NEW DELHI, Nov 30 - The Lok Sabha today witnessed clashes and repeated adjournments as it took up the debate on �intolerance� with the Opposition targeting the Government and triggering a storm after a CPI(M) member attributed �Hindu leader� comments to Home Minister Rajnath Singh who denied it.
The comments by Mohd Salim, who cited a report in a news magazine while initiating the debate on �intolerance, led to a deadlock with the ruling side demanding that he either withdraw these comments or apologise.
The logjam, because of which the House was adjourned four times, was resolved in the evening after the Speaker Sumitra Mahajan expunged the remarks related to the allegations.
This paved the way for resumption of the debate during which Opposition parties like CPI(M) and Congress attacked the Government, alleging that intolerance had increased since the NDA Government came.
The BJP hit back by saying that incidents, which were being projected by the Opposition as examples of �intolerance�, had been taking place in the country for decades. Its member Meenakshi Lekhi also cited Home Ministry figures to insist that incidents of communal violence had come since the NDA came to power.
Earlier, the ruling and the Opposition sides locked horns after Salim alleged that Singh was quoted by the magazine as having made the �Hindu leader� remark after Narendra Modi became Prime Minister last year. Citing the magazine, Salim said that Singh had made the remark at an internal meeting of the RSS.
Singh vehemently denied it and said that he was never hurt so much in his Parliamentary career as he was today.
�Mohd Salim levelled a serious allegation against me. He should say when and where I made such a statement or apologise .... A Home Minister who makes such a statement has no moral right to be the Home Minister. I speak after weighing every word... the people know Rajnath Singh can never make such a statement,� Singh said.
When some BJP members questioned whether he was present when such a reported comment was made, the CPI(M) member said, �I don�t have such misfortune to attend the RSS meeting.�
Members in the treasury benches, including the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy, demanded that Salim withdraw his remark till the Speaker takes a view by examining all sides, including authenticity of the report.
At this point, Rudy said that it would be difficult to run the House till he withdraws his comments. The Speaker asked Salim to agree to this but he declined. He, however, told the Speaker that the remarks may not be made part of the record till she verifies it.
Salim insisted that he was not levelling any allegation nor wanted to cast any aspersion on Singh but was only quoting from a reputed weekly. He said that neither the Home Minister nor the Government has ever denied the report. � PTI