Furore in Rajya Sabha over ‘saffron terrorism'


The Rajya Sabha was adjourned twice on Friday as the Opposition Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party created uproar over Home Minister P. Chidambaram's remark on the rise in ‘saffron terrorism'. As a result, question hour could not be taken up.

A reference made by Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley to the views expressed by “a large section of the House” on the issue was disputed by Brinda Karat (CPI-M) and D. Raja (CPI), who said it was the BJP's view and not shared by them.

As soon as the House met for the day, Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi referred to the Minister's statement at the conference of Directors-General and Inspectors-General of Police on Wednesday, and said there could not be saffron (bhagwa) terrorism. “The Minister should declare the names of people connected with terrorism when making such statements,” he said amidst sloganeering by his party members.

Chairman Hamid Ansari said no one was being heard what with so many people speaking simultaneously. As pandemonium continued, he adjourned the House for 15 minutes.

When the House re-assembled, Mr. Jaitley said there was a legitimate grievance among a very large section of the House over the use of the expression by the Home Minister. “The country had faced militancy in Punjab and cross-border terrorism but never identified it with a community or a religion. We expected the Home Minister to come out with some vision on how he will deal with Maoist violence and the Kashmir problem, instead of fighting this imaginary phenomenon.”

Lok Jan Shakti Party leader Ramvilas Paswan made a reference to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's association with terrorism, prompting BJP and Shiv Sena members to rush to the well.

He said Mr. Chidambaram had made the statement as a responsible Minister and saffron terrorism should be dealt with firmly. At this, the BJP members rose in protest and sought an apology from him.

As there was no let-up in the furore, the Chairman adjourned the House till 12 noon.

When it met again, Ms. Karat said what the Leader of the Opposition had said were his party's views. “We disagree. Certain organisations operating in the name of Hindutva should be condemned.”

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 1:13:12 AM |

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