The Lok Sabha discussed the raging issue of intolerance in the country on Monday, the fourth day of the Winter session of Parliament, amidst uproar over accusations by the Left against Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
CPM leader Mohammad Salim accused Singh of saying that 'a Hindu has become India's ruler after 800 years' after Narendra Modi came to power last year.
The Home Minister sought an apology over the allegation, and the ruckus in Parliament forced at least four adjournments on Monday.
The Opposition parties also hit out at the ruling party over the recent killings over beef rumours, and for the controversial remarks by party members.
In response, BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi accused the opposition parties of trying to create an atmosphere to malign the Modi government. She said that communal incidents were taking place in states not ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Lekhi also called artistes and others returning awards 'intellectual mercenaries'. She said that accusations against the BJP are being brought up before elections, such as in Bihar and Delhi.
The discussion on intolerance was called for under Rule 193 by Congress leader K C Venugopal and CPM leader P Karunakaran. Opposition parties had called for early discussion on the issue during the all-party meeting last week, after weeks of protests by writers, scientists, historians and filmmakers who returned their awards citing rising intolerance in India.
5:16 pm IST: "The award-wapsi brigade never saw the point. The point is exactly the opposite of what they are protesting for," Lekhi said.
5:12 pm IST:
5:09 pm IST: "Kerala House is part of the country. The menu had beef written on it. Only forensic investigation can prove if the meat served is beef or not," Lekhi said.
5:07 pm IST: "We are a quasi-federal structure. If a crime takes place in a state, is it the accountability of the state government or the central government?" Lekhi asked, referring to the Dadri incident.
5:01 pm IST:
I am sure a lot of people are worried about the atmosphere said to be created in the country. I would like to assure them that India is not becoming intolerant. This atmosphere is sought to be created to malign the image of a democratically elected government. That is why I call them intellectual mercenaries," Lekhi said.
5:00 pm IST: BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi said that communal incidents had declined in the last year.
4.54 pm IST: "We must differentiate tolerant Hinduism from the intolerant Hindutva," the COngress leader said while concluding his remarks in the Lok Sabha.
"You are using Hinduism for your politics of communism," he told the ruling party.
4:49 pm IST: KC Venugopal lashed out at BJP leaders over inflammatory remarks, 'politics of communism'.
4:33 pm IST: The Congress leader brings up the Kerala House raid by the Delhi police following rumours that beef was being served there.
He also mentioned the Dadri lynching incident.
4:25 pm IST: "Why have you become arrogant and intolerant?," the Congress leader asks the ruling party.
4:21 pm IST: "Our country is going through a crisis. There is an unprecedented attack on people's fundamental rights to live, to eat and to think. Reactionary forces have become courageous," Congress leader KC Venugopal said in the Lok Sabha.
4:15 pm IST: CPM leader Mohammad Salim slammed the BJP party for creating divisions between Hindus and Muslims.
"The country is going in the wrong direction. Today there can be big fights on small things," he said.
2:45 pm IST: Lok Sabha has been adjourned for the third time.
2:32 pm IST: BJP MPs continue to demand an apology from MP Mohammad Salim.
2:30 pm IST: The session has resumed. Deputy Speaker Thambi Durai is in the chair.
2:29 pm IST: Several Youth Congress members were detained following protests on Parliament Street.
2:10 pm IST:
2:05 pm IST: The Lok Sabha session resumed but was quickly adjourned up to 2.30 pm following uproar on the issue raised by CPM leader Mohammad Salim.
1:05 pm IST: Lok Sabha adjourned for one hour due to uproar.
12:59 pm IST: Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that he has been hurt by the Left's allegations.
12:55 pm IST: The Left leader claims that a magazine quoted Rajnath Singh as saying that Modi was the first Hindu ruler after Prithviraj Chauhan.
12:50 pm IST: CPM leader Mohammad Salim defended his allegation.
12.42 pm IST: Home Minister Rajnath Singh asks for apology from MP Mohammad Salim over his allegations. Salim had said that after the Lok Sabha elections last year, Singh had said that 'for the first time in 800 years a Hindu has become India's PM'.
12:40 pm IST: MP Salim brings up Dadri lynching. "Akhlaq's son was in the Indian Air Force," he said.
12:38 pm IST: Who are the fringe elements, the Left leader asked.
12:34 pm IST: "We want a rational India, a secular India," the Communist party leader said.
12:29 pm IST: "LK Advani, Sudheendra Kulkarni have given warnings to the ruling party from inside," MP Salim said.
12:26 pm IST: CPM leader Mohammad Salim says intolerance is not a small issue.
Why is Arun Jaitley disrespecting scientists such as PM Bhargava by calling the voices 'manufactured dissent'," the Left leader said.
12:25 pm IST: Those who feel there is rising intolerance, they should also offer suggestions to address the issue, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said.
12.23 pm IST: "We are all concerned about the intolerance issue. It is significant and that is why we are discussing it. But we should not show intolerance here (Lok Sabha)," says Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.
12:15 pm IST: Naidu said in the Lok Sabha that the Home Minister will be informed about intolerance debate and that the government is not averse to discussing the issue.
11:50 am IST: BSP leader Mayawati touches on the intolerance issue in the Rajya Sabha. She hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not checking actions of his colleagues, which she said were against the teachings of Buddha.
11:40 am IST: Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said in the Rajya Sabha there may be intolerance in some parts of India but this has not happened only under Narendra Modi.
11:15 am IST: Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has said the discussion on intolerance will begin after noon. Mahajan refused to suspend the Question Hour, and said the issue would be raised later in the day.