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‘You are not Hindus’: Rahul hits out at BJP in Lok Sabha

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Opp leader says saffron party indulges in violence, hate 24×7

NEW DELHI, July 1: Leader of Opposition Rahul Gandhi launched a no-holds-barred attack on the BJP in the Lok Sabha on Monday, saying the leaders of the ruling party are not Hindus as they engage in “violence and hate” round the clock, drawing massive protests from the treasury benches, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi accusing the Congress leader of calling the entire Hindu community violent.
Gandhi, however, hit back at Modi, saying he was speaking about the BJP and neither the ruling party nor the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) nor Modi represents the entire Hindu society.
Besides Modi, who intervened twice, at least five cabinet ministers also interjected during Gandhi’s speech that lasted for about an hour and 40 minutes, with Home Minister Amit Shah demanding his apology for painting the Hindu community as violent.
“It is not just one religion that talks about courage. In fact, all our religions talk about courage,” Gandhi said in his debut speech as the leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha that was watched by his mother Sonia Gandhi and sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra from the visitors’ gallery.
The Congress leader was speaking during the debate on the Motion of Thanks on the President’s address to a joint sitting of Parliament.
Gandhi quoted Prophet Muhammad to highlight that the Quran talks about fearlessness and said when hands are raised in “dua”, the “abhay mudra” can also be observed in a way.
Holding up pictures of Lord Shiva, Guru Nanak and Jesus Christ, he referred to Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Christianity, Buddhism and Jainism to underline the importance of fearlessness. He also cited the attributes of Lord Shiva and teachings of Guru Nanak, Jesus Christ, Buddha and Mahavir to state that all religions and great people of the country have said daro mat, darao mat (do not be scared, do not scare others).
As the treasury-bench members stood up in protest, Gandhi slammed the BJP, saying, “Aap Hindu ho hi nahi (You are not Hindus). It is clearly written in Hinduism that one should stand with the truth and not back down from the truth or be scared of it,” he said.
Intervening during his speech, Modi said, “This issue is very serious. Calling the entire Hindu community violent is a serious issue.”
Gandhi said he is talking about the BJP and the ruling party is not the sole representative of Hinduism. “Ye theka nahi hai BJP ka,” he said.
Gandhi further said a Hindu can never indulge in spreading hatred or fear. He alleged that all that the BJP does is spread violence and hatred.
Shah sought the Congress leader’s apology to the House and the country for hurting the feelings of crores of people who take pride in identifying themselves as Hindus.
He said the ruckus created by the opposition cannot drown the fact that the words — “those who call themselves Hindus indulge in violence” — were used in the House.
Gandhi accused the BJP of launching “systematic attacks” on the Constitution and the fundamental concept of India, noting that millions of people have resisted the ideas proposed by the ruling party.
“I was attacked on the orders of Prime Minister Modi and the government. There were 20-plus cases (against me), a two-year jail sentence, (my) house was taken away, (I was subjected to) 55 hours of interrogation by the ED,” he said.
The Congress leader also accused the BJP of threatening minorities and spreading hatred and violence against Muslims, Sikhs and Christians.
He said minorities represent India in all spheres and bring pride to the nation. “They stand like a rock with the country and are patriots, but you (BJP) attack them,” he said.
Referring to the Agnipath scheme for short-term military recruitment, Gandhi said the government regards the Agniveers as “use-and-throw labourers” and does not even give them the status of a “shaheed” (martyr).
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh intervened to rebut Gandhi’s charge.
The Congress leader also hit out at the Centre over the situation in Manipur, alleging that it has pushed the Northeastern state into a civil war.
In his concluding remarks, Gandhi asked the ruling party not to spread fear or hatred in the minds of people. (PTI)

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