New Delhi: The issues of conversion and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's statement that Gita should be declared as a national scripture today created uproar in Lok Sabha, forcing adjournment for an hour.
The House was adjourned for lunch by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan during Zero Hour, after Congress member Mohd Bashir attacked Swaraj saying her statement "tantamounts to undermining the secular foundations of our democracy," leading to vociferous protests from the treasury benches which was countered by opposition members.
Swaraj had last week said Gita should be declared a "national scripture", saying this respect has already been accorded to Gita when Prime Minister Modi gifted it to US President Barack Obama during his US visit in September.
Another Congress member Anto Antony spoke of the recent conversions in Agra and said minorities in the country were "under threat" from organisations closed to the ruling party at the Centre.
This too led to protests by BJP members with the Speaker asking him to raise the issue when a full-fledged discussion was taken up in the House.
Bhratruhari Mahtab (BJD) demanded bestowing of 'Bharat Ratna' on Rani Gaidenlou Zeliang, the noted freedom fighter from Manipur, who was given the title of Rani (queen) by Jawaharlal Nehru for leading the struggle against British rule. She had spent over a decade in prison from where she was freed only after Independence.
Neiphiu Rio (Naga People's Front) asked the government to expedite the peace talks with the NSCN(I-M) to find an "honourable and permanent solution" to the seven-decade-old Naga problem, which he termed as "the mother of all insurgencies" in the northeast.
Observing that the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government had started the peace process, Rio, former Nagaland Chief Minister, said, "Even after 17 years of ceasefire and talks, a solution to the problem remains elusive.