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Banatwala attacks govt on secularism

Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi | August 20, 2003 01:01 IST

Indian Union Muslim League member G Banatwala lamented on Tuesday the opposition had the misfortune of having a council of ministers in which two were accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case.

Speaking on the debate on the no-trust motion against the government, he said their own workers were now charging the two accused ministers of inciting them to demolish the mosque.

"It is the voice of the common people that this government should go," Banatwala said amid applause from the opposition benches.

Complete coverage of the no-confidence motion

He pointed out that the government was systematically denigrating democratic norms and parliamentary institutions, including constitutional authorities like the Public Accounts Committee and the Election Commission.

He was critical that Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had given a clean chit to the Gujarat government headed by Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

Modi is in London where there are demands for his arrest for the wanton murder of Muslims, he said.

When Bharatiya Janata Party member Vijay Kumar Malhotra sought to interrupt Banatwala, the latter equated him like an angry cat scratching a pillar in sheer frustration.

"Secularism is a matter of life and death for us," Banatawala contended, adding the Vajpayee government was seeking to promote 'multiple nationalism' through cultural nationalism.

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