SP leader links names of Hindu gods with alcohol, sparks row

New Delhi


In controversial remarks that were later expunged, Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agarwal on Wednesday linked the names of Hindu gods with alcohol, sparking protest by the BJP in the Rajya Sabha.

The ruling members objected to the comments which Agarwal withdrew and apologised. He had initially refused to apologize to the "contractors of the Hindu religion".

Agarwal was speaking during the debate in the House on lynchings in the name of cow and narrated an incident in 1991 when he visited a school that was turned into a jail.

He said the names of some Hindu deities linked to some types of alcohol were written on the wall of the school.

Pointing towards the treasury bench, Agarwal said these lines were written by "your people". 

BJP members, including Ministers, demanded an apology from the Samajwadi member, shouting that they won't let anyone "insult Hindu Gods".

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said Agarwal has hurt the sentiments of the majority population of the country.

"He has hurt not a single person but the whole community," Ananth Kumar said.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said if Agarwal had made the derogatory comments outside the House he would be liable to be prosecuted.

Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien said Agarwal should not have made these remarks which "per se are derogatory" and should withdraw them. He ordered that the statement should be expunged from the records of the House.

The Samajwadi leader later said if his remarks had hurt the sentiment of anyone he was withdrawing them.

But the BJP members refused to budge and continued slogan shouting.

Amid the din, Kurien twice adjourned the House and urged the media not to report the expunged comments. - IANS