All India Democratic Front (AIUDF) chief and Lok Sabha MP from Assam Badruddin Ajmal has apologised for his controversial remarks on Hindus where he said that they marry late to have illegal relations with women.
The AIUDF chief has issued an apology saying he had no intention of hurting anyone's sentiments.
"I had no intentions of hurting the sentiments of any community. I deeply regret my statement. Being a senior leader, I should not have made such comments. I apologise to everyone hurt by my remarks. I am ashamed of the statements. All I want is for the government to do justice to the minorities and give them education and employment," Ajmal said.
He, however, maintained that his comments were twisted and he had not targeted any community.
Ajmal's political detractors were however quick to link his remarks to the Gujarat Assembly poll and alleged that the AIUDF chief was toeing the BJP line to "rescue" the right-wing party, which is seeking to retain power in the western state.
The TMC burnt his effigy, alleging collusion with the saffron party as the reason behind Ajmal's controversial remarks. The BJP, however, distanced itself from Ajmal, whose party sits in the Opposition in the state.
"I have not targeted any individual, nor used the term 'Hindu'. I didn't want to break anyone's heart," he told reporters at Hojai Railway Station in central Assam.
"But it became an issue and I am sorry for it, I am ashamed of it. It shouldn't have happened with a senior person like me," Ajmal said, while claiming that his comments were "twisted".
On Friday, Badruddin Ajmal said Muslim men get married soon after turning 21 while Hindu men stay unmarried until 40 to have illegal relations with at least three women.
He said "this is the reason why Hindus now-a-days have fewer children".
"After the age of 40, Hindus get married. How can they have children if they marry so late? When you sow only on fertile land, you can expect good results," he added.
Ajmal suggested Hindus to follow the same "formula" for getting married as Muslims do. He said if Hindu girls marry men at the age of 18-20 years, they can have a good number of children.
The AIUDF chief's comment has already drawn wide-scale criticism from many corners.
(With inputs from PTI and IANS)