VK Singh’s comment on dalits dominates Rajya Sabha

RSTV Bureau
File Photo ( PTI )

File Photo of Union Minister VK Singh ( PTI )

The Upper House saw protests and several adjournments during the day over union minister VK Singh’s alleged comments on dalits. The ruckus began soon after BSP launched a protest over union minister VK Singh’s comment on dalits.

As soon as the listed papers were laid in the House, BSP chief Mayawati raised the issue to say that the government’s attitude on Singh’s comments was “very sad and unfortunate”.

Just as the Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien disallowed her to speak and asked her to give a notice for making a statement, other BSP members rushed into the Well of the House, protesting loudly and raising slogans against VK Singh and the government.

To add to that, Samajwadi Party members also rushed into the Well as MP Naresh Agarwal protested against RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s comments on the Ram temple in Ayodhya.

Mayawati went on to allege that a social and communal amity in the country had deteriorated since BJP came to power, as the government instead of taking action against the rabble-rousers was indulging in soft-peddling of such issues.

Ram Gopal Yadav of the Samajwadi Party said a communally tense situation was being created by Bhagwat’s statement on the Ram Temple. He then sought action against Bhagwat, alleging collusion between government and the RSS.

The government was quick to respond on the floor of the House.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that the government respected the court’s decision on the Ayodhya issue, but people have the “fundamental right” to reiterate commitment for constructing a temple.

On the VK Singh controversy Naqvi clarified the minister’s statement.

“We are against anything that hurts the oppressed and Dalits and condemn anything like this. But V K Singh has not said anything like this. His words are being twisted. He has clarified several times that he has not tried to hurt the feelings of Dalits or any other section of society. That is why we feel that this is being done only for political gains,” Naqvi clarified again.

Naqvi’s clarification wasn’t sufficient for the Opposition, and the Congress members also joined in the protests, resulting in multiple adjournments of the Upper House.

“I would urge the Prime Minister that one cannot take the lead by passing a resolution, he should take some action. If action is taken from home, as we say that even charity begins at home, that is why opposition parties have been demanding that a Minister like V K Singh, instead of condemning the killing of dalit children, is making a comparison with dogs….This is very bad for the entire country as well as the House….Such a minister, I feel, should not be a member of the Union Cabinet for even a minute and he should neither be a member of Parliament. I request the government to not just remove V K Singh from the Cabinet but also from Parliament,” demanded Leader of the Congress party Ghulam Nabi Azad.

VK Singh had made a controversial remark on the killings of Dalits in Ballabhgarh in Haryana, which sparked an outrage.

“For everything…like if somebody throws a stone at a dog, then the government is responsible…it is not like that,” Singh had said in October while talking about the killings.

(With inputs from PTI)