Bengaluru, June 20: A Muslim cleric Tanveer Hashmi on Wednesday said that his remark about cow sacrifice was “misinterpreted”. The Karnataka based cleric was criticised by noted Bollywood lyricist Javed Akhtar today for creating communal disharmony. The noted Urdu poet demanded that Hashmi should be immediately arrested. The row started after the cleric said that cows would be sacrificed during Bakrid festival in Karnataka. It is to be noted that cow slaughtering is banned in the state.

Hashmi told news agency ANI, “What I said on Eid was misinterpreted. I follow Sufism in which one is not even allowed to cut a tree branch, how can I say a person should be cut. Hindus & Muslims stay peacefully in Bijapur, some anti-social elements have been trying to incite violence.”

 The cleric made the purported remarks in the presence of Health and Family Welfare Minister Shivanand Patil during his sermons on the occasion of Ramzan prayer at Vijayapura in north Karnataka.  The minister chose to remain quiet after Hashmi made the controversial remarks. Tanveer Hashmi is the head of Hashim Pir Dargah at Vijayapura, a popular Muslim shrine.