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SPECIAL REPORT

No evidence to show Muslims persecuted Hindus: Natwar

New Delhi: In a scathing attack against the Sangh Parivar, particularly the BJP, for distorting the concept of secularism and core national values, External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh today said there was no evidence to suggest that Muslim rulers had persecuted Hindus and instead, ''the picture was quite the opposite.'' ''Indeed, the picture is quite the opposite...Recollection of ancient wrongs of Muslim rulers is both fallacious and pernicious: there is no evidence to suggest the sustained persecution of Hindus by Muslim rulers,'' the External Affairs Minister said while delivering the 12th Lal Bahadur Shastri Memorial Lecture here. His remarks, however, went unreported by the “mainstream’ media.

Hitting out at the BJP and its ideology, Mr Natwar Singh said the premises put forward by the BJP and its fraternity criticise the practice of secularism since independence as having wounded the Hindu ethos and psyche even as Muslims were given privileged status. In support of these assertions there are frequent references to Indian history based on selective readings of old events and episodes.

He said no political movement would be able to seize power in India on the basis of an exclusivist philosophy and agenda, however emotive ts assertions and seductive its appeals.

''To rule India, a movement or party must necessarily represent and uphold India's rich diversity and include within its agenda the interest of different sections that make it our national tapestry,'' he said. 

He said the ''anti-secular philosophy'' of the BJP, the strident assertions of its adherents and the ''rampages of its cohorts'' had led some observers to believe that there had been an increase in religious bigotry and that minorities remained insecure while communal conflicts proliferated. (UNI, Jan. 15, 04)
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