Former BJP parliamentarian Tarun Vijay waded into a racism row on Friday after a video of the politician making apparently racist remarks about “south Indians” went viral on social media.
Vijay was invited by news channel Al Jazeera’s online show The Stream to discuss a string of recent attacks on African students in Greater Noida. During his defence of India and its culture, the former Rajya Sabha MP made the controversial remark.
“If we were racist, why would we have all the entire south…Tamil, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra…why do we live with them? We have black people around us,” the politician was heard as saying in the video.
The comments come amid escalating tensions between a group of African nations – which have accused India of doing little to stop the assault – and the government that has called the accusation unfortunate.
Vijay took to Twitter to apologise for the remarks and said he meant to highlight India’s composite culture that worshipped the dark-skinned god, Krishna. “Feel bad ,really feel sorry, my apologies to those who feel i said different than what I meant.”
Mywords perhaps were not enough to convey this.Feel bad,really feel sorry, my apologies to those who feel i said different than what I meant https://t.co/I7MddEJk5W— Tarun Vijay (@Tarunvijay) April 7, 2017
I feel the entire statement sas this- we have fought racism and we have people with different colour and culture still never had any racism.— Tarun Vijay (@Tarunvijay) April 7, 2017
The row erupted last month after a group of Nigerian students were thrashed in Greater Noida by residents who were enraged after a local teenager’s death of a suspected drug overdose. The locals say the Africans supplied the drugs to the boy.