Azmi -- who is the state President of SP -- declared that though he had highest regard for ‘Vande Mataram’, chanting it was not acceptable to him.
MUMBAI — The Maharashtra Legislative Assembly witnessed tumultuous scenes after the Opposition Samajwadi Party legislator Abu Asim Azmi reiterated that he would not chant ‘Vande Mataram’ as it was against Islamic tenets, here on Wednesday.
Azmi’s comments came after he spoke about the violence in Aurangabad during the Ram Navami celebrations on March 30, which coincided with the holy month of Ramzan.
In the course of his brief speech, Azmi — who is the state President of SP — declared that though he had highest regard for ‘Vande Mataram’, chanting it was not acceptable to him, sparking protests from the treasury benches.
“Islam allows us to bow our heads only before the Almighty who created the whole world, not even the mother… According to my religion, if I don’t recite ‘Vande Mataram’ it does not lessen my respect for the country or my patriotism and nobody should object to this,” said Azmi.
He added that “our forefathers sacrificed their lives for this country” and they are ones who considered India as their country and not Pakistan.
“We are as much a part of this country as you… The Sakal Hindu Samaj gatherings have resulted in violence in many parts of Maharashtra, but no action was taken against those making hate-speeches in those meetings,” Azmi pointed out.
Attacking the government, Azmi said that during the Aurangabad riots, one person was killed in a police bullet but he will not get justice.
“Taking one-sided action only against Muslims and not even ordering an enquiry for those innocents who have been killed… this is the arrogance of the state government, but it will not last forever,” he thundered.
He urged for a mechanism to ensure that there are no hate speeches and if there are hate speeches, then action must be taken against those found guilty, even as Speaker Rahul Narwekar urged the protesting members to calm down.
Later, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that no religion says that you cannot bow your head before your mother, including Islam.
He said that ‘Vande Mataram’ national song is accepted by the masses and like the National Anthem, it is also accepted by the Constitution.
“We sing the National Anthem and the National Song in this hall… ‘Vande Mataram’ is not a religious song but a national pride,” said Fadnavis.