NEW DELHI: During a debate on religious conversions in Uttar Pradesh, union minister Venkaiah Naidu’s announcement that he was proud of his association with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS – the BJP’s ideological mentor – sparked sharp protests in Parliament.
Here are 10 developments in this story:
- A united opposition targeted the government during a debate in the Lok Sabha on the religious conversion of some 200 people in Agra in Uttar Pradesh on Monday, allegedly by groups linked to the RSS. (Read more…)
- Opposition parties like Samajwadi Party walked out when Venkaiah Naidu, in his reply to the debate, said “RSS is a great organisation of this country. It believes in selfless service. I feel proud of my RSS background.” (Watch)
- The Congress said the forced conversions were a design to polarize the nation and asked for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement.
- “It is the government’s responsibility to protect the Constitution. Look at the environment today. People have forced Muslims to eat during Ramadan, Sania Mirza was called Pakistani Bahu (daughter-in-law). Are these Acche Din (good times)?” Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia questioned, mocking PM Modi’s campaign slogan. (LIVE updates from Parliament)
- Saugata Roy of the Trinamool Congress said, “100 small and big riots have taken place. The Muzaffarnagar riots were for political benefits. You wanted power? You got power. Now it is your duty to see everyone in the country is free.”
- The opposition asked the government to explain the statements of its own MPs, who call the conversions “gharwapsi” or homecoming, claiming that the converts had embraced Islam only some decades ago.
- BJP MP Adityanath has declared that he will go ahead with a similar event planned in Aligarh on December 25 to convert Christians and Muslims. “The administration must not block the programme,” Adityanath warned today. (Read more…)
- BJP MP Vinay Katiyar raised eyebrows with his comment that “even Omar and Farooq Abdullah may have been Hindus “a few decades ago.”
- An FIR or police complaint has been filed against the Agra conversions, organised by the Bajrang Dal and Dharam Jagran Samanvyay Vibhag, after a villager alleged that 57 Muslim families chosen from a rag-pickers’ colony were given inducements like I-cards for welfare schemes to convert to Hinduism.
- An undated letter has emerged in which the Dharam Jagran Samanvyay Vibhag urges its members to raise money for conversions, saying, “50 programmes are being planned and over the year, one lakh need to be converted.”