Two lawyers in Delhi have filed complaints against Congress leader Salman Khurshid, accusing him of comparing Hindutva with terror groups ISIS and Boko Haram in a passage in his new book, ANI reported.
The excerpt from the senior Congress leader’s book, Sunrise Over Ayodhya, read: “Sanatan Dharma and classical Hinduism known to sages and saints were being pushed aside by a robust version of Hindutva, by all standards a political version similar to the jihadist Islam of groups like ISIS and Boko Haram of recent years”.
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Information Technology cell head, Amit Malviya, shared the passage on Twitter. “What else can we expect from someone whose party coined the term saffron terror just to draw equivalence with Islamic jihad, to get Muslim votes?” Malviya asked.
Vineet Garg, one of the complainants, accused the Congress of trying to “legitimise the radical elements of ISIS by creating an artificial equivalence with Hindus”, according to ANI.
Garg added: “The intention of the said book authored by the alleged accused [Khurshid], is an open case of sedition, conspiracy to wage the war against India, promoting enmity between Hindus-Muslims, etc.”
Vineet Jindal, the other complainant, said Khurshid’s comment was “aggravating and defamatory”, ANI reported.
“Our constitution provides every citizen with the freedom of speech and expression but the misuse of this right is inexplicable when it threatens the honour and harmony of the country and provokes its citizens based on community and religion and threatens the security of the nation then it is considered as a grave offence,” Jindal said.
Other BJP leaders also criticised the excerpt in Khurshid’s book about the Ayodhya-Babri Masjid dispute.
BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia demanded that Khurshid be sacked from Congress, NDTV reported.
“Hindutva is compared to terrorist organisation ISIS and Boko Haram,” he added. “This is the ideology of the Congress party today. This happens again and again at the behest of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.”
Meanwhile, Khurshid said that he held Hinduism “in the highest esteem”, News18 reported. “Hindu religion is a very beautiful thing,” he added. “There can be no greater insult than somebody on behalf of the BJP or RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh] going and filing a complaint.”
Khurshid, however, said the manner in which the BJP and the RSS have “twisted religion” is unacceptable to any civilised person.
When questioned about his comparison of Hindutva with the radical terror groups, the Congress leader said, “One should not speak and there will be no argument at all. One should remain quiet and watch what’s happening in UP [Uttar Pradesh], Assam and Tripura. Shut our eyes and mouth. That’s the new India that is being built...we don’t subscribe to that.”