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‘Misquoted’: Pathan withdraws remark

‘Misquoted’: Pathan withdraws remark

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Waris Pathan, who has been facing flak for a controversial speech he made at Karnataka recently, on Saturday said he has withdrawn his remark, even as state home minister Anil Deshmukh said the police were probing his statement. Deshmukh said his department would take appropriate action against Pathan, if required.

At a press briefing in Mumbai on Saturday, Pathan read a written statement and refused to answer any questions on whether he was apologetic. He said, “If anyone feels offended by my statement, I am withdrawing it.” However, Pathan — who had said “we are just 15 crore, but can be a bigger force than the 100-crore majority”, while speaking against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) in Gulbarga — said he was misquoted. Pathan also reiterated that he was a “true Indian citizen”.

AIMIM MP Imtiyaz Jaleel, who was at the briefing, said they want to end the controversy.

Meanwhile, Deshmukh on Saturday said the state police was probing Pathan’s comment and his department would take action against him, if necessary. The home minister, who was in Maoist-affected Gadchiroli district, also reviewed the law-and-order situation and said his department would provide drones to Gadchiroli police.

Pathan, a former Byculla legislator, in his speech at Gulbarga had also said, “They tell us that we have kept our women at the forefront. I want to tell these people, only the lionesses have come out, and you are already sweating. You can understand the impact if all of us come together.”

The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena had organised a number of protests against Pathan after his speech, and AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi had even ordered the leader to not interact with media until further orders. An FIR has already been filed against Pathan in Karnataka’s Kalaburagi police station under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code on a lawyer’s complaint.

(With inputs from Pradeep Maitra)

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