//Calling me Muslim League member is serious insult: Siddiqui

Calling me Muslim League member is serious insult: Siddiqui

New Delhi: Journalist-turned-MP Shahid Siddiqui, who created emotional scenes in the Rajya Sabha Friday after being called a member of the Muslim League, said such remarks were an insult to all Indian Muslims.

Siddiqui, a senior leader of the Samajwadi Party that rules Uttar Pradesh, said he was "hurt, provoked and angry" at being termed a member of the Muslim League, the party led by Mohammed Ali Jinnah that is held responsible for the break-up of the subcontinent.

Sharad Joshi, a member of a one-MP party called Swatantra Bharat Paksh from Maharashtra, made the remark against Siddiqui during a heated debate in the Rajya Sabha on a controversial survey on Muslims in the armed forces.

Joshi had said: "You are a Muslim League (member). You created Pakistan."

Reacting to these comments, Siddiqui told IANS: "This was an insult not only to me but to the entire Muslim community in the country, who fought for India’s freedom.

"How could (Joshi) say so? My father was an active member of the national movement."

Inside the house, an emotional Siddiqui rushed to the well, gesticulating as if he would tear off his shirt and shouting that Joshi had insulted him. Senior MPs Farooq Abdullah and S.S. Ahluwalia led him back to his seat.

Despite repeated demands from MPs of the Congress and Left parties, Joshi refused to apologise.

Siddiqui explained: "Joshi was not at all sorry about it. He said I called them members of the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh). They are the people who are proud to be called RSS members.

"But I am not proud to be known as a Muslim League member. This is an insult to me."

Siddiqui said he would not insist on an apology and Joshi would be free to take a decision that would "reflect" on his personality.