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Ruckus in Lok Sabha over Rajnath’s purported Modi ‘Hindu ruler’ remark

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New Delhi: A purported comment by Home Minister Rajnath Singh that India had got “a Hindu ruler after 800 years” in Prime Minister Narendra Modi triggered turmoil in the Lok Sabha on Monday.

As the opposition and treasury benches debated over “intolerance”, the house was adjourned thrice after CPI-M leader Mohammed Salim quoted Singh as making the statement to a magazine. The minister denied it.

Salim, who initiated the discussion, cited the minister as saying that India got “a Hindu ruler after 800 years in Narendra Modi”.

The standoff could be resolved only after Salim’s comments, contested strongly by the ruling National Democratic Alliance, were expunged from the house proceedings.

The minister said he was deeply hurt by the claim.

“I have never been so much hurt in my parliamentary life. If a home minister makes such comments, he has no right to be in his post,” he said, adding that MPs and even minorities know he can’t make such remarks.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy asked Salim to withdraw the comments till their authenticity was ascertained.

Rudy said it would be difficult for members on the treasury benches to sit in the house after allegations “which are dangerous for the country”.

Biju Janata Dal’s Bhartruhari Mahtab said a member has to give prior notice before levelling allegations against another member.

Saugata Roy of the Trinamool Congress, however, said there was no denial from the minister after the magazine carried the purported comment.

Salim later said his intention was not to hurt the minister. Rudy pressed the Marxist MP to withdraw his words.

As the impasse continued, the speaker adjourned the house for an hour. When it reassembled, Rudy again asked the Communist Party of India-Marxist member to withdraw his remarks.

Salim refused. “This is also intolerance. This is ridiculous,” he said.

As the standoff persisted, Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai briefly adjourned the house.

When the house reassembled after its second adjournment, Congress member M Veerappa Moily said since both Salim and Rajnath Singh had spoken, the matter should be put to rest.

But the stalemate persisted and the house was adjourned till 3.15 p.m.

When the house met at 3.15 p.m., Salim said he would have been happy if Rajnath Singh had become the prime minister instead of Modi.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu objected to this comment and said such comments can also be made about CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury.

Earlier, Rajnath Singh asserted that the government did not believe or agree that there was growing intolerance in the country.

But he said the government would seek suggestions from MPs who say so.

“We would like to have suggestions on how to stop it, from members who think intolerance is growing,” he said.

Interestingly, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, before the discussion could start, urged members not to show their intolerance in the house and listen to the views of other members with patience.

Mahajan said MPs provide leadership to people and hoped the discussion will go in the right direction.

(IANS)

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Terrorist Safe Havens Should Be Eliminated: Rajnath Singh

Rajnath Singh said in Bangkok that the international community should come together to disrupt terrorist networks

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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in Bangkok on Monday that the international community should come together to eliminate terrorist safe havens. Wikimedia Commons

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in Bangkok on Monday that the international community should come together to eliminate terrorist safe havens and disrupt their networks and financing in order to thwart cross-border movements for achieving sustainable regional security is achieved.

Singh was addressing the sixth ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus) in Thailand, which holds the rotating chairmanship of the regional framework this year. Describing terrorism as the most heinous cross-border crime, Singh said some states have been using terror to pursue their political goals.

“It is so much worse when terrorists are aided, abetted, armed, financed and sheltered by States. The interplay between states and non-state actors, used as proxies to foment violence, has worsened this menace. The persistence of State-sponsored terrorism is not just a painful cancer, it is also the leading reason for unsustainable security,” said Singh.

Rajnath Singh
Rajnath Singh says that The persistence of State-sponsored terrorism is the leading reason for unsustainable security. Wikimedia Commons

The theme of the meeting this year is ‘Sustainable Security.’ Singh said there is a need for a more cooperative, equitable and consultative paradigm to deal with the broad and complex security challenges to find sustainable solutions.

Singh further said that India’s Indo-Pacific vision is based on the idea of sustainable security as it focuses on a free, open, inclusive and rules-based region in which there is respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all natikons.

“Our region must remain open and welcoming to the interests of all, those who live in it and others whose interests are in it. In short, our approach to security in the Indo-Pacific is sustainable by definition because it emphasises Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR),” added Singh.

On negotiations for a Code of Conduct for the South China Sea, Singh said the outcome of these talks will be in keeping with all relevant international laws, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. He said the forum promotes freedom of navigation, overflight and lawful commerce and also emphasised the need to protect the rights of States that are not party to these negotiations.

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Singh emphasied that India looks forward to the progress made through dialogue in addressing all related issues, including the proliferation trail that links South and East Asia on the issue of denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. “As dialogue remains on the table, we hope missile launches and such destabilising activities will cease”, he said.

During the course of his address, Singh said India is eager to co-chair the India-Indonesia Expert Working Group on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) in the next cycle. (IANS)