LS Speaker Birla’s Brahmin comment draws flak

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Speaker Om Birla. Photo: PTI.

Reacting to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla’s remark that Brahmins were held in high regard by virtue of birth, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said the statement “stinks of casteism”. In a tweet calling out Birla, Sibal said that people respect him because he is the Speaker in Lok Sabha and not because he is a Brahmin.

Birla made the comments while attending an Akhil Brahmin Mahasabha in Kota, Rajasthan – his constituency –on Sunday.

Om Birla tweeted, “Brahmins have always held a high position in society. This position is the result of their sacrifice, penance. This is the reason why Brahmin society has always played a guiding role in society.”

Reacting to Birla’s statement, Dalit activist and Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mewani demanded an apology from the Speaker. People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), civil rights body, said, they will be taking up the matter with President Ram Nath Kovind. They also added that the comments violated Article 14 of the constitution.

According to Article 14, “The state not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India. Protection prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth.”