New Delhi: Union Minority Affairs Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Najma Heptullah on Friday clarified that she had used the word 'Hindi' and not 'Hindu' in her reported remarks that the term is used to identify all Indian citizens.
Clarifying her statement, the Cabinet Minister said that she was misinterpreted by the newspaper in her interview. “I had used the word Hindi, I did not use the word Hindu,” the BJP minister asserted, adding the Hindi term is used in the Arab world to identify Indians.
A huge controversy erupted after a newspaper reported that the Minority Affairs Minister endorsed Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat's view saying that there is nothing wrong in calling all Indians Hindus.
"The cultural identity of all Indians is Hindutva and the present inhabitants of the country are descendants of this great culture," Bhagwat had said. The RSS Chief had went on to say that Hindutva was a way of life and that Hindus could be of any religion worshipping any god or not worshipping at all.
Sharp criticisms came from the political parties. Manish Tiwari told ANI that Article 1 of Constitution asks of India as Bharat and therefore Indians are “Bharathiyas” not Hindus. NCP leader Tariq Anwar said “If Najma Heptullah has said something like this, it is unfortunate. Just to be in power she is giving such statements”.