Millennium Post

Take action against those attacking minorities: MPs to Govt

D Raja (CPI), who had given a notice for suspension of business to take up a discussion on the matter, said it was a serious situation that minorities were not safe.

"With great pain and agony I raise this issue. A 70-year- old nun in West Bengal has been raped. A church under construction has been demolished in Haryana. There is increase in attacks on Christians in the country. It is very shocking.

Right wing extremist forces have become very aggressive.

"Can we safeguard the secular fabric of our nation? ... It is a serious matter and it concerns all the people of the country. I want that the business of the House be suspended and this issue be discussed under Section 267," Raja said.

He also cited the example of a senior BJP leader making a controversial statement in Guwahati that God only resides in temples and nowhere else. "What is happening in this country," he asked.

Agreeing with Raja, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the state governments should take necessary action in such cases and book the culprits. He also agreed for a discussion on the issue after proper notice.

"In its an important issue. We are against such incidents. ... Communal harmony should be maintained in the country. No one has any doubt on this. Everyone has the right to practice their religion and all state government where such incidents are happening should take stern steps against the guilty and those responsible for such incidents," Naqvi said.

Raja was supported by Ali Anwar Ansari (JD-U), Tapan Kumar Sen (CPI-M) and Sukhendu Sekhar Roy (TMC) who also sought a discussion on the issue.

Indicating provocative statements by various people, Sen also said there have been "repeated use of abusive language" which were not being stopped despite assurances by the Prime Minister.

"Ministers including the Prime Mnister have assured, but the next day or even on the same day, inflammatory speeches are made to divide people on religious and caste lines. What is the sanctity of assurance made by the Prime Minister," the CPI(M) member asked.

Later in a Zero Hour mention, Trinamool Congress member Derek O'Brien raised the issue of the rape of a nun in West Bengal saying the incident was a "shameful act of brutality".

"This is not an issue on which anyone should do politics.

The state government has taken some swift action. Seven persons have been detained and a CID probe has been ordered.

"I will not compare this issue with anything else. The issue is is of women's rights, safety of those who run minority institutions. The issue is of the safety of mothers and sisters. Sometimes the way we act and speak is shameful. It is a bigger issue," O'Brien said.

Though both the government and the opposition agreed to having a short-duration discussion on the issue of attacks on minorities, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien rejected the proposal.

"The House only wants strong action be taken by government against those responsible. The notice (to suspend other business and hold a discussion) is ruled out under rule 267," Kurien said.
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