Shashi Tharoor clarifies comment on 'good Hindus' not wanting Ram temple, claims 'malicious distortion of words'

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Sunday said that "no good Hindu" would want a Ram temple at the dispute site of the demolished Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh. Speaking at the third edition of The Hindu Lit for Life festival and lecture series, Tharoor said that as a Hindu, he was also very conscious that a majority of people from the community want a Ram temple to be built at the site.

"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," he said, according to The Hindu. The Congress MP made the statement during a discussion on "India: Issues and Opportunities" with former Governor of West Bengal Gopalkrishna Gandhi.

Tharoor's remarks stirred a controversy.

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said, "There is a charge-sheet against Tharoor. What can we say on the statement of such a person. Woh neech aadmi hai (He is a person of low character)". Swamy also called the statement "absurd", and said that the matter is already in court.

Republic TV quoted BJP MP GVL Narasimha Rao as saying, "They (Congress) are trying to delay the construction of Ram Temple. We will wait for the court verdict. This comment is yet another attempt to indulge in vote-bank politics." He further added, "Many members of the Congress party, again and again, give statements on Ram Mandir to play vote bank politics. Rahul Gandhi sometimes turns into a Shiv Bhakt and then goes to meet the intellectuals to say that they are a party for the Muslims." Tharoor had also said people may have to face "more unpleasantness" over religious subjects ahead of the upcoming elections. "I think we have to brace ourselves for some more unpleasantness in the months to come because there has been a correlation, in the not so distant past, between the advent of elections and the stoking of religious passions and communal rioting. That's indeed my worry." Tharoor also went on to condemn Hindu groups that had formed a committee to lead the construction of a Ram temple at the "Ram janmabhoomi" site. "I condemned the 1984 riots when it happened and the Babri Masjid demolition, as well. The Congress has demonstrated a capacity to own up for its mistakes," he said. On Monday, Tharoor clarified on his remarks on Twitter and said that his remarks were distorted by "some media in the service of political masters". He further said that his opinion at the event was personal, and not on behalf of the Congress.

On Saturday, Tharoor had attended Day 2 of the Khushwant Singh Literary Festival 2018 at the Kasauli Club in Himachal Pradesh. During a session titled "Tharoorisms on Hinduism", he spoke at length about Hinduism in contrast to Hindutva, reported The Indian Express.

Answering a question on the Ram mandir controversy, Tharoor had said that the issue is contentious as it is sub-judice, so no one has the right to take a view on the Ayodhya matter at the moment. "But like most Hindus, it would be wonderful to have a temple where Ram was born, but no good Hindu would want that at the expense of the demolition of someone else's place of worship," he had said on Saturday, too.

The Congress leader also critisised the BJP over mob lynchings in the name of cow protection in India. He added that the saffron party had served the nation poorly and called demonetisation a failure.

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Updated Date: Oct 16, 2018 07:01:04 IST

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