Samjawadi Party leader Kamaal Farooqi on Friday kicked up a controversy over the arrest of Indian Mujahideen co-founder Yasin Bhatkal, asking whether it is based on the grounds of crime or religion.
The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party slammed Farooqui for his comment calling it "ridiculous' and 'regrettable'. "Is this arrest based on crime or religion," Farooqui asked.
"If he is a terrorist then he should not be spared but if he has been arrested just because he is a Muslim, then caution should be exercised as we don't want to send a wrong message to an entire community that we are trying to malign the community's image without a thorough investigation," he said on the arrest of 30-year-old Bhatkal who is wanted in several blast cases.
Farooqi claimed it will be harmful for the country if the arrest was made because of Bhatkal's religious denomination. "I feel there should be an objective inquiry into the issue," he said, adding investigators should get to the bottom of the truth.
"The past record often shows that police claims to have arrested persons saying they are terrorists and without a number of cases against the accused. But later it turns out it was wrong and the accused is later released," he said.
The BJP said Farooqi's statement was regrettable.
"It is deeply regrettable. It is deeply unfortunate that he is using religion to compromise the security of the country. He(Farooqui) should have avoided it," BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said. Prasad said the whole of India should be seen as speaking in one voice when there is evidence against an arrested terrorist.
Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhury trashed Farooqi's comment as ridiculous while party colleague and Union Minister V Narayanasamy said terror has no religion.