'Nafrat ke bazaar mein...': Rahul Gandhi hugs Danish Ali, MP humiliated with communal abuses in Parliament
New Delhi/IBNS: Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and KC Venugopal met Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MP Kunwar Danish Ali, who was humiliated with Islamophobic slurs by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker Ramesh Bidhuri during a Rajya Sabha discussion on the 'success of Chandrayaan-3', at his home in Delhi on Friday night.
Gandhi posted a photograph of him hugging Ali on X (formerly Twitter) and wrote: "Nafrat ke bazaar mein, mohabbat ki dukkan (In this marketplace of hatred, there is a shop of love)."
The comment was a reference to a slogan used during the Bharat Jodo Yatra, when he said wanted to open a "mohabbat ki dukkan", or "shop of love", in the "market of hatred" spawned by the BJP
नफ़रत के बाज़ार में मोहब्बत की दुकान pic.twitter.com/3IqLMFU0dx— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) September 22, 2023
Bidhuri, who sparked a row with his communal comments in Parliament, received a warning on Friday of "severe action" from Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla.
His comments have been expunged from the records.
Confronting a backlash, the BJP sent a show-cause notice to its MP asking him to explain his unparliamentary language within 15 days.
The Speaker took serious note of the offensive words used by Ramesh Bidhuri for Muslim MP Danish Ali (BSP) during a discussion on the "success of Chandrayaan".
Om Birla even warned him of "strict action" if he repeated such behaviour.
In a video from Lok Sabha, Bidhuri was heard repeatedly hurling abuses and Islamophobic slurs at Danish Ali while making a point.
"The fact that it happened in a new Parliament building under your leadership is heartbreaking for me as a minority member of this great nation and as an elected MP," Danish Ali wrote to the Speaker, urging him to refer the incident to the privileges committee.
Speaking to NDTV on Friday, Ali said he "couldn't sleep all night" and felt his brain would explode.
As opposition leaders slammed the BJP MP and demanded action against him, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh expressed regret in the House shortly thereafter. "I express regret if the opposition is hurt by the remarks made by the member," he said.
But the apology didn't silence the opposition, which said Bidhuri should be suspended or arrested.
"It's an absolute shame. Rajnath Singh's apology is not acceptable and half-hearted. This is an insult to parliament, this is a clear case of suspension and Bidhuri's statement is an insult to every Indian," Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said, demanding "strictest possible action" against the BJP leader.
The Congress pointed out that in the previous session, their Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury was suspended for allegedly "insulting ministers", yet no action was being taken for a BJP MP saying far worse.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) questioned in a post sharing the video: "BJP Delhi MP is calling another Muslim MP with these words in front of the Speaker in the Parliament. Is this the culture of BJP?" The party called it the darkest day in the history of parliament.