On Friday morning Opposition members in the Rajya Sabha demanded an apology from the HRD Minister Smriti Irani. Irani, during her reply to the debate on the situation in JNU and Hyderabad Central University, had made a controversial remark on goddess Durga. She read out a few lines from a pamphlet allegedly circulated by JNU students which had derogatory references to Goddess Durga.
Even after facing flak for her controversial comment, Irani defended her statement in the Upper House.
“I read it because I was asked to explain what is the truth. I said it with a lot of pain. I myself am a practising Hindu, I myself am a Durga worshipper. These are authenticated documents from the university itself,” Irani said
Irani’s reply to the JNU debate in the Upper House was disrupted on Thursday evening and the House was adjourned soon after. The Opposition members created a ruckus, demanding an apology.
“Anything inflammatory about any God, Prophet, spoken by any member, especially the minister, will not be taken. We want the minister to be arrested and charged. Anything blasphemous should not be said in this house,” said Congress leader Anand Sharma.
Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad had also termed it a “very serious issue” and said the “minister should apologise for what she said yesterday.”
Azad said there were campaigns against many religious figures but the same language cannot be used in the House.
Later, Smriti Irani was allowed to complete her reply on the debate. But BSP chief Mayawati said that she was extremely unsatisfied with the minister’s reply on the issue.
CPM veteran Sitaram Yechury also objected to Smriti Irani’s resolve to produce the pamphlet as authenticated evidence on the floor of the House. Yechury went on to accuse the government of deliberately producing fabricated pamphlets as evidence in the House and thereby trying to label everything that is ‘foul’ as ‘fair’.
(With inputs from PTI)