Amid media reports claiming three Madrassa students were beaten for allegedly not chanting 'Bharat Mata ki jai', Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Wednesday said giving the slogan is "not a fashion, but passion" and stressed nationalism is in the DNA of country's Muslims.
"I was watching (news) on television, someone said 'Bharat Mata ki jai' and he was beaten. See, understand one thing. 'Bharat Mata ki jai' is not a fashion, but a passion.
"This is not a compulsion, but passion. Because of this (the controversies) real issues go on backburner, while such issues dominate," the Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs Naqvi rued.
He maintained that there is no doubt that Muslims in the country are patriotic and said nationalism is in the DNA of the community.
"Nationalism is in the DNA of Muslims of this country. No matter how many DNA tests you conduct, you will find only nationalism in them," Naqvi added.
While addressing valedictory session of National Conference of Chairpersons and CEOs of state waqf boards here, Naqvi urged the boards to work towards "wiping out" perception that some of them were being "controlled" by mafias and also assured the state authorities that Centre will fund their activities of empowering the communities.
In a statement issued later, Naqvi said patriotism is the "first duty" of every religion and that there no need for distributing certificates of nationalism and secularism.
"Nationalism is in the DNA of every true Indian. But it is a matter of concern if there is any baseless debate on patriotism and nationalism and if some people are raising questions even on the issue of nationalism," he said.
The Minister said members of Waqf boards to clear confusion among people that some of the boards are controlled by mafias and for this, he suggested, the members to work by getting out of their offices.
He stated that there are 31 state waqf boards and 4,27,000 registered waqf properties across the country besides other non-registered properties.
"There is a misconception about waqf boards that these are under controls of mafias. There are some waqf boards on which mafias have direct or indirect control. There is only way to wipe out this conception, we can't wipe it out sitting in office," he said.
He also advised state board members to seek help of Central Waqf Council members in this regard.