Poll panel issues notice to Azam Khan over 'Kargil' remark

Controversial Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Azam Khan has found himself on the wrong side of the Election Commission with the poll panel on Wednesday issuing him a notice for his remarks that Muslim soldiers won the war in the 1999 Kargil conflict.

The notice was issued after the commission sought details of Khan’s remarks. It is also examining the video recording of the 30-minute speech he made during an election campaign in Ghaziabad on Tuesday.

Khan had said that it was “Muslim soldiers” who ensured India’s victory in the 1999 Kargil war against Pakistan.

As parties pounded on Khan for his comments, the SP leader said he stood by his comments and questioned why “others are feeling offended” as he was only highlighting the contribution of Muslims when the BJP and the RSS claimed that Muslims had no role in the Independence or in wars. Parties of all hues were in unison to condemn Khan's remarks while Samajwadi Party said it could be a reflection of some dissatisfaction over “unfulfilled aspirations”.

SP leader Shivpal Singh Yadav said Khan would have been pointing towards “pain and neglect”.

Khan said, "I wanted to say what is the contribution of the Muslims for the country. Why are others feeling offended? We sacrifice our lives on the borders, we recapture our hills from the Pakistan army, so why others should feel offended? The BJP and the RSS have always said that Muslims had no role in the Independence or along the borders.
Therefore, I have said what has been the role of the Muslims in the Kargil war. What is wrong in that? My statement should be welcomed.” Taking strong objection, the BJP approached the EC asking for strict action, saying the remarks were an “insult to the bravery of soldiers” and the “communal comment by Azam Khan during the elections shows the politics of communalism”.

Congress spokesman and Union minister Anand Sharma termed the remarks as most unfortunate and said, “No responsible Indian will make such a statement... Those who died (in the Kargil conflict) were sons of this country and they fought as Indians”. He said it was for the EC to take cognisance of the matter.

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