Guwahati: Protests rocked different parts of Assam on Monday seeking Congress leader Nolamoni Sen Deka’s ouster from the party for making objectionable comment against union Minister Smriti Irani on Sunday.
Some Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators have filed FIR against Deka, a former Assam minister who while addressing a public meeting on Sunday in Assam’s Nalbari district said many refer to Irani as the “second wife of Prime Minister Narendra Modi”.
Deka’s comment came a day ahead of union Human Resource Development Minister Irani’s scheduled visit to the district for a public rally.
The Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) distanced itself from Deka’s statement, saying it was his personal comment and not the APCC’s official view.
The former Assam minister, however, later withdrew his comment.
But hundreds of BJP workers surrounded Deka’s residence at Rajgarh locality in Guwahati over the comment. Several women organizations and BJP units have also staged massive protests against the Congress leader across the state.
Many organizations also burnt Deka’s effigies.
Seeking a public apology from Deka, the BJP workers are demanding the Congress to expel him and a disciplinary action should be taken against Deka, saying he not only disrespected the union minister but Assam’s entire women community.
“We are going to stage the protest here (outside the residence of Deka) till 3 pm today. If the Congress does not take any action against him, we are going to file a criminal case against the former minister,” said BJP leader Vijay Gupta.
“The Congress must prove that they respect the women of the country and we are not going to tolerate this kind of nuisance against any woman,” he added.
Senior BJP leader Chandra Mohan Patowari demanded the APCC to expel Nilamoni sen Deka for crossing all limits and alleged that Deka has been making such controversial statements ever since becoming a legislator and minister.
“It is an insult of the prime minister. How can anyone dare to disrespect the prime minister of the country? The statement of Deka only proved the Congress’ attitude towards women of the country,” the BJP leader said.
“The APCC had immediately distanced itself from the statement of Deka, but why cannot they take action against such a person who can stoop so low?” he added.
He feels it will ensure there is “absolutely no wastage” of food anywhere any time in the city of 1.17 million population of which around 31 percent are Muslims.
Dwelling on the deplorable plight of Muslim women in the city, Kauser, his wife, said the divorce rates are very high, especially among young women.
She said the problem is acute…thousands of very young illiterate or semi-literate girls are pushed into marriage with much older men, and then divorced very soon… Their families borrow large amounts for marriages…
“These unfortunate girls, at times with tiny children, have no social security, nobody to house, feed or employ them,” said Kauser, who helps her husband in the Roti Bank venture.
In its own way, the Haroon Mukati Islamic Centre is contributing to women’s uplift with an academic centre for 2,000 girls in which they impart regular spiritual and vocational education in 15 different vocations, including yoga, fashion designing and computers.
“This equips the young girls with a capacity to earn a living and in case of any future problems, at least they will not starve or be driven to the road,” Kauser pointed out.
Incidentally, around 100 girl students from middle or upper-middle-class families have become Roti Bank members and contribute daily. It is disbursed among their less fortunate classmates.