- House adjourned as opposition demands Smriti Irani apology over comments
- Protest against Irani reading controversial JNU pamphlet on Goddess Durga
- Opposition says no other bill will be discussed till Irani apologises
The row, which broke out on Thursday evening leading to the Smriti Irani's reply to the debate being abandoned mid-way, raged on this morning as the Rajya Sabha convened.
"I am a practising Hindu and Durga worshipper," said Smriti Irani, explaining the context of why she had read out from a pamphlet allegedly circulated on the Jawaharlal Nehru University or JNU campus, which had derogatory references to Goddess Durga. Ms Irani has said the pamphlet showed the "depraved mentality" of a section of JNU students.
Opposition parties have said they want the minister to apologise.
"Anything inflammatory about any God, Prophet, if any member especially the Minister is speaking it will not be taken. We want the minister to be arrested and charged. Anything blasphemous should not be said in this house," said Congress leader Anand Sharma.
"The minister should apologise," KC Tyagi of the Janata Dal-United said
Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson PJ Kurien said he will examine records of yesterday's debate and "anything blasphemous" will be removed.
The government says Ms Irani has violated no code and has accused the opposition of looking for excuses to stall the Rajya Sabha, which was adjourned again this morning.
"When the government is ready for any discussion why they are creating issues? It is important to notify that they are trying to derail the discussion," said Union Minister Jitendra Singh.
The Opposition says no other business can be taken up in the Rajya Sabha before the minister apologises and it is expected to carry its protests to next week, when the House starts working after the union budget is presented on Monday.
Effectively, a pre-session agreement between the opposition and government that Parliament would run if key issues were debated before Bill were brought is now in tatters.
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