RS uproar over V K Singh remarks, Babri comments

Minister of state for defence V K Singh's remarks on the death of two Dalit children in Haryana came back to haunt the government in the Rajya Sabha on Friday, as the opposition stalled proceedings for the greater part of the day demanding his resignation.

Even as Bahujan Samaj Party MPs trooped into the well of the house shouting slogans, ''Dalit virodhi yeh sarkar, nahi chalegi (an anti-Dalit government cannot remain in power)'', members of the Samajwadi Party added to the ruckus protesting against RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's recent comment that he was confident of seeing the Ram Temple being built in Ayodhya in his lifetime.

The BJP, however, dismissed the protests saying that the opposition was ''trying to make an issue of a non-issue'' for political gains. On Bhagwat, MoS for parliamentary affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that the government respects the court's decision on Ayodhya, but people have a ''fundamental right'' to reiterate commitment to construction of a temple.

The confrontation forced three adjournments in the pre-lunch session. Referring to the union minister's statement in Rajya Sabha on Friday, BSP chief Mayawati alleged the NDA government was vitiating the country's ''social and communal atmosphere'' by not acting against rabble-rousers like Singh.

Eventually, Congress MP and leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad made common cause with the BSP and demanded Singh's resignation from the cabinet and removal from the parliament.

''The backward class in this country has been suffering since the pre-Independence era. If General V K Singh, instead of condemning the killing is making such comparisons, then I feel he has no right to remain a minister in the government,'' Azad said.

Rising to his colleague's defence, Naqvi said, ''We do not support any statements which hurt the sentiments of any caste or community. We condemn all such statements, but V K Singh did not say anything like this. He has clarified this repeatedly.''

Under attack, V K Singh took to social media to post his defence. He said those targeting him had become ''laughing stocks'' and alleged that a section of the media was indulging in ''supari journalism''.

''My expectation was that Rajya Sabha would dedicate itself wholly to nation's welfare going beyond narrow-mindedness. But my belief got drastically hurt when I found members of Rajya Sabha involved in narrow game of cat and mouse describing which is painful to me it was beyond my imagination that there are some members in Rajya Sabha who resembled forces from whom we were told in our childhood to keep away from,'' he said in a Facebook post.

The uproar in the Upper House stemmed from Singh's remarks on an incident in which two Dalit children were burnt alive in a village in Faridabad. He had said local incidents should not be associated with the centre and drawn an analogy with stones being thrown at a dog. Opposition parties had staged a walkout in the Lok Sabha the day before to press for his apology.