N-deal is for India, cannot be against any community: cleric

July 18th, 2008 - 4:44 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, July 18 (IANS) The cleric of the largest mosque in India Friday said the contentious India-US civil nuclear deal is for the country and is not against any community. “In some circles it is being propagated that the India-US nuclear deal is anti-Muslim. I want to make it clear that the deal is for India and not for Muslims or Hindus,” Ahmed Bukhari, the chief cleric of Jama Masjid, told IANS.

Bukhari was speaking after meeting Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh and general secretary Amar Singh. Both the leaders came to meet the chief cleric Friday morning at the mosque. The meeting lasted more than an hour.

“I welcome the nuclear deal if it is in the interest of the country. It is for experts in the field to decide whether the deal is pro-India or anti-India,” Bukhari said.

He said the Samajwadi Party leaders apprised him about the benefits India will get in the power sector once the deal is operationalised.

They also explained to him about their meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan.

“They also told me that their party was convinced about the nuclear deal after their meeting with nuclear scientist Kalam,” Bukhari said.

Bukhari said Mulayam Singh told him that they are supporting the Congress to keep away the communal forces.

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