Minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju triggered yet another political firestorm on February 13 when he tweeted that the country’s Hindu population was “reducing” as they “never convert people” and minorities were flourishing in India, unlike in some other countries.
This is not the first time that the 45-year-old BJP leader from Arunachal Pradesh has talked his way into a controversy. Threatening to beat up opponents “with shoes” to raking up the issue of conversions, the member of Parliament from Arunachal West has had a lot to say. A few samples:
November 2016: “First of all we should stop this habit of raising doubt, questioning the authorities and the police. This is not a good culture. But what we have been observing in India that the people have developed this habit of raising unnecessary doubts and questions,” Rijiju said after eight alleged operatives of Students Islamic Movement of India, better known as SIMI, were gunned down in Madhya Pradesh.
He later clarified that in a democracy, the government could be questioned but was not good to question security forces based on a few video clips.
A judicial probe is on the encounter.
November 2015: Rijiju said the country’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru let the people of Northeast down during the 1962 India-China war, drawing sharp protests from the Congress.
October 2015: “I was witness to a statement made by one of the lieutenant governors of Delhi some years ago. He had stated that people of north India enjoy breaking rules and by evening he was forced to apologise. But I believe what he said was right,” said Rijiju at a function in Delhi.
May 2015: “I eat beef. I’m from Arunachal Pradesh. Can somebody stop me? So let us not be touchy about somebody’s practices,” Rijiju, who is a practising Buddhist, said in Mizoram. His comments came after a ministerial colleague and minority affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said those who want to eat beef should go to Pakistan. Rijiju later said he was misquoted.