BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy has never shied away from speaking his mind. However, one recent comment continues to stir controversy. On Tuesday, Swamy said that he had asked advocate Ishkaran Singh Bhandari to send a notice to the BBC a public apology over the same.
"I have asked Ishkaran Bhandari to send notice to BBC demanding a public apology for the lie I had said “Muslims are not equal to Hindus” in our Constitution, and also broadcast it," he wrote on Twitter, calling the media organisation a "fake news specialist".
Swamy added that it was time to bring the organisation "to book".
The debate can be traced back to an earlier VICE interview that the BJP leader gave to Isobel Yeung. A short clip from the video was published on their YouTube channel on April 1, and has since been widely shared. While the parliamentarian has faced heavy criticism from some quarters, others contend that it may have been a heavily edited clip, and as such, the comments may have been taken out of context.
Earlier too, Swamy had taken to Twitter stating that he was being misquoted. While criticising the "fake news brigade" he had said that "one fake quote is that I had declared Muslims are not equal to Hindus under Art.14."
But what exactly did Swamy say in the VICE clip?
Speaking in the context of the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act, Swamy had said that Article 14 of the Indian constitution guaranteed the "equality of equals".
When asked by Yeung whether everyone was 'equal', he added that such was not the case.
"All people are not equal," Swamy clarified.
Yeung's next question, asking whether Muslims deserved equal rights in this context, Swamy explained further.
"There's no such thing as equal rights...they are not in an equal category," he said.
The video was recently cited by the BBC during it's HARDtalk programme in a segment that had featured the BJP's general secretary, Ram Madhav.
Reacting to the same, Swamy tweeted on Monday night, alleging that the footage had been doctored.
"I may have sue BBC Hard Talk for using the cut and splice Pakistani footage of VICE TV to attribute to me having said : Muslims are not equal to Hindus in the Indian Constitution, (sic)” he tweeted.
In a follow-up comment he had warned that as soon as he accessed the transcript of the HardTalk interview, he would "start the process of filing a Defamation case".
"BBC is now a disreputable disinformation outlet for India's enemies," he added.