A Bharatiya Janata Party lawmaker from Maharashtra kicked up a massive row after he claimed that the Christians were angrez (foreigners) and that they did not contribute to India's freedom struggle.
The BJP parliamentarian Gopal Shetty provoked massive outrage with his comment that was captured in a video. While addressing scores of people who had attended the Eid-e-Milad event organized by the Shia Kabrastan Committee in Mumbai, Shetty said:
"India was not freed by Hindus...India was not freed by Muslims, we fought as one for our independence. Christians were angrez (British), so they didn't participate in India's freedom struggle."
Soon after Shetty's bizarre comment went viral, the 64-year-old MP from Mumbai North constituency stepped down from his post. The move could have been prompted after Congress went all guns blazing seeking his resignation and calling him a repeat offender.
"It reflects the despicably communal mindset of the BJP. Freedom struggle is the epitome of sacrifices made by all communities including Christians. Shetty must know that only RSS was in support of the British," Maharashtra Congress President Ashok Chavan was quoted as saying by IANS.
"All suicides do not happen because of unemployment or hunger. It has become a fashion these days. If the Maharashtra Government is giving Rs. 5 lakh as compensation, the other state gives 7 and the next 8 lakh. There is competition in giving compensation to farmers," Shetty was quoted as saying by NDTV.
He later clarified his stance on the issue and said that the media had misinterpreted his words and what he really meant to say was 'competition' instead of fashion.