As the country mourns the death of the 23-year-old Delhi gang-rape victim, senior BJP leader L K Advani has described the tragedy as ‘’horrendous’’ and said that this would be a turning point in the history of the country.
‘’In the sacred chant of ‘Vande Mataram,’ woman is regarded as mother and sister, who should be honoured in a society,’’ he said, inaugurating the function honouring BJP leader O Rajagopal who completed 50 years in public life, here on Sunday.
Advani said that the tragedy was so horrendous that it caused public outrage, sorrow and anger. ‘’How can people or any individual can act so beastly?’’ he asked.
Referring to Rajagopal, he said the presence of different political, social and religious leaders on the dais makes him proud of his colleague. ‘’No doubt this is an important occasion. It is the gathering in the hall which matters more than the speeches,’’ Advani said.
Advani recalled how during his formative years in Karachi he came into contact with Swami Ranganathananda of Ramakrishna Math order and used to listen to his discourses on the Bhagavad Gita. Advani said that Ranganathananda was a ‘’great influence’’ who told him about the Pakistan founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s speech in Pakistan parliament.
‘’In his speech, Jinnah made a plea to allow Hindus to go to temple and Muslims to mosque. In the ethos of the state all are equal. During my visit to Pakistan in 2005, I availed a copy of his speech and also narrated it to the people of Pakistan,’’ said Advani, who courted a controversy for ‘praising’ Jinnah as a secular leader during his visit to Pakistan in 2005.
Opposition Leader V S Achuthanandan described how he and Rajagopal, though belonging to two different political parties with completely opposite ideologies, were able to sustain a healthy friendship in the past four decades. ‘’During the Emergency time, we were in jail together. As a Union Minister of Railways and Law, he did help in getting Kerala its dutiful share,’’ Achuthanandan said.
Health Minister V S Sivakumar, CPI state secretary Pannian Raveendran, poet O N V Kurup, Gandhi Smaraka Nidhi chairman P Gopinathan Nair, Bharathiya Vichara Kendram director P Parameswaran, Bishop Samuel Mar Irenios, BJP state president V Muraleedharan and Mayor K Chandrika were among those who participated in the function.