With his reported remarks that Mumbai police officer Hemant Karkare was a God for Muslims kicking up a fresh row, senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh on Tuesday sought to play them down saying he had only said that minority community members felt they got a "messenger of God" in the police officer.
Congress steered clear of the reported remarks by Singh. "In no religion, you can equate human being with God. He (Singh) might have used it as a proverb", Congress spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed told mediapersons in New Delhi.
"I have said that when Hemant Karakre arrested the people (affiliated to some Hindu organisations) involved in Malegaon blasts, Muslims got a relief. They felt that at least this honest police officer wiped off the blot from the community at a time when only Muslims were being caught in terror cases. They felt as if they got a messenger of God in Karkare. They (Muslims) used to respect Karkare very much for this," Singh told PTI.
Karkare, who was investigating the Malegaon blast in which right wing Hindu group Abhinav Bharat was allegedly involved, was killed during the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008.
Earlier the media reports had quoted Singh as saying, "Hemant Karkare had come as a form of God for Muslims in the country...he saved a community from being defamed".
Singh had made the remarks while speaking at a book release function in Mumbai. In a sharp reaction to his published remarks, Bharatiya Janata Party alleged they were aimed at spreading hatred and asked Congress chief Sonia Gandhi if she had asked her party general secretary to make such comments.
"Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh has again given a statement. It is very difficult to understand the context. He has said Karkare was a God for Muslims... Does he intend to say that Karkare was nothing for the Hindus of this country?" BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said.
Describing Singh's statement as "very curious", Rudy sought to know if Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul had given their consent to the former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister to make such comments.