Accusing the BJP-led government of defending Shiv Sena MPs who forced a fasting Muslim catering supervisor , UPA and Left MPs on Wednesday wrote to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan asking her to order an inquiry into the “barbaric act” and direct the government to take appropriate action.
The Opposition raised the issue in both Houses of Parliament on Wednesday, leading to disruption and adjournments, but the government refused to allow a discussion saying the allegations were “unsubstantiated” and needed to be verified first lest they raise communal passions. Hours after, UPA and Left MPs wrote to the Speaker alleging the government was defending the Shiv Sena MPs.
“The incident turns much controversial and inhuman as the victim of this barbaric act is a Muslim who is fasting during Ramzan. The government was sadly defending the act by being silent and ignoring our requests for discussing this issue. We are of the opinion that the reply given by Speaker is insufficient considering the severity of the issue and sentiments of the minority community being already hurt across the nation,” the letter said.
The letter bears the signatures of UPA and Left MPs including Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, NCP’s Tariq Anwar, RJD’s Jaiprakash Narayan Yadav, CPM’s P Karunakaran, RSP’s N K Premachandran, Muslim League’s E T Muhammad Basheer and Kerala Congress (M)’s Jose K Mani.
“We would request you to uphold the dignity of the House by ordering an inquiry and also direct the government for an immediate inquiry and appropriate action so that such wanton behaviour is no longer be repeated,” it said.
Congress whip in Lok Sabha K C Venugopal told The Indian Express that the opposition was unhappy with the government’s response and want a discussion on the issue. He said the opposition sought to raise the issue in the House as “it brings indignity” to the position of parliamentarians and the House itself”.
Senior Congress leader Kamal Nath said the incident showed the mind set of the Shiv Sena MPs.
“We all know that fast is going on. It is not a question about complaining about the food. He was forced to eat when he was on a fast. This demonstrates their mindset. This demonstrates their thinking. Now, this has taken a turn like this, they are obviously trying to go into a denial mode,” he said.
Sources said Ashish Khetan will be the vice-chairman of the commission.