Goa's Deputy Chief Minister Francis D'Souza on Monday apologised for his remarks that he is a "Christian Hindu", after being criticised by the Catholic community.
"I am sorry if I have hurt anyone's sentiments. What I feel I said. According to you my opinion may be wrong, but for me I am right," D'Souza told reporters.
Last week, after Goa minister Dipak Dhavalikar ignited a controversy by his remark that India will develop as a Hindu nation under Narendra Modi, D'Souza had stoked it further, saying India is already a Hindu nation and will always remain so.
"India is a Hindu country. India is Hindustan. All Indians in Hindustan are Hindus including me. I am a Christian Hindu...," he had said.
D'Souza said while referring the word 'Hindu', he did not mean it as a religion.
"Hindu is my culture. Christianity is my religion. When I say Hindu, it means culture and not religion," he said.
Hinduism is 5,000 years old, while my religion is 2,000 years old, he further said.
D'Souza said there is no need to make India a Hindu nation. "As far as Hindu nation is concerned, we need not make it. It is already a Hindu Nation," he said.
The Christian community in the state had criticised the deputy chief minister's remarks.
"How can he claim himself as Hindu-Christian? He can call himself Indian-Christian," Fr Eremito Rebello, a leading priest, had said.
Nationalist Congress Party's state unit spokesman Trojano D'Mello had last week demanded that the Church should outcast D'Souza for his remarks.