Khurshid for Deoband taking objective view of Vastanvi remarks

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Chennai, Jan 31 (PTI) Union Minister for MinorityAffairs Salman Khurshid today expressed hope that the DarulUloom Deoband management would take an "objective view" ofremarks by its head Maulana Gulam Mohammad Vastanvi on Gujaratand the 2002 violence which has triggered a controversy.

"It is a private institution, a historic and a veryimportant institution and I am sure they will take anobjective view what is good for them, what is good for societyand what is good for the country," he said here.

Speaking to reporters after a book-reading session ofhis play, ''Sons of Babur,'' at the Raj Bhavan, Khurshid saidwhile Vastanvi hailed from Gujarat, the sentiments of those atDeoband, located in Uttar Pradesh, could be "much stronger."

"Frankly, he comes from another state. It is possiblethat the sentiments people have in Deoband are much strongerand perhaps different. It is quite possible that was not clearto him and he made the statement he made. But how it is to betreated will be a decision democratically taken by themanagement of the institution," he said.

Vastanvi, who hails from Surat in Gujarat and waselected Vice-Chancellor of Deoband on January 10, has beenfacing protests from students at the Islamic seminary for hisremarks that Muslims should forget the 2002 communal riots andmove on and that the community did not face discrimination inGujarat, ruled by BJP''s Narendra Modi.

He had denied reports of his resignation in the wakeof the controversy and said the governing council of Deobandwhich will meet on February 23 will decide on his fate.

Khurshid, who also holds the portfolio of WaterResources, said he favoured more cooperation between statesand Centre and dialogue to resolve inter-state water disputes.

"It is largely a state affair but obviously we have toguide and we have to help dialogue between the states anddifferent stakeholders," he said.

Responding to a question on linking rivers in SouthernIndia, he said, "I don''t have an opinion on this," but addedthat the Supreme Court had in the past directed the Centreabout inter-linking of rivers in the country.

"This is is an opinion which involves both thepolitical opinion and that of the experts. We have to studyall these things carefully...these are all very importantsensitive matters in which the stakeholders and their viewshave to be taken onboard before we can take a view one way orthe other. For that we need greater dialogue and I will beencouraging those dialogue," he added.

When asked about the Satyam scandal, Khurshid, aformer Coprorate Affairs Minister, said Satyam-Mahindra hadstarted showing profit and said that the crisis period wasover.

To another question, he said the company did not needgovernment funding and "government should not be interferingin private business." The government''s duty was to protectprivate business from fraud and "we did it," he said.

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