A day after BSP MP Shafiqur Rahman Barq faced criticism from Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar for walking out of the House when national song Vande Mataram was being sung, the matter seems to be snowballing into a major controversy.
While the BJP and former Lok Sabha speaker and communist leader Somnath Chatterjee criticised Barq, the latter defended his action, saying his religion didn’t permit him to sing it.
“I will stand by my views whether I remain in politics or not,” Barq told agencies. “I have certain constitutional rights with regard to my religion and if there is something that goes against the religion, I have the right to reject it, and I don’t think it is something contrary to the love of the motherland.”
The BJP was scathing in its criticism, saying those who hated Vande Mataram could leave the country. “By boycotting the national song, he has insulted the Constitution. Those who hate Vande Mataram not only have no right to be a part of Parliament but also have no right to live in this country,” BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said. “The government, which is mired in scams, has not reacted to this. Such Taliban-like conduct will not be tolerated.”
Former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee said, “I fail to understand why such a senior MP is objecting to the national song... an elected representative does not represent any religion. It is for the speaker to decide what action she wants to take.”