Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy on Sunday reportedly defended his controversial remark that mosque is not a religious place but just a building that can be demolished any time.
Stressing that Islamic places of worship were demolished for public purposes in British era, he said, "In our own experience, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had moved four masjids (mosques) out of the way of temples… and at that time the director responsible was a person called Mohammad, whom I recently honoured at a function in Kerala."
.. Mosque is not an essential part of Islam religion, yeh constitution mai likha hai, logon ko pata hi nahi hai: Subramanian Swamy (13/3/15)— ANI (@ANI_news) March 15, 2015
Swamy triggered a row in Guwahati on Saturday when he said: "A mosque is not a religious place. It is just a building. It can be demolished any time. If anyone disagrees with me on this, I am ready to have a debate on the issue. I got this information from people of Saudi Arabia."
Police registered an FIR under IPC sections 120 (B) [criminal conspiracy] and 153 (A) [promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion] against Swamy following a complaint by Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS).
While Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi slammed Swamy and his party - he said "BJP will have to pay a heavy price for hurting Assamese sentiments" - the saffron party tried to quell the controversy.
"I have not seen the statement and I don't know whether... he (Swamy) has said it in that sense. However, when it comes to anyone's faith and place of worship, it has to be respected," BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli told ANI in Delhi.
BJP should tell people if they endorse Subramanian Swamy's views or not: Anand Sharma, Cong pic.twitter.com/41HABLdczo— ANI (@ANI_news) March 15, 2015