Rahul remarks on Hindutva spark fresh political slugfest

Updated on Nov 13, 2021 02:24 AM IST

He went on to question the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh about what kind of Hindu religion they are promoting.

Gandhi said that the BJP and RSS’s “hateful and divisive” ideology has overshadowed the “loving, affectionate and nationalistic” ideology of Congress, and stressed on the importance of spreading the Congress ideology(HT File)
Gandhi said that the BJP and RSS’s “hateful and divisive” ideology has overshadowed the “loving, affectionate and nationalistic” ideology of Congress, and stressed on the importance of spreading the Congress ideology(HT File)
By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The controversy over statements on Hindutva ideology in a new book by former Union minister Salman Khurshid escalated on Friday, when Congress leader Rahul Gandhi called for the need to differentiate between Hindutva and Hinduism, saying the former encouraged violence and the latter preached peace and harmony.

While addressing the party’s National Orientation Camp in Wardha on video, Gandhi said: “BJP talks about Hindutva, and we say there is a difference between Hinduism and Hindutva, because if there was no difference, the name would have been the same. Hindutva does not need a Hindu or Hindu does not need Hindutva.”

He added that Hinduism did not talk about attacking people from other religions.

“Is Hinduism about beating a Sikh or a Muslim? Hindutva of course is. But is Hinduism about killing Akhlaq?” he asked.

He went on to question the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh about what kind of Hindu religion they are promoting.

The comments -- a day after references in Khurshid’s book, Sunrise over Ayodhya: Nationhood in Our Times, comparing Hindutva to Boko Haram and the Islamic State stirred a political controversy -- sparked angry reactions from the BJP.

On Friday, the BJP spokesperson, Sambit Patra, said Gandhi’s comments highlighted his and the Congress’s “pathological hatred for Hinduism”.“It is at the behest of the Gandhi family, particularly Rahul Gandhi, that the other leaders of the Congress party, be it Salman Khurshid, Digvijaya Singh, Rashid Alvi, Mani Shankar Aiyar, among others, often speak against Hinduism. This pathological hatred for Hinduism among the Congress leaders gets its traction, energy from Rahul Gandhi and the Gandhi family,” he added.

“Can they talk on similar lines about any other religion? ... This is not the first time such comments have been made. Some of the worst comments have been made in the yesteryears when they have used words such as ‘saffron terror’,” he added.

The term “saffron terror’ was also raised by BJP leader and IT cell chief Amit Malviya, who called it a fictitious creation to get Muslim votes through appeasement politics. Patra said that senior Congress leader P Chidambaram used the term ‘saffron terror’ in 2010 and since then it has been used by his party colleagues.

Union minister RK Singh, meanwhile, lashed out at Khurshid over his recent statement where he compared ‘Hindutva’ with ‘Jihadi’ organisations., “Isn’t he (Khurshid) the man who bad-mouthed India in Pakistan’s military academy? Isn’t he the man who embezzled funds for the handicapped? It’s a matter of shame and intolerance to denigrate a whole religion. What’s Congress doing?” he said in an interview with ANI.

The Congress, however, quickly distanced itself from Khurshid’s comment.

Amidst this Hindutva row, a video of Congress leader Rashid Alvi purportedly saying that ‘not all people who chant Jai Shri Ram are saints’ has gone viral.

BJP’s Amit Malviya shared the video of the senior Congress leader addressing a gathering and tweeted, “After Salman Khurshid, now Congress leader Rashid Alvi is saying those who chant Jai Shri Ram are demons. How much poison does Congress have towards the devotees of Ram!”

On Friday, Gandhi said that the BJP and RSS’s “hateful and divisive” ideology has overshadowed the “loving, affectionate and nationalistic” ideology of Congress, and stressed on the importance of spreading the Congress ideology

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