'Pakistani agent' remark sparks furore in Bihar

Patna, Feb 19 :  The opposition RJD Tuesday demanded the resignation of two BJP ministers in Bihar for allegedly terming the party as "Pakistani agents", after it opposed students performing 'surya namaskar' in state government schools.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) legislators protested outside the state assembly and shouted slogans holding posters in their hands, demanding the resignations of Health Minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey and Animal Husbandry Minister Giriraj Singh. 

The two senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, speaking in the state assembly Monday, reportedly termed the RJD legislators "Pakistani agents" for their opposition to making 'surya namaskar' compulsory in state-run schools.

"It is shameful that two BJP ministers in Bihar described RJD legislators as Pakistani agents for raising the issue of mandatory 'surya namaskar' during the governor's address to the joint session of the state legislature," RJD legislator Bhai Virendra told reporters. 

"They (the ministers) have proved their communal bias and hate against the dissent. We will protest till they resign," Bhai Virendra aid.

Another RJD legislator, Samrat Choudhary said: "Chief Minister Nitish Kumar should sack the two BJP ministers for terming us as Pakistani agents for opposing mandatory 'surya namaskar' in schools and safeguard the rights given by the constitution." 

"The RJD will not sit silent but will raise the issue of their resignation in ongoing budget session of the assembly," he said.

According to the RJD leaders, two BJP ministers and a dozen of party legislators shouted at a vocal RJD legislator Akhtarul Iman when he alleged Monday that the state government had introduced the convention of 'surya namaskar' in schools under the pressure of the RSS, the ideological fountainhead of the BJP.

The state government issued a circular Feb 9 to all district education officers to ask school principals to ensure attendance of students of Class 4 to Class 7 for 'surya namaskar' at functions to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda Feb 18.

After objections from various Muslim organisations, the state government last Saturday amended the circular, saying it was optional for school students to take part in 'surya namaskar'.

The BJP shares power with ally Janata Dal-United in Bihar.


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