Condemning the attack by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) legislators on Samajwadi Party leader Abu Asim Azmi for taking his oath as legislator in Hindi, the Congress on Monday said "this criminal act is an assault on the idea of India".
The Congress said that both Hindi and Marathi are sister languages and using one did not mean that the other language was insulted.
"If Hindi is our mother, then Marathi is our aunt. Using one does not mean that another language is being insulted," said Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi in New Delhi.
He added: "If anything is being insulted, the Congress is the first to condemn it. But this is a criminal act, this is an assault on the idea of India. According to our constitution, our glorious democratic function, we are free to go to any part of the country."
"We are a glorious democracy because India is one," Singhvi told reporters.
Azmi, who is also the chief of the Samajwadi Party Maharastra state unit, was assaulted for defying MNS chief Raj Thackeray's diktat of taking oath in the assembly only in Marathi.