Arif Mohammed Khan | Photo: Mathrubhumi/B Muralikrishnan
Aligarh (UP): Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Saturday sought to dispel certain misgivings emanating from a recent statement of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, stressing that it only meant that no one has the right to claim supremacy on the basis of his birth.
Khan said this while replying to a reporter's question on the sidelines of a function organised by the Sir Syed Memorial Society at the Aligarh Habitat Centre here.
He was asked about Bhagwat's comments in an interview published in "Organiser" and "Panchjanya" that "Muslims have nothing to fear in India, but they must abandon their boisterous rhetoric of supremacy".
Khan said Bhagwat had, in fact, emphasised that no one has the right to claim supremacy on the basis of his birth.
"Bhagwat only emphasised that our social behaviour should be in resonance with the Constitution, which is based on equality of all sections and does not believe in superiority or inferiority," he added.
"There are social disparities in our society, but equality is our cherished ideal and an aspiration that is deeply reflected in the Constitution and is, in fact, one of the pillars of the Constitution," the Kerala governor said.
In the interview, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief had said, "The simple truth is this -- Hindustan should remain Hindustan. There is no harm to the Muslims living in Bharat today.... Islam has nothing to fear. But at the same time, Muslims must abandon their boisterous rhetoric of supremacy."
Replying to another question, Khan strongly denied that Bhagwat had in any way implied that "Muslims should be relegated to the status of second-class citizens in the country".
If someone is inferring this from Bhagwat's statement, he is mistaken, Khan said.
Referring to the reported threat of some Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) students planning to stage a black-flag demonstration against his visit to Aligarh, the Kerala governor said, "To the best of my knowledge, there was no such protest against my visit to Aligarh on Saturday. There were some social media posts to this effect on Friday, but that did not take place."
Khan, however, defended the democratic right of any group of people to stage a black-flag demonstration to voice their protest. He said India is a democratic country and every citizen has a right to protest in a peaceful manner.
Earlier, addressing the function to commemorate the birth anniversary of former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh, Khan said he had a special bond with the late leader since 1977, when he was elected as a Janata Party MLA from Bulandshahr district and Singh was the health minister of Uttar Pradesh in the first Janata Party government in the state.
"Kalyan Singh was not just an important political leader of his time but his main achievement was that he was looked upon as a champion of the downtrodden section of the society who always sought to remove social disparities," Khan said.