Waris Pathan of the All India Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) on 16 March has been suspended from the Maharashtra Assembly for refusing to say ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’. MLAs of all parties unanimously passed a resolution seeking action against Pathan.
Pathan, who represents Byculla Assembly constituency in South Mumbai, cannot take part in the House proceedings till the end of Budget session.
Immediately, the members said that the AIMIM member has misused freedom of speech, violated Parliamentary traditions and insulted Bharat Mata (Mother India).
It may be recalled that AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi had stirred up a huge controversy by publicly announcing that he will not utter Bharat Mata Ki Jai even if “a knife is put to my throat” in a challenge to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.
It was the Congress which first proposed Pathan’s suspension from the House saying it was not up to the administration to define what is acceptable as patriotism.
The resolution moved by all members of the Maharashtra Assembly was tabled and passed. This incident came three days after Owaisi made the public speech.
It all started when another AIMIM MLA urged the government not to use public funds for construction of statues of personalities. The BJP MLAs wanted to know whether they respected such great personalities and would they say ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’. Hearing this, Pathan stood up and said he had no objection to saying ‘Jai Hind’, but will not say ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’.
Earlier Pathan demanded an apology from noted film personality-turned-MP Javed Akhtar for what he said in Rajya Sabha. In Rajya Sabha, Akhtar slammed Owaisi and right-wing groups, in a veiled manner.
“There is one leader, who is not a national leader, not even a state leader but a mohalla leader of Hyderabad. He says he will not say ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ because the Constitution doesn’t ask him to do so. The Constitution does not ask him to wear a sherwani (dress) and topi (cap),” he said.