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Ramesh Bidhuri, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from South Delhi on Thursday, 21 September, hurled several Islamophobic profanities at Bahujan Samaj Party (SP) MP Kunwar Danish Ali in the Lok Sabha during the Special Session.
The exchange took place while Bidhuri was addressing the House on the success of ISRO's Chandrayaan-3 mission.
While Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh expressed regret over the comments, Ali has written to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to take action against Bidhuri who is yet to issue an apology himself.
'Ye Aatankwaadi Hai...': What Unfolded in Lok Sabha
Amid a heated exchange over PM Narendra Modi allegedly taking credit for the Chandrayaan-3 mission, Bidhuri used words like ugrawaadi (militant), aatankwadi (terrorist), mulla (slur used for Muslims), bhadwa (pimp), and katwa (circumcised) for the BSP MP from Uttar Pradesh's Amroha.
While the ruckus over his remarks erupted, Bidhuri seemed unfazed and went on using derogatory language while former Union Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan could be seen smiling next to him.
"Bahar phenko iss mulle ko (throw this Muslim out)," Bidhuri said at one point.
Though the remarks were expunged by Congress leader Kodikunnil Suresh who was in the chair, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh later expressed regret over Bidhuri's comments.
Rajnath Singh Expresses Regret, No Apology from Bidhuri Yet
Addressing the House after Bidhuri's comments, Singh said: “I express regret if the Opposition member is hurt by the remarks.”
He also urged Suresh to expunge the remarks.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Friday warned Bidhuri of 'strict action' if he repeated such behaviour in the future, news agency PTI reported quoting officials.
'Directed Most Foul, Abusive Invectives Against Me': What Ali Said
In a letter to Birla written on Friday, Ali said: "During the course of his speech he directed the most foul, abusive invectives against me which are part of the record of the Lok Sabha. Among the words he directed against me were 'Bhadwa' (pimp), 'Katwa' (circumcised one), 'Mullah ugravadi' (Muslim terrorist) 'atankvadi' (terrorist) etc."
"This is most unfortunate and the fact that it has happened in a new Parliament building under your leadership as Speaker is truly heartbreaking for me as a minority member of this great nation and an elected Member of Parliament as well," he added.
Demanding action against Bidhuri under Rules 222, 226, and 227 of the proceedings of the Lok Sabha, Ali said: "I request you to kindly refer this matter to the committee of privileges under rule 227 of the rules of procedure and conduct of business in Lok Sabha for examination, investigation, and Report."
Speaking to the media later, Ali said, "All things are on record and it's happening for the first that this type of language has been used for an elected MP."
'BJP's Idea of 'Vasudeva Kutumbakam': Opposition Demands Bidhuri's Expulsion
Congress communication incharge and Rajya Sabha MP Jairam Ramesh said that Bidhuri's comments are unacceptable and the apology issued by Singh is insufficient.
"Such language is unacceptable not just inside the Parliament but also outside of it. This is an insult to not only Danish Ali but all the MPs. PM Modi says that the new Parliament began with the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam. But the beginning of the new Parliament is with Bidhuri and his words," he said.
"Two AAP MPs Sanjay Singh and Raghav Chadha have been suspended for mere sloganeering and protesting. But the language used by Bidhuri... This is a fit case for suspension," he added.
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav also issued a statement to say that PM Modi has given birth to a distorted socio-political culture against the country's rich parliamentary traditions.
"At the behest of the PM, the indecent, unparliamentary and trivial language that a BJP MP is using against an opposition MP inside the Parliament is highly objectionable, condemnable and worrying for democracy and society," Lalu Yadav said.
"I was saddened, but not surprised. This is the truth of PM's 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam'. We need to think that if such words were used for an MP in Parliament, then what kind of language is used against Muslims, Dalits, and other minority communities on the streets of cities and villages? The PM needs to live by the slogan 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas'," RJD MP Manoj Jha told news agency ANI.
"Till now, the PM could not say a word on Ramesh Bidhuri? That means this is happening with your approval," Jha said.
Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra took to Twitter to say that the BJP has normalised hate against Muslims.
"Abusing Muslims, OBCs an integral part of BJP culture – most now see nothing wrong with it. @narendramodi has reduced Indian Muslims to living in such a state of fear in their own land that they grin & bear everything. Sorry but I’m calling this out. Ma Kali holds my spine," she said.
J&K National Conference MP Omar Abdullah while speaking to the media said that there is nothing new in Muslims being called "terrorists".
"If you see my social media, there is nothing new in Muslims being called terrorists. But the other comments that were made, I don't even want to repeat them. I feel ashamed that such comments are being made in the Parliament. I also feel upset because the words used are for the entire Muslim community. It is beyond me how Muslims associated with the BJP tolerate this," Abdullah said.
"This shows their mindset towards Muslims. They should be ashamed of themselves. New Parliament but the same old, rotten mentality," he added.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP Sanjay Singh termed Bidhuri's behaviour as "hooliganism."
"The language used by Ramesh Bidhuri inside the House is the language of a goon, mafia. He abused and called a respected MP a terrorist. The insult of Danish Ali is an insult to all opposition MPs. I raised the Manipur issue and I was suspended, so why no action is being taken against him?" he told news agency ANI.
'Could Not Hear What Bidhuri Said': Dr Harsh Vardan Issues Clarification
While scores of people pointed out on social media that Dr Harsh Vardhan was seen smiling and laughing at Bidhuri's comments, the former Union Health Minister took to social media platform X to say that his name is being dragged in the "unfortunate incident" in "notorious and fabricated attempts to tarnish his image."
"I ask my Muslim friends who are writing against me on social media today, whether they actually believe that I could ever have become party to usage of such derogatory language that would hurt the sensibilities of any one community ? It is a notorious and fabricated story filled with negativity and is being used by some vested political elements on social media to tarnish my image. In thirty years of public life, I have worked closely with lakhs of Muslim brothers and sisters in my constituency as well as with colleagues from various walks of life. Born and brought up in Phatak Teliyan in the historic gullys of Chandni Chowk, I have spent my childhood and grown up playing with my Muslim friends. I can state with utmost confidence and conviction that all Muslim brothers and sisters who have ever been in contact with me will vouch for my sentiments and behaviour," he said.
"While I was no doubt witness to the jugglery of words being thrown at each other (which in fact the entire House was), the truth of the matter is that in the chaos that existed, I could not clearly hear what was being said. I have always stood by my own principles in life. And I have never been apologetic about following them, keeping the interest of my country and its people above everything else," he added.
Rahul Gandhi Meets Danish Ali
In a show of support, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi visited BSP MP Danish Ali at the latter's residence on Friday evening, 22 September.
"Nafrat ke Bazaar mein Mohabbat ki Dukan (Shop of love in the market of hate)," Gandhi tweeted with a photo of the two MPs.
(Photo Courtesy: X/@RahulGandhi)
(Photo: Accessed by The Quint)
(Photo: Accessed by The Quint)
“He came here to keep my morale high and to extend his support...He said that I am not alone and everyone who is standing with democracy is standing with me..." Danish Ali told news agency ANI.
'Unfortunate': BSP Chief Mayawati on Remarks Against Danish Ali
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati tweeted that even though Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla had issued a warning to the BJP MP who apologised, the party itself had not taken any action against him. "It is unfortunate," she said.