BJP leader Giriraj Singh here stoked a controversy by describing Deoband as the "Gangotri of terrorism" from where terrorists like Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed come.
The minister said this when asked about the protest against the Citizen Amendment Act (CAA) in Deoband.
"I had said once that Deoband is the Gangotri of terrorism," the minister told reporters, adding that "all big terrorists like Hafiz Saeed" come from there.
The Union minister was in Saharanpur for a programme in support of the CAA.
The minister also dubbed the anti-CAA stir a protest against the country.
"It is against India. It is a kind of Khilafat andolan," he said, reminding JNU student Sharjeel Imam's "anti-India" remarks.
Reacting to the Union minister's statement, Congress leader and ex-MLA Imran Masood said Giriraj Singh has been "blinded by hate" to such an extent that he even "insulted" a sacred word like "Gangotri".
Saharanpur MP Haji Fazlur Rehman too flayed the minister for his statement and said Deoband has been the "karmabhoomi" of freedom fighters.
He said ulemas of Deoband sacrificed their lives and went to jails for the cause of freedom.
Taking a dig at the Union minister, the MP said those whose leaders helped the British during the freedom struggle and tried to divide Hindus and Muslims were accusing Deoband of terrorism.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)