Ranchi (Jharkhand) [India], September 4 (ANI): Amid controversy over the separate room for namaz in the state Assembly, Jharkhand assembly speaker Ravindra Nath Mahato said that there is nothing new about it and there is a practice of adjourning the house half an hour before the usual time so that Muslim legislators can offer Friday prayers.
Speaking to reporters here, Mahato said," We respect everyone. This is a matter of faith. Why should we put a hindrance in it? And this is not a new thing. There's a practice in Assembly that the house is adjourned half an hour before to offer Friday prayers."
Responding to a question on the BJP's accusations that the speaker is acting on political instructions, he replied, "What can I do if someone speaks like this. Everyone has the right and freedom to express their views. There's no constitutional provision that one has to ask me before saying anything. It's their view."
Mahato's remarks came a day after a separate room in the new Assembly building of Jharkhand to offer Namaz sparked controversy with the BJP demanding five rooms or a hall for Hindus to recite Hanuman Chalisa.
In an order issued on September 2, it is stated that room number TW 348, in the new Assembly building of Jharkhand, has been allotted to offer the Namaz, according to Jharkhand Legislative Assembly Secretariat.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Babu Lal Marandi had opposed the decision and urged the Secretary of Jharkhand Legislative Assembly that five rooms or a hall be allotted to Hindus to recite Hanuman Chalisa.
Temple of democracy should stay as the temple of democracy only. The allotment of a separate room at (Jharkhand Vidhan Sabha) for Namaz is wrong. We're against this decision," the BJP leader had said.
"If Muslims can offer Namaz in a separate room, why can't Hindus be allowed to recite Hanuman Chalisa (in a separate room). I urge the Secretary of Jharkhand Legislative Assembly that five rooms or a hall be allotted to Hindus to recite Hanuman Chalisa," he added.
Former speaker and BJP leader CP Singh also made similar demands and said that a temple should also be built at the Assembly premises.
"I'm not against Namaz room but then they should also build a temple at Jharkhand Vidhan Sabha premises. I even demand that Hanuman Temple should be set up there. If Speaker approves we can build the temple at our own cost," he had said. (ANI)