Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday contended that he was not present when the Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind adopted a resolution at its 30th general session in Deoband yesterday asking Muslims not to recite 'Vande Mataram'.
"Home Minister P Chidambaram was at the JUH conference at Deoband on November 3 between 10 am and 12 noon. No resolution was passed during that period. When he spoke, he was not aware of any resolution relating to Vande Mataram or women's reservation and television," a statement issued by his aide said.
Besides, the Home Minister was reading from a prepared text and there was no occasion to depart from that text, the statement said reacting to a statement of BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.
Through its resolution, Jamiat has asked members of the community not to recite 'Vande Mataram' on the grounds that some verses of the national song are against the tenets of Islam.
The Jamiat's opposition to the recitation of the song came when it supported seminary Darul Uloom's 'fatwa' (edict) which opposes any prayer involving the song.
Naqvi had said the presence of Chidambaram at the programme "gave legitimacy to the resolution...it is a matter of concern."
Defending the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind resolution on singing of Vande Mataram, Samajwadi Party on Wednesday said BJP should not politicise the issue as Muslims had "religious complusions" against reciting the national song.
"We should find a middle path. Muslims are not against Vande Mataram but have religious compulsions against singing it," SP General Secretary Amar Singh told reporters in Delhi.
He said political parties including the BJP should not politicise the issue which would widen the gap between the two communities.
To a question on the presence of Home Minister P Chidambaram at the programme where the resolution was passed, Singh said the Union Minister cannot be blamed for attending it.
BJP on Wednesday sought apology from Chidambaram. Party vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said: "I am surprised that the Home Minister of a country in which terrorism, separatism and naxalism are at their peak was not aware that he was going to attend a programme where our national song Vande Mataram was insulted."
He expressed "concern" over the fate of the country whose Home Minister had not been informed by intelligence agencies about the Vande Mataram resolution.
"The resolution was passed a day before Chidambaram attended the conference and the news had already appeared in newspapers and some news channels," he said.
Naqvi, one of the few Muslim faces of BJP, sought an apology from Chidambaram for the development. PTI