Bengali film actors-turned-MPs Nusrat Jahan and Mimi Chakraborty have said that their leader Mamata Banerjee "performs Chandi prayers every morning before going out, but nobody mentions about this".
Replying to questions from Rajat Sharma in the show 'Aap Ki Adalat', the two MPs, who happen to be close friends, objected to what they called 'portrayal' of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee as one who works for appeasement of Muslims.
"They (opposition in Bengal) are after Didi, and even named her as Mamata Begum and Mamata Khatoon. She is trying to bring equality among all religions. Why don't people see that she visits temples and Hindu poojas regularly? Why don't they see that Didi leaves home every morning after performing Chandi (goddess) prayers?"
Asked by Rajat Sharma why Mamata Banerjee was once upset in public when some protesters shouted 'Jai Shri Ram' slogans, Nusrat Jahan said: " Taking God's name is not a crime, but when you involve politics and chant God's name with an intention to demean others, then it is wrong. I am saying this from a neutral ground.
"Suppose, every morning I wake up and shout 'Allahu Akbar' several times and try to give a political colour to it, people won't accept. One day you too will be fed up and you will shout at me. Those who were protesting should have shown respect to Didi, because she is after all the Chief Minister."
When Rajat Sharma said, the chief minister threatened to send the protesters to jail, Nusrat Jahan replied: "Well, nobody was sent to jail. Didi has the fighting spirit. It all comes to the issue of portrayal. If you have to chant God's name, chant 'Ma Kali' also, but you should not give a political touch to that."
Nusrat Jahan disclosed that on Eid ul-Fitr day, she received more than 10,000 'Jai Shri Ram' messages from those who were trolling her. "I thanked them for at least remembering God on the occasion of Eid. I'm very happy about it."
Asked about an Islamic scholar from Bareilly who has said that Nusrat Jahan is no more a Muslim since she had married a Jain and had sported 'sindoor' and had worn Hindu marriage bangles, the Trinamool MP replied:" Nobody has the right to snatch away my religion and my faith (imaan). If I am not in direct contact with Allah, then I'm hoping that others too have also no such direct contact. Religion is a matter of faith and my faith is solid (pakka). By sporting 'sindoor' and wearing mangal sutra, I do not lose my faith."
Nusrat Jahan had recently performed Mangal Aarti during a Rath Yatra in Bengal with chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
She said: "I had pulled the Jagannath chariot in the past too in Mayapur (West Bengal). I was not married at that time. At that time, some people told me I have changed my religion. I genuinely feel that religion should be from the heart, not from the mind."
The Trinamool MP emphatically said: "Islam is my religion, which I have inherited from my father and my family. I have read the Hadees and Holy Qoran. My father taught me that one's religion comes from the heart.
"My father is a Haji Saheb. I was trolled after my marriage with a non-Muslim. But I feel, love has no language. How do I explain this to people. Some day people will start thinking about it, may be the New Age India is thinking about it. Without love, nobody can become a maulana or a pandit. All religious scholars should also study love."
Asked why she wore mangal sutra and sported 'sindoor' while taking oath as an MP in Lok Sabha, Nusrat Jahan said:"I am an Indian first. I respect all religions. I had just married and had come straight to Parliament. I wanted to embrace the best of Indian culture. I never felt even for a moment that I have done anything wrong, by according respect to another religion.I genuinely feel that it is high time that we all start adopting new Indian culture."
On the infamous February 2012 Kolkata Park Street gangrape case, Nusrat Jahan said: "I was young at that time. Yes, I and my family knew one of the accused, who had fled, but it is incorrect to allege that I had helped him escape. Neither I nor my family will ever support any wrong act.
"It was a traumatic moment for me. For nearly two months, I could not move out of my home out of fear. Finally, I mustered courage and moved out. Since then, this incident helped me in moving forward in life and I broke all barriers and beyond everything, which is what I am today. It was a moment of emotional distress for me."