Ilmi defends remark as 'casual not communal'

Ilmi defends remark as 'casual not communal'

Aam Aadmi Party leader Shazia Ilmi on Wednesday defended her poll-related remark which asked Muslims to not remain secular but to act in their communal interest.  In a statement released here by the AAP, she termed her remark as ‘casual’ and aimed at turning the community to their “real-life material interest”.

The releasing of the statement by the AAP seems to indicate that the party has accepted her explanation. However, on Tuesday, a senior party leader had told TV channels that she should have not made such a remark.

“The point was simply to say that the Muslim community has allowed itself to be used far too long by the so-called secular politics. It would be much better if the community were to turn to their real-life material interests, the so-called community interests like education, employment, etc,” she said, explaining her remark.

“I wish to clarify the statement attributed to me regarding exhorting the Muslims to be more communal. Nothing can be farther from my intent and indeed my politics. It is quite clear from the tone and tenor of the conversation that I am using the words 'secular' and ‘communal’ in an ironic manner. And in an informal casual setting wherein a 90-second video clip purports to put context to a half hour conversation,” Ilmi said in her statement.

She also said, “It should also be noted that I am making a plea to vote for a candidate who is not Muslim, and in the name of a leader who is not Muslim. I am shocked to see a statement like this can be distorted and misconstrued as communal or inciting hatred.

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