UP: Oppn joins hands on Periyar's Ramayan

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Lucknow, Nov 5: The Opposition in the Uttar Pradesh assembly today joined hands to protest the Bahujan Samaj Party government's decision against banning 'Sachhi Ramayana', a controversial book by Dalit icon E V Ramaswamy Naicker Periyar.

Principal Opposition Samajwadi Party, BJP and the Congress teamed up against the Mayawati government as soon as the house met for the day today. Moving an adjournment motion to discuss the contents of the book, the opposition raised slogans against the government.

Speaker Sukhdev Rajbhar asked the Opposition to raise the issue during Zero Hour as the matter was not of an immediate importance.

Launching the attack on the government, Leader of the Opposition and former Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav (SP) termed the sale of 'Sachhi Ramayana' (English translation of the original book 'True Ramayana') in Uttar Pradesh ''unfortunate.'' ''It has hurt the sentiments of the people...not one should have a right to hurt the faith of others,'' he said.

He said the BJP should not be the only party to protest the issue. ''We also protest the sale and publication of such a book,'' he added.

Officiating leader of Congress Legislature Party (CLP) Pramod Tiwari said when Ms Mayawati became the Chief Minister in 1995, he had protested the issue and claimed that sentiments of the commonman should be respected at all costs.

State Parliamentary Affairs Minister Lalji Verma (BSP) charged the Opposition with raking up an old issue. ''Since the opposition does not have anything new, it is raising old issues,'' he added.

Soon after that, the SP members rushed to the Well of the house raising anti-government slogans. BJP members joined them in the Well of the house holding banners demanding ban on the book.

The Speaker adjourned the house till 1220 hrs and the Question Hour could not be held.

Leader of the House and Chief Minister was not present during the Opposition's protest.


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