The Opposition cornered the government in both Houses of Parliament on Tuesday over rising incidents of communal violence, especially targeting Christians, across the country.
Although Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan disallowed an adjournment motion moved by the Congress’ Mallikarjun Kharge, Jyotiraditya Scindia and others, she permitted them to raise the issue during Zero Hour.
Young MP Gaurav Gogoi attacked communal statements made by members of the ruling party with the deliberate aim of “wounding religious sentiments” and creating an atmosphere of insecurity among the minorities.
“In Hissar, Haryana, a religious place has been desecrated but, unfortunately, all that the Chief Minister has to say is that it is all right because the religious institution lacks valid legal papers.
“This does not seem to be an isolated incident. According to a member of the national executive of the BJP, churches and mosques are not religious places. Clearly, what is happening in Assam, in West Bengal, in Haryana… they are not isolated incidents,” he said.
Angst and alienation
“A former police commissioner is expressing his angst and alienation in the editorial pages of a newspaper. As a Christian, he does not feel safe in India anymore. The situation is precarious and threatening. And all of this is happening despite the Prime Minister’s assurance to the minorities.
“How can people feel safe when members of the ruling party go on repeating that God resides only in Hindu temples, not in churches and mosques? How is such hate speech allowed?” Gogoi asked.
Baharampur MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury raised the issue of a nun’s rape in West Bengal, amid chaos and interruptions by a number of MPs who wanted to speak on the issue.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu got up to assert that no one else from the Opposition should be allowed to speak when they had agreed to let Gogoi speak on their behalf. However, Chowdhury spoke at some length over the gang rape of an elderly nun.
Kharge staged a walkout with other Congress members to protest against the Centre’s alleged inaction and “creation of communal atmosphere” in the country.
An outraged Venkaiah responded by asserting that “everyone knows who has done communal politics since Independence”. He said the “BJP believes in justice for all and appeasement of none”.