PTI, February 18, 2006
Lucknow: The All India Muslim Personal Law Board today distanced itself from UP Haj Minister Yaqoob Quereshi’s announcement of a cash reward of Rs 51 crore to whosoever killed the Danish cartoonist with majority of them terming it as an attempt to "incite passion" and "gain cheap publicity" even as Opposition parties wondered whether his statement had the state government’s approval.
However, the government maintained that his announcement did not constitute any offence and no action was being contemplated against the minister.
BJP demanded the minister’s resignation while Congress asked chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav to come clean on the issue saying his silence was shocking and surprising.
AIMPLB spokesman SQR Iliyasi said Quereshi’s statement was an attempt to incite passion and cannot be justified.
"Though the publication of the cartoon of prophet Mohammad was highly deplorable and condemnable, this kind of statement could inflame passion," he told PTI over phone.
Board member Maulana Sajjad Nomani termed it as "an attempt to gain cheap publicity and attributed it to political motive".
However, another AIMPLB member and Counsel in the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid litigation Zafaryab Jilani said the announcement did not constitute an offence in the country.
"Such an announcement is permissible according to Islaimc law and even if an Indian beheads the cartoonist in an Islamic country he will not be committing any offence," he said.