Union minister Satya Pal Singh Baghel on Monday said that the basic structure of the country is “Hindu rashtra” or Hindu nation, The Indian Express reported.

The minister of state for law and justice made the statement at an event organised by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s media wing in Delhi.

“People keep talking about the Constitution’s basic structure and how it cannot be tinkered with,” Baghel said. “The basic structure of this nation is that of Akhand Bharat Hindu Rashtra before 1192.”

He was referring to a debate about the basic structure doctrine, which states that certain essential features of the Constitution cannot be removed by the legislature.

At Monday’s event, Baghel also claimed that “tolerant Muslims can be counted on fingers”. According to him, this too “was a tactic to lead a public life wearing a mask” as it gets them vice-president, governor or vice-chancellor posts, PTI reported.

“But when they retire, they give real statements,” the minister added. “When they leave the chair, they give a statement which shows their reality.”

His remarks came after Information Commissioner Uday Mahurkar in his speech told the audience that India must fight Islamic fundamentalism but “embrace tolerant Muslims” such as Mughal emperor Akbar. Mahurkar said that Akbar had tried his best to achieve unity among Hindus and Muslims.

But Baghel dismissed Mahurkar’s comments, claiming that Akbar’s efforts were mere tactics. He also claimed that the Mughal emperor’s marriage to Jodha Bai, a Hindu princess, was part of his “political strategy”.

“Akbar understood that this is a nation of majority Hindus,” Baghel continued. “He knew that he could not rule Akhand Bharat by hurting religious sentiments. But this was a strategy. It did not come from the heart. Otherwise, the massacre of Chittorgarh would not have happened.”

The Union minister also claimed that more people have been converted through fraud or allurement than by violence.

He declared that Muslims are wondering how they became “subjects” after being “rulers” for such a long period, PTI reported.

“The solution to the problem lies in providing good quality education,” he said. “If they study in a madrassa, they will learn Urdu, Arabic and Persian. All literature is good but with such study, they will become Imam. And if they study physics and chemistry, they will become [former President] Abdul Kalam.”