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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

Rajnath flays ministry order to states on ‘minority harassment’

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Kolkata, October 02, 2013
First Published: 10:20 IST(2/10/2013) | Last Updated: 10:23 IST(2/10/2013)

BJP national president Rajnath Singh demanded immediate withdrawal of the home ministry order that instructed all the states to avoid “harassment” of Muslims in the name of fighting terror.

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The BJP feared such an order could influence investigation and prosecution in terror cases and accused the Congress of dividing the nation on communal lines.

On Monday, home minister Sushil kumar Shinde sent directives to all state governments asking them to fast-track terror cases involving the minority community and provide legal aid to Muslim undertrials. The home ministry missive came after Shinde was “concerned” at “repeated complaints of innocent Muslim youths being detained on ter ror- related charges”.

“Earlier the Prime Minister had said Muslims have first right over the nation’s resources. Now the home minister ordered innocent Muslims should not be harassed on terror charges and called for fast-tracking cases involving the community. We believe not only Muslims, but no individual, irrespective or caste or religion, should be harassed,” Singh remarked, while addressing the media in Kolkata on Tuesday.

“It is for the court to decide who is guilty and who is not. It should not be decided on the basis of caste. We fear such an order might influence investigation and prosecution in terror cases,” Singh added, and accused the Congress of indulging in vote-bank politics prior to the general elections.

The BJP chief fl aye d Shinde’s order as unconstitutional under ar ticles 14 (equality before law) and 15 (Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth) and accused the Congress of inheriting the divide-and-rule policy from the British.

Singh also demanded Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s resignation or public apology for insulting the Prime Minister’s chair.

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