After massive outrage over his "15-crore (Muslims) will prove stronger than the 100-crore majority (Hindus)" comment, AIMIM former legislator from Maharashtra, Waris Pathan, on Saturday withdrew his controversial statement, saying he had no intentions to hurt the sentiments of any community.
"My statement is being twisted to target and defame me and my party due to a political conspiracy. However, I take back my words if they hurt anyone and apologise for the same. I am a true and proud citizen of this country," Mr Pathan told reporters in Mumbai.
Last week, amid protests against the contentious citizenship law, Mr Pathan was heard in a video that went viral saying, "We have to move together. We have to take Azadi (freedom), things that we don't get by asking, we have to take it by force, remember it."
"Now time has come, we are told that we have sent our mothers and sisters in the front and were sitting covered in blanket... Only our lionesses have come out and you are already sweating. Understand what will happen if we come together. (We may be) 15 crore, but are heavy on 100 (crore), remember it," Mr Pathan had said at an anti-CAA rally in North Karnataka's Kalaburagi on February 16, referring to the criticism against women, who are protesting against the CAA at Shaheen Bagh in Delhi.
Mr Pathan's comments had triggered a backlash from the BJP which said he should be booked for sedition. Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut added that his party is capable of giving a befitting reply to such statements.
As the issue snowballed, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Friday "gagged" Mr Pathan and has told him not to speak with the media and reportedly sought an explanation from him, news agency IANS reported.
With inputs from IANS