With the opposition turning the heat on the government over The Indian Express report on Shiv Sena MPs allegedly forcing a fasting Muslim to eat a chapati at the new Maharashtra Sadan in Delhi, the government said Thursday it would respond Friday “after ascertaining facts”.
On Thursday, a complaint was filed with the Tilak Marg police station. It sought registration of an FIR against Sena MP Rajan Vichare “and his accomplices” for allegedly “promoting enmity between religious groups and deliberately acting to outrage religious feelings”.
A PIL was also filed in Delhi High Court, seeking disqualification of the Sena MPs and derecognition of the party for “trying to provoke religious conflict”.
In his complaint to police, advocate Imran Ali alleged that the act of Sena MP Vichare was a “deliberate act” to “grab public attention” and “hurt sentiments and religious feelings of Muslims”. He claimed that the act was “intentional” since the “Shiv Sena claims and has projected itself to be a non-secular party”.
The lawyer sought registration of an FIR under IPC sections 153A (promoting enmity), 295A (deliberate act to insult religious belief) and 298 (intent to wound religious feelings).
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DCP (New Delhi) S B S Tyagi said that Arshad Zubair, the man who was allegedly force-fed by the MPs, had not yet filed an FIR. “We normally go by the complaint of the person who is actually aggrieved. If some other person has filed such a complaint, we will have to inquire from the person who is aggrieved in the incident,” Tyagi said.
The PIL in the High Court was filed by Maulana Ansar Raza, head of the NGO Garib Nawaz Foundation. The plea, filed through advocate Naval Kishore Jha, is likely to come up for hearing next week. It sought the arrest of the MPs involved in the incident for “provoking religious sentiment of minority communities”.
Stating that MPs were elected “by people for their service, not for provoking religious sentiments and dadagiri”, the PIL urged the Central government, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and the Maharashtra Chief Minister to act against the MPs. “Direct the Speaker to initiate disqualification process of these MPs… Immediately arrest of all those involved,” the petition stated.
In Parliament, the Congress, SP and Left members raised the issue in Rajya Sabha for the second day. Members said 24 hours had passed since the issue was first raised but the government was still to get back to them.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said the incident, which pertained to MPs, took place in a building run by a state government. “This is a very sensitive matter and also a serious matter,” he said, adding that the chair had asked the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs on Thursday to ascertain facts. “We are ascertaining facts,” he said. “We will be finding out full details and only then respond.”
This sparked an opposition uproar. Sitaram Yechury of the CPM said 24 hours had passed since the government gave an assurance that it would come back to the House with a statement on the issue.
Satyavrat Chaturvedi of the Congress said the government had gone “deaf and dumb” on the issue. Naidu assured the House that the government would get back on the issue by Friday.
— With ENS, Delhi