New Delhi: Union Minister Beni Prasad Verma found himself in the midst of a fresh controversy over his remarks that Mulayam Singh Yadav allegedly has "terrorist links", with Samajwadi Party members disrupting the Lok Sabha on Monday demanding his removal from the Cabinet.
The Lok Sabha was adjourned for nearly two hours following the uproar with SP members storming the Well demanding an apology by the Minister and his removal from the Cabinet.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Shailendra Kumar (SP) demanded that Verma should immediately tender an apology for his alleged remark that all Muslims were terrorists.
Verma immediately clarified that he had not made any such statement and so there was no question of an apology. "Where is the proof that I have said such thing? I did not link terrorism to any religion."
But SP members remained adamant as Mulayam Singh Yadav himself rose to speak attacking Verma.
He said Verma's comments followed a Muslim convention he had addressed in Lucknow where several Muslim religious leaders spoke about the contributions of the community in the service of the nation.
The leaders, Yadav said, also spoke on the problems faced by the community. The SP chief said he would continue to fight for the cause of minorities, as the Sachhar Commission itself has pointed out their socio-economic backwardness.
"How can we forget (1965 war hero) Abdul Hamid and our former President Abdul Kalam? How can we forget their contributions in national development as also in securing our borders? How can he (Verma) say that Muslims are terrorists? He should apologise," said an angry Yadav.
Verma said, "For me, terrorism has no religion, no colour. The demolition of Babri Masjid and the post-Godhra riots are also terrorist incidents. "But he (Mulayam) joined hands with those who demolished Babri Masjid, like Kalyan Singh. His party also helped BJP to win in Gujarat," the minister said.
Amid din, Speaker Meira Kumar directed other members to raise their issues but later adjourned the House till 2pm. Verma, a friend-turned-foe of Yadav, has often found himself at the centre of controversies over his remarks.
Withdraw support from government, BJP tells SP
Meanwhile, the BJP slammed Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma for his comments against Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and said that the SP should withdraw its support to the Congress-led UPA government.
"The language that he (Verma) used is regrettable and condemnable. If the SP has any self-respect left, it should withdraw support to the Congress-led government," BJP's spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
During a rally in his constituency Gonda in Uttar Pradesh, Verma alleged that Mulayam Singh had links with terrorists.
"He is a goon and a robber. How will he protect his state? He has links with terrorists," Verma had said.
"The language he used in parliament today was equally bad. There should be some discipline," Prasad said.