Reports of 11 Shiv Sena MPs forcing a Muslim worker at Maharasahtra Sadan in Delhi to break his Ramzan fast saw UPA and Left members rising to their feet in the Lok Sabha to protest.
The uproar in the House came after opposition MPs expressed their dissatisfaction with the explanation of their Sena counterparts: the latter were apparently unhappy that they had not been served Maharashtrian food.
Even as the Shiv Sena MPs denied the accusation, the other MPs demanded a discussion in Parliament on this issue.
Heated exchanges in the Lok Sabha followed, with BJP MP Ramesh Biduri trying to assault other MPs, even saying that this is Hindustan, not Pakistan. Eventually, Mr. Biduri was forced to apologise for his conduct. “I regret if I have hurt the sentiments of the members of this House,” he said.
But it was Mr. Biduri’s intervention that forced the government to intervene, with Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu saying it was a sensitive issue that would have to be investigated.
Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant vociferously denied the reports and requested that strict action should be taken against those who spread the rumour while adding that no one should play with religious sentiments.
Shiv Sena MP Anandrao Adsul was more forthcoming: he said that they had only asked the worker to taste the food as it tasted terrible.
‘This cannot be accepted’
Senior BJP leader L.K. Advani said in response, “What happened is not right” while Home Minister Rajnath Singh did not comment when asked about it by reporters.
Majlis Ittehadul-Muuslimeen (MIM) leader Assadudin Owaisi alleged this showed the barbaric behaviour of Shiv Sena MPs. “I am not surprised..is this the way an MP treats an employee. This is hurting the religious beliefs. Resident Commissioner should file a complaint. This cannot be accepted,” he was quoted as saying.