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‘Our religion doesn’t allow us to say Vande Mataram’: INDIA alliance partner SP MLA Abu Azmi in Maharashtra assembly

“Islam teaches us to bow down before the one who created this whole world. According to my religion, if I cannot recite Vande Mataram, then it does not reduce my respect for my country and my patriotism, and no one should have any objection to this.”

On Wednesday, 19 July, Samajwadi Party Maharashtra President and MLA Abu Azmi made a controversial remark which led to a massive protest in the Maharashtra Assembly. This forced the Speaker Rahul Narwekar to adjourn the house. 

Speaking in the Maharashtra Vidhan Sabha, the SP leader was raising the issue of riots in the Sambhajinagar district. During the proceedings, he expressed displeasure and claimed that chanting the slogan “Vande Mataram” is unacceptable to him. 

He claimed that his religion doesn’t allow anyone to chant ‘Vande Mataram’ and said, “Islam teaches us to bow down before the one who created this whole world. According to my religion, if I cannot recite Vande Mataram, then it does not reduce my respect for my country and my patriotism, and no one should have any objection to this.”

He added that we can’t bow down our heads on Vande Mataram because we believe in one Allah and we don’t bow our heads even to our mother. 

SP MLA Azmi further remarked, “Some people say that if one has to live in India, ‘Vande Mataram’ must be chanted. We can not do it. We believe only in one god.”

His contagious remarks on Vande Mataram were met with steep opposition and BJP MLAs strongly objected to this and staged a protest. Meanwhile, Speaker Rahul Narwekar appealed to the legislators to calm down and claimed that Azmi’s remarks are irrelevant to the topic. 

He said, “Azmi’s comments are irrelevant to the topic. He should focus on the issue listed for the discussion.” However, when the protest continued, the Speaker adjourned the house for ten minutes.

Later, the President of SP’s Maharashtra unit Azmi tried to issue a clarification on the matter. While speaking to reporters outside the assembly, he said, “I respect Vande Mantram but I can’t read it because my religion says we can’t bow down to anyone except Allah”.

Responding to the controversy, Maharashtra Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis claimed that no religion would suggest anyone not respect their mother. He also claimed that Vande Mataram is not a religious song and millions have faith in it.

He said, “My request to Abu Azmi is that in this country, millions of people have faith in Vande Mataram. The statement made by him is not appropriate. No religion would suggest not respecting one’s mother. This is not a religious song. Vande Mataram is our national song.”

Reacting sharply to Abu Azmi’s remarks on Vande Mataram, BJP spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla launched a scathing attack against the Samajwadi leader and the newly formed alliance ‘INDIA’. Abu Azmi

Speaking to ANI, Poonawalla said, “Samajwadi party is a part of I.N.D.I.A…& its MLA says in the Maharashtra assembly that I will not say Vande Mataram it is against my religion. They go and bow their heads in front of Aurangzeb but shy away from saying Vande Mataram, those who keep India in their name, why their work is always anti-India?” 

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