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'Muslims ignorant about meaning of Vande Mataram'

September 01, 2006 15:43 IST

The resistance to singing of Vande Mataram by Muslims was merely because of their ignorance about the meaning of the national song, a leader of the minority cell of the Congress said on Friday.

"Ninety-nine per cent of minorities, especially Muslims, do not know the exact meaning of the song. There is no harm in singing this song which praises the nation," Congress' minority cell president Imran Kidwai told reporters in Panaji.

He, however, said the singing of Vande Mataram should be voluntary and not compulsory.

"I personally feel everyone should sing this song, but it depends on individual choice. Even courts have not made the singing of the national anthem compulsory for everyone," he said.

Kidwai, on a two-day visit to Goa, blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party for raking up an unnecessary controversy on the issue.

"Let people know the meaning of the song and decide whether they should sing it or not. I feel that after knowing the meaning, no one will reject the singing of the national song," he said.

He said he has urged Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi to air the song on television to clarify its meaning. "The entire national movement was based on the words Vande Mataram and what is the harm in singing it now?" he asked.

Meanwhile, Kidwai also said that India should build international pressure against Bangladesh to get it to dismantle terrorist camps within its territory.

"The terror which took roots in Pakistan is now shifting towards Bangladesh and it is no secret that the ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) is behind Naxal activities in India," Kidwai said.

The Bangladesh government, being friendly towards India, should not allow such activity on its territory.

"ISI camps in Bangladesh are an extension of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism," Kidwai said.

Ruling out any attack on terror camps in Pakistan and Bangladesh, Kidwai said international pressure should be built against these countries to force them to stop backing terrorists.

"If nothing works out, attack is the last resort. War is not a solution to any problem, it is a problem in itself," he said.

He alleged the US was the "founder of terrorism" in the Asian region. "They tried to use it against Russia... they started terror factories in Pakistan, which were later used by Pakistan in Kashmir," he said.

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