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'Jinnah remarks taken out of context'
December 31, 2005 16:16 IST
Former Bharatiya Janata Party president Lal Kishenchand Advani on Saturday stuck to his controversial remarks on Mohammed Ali Jinnah, saying if what he had said was 'followed in letter and spirit', it will help normalise India's relations with Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Denying that he resigned as BJP president under pressure from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in the wake of the Jinnah controversy, he said, "I am disappointed with myself for not being able to properly convey my sentiments."
"My remarks have been taken out of context," he said.
"I had only said one thing about Jinnah. When I was invited to inaugurate the restoration of the Katas Raj temple, I was reminded of what Jinnah had said on August 11, 1947 to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan.
"He said, 'Now that Pakistan has been created, one should not see who is a Hindu or Muslim. Let Hindus go to temples and Muslims to mosques. In the eyes of the Pakistan government, all are equal citizens.' I had only reminded them. I had quoted exactly what Jinnah had told the Constituent Assembly," Advani said.
"In Pakistan, describing anyone secular is a slur. In India, calling anyone secular becomes a distortion of history," Advani said in reply to a query after demitting office.
I had assumed responsibility as party president in the interlude due to Venkaiah Naidu's family problems and I have stepped down as per my declaration at the Chennai meeting, he said.