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Govt to respond on force-feeding row by Friday

July 24, 2014 13:31 IST

The government on Thursday said it will respond on the issue of Shiv Sena MPs force-feeding a fasting Muslim after ascertaining full facts by Friday.

Congress, Samajwadi Party and Left members raised the issue when Rajya Sabha met for the day saying 24 hours have passed since the issue was first raised but the government is yet to come back.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said the incident pertains to Members of Parliament which took place in the premises of a building run by a state government.

"This is a very sensitive matter and also a serious matter," he said adding the Chair had on Wednesday asked the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs to ascertain facts.

"We are ascertaining facts," he said. "We will be finding out full details and only then respond."

This triggered an uproar from the Opposition benches which said the government was gone mum on the issue.

Sitaram Yechuri (CPM) said 24 hours have passed since the government gave an assurance that it will come back to the House with a statement on the issue.

Satyavrat Chaturvedi (Congress) said the government has gone "deaf and dumb" on the issue.

Naidu said since the matter concerns MPs and a premise run by a state government, full details need to be ascertained.

"By tomorrow, we will come back (on the issue)," he said.

When the House met, the opposition members were on their feet seeking to raise the issue.

"Our priority today is discussion on Budget. We can't complete it (with disruptions). We have just seven hours. Let us get on with Question Hour," Chairman Hamid Ansari said.

He said the issue was discussed at the morning meeting and it was decided discussion on general Budget will straight away be taken at 1200 hours.

Anand Sharma (Congress) said this was a serious issue and the government should give a statement.

Yechuri wanted to know from the government if it has ascertained facts.

After Naidu stated that the government will come back on the issue by tomorrow, Chaturvedi remarked that the government may make a statement on the issue not before 6 pm tomorrow.

A group of around 11 Shiv Sena MPs, apparently angry over not being served Maharashtrian food, allegedly forced a Muslim catering supervisor who was fasting for Ramzan to eat a chapati at the new Maharashtra Sadan in the national capital last week.

Meanwhile, scores of National Students Union of India -- the Congress’ students wing -- activists on Thursday staged a protest outside Rail Bhawan in New Delhi demanding suspension of a Shiv Sena MP from Lok Sabha after he was caught on camera apparently force-feeding a fasting Muslim employee.

Protestors led by NSUI's national general secretary Mohit Sharma raised slogans against the Shiv Sena.

NSUI activists wanted to stage a protest outside Parliament but were stopped near Rail Bhawan where they held a protest.

"We demand the suspension of Shiv Sena MP Rajan Vichare from Lok Sabha. This insensitive, communal and criminal act will not be tolerated. A majority in the Lok Sabha does not mean, they have got license to do anything," NSUI's national spokesperson Amrish Ranjan Pandey said.

Pandey said they would not sit silent till the Sena MP was suspended from Lok Sabha.

As protestors started proceeding towards Parliament, police officials erected barricades outside Rail Bhawan to prevent them.

Several NSUI activists were detained.

Image: Protesting Congress activists burn posters of Shiv Sena MP Rajan Vichare in Bangalore on Thursday

Photo courtesy: ANI/Twitter

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