BJP leader and former Rajya Sabha MP Tarun Vijay’s remarks while speaking over the recent racism row has kicked up a storm. Seeking to defend India against the charge of racism following attacks on African students in Noida recently, Vijay courted controversy with his remarks on people belonging to South India.
His remarks have since been strongly criticised, with politicians across several parties targeting even his party, the BJP.
“If we (Indians) were racist, why would we have the entire south? Which is you know… completely Tamil, you know Kerala, you know Karnataka and Andhra. Why do we live with them? We have blacks, black people all around us,” he had said while speaking in a discussion on international news channel, as quoted by the news agency PTI.
Taking on Tarun Vijay, over his remarks, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, who hails from Tamil Nadu, asked whether he (Vijay) thinks BJP-RSS members were the only Indians in the country.
“When Tarun Vijay said ‘we live with blacks’, I ask him who is ‘we’? Was he referring to BJP/RSS members as the only Indians?,” he asked on Twitter.
Another Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, hailing from Karnataka, said the comments showed the saffron party’s tendency to discriminate among people of the country.
While the principal opposition party in Tamil Nadu DMK leader TKS Elangovan said Vijay’s comments were funny as not all people in the south India are dark-skinned. His party’s spokesperson had said that his comments offered a glimpse of a divide between north India and south India.
However, facing an all-round backlash, especially on social media, the former editor of Panchjanya, a RSS-affiliated weekly, had later tendered an apology on Twitter. “Feel bad, really feel sorry, my apologies to those who feel I said different than what I meant.
“I never, never, even in a slip, termed south India as black. I can die but how can I ridicule my own culture, my own people and my own nation? Think before you misinterpret my badly framed sentence,” he tweeted in response to accusations of racism.
(With inputs from PTI)