World Bulletin / News Desk
There has been outrage in India after police in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state of Gujarat conducted mock security drills using fake "militants" dressed as Muslims.
According to BBC news, a video of a drill in Surat district showed police restraining men wearing long tunics and white skullcaps.
Another video shot in the Narmada district had the "militants" shouting "Islam Zindabad (Long live Islam)".
Muslim leaders have called the videos "atrocious and highly condemnable".
Critics say the videos stereotype Muslims, who make up nearly 14% of the country's 1.2 billion population.
After the videos were shown on Indian TV channels, Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel admitted that the exercise was "a mistake".
"It's wrong to link religion with terrorism. The issue has been resolved and the matter should be put to rest now. The mistake has been rectified," the chief minister said.
Police initially tried to brush off the criticism, saying the skullcaps were used "to give them a different look", but they later apologised saying it was an "avoidable situation".
"This was a mistake and should not have happened," AFP quoted Surat police chief Pradeep Sejul as saying.
Muslim leaders, including Kamal Faruqui, have condemned the drill.
"It is profiling the Muslim community which is very bad. They should apologise, otherwise they should be taken to the court," NDTV news channel quoted Mr Faruqui as saying.
A BBC correspondent in Delhi says Mr Modi's government is being closely watched for the way it treats religious minorities.
When he was the Gujarat chief minister in 2002, at least 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in anti-Muslim riots in the state. Modi was accused of doing little to stop the violence.
In the months since becoming prime minister, Modi has talked about inclusiveness, but his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has its core base among hardline Hindus and many such groups have recently been accused of forcibly converting Muslims and Christians.
Recently, a row broke out after government minister Niranjan Jyoti used an abusive term to refer to non-Hindus, by asking people at a public rally to choose between Ramzada (children of the Hindu God Ram) and Haramzada (bastards). Mr Modi said he disapproved of her language but refused to sack her.
Another BJP MP apologised in parliament after praising the killer of independence leader Mahatma Gandhi as a "patriot".Last Mod: 02 Ocak 2015, 11:27