Ghulam Nabi Azad: 'Majority of Muslims in India have converted from Hinduism'
"Who were the Muslims in Kashmir 600 years ago? All were Kashmiri Pandits. They converted to Islam. All are born into this religion," the former CM of Jammu and Kashmir said.
DPAP chairman Ghulam Nabi Azad said a majority of Indian Muslims have converted from Hinduism, adding that an example of this can be found in the Kashmir Valley where a majority of Kashmiri Pandits converted to Islam.
Asserting that religion should not be used to get political mileage, Azad said whoever takes refuge in religion in politics is weak.
"Some BJP leader said some (Muslims) have come from outside and some have not. Nobody has come from outside or inside. Islam came to existence just 1,500 years ago. Hindu religion is very old. Around 10-20 of them (Muslims) must have come from outside, some were there in the Mughal army," the Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) chief told a gathering in Doda district.
"All other Muslims converted from Hinduism in India. An example of this can be found in Kashmir. Who were the Muslims in Kashmir 600 years ago? All were Kashmiri Pandits. They converted to Islam. All are born into this religion," the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir said.
Azad said that when Hindus die, they are cremated. "They are burnt in different places. Their ashes are placed in the river which mixes the water, and we drink that water," he said.
"Later, who sees that the water contains their burnt ashes? People drink that water," the DPAP leader said.
Similarly, Muslims' flesh and bones become a part of the nation's soil, Azad said. "They, too, become a part of this land. Their flesh and their bones become a part of Bharat Mata's soil. Hindus and Muslims both merge into this land. What difference is there between them?" he added.
Taking a dig at the use of religion for votes, Azad said, "Whoever takes refuge in religion in politics is weak. Religion should not be used as a vote bank in politics. Voting should not be based on Hindu and Muslim names."
Meanwhile, senior BJP leader Kavinder Gupta agreed with Azad's remarks and said the people used to practise Hinduism before "invaders" brought in other religions.
"The timeline given by Azad about the inception of Islam in India is true," said Gupta, a former deputy chief minister.
Gupta said that unveiling the history of Kashmir would also reveal that not more than 600 years ago, there was no Muslim in Kashmir as everyone there was Hindu.
It was the "invaders" who converted them to Islam and "those who refused were killed brutally", he said.
Gupta, however, cautioned against political entities misusing the situation to divide the society for political gains. He said that there is no basis for division of society on the matter because all belonged to the same society with the same ancestors, he said.
(With agency inputs)