Katheria Faces Ire In Parliament For Hate Speech Against Muslims

01/03/2016 5:46 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
Hindustan Times via Getty Images
NEW DELHI, INDIA - NOVEMBER 9: Dr. Ram Shankar Katheria taking oath as a cabinet minister in the administration of President Pranab Mukherjee during the swearing-in ceremony of the new cabinet ministers at Rashtrapati Bhavan, on November 9, 2014 in New Delhi, India. With 21 new faces inducted into Prime Minister Narendra Modi Council of Ministers on Sunday, the strength of his team now stands at 66. This is the first expansion since Modi took oath with 45 ministers on May 26. (Photo by Arvind Yadav/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

The parliament session was disrupted on Tuesday, a day after the union budget was presented, as the opposition parties demanded the resignation of union minister Ram Shankar Katheria for allegedly making inflammatory comments at a public meeting in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday.

At a prayer meeting for murdered Vishwa Hindu Parishad activist Arun Mahuar in Agra in which Katheria participated, Muslims were reportedly likened to ‘demons’ and ‘descendants of Ravana’ while the speakers urged Hindus to ‘corner and destroy the demons’.

Katheria allegedly said, referring to the murder of Mahuar, that there has been a conspiracy against Hindus and that the community should fight it.

“All of this that is happening to the youth in this country, the conspiracies against the Hindu community...We will have to get strong and fight this conflict...Today, one Arun has died, tomorrow another Arun will die...before the second Arun dies (his) killers should go," Katheria had reportedly said.

However, the minister of state for education on Tuesday denied of saying anything controversial.

"What has been published in one of the newspapers is false. I had not taken the name of any community. I had said that the culprits, who had murdered the VHP leader, should be given death sentence. I had also said that the Hindu community should unite for their safety. I will send a notice to the newspaper," he said.

While Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav demanded that Modi sacks Katheria, Congress party leader Mallikarjun Kharge accused the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh of trying to divide the country.

Asaduddin Owaisi, leader of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, said that he is not surprised by the remarks of the union minister.

"This has been the continuous, consistent and obnoxious behavior by the Modi government. I am sure that no action will be taken," he said.

Owaisi added that this "was good because the real agenda of the government is being exposed".

"Their real agenda is to promote Hinduvta. A Minister speaking such language clearly shows that he went to Agra not for condolence meeting but to create communal mayhem there," Owaisi said.

Meanhile, Bharatiya Janata Party MP Babu Lal remained defiant as he reiterated his comments against Muslims that he first made at the meeting in which he shared the dais with Katheria.

Speakers at the meeting allegedly urged Hindus to fight Muslims. Mahuar was killed last week allegedly by some Muslim men.

A defiant Babu Lal asked whether it was wrong for the society to unite at a time when people are killing Hindus with bullets.

“If we can’t take revenge against these people then should we worship them?,” Lal said.

BJP spokesperson Shrikant Sharma said the Minister has clarified his remarks.

"Katheria has made it clear in his statement that he has said nothing wrong. And after this clarification, there is nothing to comment on.

"I have seen his statement in which he has cleared everything. The real issue is the deteriorating law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh," he said.

(With PTI inputs)

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