New Delhi: A man slapped Union Agriculture Minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar at the NDMC Centre in New Delhi on Thursday. The man identified as Harvinder Singh slapped Pawar while shouting slogans against price rise and corruption cases. He has been arrested by the police and taken to Parliament Street Police Station.
Singh was pushed aside as soon as he slapped Pawar, but he kept shouting slogans against price rise and corruption. After slapping Pawar, Singh also brandished a small knife and threatened to kill politicians accused of being involved in corruption cases. He also said that he was not worried about the consequences.
On being asked why he slapped the minister, he said that he was tired of scams in the country. Speaking agitatedly, he also said he did not not do it for publicity and added, "I would have killed him if I had my kripan today."
"The prices for all essential commodities have risen. Annaji requested for Lokpal but it did not work out. I'm not a terrorist as a terrorist would never take such a step. I'm fed up of all the corrupt ministers involved in various scams," he said.
Pawar said such incidents should be ignored.
"He has done it in media presence, it was a scuffle. It's a serious matter, but not sure whether he was a journalist or one amongst many who were there. We don't have to give much of an importance to this incident," said Pawar.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee condemned the attack.
"We condemn the attack on Sharad Pawar. The incident is most unfortunate, don't know where the country is going," said Mukherjee.
Several MPs also criticised the attack on Pawar even though they said that price rise was a burning issue facing the common man.
"We have just been told that Sharad Pawar has been assaulted over price rise and the government says that prices have come down," BJP MP SS Ahluwalia said in the Rajya Sabha.
"Such kind of violent actions will not be tolerated," another BJP MP Smriti Irani said.
"Whatever has happened is wrong. Everybody is concerned about price rise. I am not in favour of violence," said Samajwadi Party MP Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Singh claimed to be the same person who attacked former telecom minister Sukhram at Rohini court on Saturday. The 86-year-old Sukhram was in the court as he had been convicted and sentenced to five years in jail by Special CBI judge RP Pandey for taking Rs 3 lakh as bribe to award a lucrative contract to a telecom firm in 1996.
Pawar's attacker is a resident of Rohini in Delhi and is a tempo driver. He is reported to be on medicines for the past eight years for depression and signs of anxiousness.
In another major security breach an unidentified man tried to enter Parliament from the main gate on Thursday. He got into a scuffle with the security personnel when he was stopped from entering as he didn't have proper pass.
He slapped the security guard on being asked for his identity. The man has been taken into custody by the police personnel present at the gate.