Minorities panel mulls action against Swamy for anti-Muslim views


New Delhi : The National Commission for Minorities will Tuesday decide what action if any should be taken against Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy who has, in a signed newspaper article, suggested that the voting rights of Indian Muslims be revoked.

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Wajahat Habibullah, who heads the panel, said members of the commission had already studied Swamy’s article, “How to wipe out Islamic terror”, which violates the law and incites hatred.

“The article has been circulated among the members. They have studied it. All of them found it very offensive. Now it is being examined by our legal advisor and he has pointed out a number of Indian Penal Code (sections) which have been violated,” Habibullah told CNN-IBN in an interview.

The Harvard-educated economic scholar in the article published July 17 in the Daily News and Analysis (DNA) had suggested Indian Hindus to collectively respond to terror acts.

“We need a collective mindset as Hindus to stand against the Islamic terrorist. The Muslims of India can join us if they genuinely feel for the Hindu. That they do I will not believe unless they acknowledge with pride that though they may be Muslims, their ancestors were Hindus.

“If any Muslim acknowledges his or her Hindu legacy, then we Hindus can accept him or her as a part of the Brihad Hindu Samaj (greater Hindu society) which is Hindustan. Others, who refuse to acknowledge this, or those foreigners who become Indian citizens by registration, can remain in India but should not have voting rights (which means they cannot be elected representatives),” Swamy wrote in his article.

Habibullah, however, said he respected Swamy as a scholar “but an article of this nature is not accepted. It is intimidating members of a particular community”.

The panel chairman also criticised the newspaper for having published such an “outrageous” article.

“The newspaper should have exercised some restriction before going ahead with the publication.”

Asked if Swamy had the right to express his opinion freely, Habibullah said: “It (article) talks about expelling entire community from India. Obviously that is highly offensive. It may not incite violence but it incites hatred. That would be in violation of the law.”

He said that the panel was examining the matter further. “We have certain proposals that would be taken up in next meeting Tuesday,” he said, but refused to divulge what action the panel would take against Swamy, who has been a minister in the central government.