On Thursday, Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi described the reported allegations by Pakistan over Muslims' Friday congregational prayers in Gurgaon as a "nefarious campaign". And said no certificate is needed from a country which is setting records in "atrocities against minorities".
Naqvi asserted that for Indian Muslims, India is the "best and safest" place in the world. He dismissed the allegations as a "nefarious, misleading and criminal campaign" by the Pakistani establishment against India. "It is a fake agenda of the Bharat bashing brigade," the minority affairs minister told PTI.
Slamming Pakistan, Naqvi pointed out that as of today, there are three lakh active mosques in India which are registered with Waqf boards and the administration. There are many more places where prayers are performed by Muslims, he added. The number of active mosques and prayer places in India is more than in any other country in the world, including Islamic nations, Naqvi said.
As far as Pakistan is concerned, there were about 5,000 temples at the time of partition and today there are not even 30 active temples there, the minister said, adding that the same is the situation with respect to churches and gurdwaras. As far as population is concerned, at the time of partition, the population of minorities in Pakistan was more than 24 per cent and now it is less than 2 per cent, Naqvi said.
In India, at the time of partition, the population of minorities was about eight per cent and now it is more than 20 per cent, he said. Naqvi asserted that in India minorities have equal share in development of the country and in empowerment that is taking place. Economically and educationally all communities have equal opportunities and also have an equal share in progress and prosperity, he said.
Be it 'namaz' or other religious activities, they are constitutionally safeguarded in India, he said. "It is laughable that those sitting in the jungle of atrocities are preaching the biggest secular and democratic country in the world," Naqvi said. He lashed out at Pakistan saying "No certificate is needed from a country which is setting records in atrocities against minorities."
His remarks came a day after the Dawn News quoted a Pakistan Foreign Office statement as raising concerns over alleged "restrictions" on Friday prayers by Muslims in Gurgaon. The statement also alleged that Muslims were being targeted and cited recent incidents in Maharashtra and Tripura. Naqvi said the Hindu culture is the guarantee of secularism and inclusivity.
-With PTI Inputs