New Delhi: Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani’s reference to goddess Durga and demon Mahishasur were expunged from the Rajya Sabha records on Friday following instructions of Chairman M. Hamid Ansari, an official statement said.
The minister, in her reply to a debate on the recent incidents at the Jawaharlal Nehru University and the suicide of Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad University, referred to commemoration of Mahishasur’s death at the JNU, and read out from a pamphlet which she said was authenticated by the university.
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The opposition members created an uproar, with Congress leader Anand Sharma saying it would set a bad precedence of insult of gods and prophets.
The issue was raised in the upper house again on Friday, as opposition members sought an apology from Irani over her remarks.
Irani did not offer an apology, but said she herself worships goddess Durga and that the reference was made merely to prove a point.
“I myself am a practising Hindu and a Durga worshipper. The documents I read (from) yesterday (Thursday) are official documents from the university… these are not documents of the government,” Irani said on Friday.