New Delhi: Nearly 25 activists of the Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) on Sunday protested outside the Delhi residence of Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh asking him to apologise for his recent remark allegedly comparing temples to toilets at a public meeting on Saturday.
Remarking on the lack of sufficient number of public toilets in India, Ramesh said that toilets were far more important than the temples in our country, also commenting on poor hygiene levels in the latter. While the BJP lashed out at Ramesh, the Congress distanced itself from the comments.
Congress, which went into an overdrive defending Robert Vadra over corruption allegations levelled against him by anti-corruption crusader Arvind Kejriwal, stated that it was best to leave it up to the minister to explain himself. "This yatra is meant for making toilets which I feel are purer than temples. The saddest thing in our country is that temples are the dirtiest of places. When we go there we have to cover our noses," Ramesh had said.
"Making of toilets and having faith in a religious place of worship are two different things. India is a multicultural country where we should have unblemished faith in a temple, a mosque, a gurudwara or a church. You cannot juxtapose the two," BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said. He alleged Ramesh has made a political statement here and advised him to instead concentrate "salvaging the battered image of the UPA government".
BJP maintained that one should not get into the debate of what - a temple or a toilet - is more important. "While (public) toilets, which have to be built by the administration, are necessary, religion is important as people have faith in it. It would be good for Mr Ramesh that out of his exuberance he stops making such comments which will destroy the fine fabric of religion and faith," Rudy said.
(With additional information from PTI)