Bihar Minister for Mines and Geology Vinod Kumar Singh on Tuesday asked whether people who had not raised their arms while shouting “Bharat Mata ki Jai” were supporters of Pakistan, reported IANS on Wednesday. He was speaking at a Bharatiya Janata Party event when he raised the chant and asked the audience to raise their arms, as well.

On Wednesday, however, the minister apologised for his remarks and claimed they had been taken out of context, reported ANI. “This is completely wrong,” Singh said. “It was taken in the wrong context. When you will see my video, then you will realise that my sentiments were not wrong. I have never spoken anything malicious in my life. It is being wrongly interpreted.”

During the event, Singh had criticised media persons, who were sitting in the front row, for not raising their arms while chanting the slogan. “You are first sons of Bharat Mata, then media persons,” Singh had purportedly said. “If you did not join me to loudly shout ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’, are you supporters of Pakistan Mata?”

During the same event on Tuesday, Bihar BJP President Nityanand Rai had said that “the sound of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ should be heard instead of the Azaan [call to prayer] in mosques and bells in churches”. However, he later claimed that he did not mean that the slogan should replace the Azaan and church bells.