Jaipur/New Delhi: Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla’s comments that Brahmins always held a high place in society kicked-up a political row Wednesday with opposition parties dubbing it as ‘casteist remarks’.
Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal criticised Om Birla and said that ‘this mindset that caters to a caste ridden unequal India’. Independent MLA from Gujarat Jignesh Mevani condemned the comments and demanded an apology from the Lok Sabha Speaker.
“Brahmins have always had a high position in society. This position is the result of their sacrifice and dedication. This is the reason that Brahmin society has always been in the role of a torchbearer,” Birla tweeted in Hindi.
Apart from sharp reactions from political parties, the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) also condemned the Speaker’s remarks, posted on Twitter after attending a Brahmin Mahasabha event in Kota. The PUCL said they will complain to President Ram Nath Kovind.
The PUCL said the Speaker’s comment went against Article 14 of the Constitution, on equality before law, and demanded that he should withdraw it.
“How can a person holding this constitutional post make such remarks publicly? PUCL strongly condemns this and demands from the Speaker to withdraw the remark,” a statement from the organisation said.
Sibal also tweeted, “Om Birla: Speaker Lok Sabha said: ‘Brahmins are held in high regard by virtue of birth’. It is this mindset that caters to a caste ridden unequal India. We respect you Birla ji not because you are a Brahmin but because you are our Speaker in Lok Sabha.”
Congress MP Karti Chidamberam said it does not suit the Lok Sabha Speaker to make such ‘casteist remarks’. “This is the true face of @BJP4India Hindutva. A hierarchy of caste,” Karti Chidambaram said in a tweet.
All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Assaduddin Owaisi also reacted strongly to Om Birla’s comments. “Sir with due respect, Constitution promises justice, equality and fraternity to all. As Babasaheb (Ambedkar) said, unless there’s fraternity and respect towards fellow humans ‘liberty will produce the supremacy of the few over many’. We can’t live in an India where one caste is superior to others,” Owaisi said in a tweet.