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India Parliament in uproar over junior minister's derogatory remarks about Muslims

  • India's opposition Congress party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, center, covering his mouth with a black cloth, participates in a protest outside the Indian Parliament in New Delhi, India, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday rejected demands to fire junior government minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti whose derogatory comments against Muslims have led to a furor that has shut down the Indian Parliament for four days. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)

    India's opposition Congress party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, center, covering his mouth with a black cloth, participates in a protest outside the Indian Parliament in New Delhi, India, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday rejected demands to fire junior government minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti whose derogatory comments against Muslims have led to a furor that has shut down the Indian Parliament for four days. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)  (The Associated Press)

  • India’s junior government minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, center, is chased by photographers and video cameramen as she walks out of the Indian Parliament in New Delhi, India, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday rejected demands to fire Jyoti whose derogatory comments against Muslims have led to a furor that has shut down the Indian Parliament for four days. Jyoti told a public rally in New Delhi that those who do not follow the Hindu god Ram were "bastards." Opposition lawmakers want her removed from the council of ministers on the grounds that her comments went against India's secular constitution. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)

    India‚Äôs junior government minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, center, is chased by photographers and video cameramen as she walks out of the Indian Parliament in New Delhi, India, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday rejected demands to fire Jyoti whose derogatory comments against Muslims have led to a furor that has shut down the Indian Parliament for four days. Jyoti told a public rally in New Delhi that those who do not follow the Hindu god Ram were "bastards." Opposition lawmakers want her removed from the council of ministers on the grounds that her comments went against India's secular constitution. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)  (The Associated Press)

  • Members of Trinamool Congress party and other opposition parties wear black cloths around their mouths during a protest outside the Indian Parliament in New Delhi, India, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday rejected demands to fire junior government minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti whose derogatory comments against Muslims have led to a furor that has shut down the Indian Parliament for four days. The front placard reads: "Prime Minister Narendra Modi - Answer to Sadhvi's unacceptable remarks." (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)

    Members of Trinamool Congress party and other opposition parties wear black cloths around their mouths during a protest outside the Indian Parliament in New Delhi, India, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday rejected demands to fire junior government minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti whose derogatory comments against Muslims have led to a furor that has shut down the Indian Parliament for four days. The front placard reads: "Prime Minister Narendra Modi - Answer to Sadhvi's unacceptable remarks." (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)  (The Associated Press)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has rejected demands to fire a government minister whose derogatory comments against Muslims have led to a furor that has shut down the Indian Parliament for four days.

Junior minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti told a public rally in New Delhi that those who do not follow the Hindu god Ram were "bastards."

Opposition lawmakers want her removed from the council of ministers on the grounds that her comments went against India's secular constitution.

Modi has called the remarks unacceptable, but has refused to fire her. He appealed to lawmakers Friday to let Parliament function.

Muslims make up more than 13 percent of India's population. They have been wary of the overwhelming majority won by Modi's Hindu fundamentalist party in general elections held in May.