Congress leader Manish Tewari on Friday criticized Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptullah over her remark that there is nothing wrong with the term Hindu being applied equally to all citizens as a national identity, and said that Article 1 of the Constitution talks of India as Bharat.
"We have great respect of Najma, but it will be appropriate if she reads the Constitution of India. Article 1 talks of India as Bharat. So therefore, the identity of Indians is either Indian or Bharatiya, not Hindus," said Tewari.
Meanwhile, Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali, a Muslim cleric, also condemned Heptullah's statement. "We strongly condemn it because she should remember that this is a secular country and Constitution of this country is secular," he said in Lucknow.
Heptullah was earlier reportedly quoted as saying that there is nothing wrong in calling 'all Indians as Hindus'. However, she later claimed that she was misquoted. Read more
Earlier in the day, Heptullah rejected the allegations that she had endorsed Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat's view that 'all Indians are Hindus and their cultural identity is Hindutva'. Justifying her stand, she said it was a 'mistake by the reporter' on her usage of the term 'Hindu' in an interview to a newspaper.