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Protests in RS over RSS chief’s remarks against Mother Teresa

Mohan Bhagwat

New Delhi: Rajya Sabha today witnessed uproarious scenes over the controversial remarks of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat against Mother Teresa with Opposition parties pressing for a condemnation resolution if Prime Minister Narendra Modi does not clarify.

The House had to be adjourned for 15 minutes after a war of words broke out on the issue between BJP member Vinay Katiyar and almost the entire Opposition that saw members from Congress, Samajwadi Party and JD-U trooping into the well.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi sought to pacify the agitating members and said the entire country respected Mother Teresa and there was no contradiction or confusion about the service rendered by her.

“The entire country respects her. A number of statements are made outside Parliament. There is no doubt about the Mother Teresa’s service and her work is not under any kind of suspicion,” Naqvi said.

Dissatisfied with his reply, Sharad Yadav (JD-U) said a one-line resolution should be brought to condemn the remarks. His demand was supported by Naresh Agrawal (SP) and P Rajeeve (CPI-M).

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Derek O’Brien (Trinamool Congress) said Bhagwat’s remarks that conversion to Christianity was the main objective of Mother Teresa’s service to the poor, was an “insult” to all Bharat Ratna recipients as well as Parliament.

“Only 43 persons since Independence have been conferred the Bharat Ratna. One of them is Mother Teresa. The comment not only insults her. Statements like this insult all the 43 persons who got Bharat Ratna.

“The man who made the statement, says she converts. Mother Teresa also said that she converts a Hindu to become a good Hindu, a Muslim to become a good Muslim and a Christian to become a good Christian,” O’Brien said, adding he would rather learn from Hindu scripture like Bhagwad Gita, but “not this Bhagwat.”

Katiyar strongly objected to the remarks and spoke of conversion, which saw the entire Opposition up in arms. Soon a verbal alteraction followed between members of the Treasury and Opposition benches. Katiyar reacted angrily but could not be heard as opposition members sought Naqvi’s indulgence.

CPI-M’s Sitaram Yechury took strong objection to the BJP member’s remarks, saying “since the MoS Parliamentary Affairs belongs to another religion, he (Katiyar) is saying what will he (Naqvi) do (wo kya kar lenge).”

“How are you allowing this to go on record,” Yechury asked Deputy Chairman P J Kurien who was in the Chair.

As the uproar continued and members trooped into the well, Kurien adjourned the House for 15 minutes. The uproar continued for some time even after proceedings resumed.

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