Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan has kicked up a storm again, this time with remarks about the Indian Army that were today condemned by the Bharatiya Janata Party, which urged the SP to "sack" him.
Addressing party activists in Rampur yesterday, the SP national general secretary referred to "shameful violent happenings" in places such as Kashmir, Tripura, Jharkhand and Bengal.
Khan said excesses by security forces had led to "women in some places chopping off the private parts of Army men".
This is what Khan said, as per a report in Indian Express:
“Hathyar-band auraton ne fauj ko mara aur lashon se jo jism ka hissa kaat kar le kar gayi, woh Hindustan ki ek asal zindagi ka parda uthati hai. Kahin log faujiyon ka, yah behgunahon ka sar kaatate hain, kahin haath kaat ke le jate hain… Lekin is mauke par, mahila dahshatgardon ne fauj ke private parts ko kaat kar saath le gayin… Unhe haath se shikayat nahin thi, sar se nahin thi, pair se shikayat nahin… Jism ke jis hisse se shikayat thi, usey kaat ke le gayin (Armed women killed security personnel, and the body parts that they chopped off lifts the curtain on the real life of India. Some people cut off the heads or hands of soldiers or the innocent… But on this occasion, the women terrorists cut off the private parts of security personnel and took it with them. They had no complaint against their hands, heads or legs, they took the parts against which they had a complaint)."
The BJP hit out at the SP leader, demanding that his party "sack" him for seeking to "divide the country" on religious lines.
"It has become a fashion in the country to demean the Indian Army in the name of freedom of speech and expression," BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said in New Delhi, attacking the SP, Congress and the Left for "making statements against the Army".
While the Army protected the borders, the political parties were bent upon "showing it in a poor light", he said.
Describing Khan's statement as "shameful", Patra said he was "a repeat offender" who politicised sensitive issues related to defence.
"He has yet again demeaned the Indian Army and I hope his party will sack him," the BJP leader said.
Patra referred to the "valour" of the army when it rescued people in the valley during the floods.
"Everyone across the globe respects the Indian Army, and because of it we have a vibrant democracy," Patra added.
"But Mr Khan is trying to create a narrative to divide the country on the basis of religion," Patra said, adding that it hit the morale of soldiers fighting cross-border terrorism.
Azam has often triggered controversy with his remarks on rape. He was quoted as telling a rape victim, "If you keep talking about the crime, how will you show your face to the world?".
On another occasion, he said mobile phones were responsible for the rape of minors.