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Vande Mataram debate rocks Lok Sabha
August 22, 2006 13:38 IST
A controversy over the recital of Vande Mataram led to pandemonium in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday. Repeated clashes between the National Democratic Alliance and Left members forced two adjournments of the House.
Human Resources Development Minister Arjun Singh said the government had never said singing of the national song would be "compulsory" on September 7, which is the composition's centenary.
Members of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Shiv Sena and Trinamool Congress created an uproar, alleging that the statement by a religious leader that a particular community will not recite the national song amounted to 'insulting' the country and martyrs.
The Opposition created an uproar as soon as the House met for the day. Singh said the decision to celebrate the song's centenary had been taken at an all-party meeting.
The minister said he had written to all chief ministers that Vande Mataram should be sung on September 7 en masse but added, "I never said anybody should be forced to recite it."
The BJP and Shiv Sena members were not satisfied with the minister's reply and alleged that he had committed disrespect to the nation for which he should apologise.
The House witnessed repeated clashes between BJP-Shiv Sena and Left members, forcing the Speaker to adjourn it till 11.30 AM.
When the House met again, similar scenes were witnessed for about 20 minutes after which the Chair adjourned it till noon.