A court in Kolkata on Tuesday issued an arrest warrant against Congress MP Shashi Tharoor for a controversial remark last year, reported PTI. Speaking at an event in Thiruvananthapuram in July 2018, Tharoor had claimed that India would transform into a “Hindu Pakistan” if the Bharatiya Janata Party won the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.

Advocate Sumit Chowdhury had filed the petition against Tharoor, claiming that his remark promoted disharmony. He also claimed that Tharoor’s statement had violated Section 2 of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971. Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Dipanjan Sen issued a bailable warrant, and scheduled the matter for hearing next on September 24.

Tharoor’s comments had triggered protests by Bharatiya Janata Party Yuva Morcha workers. They had poured black oil at Tharoor’s office during a demonstration. The protestors had placed a banner there saying “Hindu Pakistan office” and then struck out “Hindu”. They had also laid a wreath at the entrance and demanded that Tharoor leave the country. BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra had condemned Tharoor’s comments, and demanded that Rahul Gandhi apologise on his behalf.

A day after Tharoor’s alleged comments, the Congress had urged its leaders to choose their words responsibly in their criticism of the BJP. However, the state Congress had condemned the protest by the BJP Yuva Morcha. “It is a dastardly attack,” party leader Ramesh Chennithala had said. “It exposed the real face of the BJP.”

The controversial comment

The Thiruvananthapuram MP had said on July 11, 2018: “If the BJP wins the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, our democratic Constitution, as we understand it, will not survive as they will have all the elements they need to tear apart the Constitution of India and write a new one. That new one will be the one which will enshrine principles of Hindu Rashtra, that will remove equality for minorities, 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.”

After his comment drew flak on social media, Tharoor clarified his position. He wrote on Facebook that the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s idea of a Hindu Rashtra is a “mirror image of Pakistan – a state with a dominant majority religion that seeks to put its minorities in a subordinate place”.