US President Joe Biden (R) speaks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L), during a state dinner held in honor of Modi, hosted by US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden at the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 22 June 2023. (Estados Unidos) EFE/EPA/Al Drago / POOL

Ruling party MP faces backlash for anti-Muslim slurs in Indian parliament

New Delhi, Sep 22 (EFE).- A member of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was under fire on Friday for using derogatory language against a Muslim opposition MP during a parliamentary debate on the country’s space technology.

The incident, marking a new low in India’s polarized political atmosphere, has sparked outrage, with many demanding an apology from the accused MP.

In a video clip that has gone viral on social media, Ramesh Bidhuri, a BJP parliamentarian from the national capital territory, can be heard repeatedly using expletives to shut down Danish Ali, a Muslim opposition lawmaker, during the debate on Thursday evening.

Senior BJP parliamentarians Harsh Vardhan and Ravi Shankar Prasad can be seen laughing at the comments with a grin on their faces.

Bidhuri used derogatory terms to insult Ali, repeatedly calling him a “terrorist,” a “pimp,” and using the term “mullah,” which is often used as slang to disparage Muslims in India.

“Oh, ‘bhadway,’” Bidhuri said, using the Hindi word to call Ali a “pimp.” “You terrorist, let me speak. I am warning you. You katwa (circumcised) mullah.”

“He is a terrorist. He is a mullah. Throw this ‘mullah’ out. I will see the mullah outside this house. This mullah is a terrorist.”

The incident occurred during a discussion in the lower house of parliament on “India’s glorious space journey marked by the successful soft landing of Chandrayaan-3.”

Using expletives against Ali, a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) member of parliament from Uttar Pradesh, sparked anger in the opposition camp.

Defense Minister Rajnath Singh has expressed regret over Bidhuri’s remarks.

“I express regret if the opposition is hurt by the remarks made by the member,” the senior BJP lawmaker said, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

The opposition parliamentarians have urged the chair to expunge the remarks and have demanded an apology from the accused ruling party MP.

“How easily expletives roll off the tongue of this hateful MP! Hate against Muslims has been mainstreamed like never before,” former Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah posted on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

The remarks are the latest in a series of anti-minority flaks in India, where hardline Hindu nationalists from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP have long espoused a rigid anti-Muslim stance, using expletives in public and sometimes even encouraging violence against them.

However, it is the first time a BJP leader has used anti-Muslim cuss words on record in India’s parliament.

India has a long history of deadly communal violence that dates back to 1947, when the British partitioned the Indian subcontinent into secular India and Muslim Pakistan.

However, the growing religious polarization under Modi’s government has raised questions about India’s secular credentials with minority Muslims, who form nearly 14 percent of the country’s 1.4 billion population, often targeted for their prayers, their eating, and their clothing habits.

“Abusing Muslims and OBCs (marginalized) is an integral part of the BJP culture; most now see nothing wrong with it. Narendra Modi has reduced Indian Muslims to living in such a state of fear in their own land that they grin and bear everything,” opposition MP Mahua Mitra posted on X. EFE