Kolkata April 30 (IANS) West Bengal minister and Trinamool Congress heavyweight Firhad Hakim on Saturday denied having described the city’s Garden Reach as area “mini-Pakistan” to a correspondent of Pakistani daily.
“Please come along and let us take you to mini-Pakistan in Kolkata,” Hakim, contesting from Kolkata Port, was quoted as saying by the “The Dawn” in its Friday report “Canvassing in ‘mini-Pakistan’ of Kolkata”.
With the opposition strongly condemning his remarks, Hakim denied making the comments alleging it was a communal conspiracy.
“If (prime minister) Narendra Modi goes to Pakistan again and again, no one says a thing. But if a Muslim accompanies a Pakistani journalist, there’s such a hue and cry. They don’t criticise Modi when he drops in to Pakistan without notice? This is all a communal conspiracy,” Hakim told a TV channel.
“If Modi is a son of the soil so am I, so why this hue and cry?” he said.
“I have not said that, but even if I have, though I have not, what is the harm? Even in Singapore there is a mini-India. She (the Pakistani correspondent) said she felt at home and that the streets were like Karachi. So I said you are welcome to your home,” clarified the state urban development minister.
While Communist Party of India-Marxist politburo member Mohammed Salim condemned Hakim for hurting the people’s sentiments, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Jayprakash Majumdar said his party will be moving the poll panel on the matter.