Smriti's Feisty Speech on Durga Triggers Demand for Apology

With the ongoing uproar over Rohith Vemula\'s death in the Rajya Sabha, today the session was stalled as opposition demanded an apology from Smriti Irani for her comments.

Published: 26th February 2016 12:13 PM  |   Last Updated: 26th February 2016 09:20 PM   |  A+A-


Union Minister Smriti Irani clarified by saying that she is a practising Hindu and a worshipper of Goddess Durga and it was with great pain that she had read it to the House | Youtube- Rajya Sabha TV


NEW DELHI: The Opposition in Rajya Sabha today demanded HRD Minister Smriti Irani's apology for reading out "objectionable" comments against Goddess Durga but she defended her action saying she did it because she was asked for proof to back her statements on JNU students.

She also made it clear that she "is a practising Hindu and a worshipper of Durga" while the chair ruled that nothing blasphemous would be allowed to remain in the records.

As the House met for the day, Deputy Leader of Congress in Rajya Sabha, Anand Sharma, raised a point of order saying the Constitution and rules do not permit anything to be spoken in the House which is blasphemous and can hurt religious sentiments.

 Irani, he said, had yesterday read out "insulting" comments made against Goddess Durga "verbatim" in the House hurting sentiments and sought a ruling from the Chair whether such comments made outside Parliament against any religious figure prophet or a deity can be read in the House.

Members of other opposition parties also agreed with K C Tyagi of JD(U) demanding that Irani should unconditionally apologise for the comments read out by her.

The minister, however, was unfazed and asserted that she herself was a "practising hindu and a Durga worshipper" and had only read authenticated documents of the University.

"I had been asked to explain what is the proof (against JNU students)....I would also like to say I am myself a practising hindu. I am myself a Durga worshipper. I say it with a lot of pain that what is the free speech that certain political entities are giving respectability to," she said.

Seeking to turn tables on the Congress, she said that "they have absolutely no problem in supporting these very statements but they have problems in her reading out authenticated documents related to what they  supported."

Earlier, besides Sharma, Leader of Opposition  Ghulam Nabi Azad had also termed it a "very serious issue" and said the "minister should apologise for what she said yesterday."

Azad said there were campaigns against many religious figures but the same language cannot be used in the House.

Coming to his colleague's defence, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi attacked Congress and other opposition parties saying it had become a pattern for them to seek discussions  and  apology in every session while showing no interest in legislative business.

He also said that Congress was raising the issue as its Vice President Rahul Gandhi was criticised for supporting those indulging in activities against the nation.

As the two sides indulged in heated exchanges, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said there has been a tradition that nothing blasphemous or anything against any community will be raised in the House.

He assured members that he would go through the records and expunge anything blasphemous. 


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp