March 2002 News

Katiyar denies his remark on Hazratbal shrine

14 March 2002
The Asian Age

New Delhi: Pulled up by the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, and top brass of the BJP and Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the BJP MP from Faizabad, Mr Vinay Katiyar, on Thursday denied making any remarks against the holy relic at the Hazratbal shrine in Srinagar. Mr Katiyar has issued a denial four days after he went on record saying that the hair, believed to be that of Prophet Mohammad, kept at the Hazratbal shrine, actually “belonged to Nimnath Baba, a Hindu saint, settled in Mecca.” Then, Mr Katiyar had also threatened to move the court to claim the holy relic. Mr Katiyar’s remark not only sparked off strong protests in Srinagar, but the Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, reportedly contacted the Prime Minister and demanded action against Mr Katiyar for making such “irresponsible and dangerous remarks.” Mr Katiyar, who had launched a scathing attack against Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee after the Godhra incident, was virtually paid back in the same coin when he was told about Mr Vajpayee’s “strong displeasure” over his remark. Interestingly, Mr Katiyar, who remained unavailable to the media on Thursday issued a denial through BJP spokesman V.K. Malhotra. “I want to say that Mr Katiyar denies of making such a remark,” Mr Malhotra said. When it was pointed out by a section of the media that Mr Katiyar had gone on record on the issue and whether it was a denial or retraction of Mr Katiyar’s previous statement, Mr Malhotra said: “Jo bhi hon. Ab jo cheez galat hain, woh galat hain (Whatever it is, what is wrong, is wrong).” When newspersons thronged Mr Katiyar’s North Avenue residence, adjacent to VHP’s media cell, they were told that “he was not available.” Not only did the government rebuff Mr Katiyar, even the VHP sants and leaders refuted his claim. When contacted by The Asian Age, MP and VHP leader Swami Chinmayananda said that “Nimnath Baba belonged to Gorakhpur a


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