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.
Om Birla : Speaker Lok Sabha said :
“ 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
— Kapil Sibal (@KapilSibal) September 11, 2019
Birla made the comments while attending an Akhil Brahmin Mahasabha in Kota, Rajasthan – his constituency –on Sunday.
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
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.
This celebration of Indian caste system is not only condemnable but also cringe-worthy!
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
— Jignesh Mevani (@jigneshmevani80) September 10, 2019
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.”