A major Indian political party called for the voting rights of Muslims to be revoked in an editorial published Sunday, a statement that was slammed across the board and left its leadership red-faced and hastily backtracking. The editorial was published in Saamana — the mouthpiece of the right-wing Shiv Sena party — and reiterated a statement from its late founder Balasaheb Thackeray that advocated the withdrawal of Muslim people’s right to vote, the Indian Express reported. “If Muslims are being used … to play politics, they can never develop,” the editorial reads. “Balasaheb had once said voting rights of Muslims should be withdrawn. What he said is right.”
The statement invoked the condemnation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as well as the opposition Congress party and several others.
“The Indian Constitution has given every citizen, irrespective of his/ her caste, community or religion, the right to vote,” said BJP spokesman Madhav Bhandari. “Those who express such views are blatantly violating the Indian Constitution. Strict action should be taken against them for such remarks.”