Kulubari: Senior BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain on Saturday labelled Muslims in Tripura as patriots who did not go to Pakistan after the country attained Independence.
''The Muslims in Tripura did not go to Pakistan after Independence even as the state shares a long border with Bangladesh, formerly East Pakistan,'' Hussain said.
Speaking at an election meeting here in Sipahijala district, the BJP leader said, ''Thousands of Muslims were killed while performing 'namaz' at mosques in Pakistan, but not a single such incident had ever occurred in India.''
"BJP is not a party of only Narendra Modi, but also a party of Shahnawaz Hussain. It is a party of the common people and it is a secular party, not a communal party," he said at the meeting.
Hussain also urged for support to the party's candidate in the Muslim majority Boxanagar constituency.
''After the partition of India in 1947, Muslims did not migrate to East Pakistan and chose to stay in Tripura because they are a patriotic force,'' Hussain, who is also BJP spokesman, said.
Hussain continued by saying that when he was the civil aviation minister, he had arranged for a direct flight to Mecca from Guwahati.
He also slammed the ruling CPI(M)-led Left Front for allegedly branding the BJP as a communal party, claiming that Communists are actually communal.
"Before the crumbling of USSR, many provinces of the country were Muslim majorities such as Kazakstan and Uzbekistan. The communist rulers there had demolished mosques," he said.
The former union minister said the BJP had won in various states with a sizeable portion of Muslim population because they supported the party.
He cited the examples of Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir.
"Our best friends are Hindus. We all Muslims should be proud that we were born in India. You would never find friends like Hindus and a country like India," Hussain said.
However, he admitted that in a country of 125 crores there might be some stray incidents of communal violence.
Muslims comprise around 8 percent of the population of Tripura.
The state has a long border with Bangladesh and many Muslims living near the border were evicted or faced various other problems due to the erection of the border fencing, but Chief Minister Manik Sarkar never took up the matter with the Centre, he alleged.
(With PTI inputs)