SP leader links names of Hindu gods with alcohol, sparks row
In controversial remarks that were later expunged, Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agarwal on Wednesday linked the names of Hindu gods with alcohol, sparking protest by the BJP in the Rajya Sabha.
The ruling members objected to the comments which Agarwal withdrew and apologised. He had initially refused to apologise to the "contractors of the Hindu religion".
Agarwal was speaking during the debate in the House on lynchings in the name of cow and narrated an incident in 1991 when he visited a school that was turned into a jail.
He said the names of some Hindu deities linked to some types of alcohol were written on the wall of the school.
Pointing towards the treasury bench, Agarwal said these lines were written by "your people".
BJP members, including Ministers, demanded an apology from the Samajwadi member, shouting that they won't let anyone "insult Hindu Gods".
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said Agarwal has hurt the sentiments of the majority population of the country.
"He has hurt not a single person but the whole community," Ananth Kumar said.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said if Agarwal had made the derogatory comments outside the House he would be liable to be prosecuted.
Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien said Agarwal should not have made these remarks which "per se are derogatory" and should withdraw them. He ordered that the statement should be expunged from the records of the House.
The Samajwadi leader later said if his remarks had hurt the sentiment of anyone he was withdrawing them.
But the BJP members refused to budge and continued slogan shouting.
Amid the din, Kurien twice adjourned the House and urged the media not to report the expunged comments.
Don't give communal colour to vigilante attacks: Minister
Asking the Congress not to give a communal twist to crimes by cow vigilantes, Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Wednesday said these incidents did not involve any party or the government but individuals.
He also called for a united fight to isolate and tackle those behind such crimes.
"These are purely incidents of crime and one should not turn them into communal ones. If you give a communal colour to such heinous crimes, it will only serve the purpose of criminals who want these incidents to be associated with religion," the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs said in the Rajya Sabha.
Naqvi's remarks came after Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad blamed the Centre for the growing number of communal lynching in the past three years.
The Minister said the opposition had been raising the issue as part of a conspiracy since they could not find any corruption in the Modi government.
"So they are using this issue to defame the government," he said.
He said Azad's claim of inaction against perpetrators of lynching was untrue as cases were immediately registered and suspects arrested in Rajasthan, Haryana, Jharkhand and Maharashtra.
"Even during the all-party meeting (July 16) where Azadji was present, the Prime Minister said some anti-social elements had turned the issue of 'gau raksha' (cow protection) into a tool for spreading anarchy," he said.
Modi had made it clear that such incidents were negatively impacting the nation's image and had asked state governments to take strict action against anarchist and anti-social elements, he added.
He pointed out that such incidents occurred even during the earlier United Progressive Alliance government.
"We should come together to isolate and eliminate the forces behind these incidents, instead of giving them a communal colour."