Speaking at a function in Guwahati on Friday, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy said that a mosque is not a religious place but a building that can be demolished anytime. A complaint under IPC sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion) has been filed against the Supreme Court lawyer.
Hindustan Times reported that Swamy repeated the same on Saturday at another function in Guwahati. "A mosque is not a religious place. It is just a building. It can be demolished any time. If anyone disagrees with me on this, I am ready to have a debate on the issue. I got this information from people of Saudi Arabia," he said.
Swamy's remarks sparked protests in Assam.
"Mosques are demolished periodically everywhere in the world. Even during the British era, mosques were demolished in India," he said, IBN-Live reported.
Swamy has received brickbats from all political fronts including his own party. "It is a ploy to grab the headlines," said Siddhartha Bhattacharjee, Assam's BJP president. "Every time he comes to the state, he makes such statements only to be in the news. I am sending video clippings of his statements to our national leadership. Whatever he said are his personal views."
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said that Swamy was trying to create communal tensions before the state assembly elections. "BJP will have to pay a heavy price for hurting Assamese sentiments," he said.