Azad clarifies RSS comment after BJP demands apology

SansadTV Bureau

Glhulam Nabi Azad in Rajya Sabha

As soon as the Upper House convened on Monday morning, the government, as expected, raised the issue of Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad’s comment on RSS. Azad allegedly compared Hindutva outfit RSS with the terror outfit ISIS.

The government created an uproar to demand an apology from Azad and asked him to withdraw his controversial statement.

On the other hand, the Leader of the Opposition denied having drawn any parallel between the two organisations. Initially Azad’s clarification on the issue was drowned in the uproar members of the ruling BJP who demanded an immediate apology in the House.

“Please behave like educated persons,” he said to them asking them not to bring inside the House the “intolerance they show to criticism outside”.

“Everyone who is not RSS or BJP is a terrorist to them,” Azad said displaying a CD that he said contained his speech.

Azad, however stood his ground and said that he was willing to face a privilege motion by any of the members of the House if anything wrong was found in the copy of his speech. Azad said this while submitting a copy of the CD of his speech to the House.

“Please bring privilege motion seeking my removal” if after watching the whole CD, anything objectionable is found in it, claimed Azad.

Azad then went on to read out a verbatim of the speech he had made at an event organised by Jamait Ulama-i-Hind last week.

He argued that his speech was twisted by the media and his critics. He said this while reading out chunks of his speech.

Azad in his speech stated that there was no fight between Hindus and Muslims in India. There was only a fight on ideology. Ruing why Muslims were joining a terrorist organisation like ISIS that is destroying Islamic traditions, Azad said he had stated that “we oppose organisations like ISIS like we oppose RSS.” While reading this, Azad pointed out that if the speech was read in context, he did not compare RSS and ISIS. He also said there was no intention of comparison as well.

“Where is the comparison,” he asked. “If I had said ISIS and RSS are same” there would have been a comparison.

Hindu, Muslim and Sikh fundamentalists have to be fought as they are against the country. “We have to fight them all together, ” claimed Azad quoting his own speech.

All forms of fundamentalism must be resisted, Azad said.

At this point, Leader of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley stood up and said he personally respected Azad but “he should think if he has knowingly or unknowingly slipped … you have given respectability to ISIS.”

Earlier, MoS for Parliamentary Affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said Azad’s comparison of RSS with ISIS was “great old party’s grand new secular formula.”

“Atankio ko phool ka guldasta aur rashtrawadion par hamla (bouquets to terrorists and attack on nationalists),” he said and demanded an apology from the Congress party for the comparison.