 1,000 religious leaders from across the world for the ceremony.
Bukhari, who has not invited Prime Minister Modi to the event, had earlier alleged that the Indian Muslims have still not been able to relate themselves with him. However, he has invited several central ministers including Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan, as well as Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
Several other leaders, including Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, are also expected to attend the event.
Bukhari has been holding the post since 2000.