A casteist comment by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla at a September 8 meeting in Kota has gone viral, prompting calls for his resignation. “Brahmins have always held a high position in society. This position is a result of their sacrifice and penance. This is the reason that the Brahmin society had always played a guiding role in society,” Birla tweeted, as part of snippets that were tweeted from an event at the Akhil Brahmin Mahasabha in Kota.
In addition to this, during his speech, he said, “...even today if just one Brahmin family lives in a village or a hutment, then that Brahmin family always holds a high position due to its dedication and service…hence, when they are born, they are held in high regard in society.”
समाज में ब्राह्मणों का हमेशा से उच्च स्थान रहा है। यह स्थान उनकी त्याग, तपस्या का परिणाम है। यही वजह है कि ब्राह्मण समाज हमेशा से मार्गदर्शक की भूमिका में रहा है। pic.twitter.com/ZKcMYhhBt8— Om Birla (@ombirlakota) September 8, 2019
Birla has received criticism from all quarters for his comment. Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal said that the mindset behind the comment made by Birla was the one that “caters to a caste ridden unequal India”.
“We respect you Birlaji not because you are a Brahmin but because you are our Speaker in Lok Sabha,” he added.
Om Birla : Speaker Lok Sabha said :— Kapil Sibal (@KapilSibal) September 11, 2019
“ Brahmins are held in high regard by virtue of birth “
It is this mindset that caters to a caste ridden unequal India
We respect you Birlaji not because you are a Brahmin but because you are our Speaker in Lok Sabha
Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani said that it was condemnable and called it “cringe-worthy”.
“It's a joke on us that a casteist like him is our Loksabha speaker. He should publicly apologise for this attitude,” he said.
This celebration of Indian caste system is not only condemnable but also cringe-worthy!— Jignesh Mevani (@jigneshmevani80) September 10, 2019
It's a joke on us that a casteist like him is our Loksabha speaker.
He should publicly apologise for this attitude. https://t.co/Wu2ZPKht3G
Birla’s statement was also condemned by the CPI(M).
“Speaker of Lok Sabha making such statements shows the Manuvadi, Castetist mentality of the organisation he belongs to. CPI(M) condemns the statement made by the Lok Sabha speaker in strongest possible word,” the party said.
Speaker of Lok Sabha making such statements shows the Manuvadi, Castetist mentality of the organisation he belongs to. CPI(M) condemns the statement made by the Lok Sabha speaker in strongest possible word. https://t.co/f65Ch3qA0R— CPI (M) (@cpimspeak) September 11, 2019
AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said that we can’t live in a country where one country is superior to the others.
“Sir with due respect, Constitution promises Justice, Equality & Fraternity to all. As Babasaheb said, unless there’s fraternity & respect towards fellow humans ‘liberty will produce the supremacy of the few over many’. We can’t live in an India where one caste is superior to others,” he said.
Sir with due respect,Constitution promises Justice,Equality & Fraternity to all. As Babasaheb said, unless there’s fraternity & respect towards fellow humans “liberty will produce the supremacy of the few over many”. We can’t live in an India where one caste is superior to others https://t.co/16HfQaSJIz— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) September 11, 2019
The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) also took a note of Birla’s comments. The Rajasthan unit of the PUCL reportedly said: “We strongly condemn this statement. One, it is against Article 14 of the Constitution to establish the domination of any community, to declare any community as superior to other communities. This, in a way, gives sense of inferiority to other communities. Encourages casteism”.
Tamil Nadu MLA Karti Chidambaram termed the remark “despicable”.
Many on Twitter also condemned the Lok Sabha speaker’s remark, calling his comment “unacceptable” and “shameful”.
#LokSabha Speaker has shown complete disregard for the #Constitution of India on which he took oath. #OmBirla should be pulled by both Houses for violating a constitutional post! #Hindutva #Casteism #hindutalibanization https://t.co/3HNvl4DoYF— WohBoli=Termite (@ShoshitBoli) September 12, 2019
The Speaker Of Indian Parliament, justifies caste privilege. Wah Wah https://t.co/5x4Lxr9JOt— SANJAY HEGDE (@sanjayuvacha) September 10, 2019
Wah ji wah!!.— amaresh (@amar1841998) September 10, 2019
It is a matter of shame that speaker of loksabha has such an opinion on cast. It is truly mind-boggling.
What kind of mindset is this??
We need to condemn this and he needs to take his words back.@TheDeshBhakt @abhisar_sharma #OmBirla https://t.co/SejqgBB4yZ