New Delhi: Stoking a controversy, Union Minister Satya Pal Singh Baghel claimed that "tolerant Muslims can be counted on fingers" and it too "was a tactic to lead a public life wearing a mask" as it leads to vice-president, governor or vice-chancellor posts.
But the real face of such "so-called intellectuals" from the community gets revealed after they complete their term in office or retire, he alleged.
The Union minister of state for law and justice made the comments on Monday while addressing the Dev Rishi Narad Patrakar Samman Samaroh -- an event organised by the RSS' media wing Indraprastha Vishwa Samvad Kendra to present awards to journalists.
"Tolerant Muslims can be counted on fingers. I think their number is not even in the thousands. And, that too is a tactic to live in public life wearing the mask as the route leads to the house of vice president, governor or vice chancellor," Baghel said.
"But when they retire, they give real statements. When they leave the chair, they give a statement which shows their reality," he added.
The Union minister's remarks came after Information Commissioner Uday Mahurkar, in his speech at the event, said that India must fight Islamic fundamentalism but the "tolerant Muslims should be taken along".
Referring to Mughal emperor Akbar's efforts to foster Hindu-Muslim unity during his rule, Mahurkar claimed that Chhatrapati Shivaji had seen him in a "positive light". "Akbar tried his best to achieve Hindu-Muslim unity," he said.
Dismissing the remarks, Baghel, however, termed Akbar's efforts mere "tactics" and alleged that the Mughal emperor's marriage with Jodha Bai was part of his "political strategy".
"It did not come from his heart. Otherwise, the massacre of Chittorgarh would not have happened," he said, adding "Look at the Mughal period… the deeds of Aurangzeb. Sometimes, I wonder how did we survive." Baghel said India's bad days began in 1192 AD when Muhammad Ghori defeated Rajput King Prithviraj Chouhan.
Baghel also raised the issue of religious conversion to allege that the number of people who have been converted to another religion through "gande-tabeez" (amulets) is larger than those under the swords.
"Be it Khwaja Gareeb Nawaz Saheb, Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia, or Saleem Chisti… Still today, people from our community go there in large numbers seeking children, jobs, tickets (to contest election), ministerial berth, elevation from a minister of state to a cabinet minister," he added.
The minister said members of the minority community feel that since they were "rulers" for such a long period, how could they become "subjects".
"The solution to the problem lies in providing good quality education. It can give some solution to the problem one day.
"If they study in a madrassa, they will learn Urdu, Arabic and Persian. All literature is good but with such study, they will become Pesh-Imam. And if they study physics and chemistry, they will become Abdul Kalam," Baghel added.