In a veiled snub to Union minister Giriraj Singh for his ‘iftaar’ barb, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday asserted that the essence of religiosity lay in not just observing one’s own customs but also respecting those following other paths and the people who think otherwise are ‘adhaarmik’ (anti-religion).
“I have been holding Eid celebrations here, at the historic Gandhi Maidan, since 2006 as a mark of respect to the followers of the faith. Religion is not just about following one’s own path but also respecting those believing in other religions,” Kumar told reporters.
“But there are people who may think otherwise. They may think that practising one’s own religion would suffice and it was fine to look down upon people and customs of other faiths. I must underscore that such people are ‘adhaarmik’,” Kumar added.
He was replying to queries from journalists about Singh’s tweet of the previous day following which he was reportedly reprimanded by BJP president and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
“I can see you guys are repeatedly taking the name of one person. I have known all these people since long. There are some people who like to say things simply because it would help them get some media attention. And I would not like to react to any of their utterances,” Kumar said.
Singh, a minister in Kumar’s cabinet till 2013 and a known detractor of the JD(U) national president, had on Tuesday sparked a controversy when he tweeted pictures of Kumar attending iftaar parties, wearing a skullcap and with his shoulders covered with a ‘namaz chadar’.
The Union minister had also added a remark lamenting that similar festivities are absent during ‘Navaratra’ when Hindus fast like Muslims do in the holy month of Ramzan.
His remarks had drawn angry responses from several leaders of the JD(U) while his own party colleague and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, who was present alongside Kumar at the iftaar party, criticised the Begusarai MP saying, “I myself have been hosting iftaar parties since long, besides organising feasts during Holi. Those making sarcastic remarks about iftaar have never bothered to treat people on the occasion of Holi.”