Minority affairs minister Najma Heptullah claimed on Friday HT misquoted her in an interview-based story published on the front page of its August 29 edition.
The report headlined “Nothing wrong in calling all Indians Hindu: Najma” said Heptullah had virtually endorsed the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s view that all Indians are Hindus, adding there was nothing wrong with the term Hindu being applied equally to all citizens as a label of “national identity”.
Speaking to television reporters, Heptullah, however, claimed she never used the word “Hindu”, while discussing the concept of Indian identity.
Here, HT readers can access the audio clips of the relevant portions from the recorded interview.
In the first audio clip, Heptullah described India’s historical identity and said, “The word Hindu actually originally referred to a national identity of those who live in this land.”
In the second clip, she gave an Arab-world perspective of India. “I look at things very rationally. I am a very rational person.”
In the third clip, the minister said, “Whether you call me a Hindu or a Hindi…if I go to Arabia, Arabs call me Hindi…Do I take offence?” In another instance, she explained: “Some people think we should call ourselves Hindu, it doesn’t matter to me… it doesn’t affect my faith.”