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Katheria did not speak anything objectionable: Rajnath

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Rejecting Opposition demand for sacking of Union Minister Ram Shankar Katheria and slapping of sedition charge against him for an alleged hate speech in Agra, Home Minister Rajnath Singh today said he did not say anything “objectionable” and media reports on the event appeared to be “distorted and incorrect”.

Observing that the Agra police was seized of the matter and law and order was a state subject, he said it is expected that Uttar Pradesh government will conduct the investigation of the case in a “fair and impartial manner” and take necessary action.

“The government is opposed to all statements/speeches which divide the country on the basis of religion, caste and creed. This government is fully committed to the Constitution and the law of the land,” Singh said in Rajya Sabha while replying a calling attention on this issue.

He said the government had examined the video recording of the February 28 condolence meeting of slain VHP leader Arun Mathur, where Minister of State for Human Resource Development Ram Shankar Katheria had participated.

“We gave the CD to our officers. They informed that there was no objectionable utterances by the Minister. He had not said anything against or used derogatory language against any community.

“No objectionable contents against any particular community have been noticed in the speech. Accordingly, the news reports appear to be distorted and incorrect,” Singh said, adding that since Katheria had not made inflammatory statements, the police did not file an FIR against him.

The Home Minister said Katheria, while offering condolences to the family of Mathur, had insisted on strict action against those responsible for his murder and sought justice and adequate compensation by the state administration.

Asserting that nobody stands to gain by violence, he said such incidents should not be given “political colour”. “We should be working for protecting unity and integrity of the country. … We should all strive to maintain a conducive atmosphere among the different communities.”

Stating that there was no end to allegations and counter- allegations on the issue, Singh said such charges “are futile. These are natural thing. I don’t want to get into what is right and wrong. I don’t want to say it was said for political mileage.”

The Minister said India was the only secular country in the world and urged all members to work together to “make it a beautiful nation”.

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