Abu Asim Azmi of the Samajwadi Party and Waris Pathan of Owaisi brothers-led All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen said that singing ‘Vande Mataram’ cannot be forced upon people.
The comment came after senior BJP legislator, Raj Purohit, said that singing the national song must be compulsory in Maharasthra, following the Madras High Court decision to make the song mandatory across all government schools and institutions in Tamil Nadu.
Both, Azmi and Pathan objected to this recommendation of BJP with Azmi commenting that the Shiv Sena and BJP were polarizing the society. He further added,
I am a true follower of Islam and singing Vande Mataram is against my religion and also against the constitution. A true Muslim will never sing,” Azmi said. I don’t care whether you throw me out of the country or shoot me.
Waris Pathan, who was earlier suspended from the assembly for not shouting “Bharat Mata ki Jai”, added,
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Even at knife point at my throat or gun on my head, I am not going to sing Vande Mataram…we believe in Constitution.
The Shiv Sena have reacted strongly to the comments. Diwakar Raote of the party mentioned,
They are traitors…they must know that Vande Mataram symbolizes nationalism and for the nation the soldiers are laying down their lives….if they are not ready to sing, they better leave and go to Pakistan.
Earlier this year, Abu Azmi, who is the father-in-law of famous Bollywood actress, Ayesha Takia, had come into the news for his crass comments on women. He had said that women must not step out of the house at night to prevent themselves from being teased. The statement came after several women were harassed and eve teased on New Years’ Eve at Bengaluru.