By ADITYA MENON for Daily Mail
BSP MP Shafiqur Rahman Barq, who invited Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar’s wrath on Wednesday after he walked out of the House as India’s national song Vande Mataram began playing, has refused to apologise for his exit.
“I don’t think there is any need for me to apologise. I have stayed away on earlier occasions as well. I have utmost respect for the national anthem. But this (Vande Mataram) amounts to worshipping the Motherland, and it is incorrect for me to do so as Muslims can worship only Allah,” Barq said.
The Lok Sabha MP further expressed outrage at the incident being used to question his patriotism.
“I would request everyone to not reduce patriotism and love for the country to whether or not one performs a particular act. I am a proud Indian and will always be a proud Indian. One’s feelings towards a song can’t be a yardstick for patriotism,” Barq said.
While his own party has said that the incident has been blown out of proportion, others have termed Barq’s walk-out an insult, with the BJP’s Muslim leaders Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Syed Shahnawaz Hussain leading the onslaught.
“Every session of Parliament, which is the temple of democracy, starts with the national anthem and ends with the rendition of the national song. This has been the practice since Independence. Unfortunately, the national song has been dishonoured,” Naqvi said.
Without naming Barq, he added: “Those who play politics in the name and ideology of Baba Saheb Ambedkar, who headed the committee that drafted the Constitution, have shown disrespect to the national song.”