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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

Patna blasts: Tharoor stirs row on Twitter, clarifies

PTI  New Delhi, October 28, 2013
First Published: 16:23 IST(28/10/2013) | Last Updated: 17:08 IST(28/10/2013)

Union minister Shashi Tharoor has done it again. On Sunday, his comment on Twitter - invited sharp criticisms on the micro-blogging site. He later clarified that no political comment was intended in his condolence message.

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Controversy broke out after the minister posted a comment on Twitter at 6.12pm, saying: "Profound condolences to families of the 5 dead, 60 injured in violence linked to BJP rally in Patna. Politics ought to be about ideas."

This is not the first time Tharoor has landed in a controversy over his tweets.

In January this year, the minister of state for human resource development (HRD) tweeted, asking to reveal the name of the Delhi gang-rape victim.

"Wondering what interest is served by continuing anonymity of #DelhGangRape victim. Why not name & honour her as a real person w/own identity?”

The minister in another tweet had added, "Unless her parents object, she should be honoured & the revised anti-rape law named after her. She was a human being w/a name, not just a symbol."

The Indian Penal Code's section 228 prohibits naming a rape victim unless she authorises it or, if she is dead, her family agrees her to be named.

His Sunday’s tweet led to a war of words on his Twitter as well as Facebook accounts. Many expressed outrage and accused him of "twisting" facts and questioned its appropriateness, though there were some, who said the real meaning of what the minister said needs to be understood.

Sensing that his remarks have not been received well, Tharoor again tweeted at 6.53pm, saying: "Violence linked to BJP rally" does NOT mean "violence caused by BJP rally". Absolutely NO political comment intended by my condolence message."

In 2009, Tharoor was in a soup as controversy erupted when he tweeted saying that he would travel (by air) "in cattle class out of solidarity with all our holy cows!".

The comment had had came in the backdrop of an austerity drive in the government and in Congress. He later apologised for it, saying that he meant no disrespect to economy class air travellers.

"It's a silly expression but meant no disrespect to economy travellers, only to airlines for herding us in like cattle. Many have misunderstood," he had said. The Congress had distanced itself from his tweets in the past, terming them as his personal views.


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