Congress leader Salman Khurshid accepted on Monday that his party had “blood on its hands” but urged people to learn from history so that they do not get a similar stain. He later defended his remarks, and said he had made the statement “as a human being”.

Khurshid had spoken in response to a question posed by a former student during an event of Aligarh Muslim University. The student had asked Khurshid about various anti-Muslim riots in independent India, when the Congress was in power.

“I am a part of the Congress, so let me accept that we have blood on our hands,” the senior leader replied. “That is why you are asking us not to try to protect you when someone else is attacking you now. We will show this blood on our hands, so that you understand that you too must not get blood on your hands. If you attack them, you are the ones who would get the stain on your hands.”

He added: “Learn something from our history and don’t create such a situation for yourself where if you come back to AMU [Aligarh Muslim University] after 10 years, you will find no one like you to ask the question.” A video of Khurshid’s chat with the former student was posted by The Quint.

Defending his remarks, the former Union minister later told ANI: “What I said I will continue to say, I made the statement as a human being.”

The Congress party said it disagreed with Khurshid’s statement. “Everyone must know that both before and after independence, Congress is the only party that has worked towards building an egalitarian society by carrying all sections of people together,” party spokesperson PL Punia said.