Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Monday clarified his stance after his recent remarks on the construction of Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya stirred up a controversy. “I condemn the malicious distortion of my words by some media in the service of political masters. I said: “most Hindus would want a temple at what they believe to be Ram’s birthplace. But no good Hindu would want it to be built by destroying another’s place of worship,” the Thiruvananthapuram MP wrote on Twitter.
Tharoor insisted that it was his “personal opinion” and that he was not speaking on behalf of his party. “I was asked for my personal opinion at a literary festival & gave it as such. I am not a Spokesperson for my party & did not claim to be speaking for @incindia,” he added.
I condemn the malicious distortion of my words by some media in the service of political masters. I said: “most Hindus would want a temple at what they believe to be Ram’s birthplace. But no good Hindu would want it to be built by destroying another’s place of worship.”
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) October 15, 2018
Speaking at ‘The Hindu Lit for Life Dialogue 2018’ in Chennai on Sunday, the Congress leader referred to the demolition of Babri Masjid. According to The Hindu, Tharoor said while a vast majority of Hindus believes that Ayodhya was the birthplace of Lord Ram, no good Hindu would want to see a Ram temple built “by demolishing somebody else’s place of worship.”
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar slammed Tharoor and said his remark “shows how cut-off he is from reality”. “Astonished that Shashi Tharoor believes that true Hindus don’t want a Ram Temple in Ayodhya. This could be a view of Tharoor or Rahul Gandhi, not of ppl. This shows how cutoff they are from reality and how they only become Hindu during elections,” Javadekar was quoted as saying by ANI.
BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain hit out at Tharoor for his remarks. “Is he demanding removal of the makeshift temple where pooja is performed daily in the tent? No one till now has made such a demand,” Hussain was quoted as saying by News18.
The Congress, meanwhile, distanced itself from Tharoor’s remarks, saying he made them in his “personal capacity”. Congress spokesperson R P N Singh said the party believes that the verdict of the Supreme Court on the Ram temple issue will be binding on everyone and the government will have to implement it.
Asked about Tharoor’s remarks, Singh told reporters, “I have not heard his statement. He has clarified that whatever he said has said that in his personal capacity. As far as the issue is concerned, we have a clearly stated position. We have stated that this issue is in court and the court will be hearing this issue. Whatever is the verdict, everybody will have to follow the same.”