Congress alleged that since the Narendra Modi government took over two months back, 600 riots had taken place in various parts of the country, particularly in the states like Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, where elections are due.
Initiating the discussion in Lok Sabha on 'Need for more effective mechanisms to deal with communal violence', Leader of Congress Mallikarjun Kharge suggested that BJP and its affiliates were trying to "divide the society" to retain power and warned that if it was not controlled, "we will repent".
Amid strong protests by ruling benches, he said BJP should not "incite" riots and added "Only because you got government does not mean that you will suppress others."
Naming VHP and Bajrang Dal and referring to certain comments made by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, Kharge said the "communal forces" had got emboldened after BJP came to power as they feel that they have "political power" now and would be protected.
He said while BJP was accusing Congress of indulging in "vote bank politics", the truth was the other way round.
"We talk about uniting the society, you talk about dividing the society. You divide the society on the basis of religion and implant your principles on suppressed sections like minorities so that they remain away from power," the Congress leader told BJP.
Mohammad Salim (CPI-M) said there has been spurt in communal violence in the last two months and said that instead of provocating communal violence, lawmakers should try to restrain them.
In an apparent reference to BJP, he said people think they are "thekedar (contractor)" of a particular religion, but such feelings should not exist as it leads to intolerance.
Even as BJP questioned his figure of 600 riots since Narendra Modi government came to power, Kharge accused the Modi government of ignoring the communal violence even while acknowledging that law and order is the responsibility of a state government.
He then quoted government figures and said 113 incidents had taken place in May and June in which 15 people were killed and 318 injured. He also cited some incidents with dates, including in Bhuj area of Gujarat.
"Why are these incidents happening now What is the reason Who is behind these These have increased in the last 2-3 months since the new government came. This is not a good sign," the Congress leader said while alleging that BJP did not want harmony in the society.
NCP leader Tariq Anwar warned against playing with religious sentiments and said no step should be taken which will benefit the enemies of the country.
Hitting back at Congress, BJP leader Yogi Adityanath said, "You claim you are secular but the agenda you implement is communal."
He said there have been thousands of riots during UPA rule and even before that 3.5 lakh Kashmiri Pandits were driven out of Kashmir but Congress remained "silent".
The BJP leader also referred to communal violence in Assam few years back and anti-Sikh riots of 1984 in Delhi to target Congress.
He suggested setting up a Special Investigative Team (SIT) headed by Supreme Court judge to probe all communal incidents to unravel who was behind these.
To this suggestion, some Congress members said they were ready for the SIT.
The House took up a debate on the communal violence nearly a week after Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi led his party members into the Well to demand urgent debate on the issue. Rahul was present in the House during the debate but did not speak.