NEW DELHI: Virtually giving a clean chit to his junior colleague, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday rejected the Opposition demand to sack Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Ram Shankar Katheria, and slap sedition charges against him for an alleged hate speech in Agra.
Rajnath Singh said Katheria had not said anything “objectionable” and media reports appeared to be “distorted and incorrect”. Observing that the Agra police was seized of the matter and law and order was a state subject, he said it was expected that the Uttar Pradesh government would conduct the investigation in a “fair and impartial manner” and take the necessary action.“The government is opposed to all statements/speeches which divide the country on the basis of religion, caste and creed. This government is fully committed to the Constitution and the law of the land,” Singh said in Rajya Sabha, while replying a call attention motion on the issue, moved by the Congress.
He said the government had examined the video recording of the February 28 condolence meeting of slain VHP leader Arun Mathur, in which Katheria had participated. “We gave the CD to our officers. They informed that there were no objectionable utterances by the Minister. He had not said anything against or used derogatory language against any community”. He also that since Katheria had not made inflammatory statements, the local police had not filed an FIR against him. Asserting that nobody stood to gain from violence, he said such incidents should not be given “political colour”. Blaming the government for making things complicated, Sharad Yadav (JD-U) said, “Inflammatory speeches were being made daily, making the government a laughing stock. Your ministers and MPs are making such statements. No action has been taken,” he charged.
The BSP’s Mayawati said that ever since the BJP-led government had come to power, BJP and RSS leaders and even ministers were making “irresponsible” statements with communal colour. Opposition members, including Ghulam Nabi Azad, gunned for Katheria and other RSS, BJP leaders making “inflammatory” speeches and sought registration of sedition cases against them. “PM Narendra Modi goes abroad and talks about development and technology. He talks about ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’. But there are BJP leaders who talk about cutting hands and fan communal tension. This is doublespeak,” Azad said.
Yechury slaps privilege motion on irani
New Delhi: Moving a privilege motion against HRD Minister Smriti Irani, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury accused her of making “baseless allegations” against him regarding Hindu goddess Durga. In a letter to the Rajya Sabha Chairman on Thursday, Yechury sought protection from the Chair, saying he was being “inundated with phone calls and messages full of profanity, obscenity and threats to him on the basis of allegations and calumny” spread against him in the House on February 26. He said the “baseless and completely unfounded allegations by the Minister... has led to a barrage of threatening calls to me, aimed primarily at obstructing my functioning as MP...”