The Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday demanded that Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde be sacked immediately -- for asking chief ministers to ensure that no innocent Muslim is detained or questioned -- claiming that he is attempting to divide the country on communal lines.
"If Shinde had issued the letter without associating the religion of the person it would not have been an issue. Had he used the word Indian -- of any religion -- then it would have been better. Shinde should be sacked with immediate effect for dividing the country on communal lines," BJP General Secretary Rajiv Pratap Rudy told reporters.
He said when his party flags such sensitive issues, its secular credentials are challenged, but what Shinde had done was communally divisive.
Hitting out at Shinde, he claimed that the home minister was either ignorant or has forgotten the Constitution.
Rudy asked him to recall his oath of office in which one takes the pledge of serving without any bias to any religion, caste or creed.
"It would have been fair to the country at large if he had not mentioned one particular religion in his letter," Rudy said.
Shinde had said in his letter to chief ministers that no innocent Muslim should be wrongfully detained or arrested in the name of terror.
Senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu alleged that Shinde has written this letter for the sake of vote-bank politics and the forthcoming elections.
He said that Shinde's move is "unconstitutional and questionable" and demanded that the directive should be taken back immediately.
“This is influenced by politics. This has been done with the elections and vote-bank in mind. This is a ploy to bring the minorities towards their (Congress) side and this is a wrong thing done by the Union home minister," Naidu said, adding that the Congress is trying to divide people as minority and majority and doing politics in the name of religion.
"BJP demands that the government take back this directive," he said.
He insisted that when a person is arrested, his caste, religion and colour should not be considered. Action must be taken on the basis of evidence, he added.
The Communist Party of India maintained that there are complaints that innocent Muslims are put in jail. No chargesheet and no trial take place in such cases and they are kept in prison indefinitely.
"I do not know what the Congress is doing. Innocent Muslims are being kept in jail. After several years, they are released, saying there is no case against them. There is a genuine demand that these cases should be reviewed and innocent Muslims should not be imprisoned without any credible evidence," CPI leader D Raja said.
He pointed out that the law is equal for everybody and it should be applied equally to all citizens of the country. However, the problem was that a large number of Muslims are in prison without any charge-sheet and trial and after several years, they are released due to the lack of credible evidence.
"In case of Muslims, it is prevalent on a large scale. Young professionals are being targeted and it has been brought out through various surveys. There is a genuine demand for the review of such cases," he said.