Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Sunday questioned the timing of the protests against a portrait of Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah in the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).
“That portrait has been hanging there since 1938. How many BJP governments have ruled UP since then. How many BJP governments have ruled Centre since then. Why is it that this becomes an issue today… And for what particular purpose. To my mind if the portrait had to be taken out, the best time was always 1947,” Tharoor, who was in Lucknow for an interactive session of the All India Professionals Congress (AIPC), told reporters. “Who hangs a portrait and whether it should be there is a legitimate subject for public discussion. But it is not however permitted in our country’s laws to barge into an educational institution and try to use force and violence to take out a portrait or a banner or anything else. That is hooliganism.”
Tharoor said the country is not safe in the hands of the present BJP government. “The evidence we have seen in the last four years does not suggest that this country is safe in the hands of the present government,” Tharoor said. “….How we build a nation that is productive, that is prosperous, that is safe and that is also inclusive. We cannot have a nation built on dividing our country, pushing our segments of society, discriminating and marginalising others… that cannot be the inclusive India that Mahatma Gandhi talked about.”
Later in the evening, speaking at the interaction, Tharoor said, “Young people of this country want to be free, to think for themselves,.to dress as they please, to see whom they wish to see and to love whom they wish to love, to marry or not to marry, to pray or not to pray..” Pointing towards the incidents of attack for alleged possession of beef, Tharoor said, “Even the possession of the illegal meat mean that you are immediately vulnerable to mob to be murdered on the street.. is that what UP and India have come to..”