'Give Us Back Our Old India': Ghulam Nabi Azad in Rajya Sabha Raises Concern Over Communal Violence

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Raising concerns over rising incidents of communal hatred in the country, the Congress leader asked the BJP to keep its 'New India' to itself.

New Delhi: Reacting to the recent incidents of lynchings and violence against minorities, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad on Monday said Jharkhand has become a factory of lynching and violence. He asked the ruling BJP to keep with it the 'New India' and give back an 'Old India' where love and culture prevailed.

The creation of a 'New India' found frequent mention in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's election rallies in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls.

“In 'Old India', there was no hatred, anger or lynching. 'New India' is one where humans are enemies of each other. You won't be scared of animals in a jungle, but you'll be scared of humans in a colony. Give us an India where Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians live for each other,” Azad said in the Upper House.

Raising concerns over the rising incidents of communal hatred, the Congress leader asked the BJP to keep its 'New India' to itself. “Hindus used to feel pain when Muslims and Dalits used to get hurt (in old India). When something used to get into the eyes of Hindus, Muslims and Dalits used to shed tears for them,” he added.

Referring to the President's speech on Mahatma Gandhi's 150th-anniversary celebrations, Azad said, unfortunately, a candidate of the ruling party called the killer of the Father of the Nation a patriot and no action was taken and the candidate was a parliamentarian now.

"My tongue will burn...I cannot repeat the remarks...I have a complaint to the Prime Minister, why didn't you take action. Mahatma Gandhi may be Congress President but he was Father of the Nation...I would not have mentioned it here but President's speech mentions his birth anniversary celebrations...BJP should take action...It still has time till October...," Azad said.

Azad while attacking BJP for defending 2008 Malegaon blast accused Sadhvi Pragya Thankur, however, did not mention her by name and said: "How is this possible and how someone can defend this? Though it doesn't make any difference to us, this is a blot on the face of the ruling party which cannot be wiped out."

He also referred to how former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on complaints about a Congress candidate in 1952 had instead urged people to vote for an Independent candidate who had a clean image.

He said rapes were at an all-time high including heinous crimes like rapes on minor and that "Beti Padhao and Beti Bachao" was just plain talking.

Azad said crime against women have risen manifold and urged the government to ensure 50 per cent reservation to women in Parliament as it was having an absolute majority.

He said Congress's attempts were thwarted last time through the Women's Reservation Bill was passed in Rajya Sabha. Unemployment, he said was at its peak with the government trying to curb reports by various agencies and that the youth who voted for BJP needed justice.

On Saturday, a man who was assaulted on suspicion of theft in Jharkhand's Kharsawan district on June 18 and beaten up for hours before being handed over to the police succumbed to his injuries at a local hospital. The man was identified as Tabrez Ansari, 24.

The death was reported days after similar incidents in Delhi and Assam. A Muslim cleric was assaulted in Delhi by men after he refused to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ while a group of Muslim youth was attacked and forced to chant the religious slogan as well as ‘Pakistan Murdabad’.

Expressing regret over the inaction of BJP against wrongdoers, Azad said the Opposition would stand united in the fight for 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas'. But at the same time, he asserted that citizens should also be able to see the difference the party is trying to bring.

(With inputs from PTI)