Joining the debate over chanting 'Bharat mata ki jai', prominent Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband has issued an edict asking Muslims to refrain from raising the slogan as it is "akin to idol-worship" which is against the tenets of Islam.
"We received thousands of queries on the issue so Darul Uloom Deoband has issued a 'fatwa' saying 'Bharat mata ki Jai' is not in consonance with Islam and we will not say it. But we love our country immensely and we can raise slogans like 'Hindustan Zindabad' and 'Madre Vatan'.
"It is not allowed in Islam to represent the country as a Goddess' idol and raise slogans hailing her," said Ashram Usmani, public relations officer of the seminary.
The fatwa states that only a human can give birth to a human, so how can the country be called 'mother'.
BJP in response on Friday accused Darul Uloom of "communalising" nationalism after the Islamic seminary asked Muslims to refrain from raising 'Bharat mata ki jai' slogan while its ally Shiv Sena termed it as a "new terrorism".
BJP said moderate and liberal Muslims take pride in raising nationalist slogans like this but hardliners with medieval beliefs raise such issues for their own sectarian interests.
"There is a clear attempt by some sections to communalise nationalism. There is a large section of moderate Muslims, including likes of Javed Akhtar and A R Rahman, and liberal Muslims who take pride in raising nationalist slogans.
"There are hardliners with medieval beliefs who are raising such issues for their own sectarians interests," party spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao said.
Taking a tough stand, Sena leader and MP Sanjay Raut said not chanting 'Bharat mata ki jai' is not freedom of expression but a new terrorism and the government should nip it in the bud.
"If you are not hailing the motherland, then whom are they going to hail? They should tell us. The central government should act tough. Such things are never allowed in any other country. Not to chant 'Bharat mata ki jai' is not freedom of expression but a new terrorism," he said.
Striking a balance, Congress on Friday said it favoured every Indian chant "Bharat Mata ki jai" with pride, but was equally against attempts to force someone to say it.
Reacting to the edict of prominent Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband asking Muslims to refrain from raising the chant, party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said one should often chant 'Bharat Mata ki jai' with pride.
"I feel that opposing it for some reason, is wrong, childish," he said.
At the same time, he made it clear that Congress was equally against attempts to force someone to raise the chant.
"I will forcefully express my right to raise the chant of 'Bharat mata ki jai'. Equally forcefully, I will resist attempts to punish someone for not raising the chant."