This Article is From Dec 01, 2015

'First Hindu Ruler in 800 Years': Parliament Storm Over Quote Cited by CPM Leader Mohd Salim

Many on Twitter suggested that the comments referred to by Mohd Salim were actually made by Vishva Hindu Parishad leader Ashok Singhal, who died a fortnight ago.

New Delhi: A debate in Parliament today on 'rising intolerance' was waylaid by a controversial comment attributed to Home Minister Rajnath Singh by Left parliamentarian Mohd Salim.

For the first time since the Winter Session began last Thursday, there were repeated adjournments in the Lok Sabha. The debate resumed only after Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said Mr Salim's remarks would be removed from the proceedings.

Rajnath Singh strongly denied ever saying that India had the "first Hindu ruler after 800 years" after Narendra Modi came to power at the head of a BJP government last year.

Mr Salim, initiating the debate on "intolerance" in the Lok Sabha, had said: "How did fringe elements get the courage? I want to question the home minister. When Modi came to power, he said "800 saal baad koi hindu phir se is desh ka shaasak bana hai (After 800 years, this country has a Hindu ruler once again.) Is this democracy? Is this secularism? Is it a part of the Constitution?"

When the Home Minister cut in with his denial, Mr Salim read out the comment attributed to Mr Singh in the newsmagazine Outlook: "The current strife is uncharted territory. It has the imprimatur of the "first Hindu ruler after 800 years" (to quote Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Modi's election victory)..."

Mr Singh demanded an apology, saying he had "never been this hurt" in his entire political career. "Mohd Salim is a very old friend. But he has made a very serious allegation. Where have I said this and when? He should tell the entire house or he should apologise to the house," he said.

The ruling BJP said the discussion could not go on unless the CPM leader took back what he said. Mr Salim refused to do so, but he and other Left MPs challenged the home minister to confront the writer of the article.

Many on Twitter said the comments were actually made by Vishva Hindu Parishad leader Ashok Singhal, who died a fortnight ago.

Outlook magazine, admitting its error, issued a statement, saying, "In this story, a remark ("first Hindu ruler after 800 years") made by the late Ashok Singhal of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad was erroneously attributed to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Outlook deeply regrets the lack of diligence in verifying the source of the statement. It was not our intention to denigrate the home minister or Parliament. Outlook sincerely regrets the embarrassment caused to Mr. Rajnath Singh and Mr. Mohammad Salim."