BJYM workers deface Tharoor's office over "Hindu Pak" jibe; the MP slams "Sanghi goondas"

By PTI Published on Jul 17, 2018 11:10 AM IST

Thiruvananthapuram: Activists of the BJP's youth wing today defaced the office of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor here, police said, days after he sparked a row with remarks that the BJP, if voted to power again, will rewrite the Constitution and pave the way for creation of a "Hindu Pakistan".

Members of the Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) raised slogans against Tharoor and poured black oil in front of his office, while demanding an apology for his comments.

"Today @YUVAMORCHABJP vandals attacked my constituency office in Thiruvananthapuram. They poured black engine oil on signs, doors, walls & gate, drove away innocent citizens waiting with their petitions, put up offensive banners & shouted slogans asking me to go to Pakistan," Tharoor tweeted.

"We have all been warned. The BJPs answer to the simple question 'Have you given up the dream of a Hindu Rashtra?' is apparently vandalism and violence. That is the face they have shown in Thiruvananthapuram today. Most Hindus will say these Sanghi goondas do not represent us," he wrote on the microblogging website soon after the incident.

Defending their action, state unit vice president of the BJYM Renjith Chandran claimed Tharoor had a "soft corner" for Pakistan. "The comments were made for political gains. He should not have made the remarks as an MP of Thiruvananthapuram. The remark, which will lead to communal polarisation, should be withdrawn immediately," he told PTI.

Chandran also added that such "democratic protests" will continue against the former Union minister.

Thiruvananthapuram district BJP chief S Suresh said Tharoor had "insulted" India and the Hindu community with his "Hindu Pakistan" remarks, which he dubbed as "anti-national". He said more protests will follow, including the ones by the saffron party's women workers.

Tharoor, meanwhile, wrote to city police commissioner P Prakash, seeking protection for the smooth functioning of his office. He alleged that some of his personal staff were "manhandled and abusive words were used against them".

It was not immediately known if the security at Tharoor'soffice has been enhanced.

Kerala state Congress president M M Hassan called the protest "a barbaric act" and a "hallmark of the BJP's fascism". Hassan said it was an attempt by the BJP to "silence" dissenting voices.

Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly Ramesh Chennithala of the Congress said the incident showed the "fascist and intolerant face" of the BJP.

IUML leader and MP E T Muhammed Basheer backed Tharoor, saying that there was no need to "misinterpret" his remarks, and he claimed the country was witnessing a "dangerous period".

"More details of their vile conduct are emerging. They threatened to kill me and to shut down my MP office. This is an assault on democracy & on freedom of expression. We have taken it to the Kerala Police," Tharoor said in a series of tweets.

"At least @RSSorg is honest about their beliefs even if you don't agree with them, whereas @BJP4India tries to have it both ways, swearing allegiance to the Constitution & Hindu Rashtra in the same hypocritical breath!" he wrote.

Police, meanwhile, said BJYM activists poured engine oil in front of the local MP's office, and that nobody has been taken into custody over the protest so far. The protesters placed a wreath with the message "Pakistan Office" at the entrance of Tharoor's office.

Tharoor had kicked up a massive row with his remarks here on Wednesday that if elected to office again, the BJP will create a "Hindu Pakistan" after rewriting the Constitution. "If they have been able to win a repeat of their current strength in the Lok Sabha, then frankly, our own democratic Constitution, as we understand, will not survive because then they will have all the three elements they need to tear up the Constitution of India and write a new one. And that will enshrine the principle of Hindu Rashtra, that will remove equality for the minorities, and that will create a Hindu Pakistan...and that is not what Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, Sardar Patel, Maulana Azad and great heroes of freedom struggle fought for," he had said.

The Congress has distanced itself from Tharoor's "Hindu Pakistan" remark, while the BJP sought an apology from party president Rahul Gandhi for the "attack on Indian democracy and Hindus" by the MP.

Tharoor was, however, unfazed by the controversy and refused to apologise.