Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Friday said his remarks on beef consumption by Muslims were "misconstrued and twisted" and he is ready to apologise if anyone has been hurt by his words.
"My words have been misconstrued and twisted. If anyone has been hurt by my words, I am ready to apologise to them," Khattar said according to ANI.
Khattar's clarification came after a national daily on Friday published his interview a day before. Talking to the Indian Express, Khattar tried to justify the Dadri lynching by saying that "eating beef hurts the sentiments of another community".
He further asked the Muslims to give up beef if they want to stay in India. "Muslim rahein, magar is desh mein beef khaana chhodna hi hoga unko. Yahan ki manyata hai gau (Muslims can continue to live in this country, but they will have to give up eating beef. The cow is an article of faith here)," Khattar had said.
"Eating beef hurts the sentiments of another community, even constitutionally you cannot do this. The Constitution says you cannot do something that offends me, I cannot do something that offends you," he added.
Khattar had also reportedly said Mohammed Akhlaq was lynched because he had made a "loose comment" about the cow.
The victim made "halki tippani (loose comment) about the cow which hurt the sentiments of people who subsequently attacked him... But I say that attacking and killing the person was also wrong," Khattar said. "It should not have happened â€“ from both sides," he said.
Soon after the interview was published, leaders from opposition lambasted the chief minister for making the controversial statement. While, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi called him a CM with a "mob mindset", Lalu Prasad Yadav too condemned his mindset and remark