However, the media house, which conducted the interview, has released the audio recording where Hepatullah made the alleged comments."
New Delhi, Aug 29 - Union Minority Affairs Minister Najma Hepatullah Friday clarified that she used the word 'Hindi' to describe all citizens of the country and not 'Hindu' that a media report quoted her as saying.
Her comments came on the day a media report quoted her saying that there is nothing wrong with the term Hindu being applied equally for all citizens as a label of national identity.
We are Indians, that's our nationality. I used the word Hindi. It's an Arabic word. If we go to Arabia, people from India are known as Hindi and if they go to England or other places they are known as Indians, Hepatullah told reporters at her residence.
That is our national identity, our nationality, she added.
Hepatullah said she was referring to identity of Indians and not their religion.
I was referring to Hindi as an identity not religion. When we go abroad people don't ask our religion but our identity, Hepatullah told a news channel.
However, the media house, which conducted the interview, has released the audio recording where Hepatullah made the alleged comments.
The minister also refused to comment on Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat's comment earlier in the month that India is a Hindu nation and Hindutva is its identity.