Incensed over reports that Shiv Sena MPs allegedly forced a fasting Muslim worker to eat in the Maharashtra Sadan here, several opposition parties on Wednesday wrote to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan demanding an inquiry into the incident. "We would request you to uphold the dignity of the House by ordering an inquiry and also direct the government for an immediate inquiry and appropriate action so that such wanton behaviour is no longer repeated," they said in a letter to the Speaker.
When asked, Congress Chief Whip K C Venugopal said the letter has been sent to the Speaker. Sources said besides the leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, NCP leader Tariq Anwar, Jaiprakash Narayan Yadav (RJD), P Karunakaran (CPI-M), N K Premachandran (RSP), E T Muhammad Basheer (IUML) and Jose K Mani (Kerala Congress-M) are signatories to the letter. In their letter, the MPs said "the incident turns much controversial and inhuman as the victim of this barbaric act is a Muslim who is fasting during Ramzan".
The opposition MPs said they attempted to raise the issue in the House as "it brings indignity" to the position of parliamentarians and the House itself". "The government was sadly defending the act by being silent and ignoring our requests for discussing this issue. We are of the opinion that the reply given by the Speaker is insufficient considering the severity of the issue and sentiments of the minority community being already hurt across the nation," the letter said.
Earlier in the day, the government dismissed the allegations as "unsubstantiated" and said they need to be verified first lest they raise communal passions. The issue was raised in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha by opposition members who demanded action against the Shiv Sena MPs who vociferously denied the reports. Senior BJP leader L K Advani disapproved of the alleged action of Shiv Sena MPs. "This is wrong," he told reporters when asked to comment on the incident which allegedly took place last week.