Rahul's 'not Hindus' dig at BJP draws protests, Modi says calling Hindus violent serious matter

Gandhi, however, retorted that he was speaking about the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The BJP, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) or Modi are not the entire Hindu society, he added.
PM Narendra Modi and Leader of Opposition Rahul Gandhi
PM Narendra Modi and Leader of Opposition Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi | Leader of Opposition Rahul Gandhi took a swipe at the ruling BJP in the Lok Sabha on Monday, saying those who call themselves Hindus are engaged in "violence and hate" round the clock, drawing massive protests from the members of the treasury benches with Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserting that calling the entire Hindu society violent is a serious matter.

Gandhi, however, retorted that he was speaking about the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The BJP, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) or Modi are not the entire Hindu society, he added.

The Congress leader also showed a picture of Lord Shiva and said his message is about fearlessness and non-violence. He also cited the teachings of other religions to make a similar point.

However, his dig at the BJP that it does not represent all Hindus and jab at the ruling party by citing the essence of different religions had the members of the treasury benches on their feet.

Home Minister Amit Shah sought Gandhi's apology to the House and the country for hurting the feelings of crores of people who take pride in identifying themselves as Hindus.

Shah spoke of the Emergency and 1984 anti-Sikhs riots to hit back at Gandhi, saying he has no right to talk about non-violence when the Congress had spread "terror" in the country.

Gandhi further emphasised that all religions talk about courage, citing Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism to underline the importance of fearlessness.

He accused the BJP of launching systematic attacks on the Constitution and the fundamental idea 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. There were 20-plus cases (against me), (my) house was taken away, 55 hours of interrogation by the ED," Gandhi said.

Despite these challenges, he said he feels proud of the collective effort to protect the Constitution.

"It feels nice that BJP people are now repeating 'Jai Samvidhan' after me," he said.

Gandhi also expressed his contentment at being in the opposition.

"I am happy and proud to be in the opposition. For us, there is something more than power, it is the truth," he said.

During his first speech as the leader of opposition, Gandhi showed a picture of Lord Shiva, which prompted Speaker Om Birla to remind him that rules do not allow displaying placards in the House.

Gandhi reiterated that all religions, including Hinduism, Islam and Sikhism, emphasise courage and the importance of being fearless.

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