Congress condemns BJP MP for comparing army martyr’s daughter to Dawood
The Congress on Monday denounced Union minister Kiren Rijiju and a BJP MP for making controversial remarks about a slain soldier’s daughter, who started a social media campaign against the ABVP. Congress said the remarks are a perfect example of BJP’s fascist mindset.delhi Updated: Feb 28, 2017 09:00 IST
The Congress denounced Union minister Kiren Rijiju and a BJP MP on Monday for making controversial remarks about a slain soldier’s daughter, who started a social media campaign against the ABVP. The Congress said the remarks were a perfect example of the BJP’s “fascist mindset”.
BJP parliamentarian Pratap Simha and junior home minister Rijiju reacted on Monday to the online campaign by Delhi University student Gurmehar Kaur against the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) for violence at the university’s Ramjas College.
After Kaur’s photograph with a message saying “Pakistan did not kill my father. War killed him” went viral, Simha posted an image showing underworld don Dawood Ibrahim with the message, “I didn’t kill people in 1993. Bombs killed them.”
Rijiju too tweeted about Gurmehar, whose father died in combat in militancy-hit Kashmir, and questioned: “Who’s polluting this young girl’s mind? A strong armed force prevents a war. India never attacked anyone but a weak India was always invaded.”
For his part, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari told reporters: “It is extremely unfortunate and highly reprehensible. Needs to be condemned in the strongest terms that an alternative point of view, if not liked or accepted, will be met by state intimidation and state-sponsored violence whether it is in the real or virtual world.”
Tewari was responding to a query about Gurmehar allegedly receiving rape and death threats after she condemned the ABVP for violence at Ramjas College.
Reacting to Simha’s remarks, Tewari said, “Such a gentleman certainly does not deserve to be in Parliament.
“Someone who has no respect for the families of martyrs... for the pain of a young lady who grew up without a father because her father laid down his life to protect the unity and integrity of the country... Such a gentleman definitely has no right to sit in the highest seat of Indian democracy.”
Tewari said this was an unfortunate ethos that had become intrinsic to the BJP because it flows from the top.
“When you have the Prime Minister of India referring to the media as ‘bazaaru’, ministers referring journalists as ‘presstitutes’, front organisations of the RSS and BJP perpetrating violence then obviously their MPs also feel that possibly by insulting the family members of Kargil martyrs, they may also find a place in Modi’s cabinet,” he said.
On Rijiju’s remarks, Tewari said, “This is an example of fascist culture. She is just not anybody....Her family understands the meaning of sacrifice. If she condemns violence and you treat her like that... it is a perfect example of fascist mindset.”
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also took to Twitter and said, “Speaking the ‘truth’ is now ‘pollution’. New normal by Modiji’s ministers. No wonder the ABVP now stands for ‘Aao Bhaiya Vidyarthee Peetein’.”
“Rape threat to a 20-year old student and Kargil martyr’s daughter is BJP-ABVP brand of ‘nationalism’. Ghastly and horrific (sic),” he tweeted.
Trouble erupted last Tuesday when DU’s Ramjas College invited Jawaharlal Nehru University students Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid for a seminar. Khalid allegedly shouted anti-India slogans supporting the secession of militancy-hit Kashmir last February at an event on JNU campus, and was arrested on sedition charges.
The incident triggered a nationwide debate on free speech that was reignited after the ABVP’s protest against the Ramjas College event.
(With PTI inputs)