Lucknow: Muslim clerics Friday slammed Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi's statement that some Muslim youths from riots-ravaged Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh were in touch with Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI, and said these were "most unfortunate".
Maulana Saif Abbas Naqvi, a prominent Shia cleric, said such statements not only painted the Muslim community in bad light but also strengthened the communal forces. He said these were a "grave insinuation" on millions of peace loving and patriotic Muslims in the country.
He also alleged that instead of understanding the plight and pain of the riot victims, the Gandhi scion was playing politics with the communal riots and the victims.
Shahar Qazi, Maulana Abul Irfan Miyan Farangi Mahali, said the statement of Rahul Gandhi was "most unfortunate" and demanded an immediate and unconditional apology from the Congress leader.
"It does not behove leaders of a national party like the Congress to give such cheap and hurtful statements against the Muslims...we are patriotic and would do anything for India" he said in a statement.
Maulana Kalbe Sadiq, senior vice-president of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board, also said that anyone who casts aspersions on the integrity and loyalty of the minorities for the country was doing a great dis-service to the country and the Muslims.
At an election rally in Indore Thursday, Rahul Gandhi had made a sensational claim that singed by the riots and killings in Muzaffarnagar district of the state, many Muslim youth were in touch with Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence). The riots and communal violence in the district in September had left 62 dead and 43,000 homeless.