Former Delhi minister Rajendra Pal Gautam on Tuesday appeared before the city police for questioning in connection with an event during which some Hindus vowed to convert to Buddhism, PTI reported.
Gautam visited the Paharganj police station for questioning.
He resigned from his post on Sunday after the Bharatiya Janata Party accused him of inciting hatred between Hindus and Buddhists.
The Delhi Police issued a notice to Gautam on Monday. On Tuesday, he said that he is a follower of BR Ambedkar and would not stray from his path.
“As a lawyer and a responsible Indian citizen, I have complete faith in the law and the Constitution,” the former social welfare minister in the Delhi government said, according to ANI.
Gautam had attended the event on October 5 and shared its pictures, saying that 10,000 intellectuals took a pledge to make a caste-free and untouchable India by adopting the Buddhist faith.
After videos of the event were shared widely on social media, banners calling Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal “anti-Hindu” and showing him in a Muslim prayer cap were pasted in several Gujarat cities. The Aam Aadmi Party is seeking to make a foray in the Gujarat Assembly elections that are slated to take place in December.
Gautam said that these vows are repeated at thousands of places by persons who adopt Buddhism. On Sunday, he said that these vows are also written at Deekshabhoomi, the monument at Nagpur that marks the place where Ambedkar embraced Buddhism with his followers.
“Union minister Nitin Gadkari, and several other BJP leaders, have visited Deekshabhoomi on many occasions,” he said. “Why is the BJP trying to defame me and my leader in connection with these vows?”
In his resignation letter, Gautam said that he did not want Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party to suffer any harm due to his actions.
Meanwhile, Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi chief Prakash Ambedkar extended support to the former Delhi minister. “The Ambedkar family fully supports Rajendra Pal Gautam and urges all Ambedkarites to join him in his efforts to restore dignity to former untouchables by embracing Buddhist philosophy and the path shown by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar,” he said.
Prakash Ambedkar is the grandson of BR Ambedkar.
The Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi chief also alleged that the Aam Aadmi Party “is no longer secular or supportive of religious tolerance, but rather a fervent supporter of Vedic Hindu religion and an opponent of Buddhist philosophy”.