New Delhi: Amid strong protests from the party’s Punjab unit, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Rajasthan expelled leader Sandeep Dayma Sunday, over his controversial remarks against masjids and gurdwaras last week.
BJP national secretary Manjinder Singh Sirsa posted on social media platform X (formerly Twitter), “Taking action, Sandeep Dayma has been expelled from BJP for his hateful remarks. No place for hate in BJP” even as he shared the letter issued to the leader by the head of the party’s state disciplinary committee, Onkar Singh Lakhawat.
Senior Punjab BJP leaders had been registering their protest since Saturday, seeking Dayma’s expulsion.
In a post on X Saturday, former Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh said, “I urge the BJP high command to immediately expel Sandeep Dayma from the party for his hate remarks against mosques & gurdwaras.”
Calling for a legal action against Dayma, he added, “His apology serves no purpose as his remarks have already caused immense hurt to well meaning people. Not only should he be expelled, but there must be legal action also, as nobody should be allowed to get away with a mere apology after provocative hate speeches.”
In a speech in Rajasthan’s Tijara Wednesday during an election campaign, Dayma said, “If the Congress candidate wins from this constituency, the number of masjids and gurdwaras will rise and that will be problematic for people living here.” He added that these would be uprooted once BJP came to power.
Later, following directions from the BJP high command, Dayma issued a video apology which the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) — the organisation responsible for the maintenance of historic Sikh places of worship in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh — shared on its X account. In it, Dayma explained that he meant to say masjid-madrasa, but said masjid-gurdwara by mistake.
The apology didn’t go down well with the SGPC which said, “Leaders like Sandeep Dayma should be ashamed of issuing (such) a clarification as speaking against the religious place of Muslims is equally condemnable as doing so against gurdwaras.”
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Punjab BJP reacts
Several senior BJP leaders from Punjab openly criticised Dayma for his remarks.
State BJP vice-president Arvind Khanna, urged the party high command to take strong action against Dayma “whose hate remarks against mosques & gurdwaras have hurt religious sentiments widely and deeply”.
Punjab BJP chief Sunil Jakhar issued a statement on X Sunday, saying the “outburst of Rajasthan leader against religious sentiments of fellow citizens cannot be condoned. I have apprised Central leadership of hurt caused to people by his reprehensible statement.” He added that the state BJP unit has recommended exploring all options to “ensure no repetition of such misconduct takes place as no apology would assuage hurt and anger caused by this insensitive remark.”
Amarinder Singh’s son and party colleague Raninder Singh also criticised Dayma’s remarks and his apology.
“I highly condemn the hate speech given by Rajasthan BJP leader Sandeep Dayma against gurdwaras & mosques,” Raninder wrote on X Saturday, adding, “Such people deliberately try to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere of the country & they must not be allowed to go scot-free as such hate has no place in a civilized society.”
(Edited by Smriti Sinha)
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