|HOME | NEWS | REPORT|
|July 2, 1998||
Chief whip apologises for remarks against Mata Amritanandamayi
Kerala government chief whip T K Hamza today tendered an apology in the state assembly for his controversial reference against Hindu spiritual leader Mata Amritanandamayi in the House on Tuesday.
In a statement after Zero Hour, Hamza said he had not intended any disrespect or insult against the spiritual leader or other Hindu priests when he referred to their names during a debate.
''If anyone has gathered such an impression from my speech, I express my deep regret for it,'' Hamza said.
The chief whip has apparently tendered the apology at the instance of his party bosses.
The Communist Party of India-Marxist, to which Hamza belongs, and Chief Minister E K Nayanar were under pressure from various quarters to undo the damage done by one of its leaders.
While the Congress-led United Democratic Front Opposition continued its attack on the government inside the state assembly, the Bharatiya Janata Party and several other Hindu organisations, including the devotees of the spiritual leader, mounted pressure from outside.
Speaker M Vijayakumar had expunged the reference from the records.
Hundreds of devotees of the spiritual leader staged a march to the assembly today to register their protest against the insulting remarks.
Religious and cultural leaders representing various organisations took part in the march which originated from the Martyrs's Column at Palayam.
The Amritanandamayi Bhakta Sangamom, a forum of devotees, also threatened to initiate legal action against Hamza.
BJP workers also held demonstrations in the state capital and other parts of the state, demanding an apology from Hamza.
State BJP president C K Padmanabhan termed it as an aggression against Hindu leaders and their devotees. ''Never before had spiritual persons been insulted in such a manner in the legislature," he added.
Mata Amritanandamayi, he said, had been born among the backward classes and attained spiritual wisdom through strenuous sadhana. Hamza lacked the capability to understand her greatness, he added.
Many felt the chief minister, whose family has close ties with Mata Amritanandamayi, should reprimand Hamza.
State BJP committee member C Rajendran said the chief minister's son Krishna Kumar had visited the ashram and sought Mata's blessings before his marriage. His brother Narayanan Nayanar had visited her ashram several times.
Democratic Labour Party general secretary V Dinakaran said the chief minister's secretary was also a Mata devotee. He said he himself had taken the CM's aide to the ashram at Kollam.
Bharatiya Vichara Kendra director P Parameswaran said the speech smacked of religious fundamentalism and lack of communal tolerance by the CPI-M. He said it exposed the party's narrow-mindedness. Parameswaran described the incident as a slur on the state legislature. He said the House should not have been chosen for making such comments.
Several other organisations like Thapasya, the Dharma Raksha Vedi and the Kerala Pradesh Fishermen Congress also condemned the remarks. The Dharma Raksha Vedi saw a design behind the comments to destroy communal harmony in the state.
INFOTECH | TRAVEL | LIFE/STYLE | FREEDOM | FEEDBACK