Three comments by three leaders were expunged from the records of Rajya Sabha on Friday.
Human resource development minister Smriti Irani’s reference to goddess Durga and demon Mahishasur were expunged from the Rajya Sabha records on Friday following the instructions of chairman M Hamid Ansari, an official statement said.
Irani, during a debate on the recent incidents at the Jawaharlal Nehru University and the suicide of Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula in University of Hyderabad, had referred to the commemoration of Mahishasur’s death at the JNU and read out from a pamphlet, which she claimed was authenticated by the university.
The Opposition members created an uproar, with Congress leader Anand Sharma saying it would set a bad precedence of insulting gods and prophets.
The issue was raised in the Upper House again on Friday, as Opposition members sought an apology from Irani over her remarks.
Irani did not offer an apology, but said she herself worships goddess Durga and that the reference was made merely to prove a point.
“I am a practising Hindu and a Durga worshipper. The documents I read (from) yesterday (Thursday) are official documents from the university... these are not documents of the government,” Irani said on Friday. Another comment from Mayawati, referring to a promise made by Irani if the BSP leader is not happy with the reply on the Vemula debate also got expunged. A comment by CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury was also expunged.