NEW DELHI: Even as the Congress distanced itself from its MP Shashi Tharoor’s comments comparing JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar with Bhagat Singh, the BJP on Monday slammed him saying he had insulted the freedom-fighter. Tharoor’s remarks kicked up a controversy as Kumar, who is facing a sedition case, is yet to get a clean chit from the court.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said, “There has been only one Bhagat Singh. There is only one Bhagat Singh.” Tharoor, addressing a group of students in JNU on Sunday night, listed the names of victims of sedition law under the British rule and had said Bhagat Singh was the Kanhaiya Kumar of his time.
"The biggest victims of sedition law under the British rule were Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Annie Besant,” Tharoor said. When a student mentioned the name of Bhagat Singh, prompt came the remark that “Bhagat Singh was the Kanhaiya Kumar of his time.”
The BJP took umbrage to Tharoor’s comment. BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said, “Bhagat Singh went to the gallows chanting ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ while fighting for the country’s independence. Comparing Kanhaiya Kumar with Bhagat Singh is an insult to the freedom-fighter and all the patriots. Shashi Tharoor should tell if Kanhaiya is Bhagat Singh, then who are Rahul and Sonia Gandhi.”
BJP national secretary Shrikant Sharma said Congress was trying to gain cheap publicity by insulting martyrs. As the controversy raged on, Tharoor clarified he did not intend to equate Kanhaiya with Bhagat Singh.
“You are finding one marginal thing which was said in response to a comment from the audience. Bhagat Singh was fighting colonial rule and foreign oppression and Kanhaiya is fighting for his beliefs in a very different democracy. So the situations are different but the comparison (was) — young, Marxist, idealist, passionately committed to motherland, in their 20s...that’s all,” he said. Speaking on the larger issue of nationalism, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said there was a need to instill a feeling of nationalism as “some people” have objections to chant ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’ and have the “habit of eulogising” anti-nationals like Afzal Guru and Yakub Memon.
What’s Wrong in Burning Manusmriti?
A group of JNU students, including five ABVP rebels, who were earlier served notice by the varsity for burning copies of Manusmriti, have replied asking what was wrong in it.
“What is wrong in burning copies of Manusmriti? Protesting against anything which we find derogatory is our right. Also, this is not the first time that copies of that book have been burnt by us,” one of the students said in his response to the administration.Two other students filed similar responses and raised the point that the notices did not name the “offence” for which they have been asked for an explanation.