Flays Congress president for invoking Guru Nanak, attacking RSS.
New Delhi: A day after the BJP attacked Congress president Rahul Gandhi for his alleged attempt to justify terrorism and a terror outfit like the ISIS, the saffron party on Friday flayed him for invoking Guru Nanak Dev, the first Sikh guru, during his address in Berlin and sought an apology from him for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
Addressing the Indian diaspora at a function organised by the Indian Overseas Congress in Berlin on Thursday night, Mr Gandhi had said that the Congress’ ethos of “unity in diversity” came from the life and teachings of Guru Nanak Dev, while the BJP-RSS divides people and spreads hatred.
Mr Gandhi had further added, “The Congress belongs to all, works for everyone and our work is to spread the thought of unity in diversity. Today, the government in India is working differently.”
Attacking Mr Gandhi, the BJP said that the Congress is identified with anti-Sikh riots in 1984 and he should apologise for the “heinous crime” at Amritsar’s Golden Temple, in a reference to “Operation Bluestar”, Indian military operation carried out between 1 and 8 June, 1984, ordered by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, to remove militants hiding there, that resulted in over 400 deaths.
Slamming Mr Gandhi, BJP national secretary R.P. Singh said, “We are pained to know that Mr Gandhi, who reminds us of anti-Sikh riots of 1984, claims that his thoughts resemble that of the first Sikh guru — Guru Nanak Devji.”
“Actually his thoughts are in line with the Congress culture of divide and rule,” he said, demanding an apology from Mr Gandhi for the heinous crime in front of Akal Takht at Golden Temple.
Taking on Mr Gandhi over the same issue, BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi said that the Congress president has demeaned the Indian culture and is an immature politician. “Leave aside leading the country, Mr Gandhi is even incapable of heading a political, party,” he said.
The Congress president is on a trip to Germany and United Kingdom where he is interacting with people from all walks of life.
He reached London on Friday where he likened the RSS, the ideological mentor of the BJP, to the radical Islamist outfit Muslim Brotherhood, drawing a stinging condemnation from the BJP which accused him of acting as a “contract killer” of the idea called India and demanded an apology.
Stepping up his attack on the RSS on foreign soil, Mr Gandhi said, “The RSS is trying to change the nature of India. Other parties haven’t tried to capture India’s institutions.”
“The RSS’ idea is similar to the idea of Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab world,” Mr Gandhi said at the International Institute of Strategic Studies, a London-based think-tank.
The Muslim Brotherhood is the oldest political Islamist group in the Arab world. It is banned and declared as a terrorist organisation by the governments of several countries.
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said that the likes of President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, who died last week, have a RSS background and Mr Gandhi’s comparison of the organisation with an Islamist outfit is “unforgivable”.
On his foreign visit, Mr Gandhi is accompanied by several leaders of the Congress including Anand Sharma, Sam Pitroda, the chief on Indian Overseas Congress.
Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh’s wife Preneet Kaur, who has been an MP and a Union minister in the past, is also accompanying Mr Gandhi.