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With BJP going ballistic over Shashi Tharoor’s remark that it would turn India into a ‘Hindu Pakistan’ if it gets a majority in Lok Sabha in 2019 and BJP’s youth wing vandalizing his office, the Congress MP on Tuesday hit out at them saying ”have they started a Taliban in Hinduism”.

Speaking at an event in Thiruvananthapuram, Tharoor reportedly said: “They (BJYM) are asking me to go to Pakistan. Who has given them the right to decide that I am not a Hindu like them and I don’t have the right to stay in the country? Have they started a Taliban in Hinduism?”

Tharoor has alleged his constituency office in Kerala was vandalised on Monday by the BJP’s youth wing members. The Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) members poured black engine oil on the doors, walls, signs and gate, put up offensive banners, drove away those waiting outside his office with petitions and raised slogans, asking him to go to Pakistan. The leader also added that they threatened to kill him and shut down his office.

Five people were arrested in connection with the vandalism and later released on bail.

The Yuva Morcha’s district president JR Anuraj defended their action saying Tharoor’s remark was aimed at polarising the country. Tharoor, meanwhile, tweeted, “Our politics has descended to the depths. Vandalism in the name of the ruling party is inexcusable.”

While Congress’s national leadership has distanced itself from his ‘Hindu Pakistan’ statement, the party’s Kerala unit stood with him.

Tharoor also raised the issue during zero hour in the Lok Sabha when it convened for the monsoon session on Wednesday. He spoke of the attack on his constituency office and the growing incidents of intolerance and violence. He also mentioned the attack on Swami Agnivesh.

“Those who are carrying out mob lynching and mob killings are attacking the ground rules of our democracy. The ground rule of our democracy is that we can disagree with each other without harming or killing one another,” he said.

“I strongly urge the prime minister to break his silence on the behaviour of his partymen,” he said, adding that PM Modi should take action “against anti-national elements indulging in lynching and mob frenzy.”

He described attacks by “incendiary elements and their digital equivalents” meant to destroy the idea of India as a pluralistic and accepting democracy. “Their victims in recent months have included intellectuals, minorities, various citizens of the country. Yesterday even Swami Agnivesh was attacked.. these are people who have expressed dissent against rising tolerance against today’s India and they are being attacked physically,” he said.

“…ground rules of our democracy are being betrayed by those who have been elected by the people of India as the ruling party and they are betraying this basic ground rule. I want to say Mr Deputy Chairman, we cannot and should not stand by as communal violence, mob lynching and hooliganism replace rule of law and rights guaranteed by our constitution,” said Tharoor.

“I strongly urge the PM to break his silence on the behaviour of his party men and take action against these anti-national elements who seek to abridge the freedom of speech in our democracy. Thank you,” he concluded.

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