Assembly suspends Waris Pathan for refusing to chant 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai'

AIMIM legislator to be suspended for remaining budget session

The Maharashtra Legislative Assembly on Wednesday suspended All India Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) legislator, Waris Pathan, for telling the House that he will not chant ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’.

AIMIM legislator Waris Pathan
AIMIM legislator Waris Pathan

Pathan, who represents Byculla, will be under suspension for the remaining period of the budget session. He was charged for behaving in a manner that disrespected the country by misusing freedom of speech and breaching parliamentary traditions and procedures.

The House, supported by all parties except AIMIM, supported the suspension motion tabled by minister of state for Parliamentary affairs Dr Ranjit Patil. The suspension was first demanded by Congress leader and opposition leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil.

Pathan’s statement, that he made while his party colleague Imtiaz Jalil debated the governor’s speech, created an unprecedented, unruly scene in the house, which was stalled many times. The members of the BJP, Shiv Sena, Congress, NCP and independents stormed into the well of the House and raised slogans slamming Pathan. The AIMIM members were asked to leave the country if they did not respect the motherland, said several protestors.

Slogans such as “Desh ke gaddaron ko jute maro salon ko’ (Hit those betraying the country, with shoes), ‘Iss desh me rehna hoga to Vande Mataram kehna hoga’ (If you want to stay in this country, you will have to say Vande Mataram) too were raised in the house. When Jamil was making a speech, Waris responded to a remark made from treasury benches, saying that he will not chant “Bharat Mata Ki Jai.” Following his response, all hell broke lose in the house. The members said that his refusal to chant ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ amounted to an act of sedition.

Vikhe Patil said that Pathan should be suspended, because he had insulted the country and the martyrs who fought for independence. NCP’s Bhaskar Jadhav said that the seditious remarks were uncalled for. BJP’s Ashish Shelar said that the AIMIM member had misused freedom of speech. “So far these people shouted anti-national slogans out side the House, but now they have entered it. Suspending them will be a true service to the nation,” he said.

Congress’ Abdul Sattar rued that irresponsible and anti-national activities were tarnishing the image of the Muslim community. “We respect our country. We cannot allow our Bharat Mata to be defamed and demeaned in any way. In fact, the state and country must have a law to curb such anti-national behaviour,” he said, amid loud applause from the house.

Sena’s Gulabrao Patil equated the AIMIM legislators and leaders with dogs when he said, “Iss desh me rehna hoga kutton, to Vande Mataram kehna hoga. (If you dogs want to stay in this country, you will have to say Vande Mataram) ”

“You don’t deserve to stay in this country. You don’t feel ashamed. This is Owaisi’s litter… if you are brave enough, dare say this to us outside the house (legislature). They are just two (AIMIM members), but we must ensure that their numbers don’t grow,” said Patil, describing the day as a black day in the history of state legislature.

Revenue minister Eknath Khadse said that there should be nothing wrong in calling the country our mother, because she gives us shelter, food and a piece of land for our last journey (burial) to the people of all caste and creed.

“The poison which we find in places like JNU has reached the legislature as well. They insult our Constitution time and again,” said Khadse.

The House rejoiced when parliamentary affairs minister Girish Bapat announced that a motion to suspend the ‘accused’ member will be tabled as per the collective wish of the Assembly.

I am a patriot: Pathan
Pathan alleged that his suspension was an injustice to him and his party. “All parties have come together to suspend me. I and my colleague (Jalil) had gone to the Speaker to explain our position, but to no avail,” he said.

He said he would say Jai Hind, Jai Bharat, but not Bharat Mata ki Jai because saying so was not mandatory as per our Constitution. “Why are they forcing us to chant this particular slogan? This is the handiwork of the RSS and we have been witnessing growing controversies over this matter countrywide,” said Pathan.

Jalil said that his party was not against the slogan but opposed compulsion as prompted by RSS. He alleged that the AIMIM members were not allowed to speak in the house. “But nobody can maim us. Even the Congress and NCP wore the mask of secularism in the house…,” he said. Later Jalil met the CM to demand withdrawal of Pathan’s suspension.

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