New Delhi, Apr 10 (PTI) The Opposition today slammed BJP leader Tarun Vijay in Parliament for his purported racial remarks and demanded FIR against him even as the government deprecated the comment and said the individual has apologised.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh said in the Lok Sabha that India is a secular country and there would be no discrimination based on caste, creed, colour and religion.
Singh was responding after the Congress slammed the reported remarks by Vijay, a former member of the Rajya Sabha, and forced two brief adjournments — once during the Question Hour and twice during the Zero Hour.
The party had given notice for adjournment motion to discuss the issue but it was rejected by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.
Congress members later staged a walkout of the Lok Sabha.
In the Rajya Sabha, the issue was subtly raised by CPI leader D Raja who called himself a “dark-skinned black South Indian”.
Intervening immediately, Minister for IT and Law Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “Without naming the person, we fully deprecate that remark. He has already apologised.” In the Lok Sabha, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge attacked the BJP over the remarks and questioned what action would be taken against Vijay who is “not an ordinary person” as he was a former Rajya Sabha member and has also written many books on BJP philosophy.
“I want to know whether we are Indians or not?… Are we not citizens (of India),” Kharge asked during Zero Hour.
His (Vijay’s) remarks are a “threat” to the unity of the country and “you want to divide this country”, Kharge said, adding that if such things go on, then states would start asserting for independence.
This “shows your mentality”, he said as he sought to compare them to the likes of Hitler and condemned the remarks.
“FIR should be lodged against him (Tarun Vijay). He has talked about breaking the nation. It is anti-national,” Kharge said.
In his response, Rajnath Singh said, “The individual has already said that his remarks are indefensible”.
Reading out from a statement which he attributed to Vijay, the Home Minister said “since the individual has already apologised, there is no need to raise any more questions about it”.
As the protests continued even after Singh’s statement, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said “this (House) is not a court.” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar sought to soothe the agitating members saying, “We are all one. The country is one”.
After the House met again at 1245 hours, Kumar said the Home Minister has already given the reply and an apology has been tendered by Vijay.
BJP is of the view that “we all are Indians. There is no difference on the basis of colour. We all are one. Congress should not create differences. We are all together”.
“Kharge ji please don’t try to create differences… One India. Great India,” he emphasised.
Earlier during Question Hour, Kumar urged the Opposition to allow Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to respond to the question posed to her in Question Hour, saying she was a minister “from the South”.
Dissatisfied with the Minister’s response, Opposition members, including from the Congress and the Left, trooped into the Well shouting slogans.
During Question Hour also, the Opposition members raised slogans in the Well.
The Opposition members were heard shouting, ‘Modi sarkar jawab do-jawab do (Modi government should respond)’, ‘Desh ka vibhajan nahin chalega (Won’t allow division of country)’ and ‘We want FIR (against Vijay)’.
With the din continuing during the Zero Hour, the Speaker adjourned the proceedings for over 20 minutes till 1245 hours.
The House was again adjourned till 1350 hours as the protests continued.
There was also a brief adjournment of the House over the issue for 10 minutes till 1120 hours during the Question Hour.
Raising the issue again when the House reconvened, Kharge said, “This is very important (issue). Why are you not understanding our feelings? We are not going to tolerate such things.”
The Congress members came to the Well of the house and shouted “We want FIR (against Tarun Vijay).” Kharge questioned the speaker, “What would have been your feelings if you were at my place? …BJP has given birth to such people (pointing to Tarun Vijay) and that is the reason such troubles have come on the party.”
Later in the day, the issue was raised in the Rajya Sabha in a subtle manner during a short discussion on Aadhaar by Raja who called himself a “dark-skinned black South Indian”.
Prasad responded: “D Raja is very honourable member of the House. We (government) have full respect for him.”
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.