Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Tuesday said Muslims have every right to live and prosper in India, as “this is the land of their birth. It is a matter of pride for us that all major religions of the world, including Islam, exist and thrive in India.”
Addressing the three-day 30th general session of the Islamic seminary Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind at Deoband in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur district, about 150 km northeast of Delhi, he said, “The golden rule in a democracy is that it is the duty of the majority to protect the minority.”
Chidambaram said, “The role reverses where the minorities are in majority, such as
the Sikhs in Punjab and Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir. There, the minorities should follow the golden rule of protection.”
Congress leader and Minister of State for Communications and Technology Sachin Pilot and CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury also addressed the session.
The second half of the session was addressed by yoga guru Baba Ramdev, who told a gathering of over 10,000 clerics that Hindu-Muslim unity “could transform India into one of the most powerful nations of the world”.
Acknowledging the contribution of Muslim scholars and leaders to the freedom movement and nation building, Chidambaram hailed the seminary for rejecting violence in the name of Islam.
He said he was glad that the seminary issued a fatwa (religious diktat) against terrorism on February 25, 2008. “Islam rejects all kinds of unwarranted violence, breach of peace, bloodshed, killing and plunder and does not allow it in any form,” he said.