New Delhi, July 16: Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Monday alleged that BJP Yuva Morcha “vandals” attacked his constituency office in Thiruvananthapuram and even threatened to kill him. Tharoor said the activists of BJP’s youth wing smeared black oil on signs, doors, and walls of his workplace and tied a banner saying “Hindu Pakistan” office. The incident comes days after the Congress leader said India would turn into Hindu Pakistan if BJP returned to power in 2019.
The Congress MP also alleged that the activists drove away the locals who were waiting with their petitions outside his office, calling it an assault on democracy and on freedom of expression. “We have taken it to the Kerala police,” he said.
Tharoor however, was not present in the office when the incident took place. “The BJP Yuva Morcha vandals poured black engine oil on signs, doors, walls, and gate, drove away innocent citizens waiting with their petitions, put up offensive banners and shouted slogans asking me to go to Pakistan,” the Congress leader tweeted.
In another tweet, Tharoor said BJP’s answer to the question about giving up the dream of a Hindu Rashtra was vandalism and violence. “The BJP’s answer to the simple question “have you given up the dream of a Hindu Rashtra?” is apparently vandalism and violence. That is the face they have shown in Thiruvananthapuram today. Most Hindus will say these Sanghi goondas do not represent us,” he said.
Defending their action, state unit vice president of the BJYM Renjith Chandran claimed Tharoor had a “soft corner” for Pakistan. “The comments were made for political gains. He should not have made the remarks as an MP of Thiruvananthapuram. The remark, which will lead to communal polarisation, should be withdrawn immediately,” he told PTI. Chandran said such “democratic protests” would continue against the former Union minister.
Thiruvananthapuram district BJP President S Suresh said the incident was a protest against a wrong statement. “This protest took place as Tharoor is the Lok Sabha member from here and hence this is nothing but a natural protest because of his erroneous statement,” said Suresh.
Senior Congress legislator VD Sateeshan told the media that the incident was a show of the BJP’s arrogance. Kerala state Congress president M M Hassan called the protest “a barbaric act” and “hallmark of the BJP’s fascism”. Hassan said it was an attempt by the BJP to “silence” dissenting voices. Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly Ramesh Chennithala of the Congress said the incident showed the “fascist and intolerant face” of the BJP.
IUML leader and MP ET Muhammed Basheer backed Tharoor, saying there was no need to “misinterpret” his remarks, and claimed the country was witnessing a “dangerous period”.
Speaking on “Threats faced by Indian Democracy and Secularism” at an event here last week, Tharoor said: “The great danger is that if they (the BJP) are able to win a repeat of their current strength in the Lok Sabha, then frankly our democratic constitution as we understand will not survive because they will have all the three elements they need to tear up the Constitution of India and write a new one.
“That will be a new one which will enshrine the principle of Hindu Rashtra, will remove equality for minorities, that will create a Hindu Pakistan.” On July 14, a Kolkata court summoned Tharoor following a petition moved by lawyer Sumeet Chowdhury dubbing the leader’s comments as “a deliberate and malicious act ” that was “intended” at “outraging” religious feelings. (Courtesy: IE)