Pro-government media outlets have wasted no time in joining the BJP to attack Congress President Rahul Gandhi after he addressed the chief of Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed as Masood Azhar ji. Several Union Ministers including Smriti Irani, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and BJP leaders such as Sambit Patra were quick to liken Gandhi’s comments to his ‘love for terrorists.’
Patra appeared on several channels on Tuesday night to claim that several Congress leaders in the past had glorified ‘dreaded terrorists’ including ‘Osma-bin-Laden’ and Masood Azhar. He was referring to the comments made by veteran Congress leader Digvijay Singh and former Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde.
However, the BJP has now found itself at the back foot after several videos of their own leaders including Patra have emerged where they themselves are seen glorifying Masood Azhar. Hafiz Saeed and Afzal Guru.
Speaking on a News18 India programme in 2017, Patra had said, “This is the beauty of the Indian democracy that we can sit on a platform and criticise each other but will do so with a smile.” He then went on to accuse his fellow panellist and former JNU Students Union leader Kanhaiya Kumar of siding with Afzal Guru. But while doing so, he addressed Guru, who was given a death setenced for his role in the attack on the Indian parliament in 2001, as Afzal Guru ji.
This is what he had said, “On the other hand when Kanhaiya ji is seen siding with Afzal Guru ji or attending the funeral procession of Maqbool Bhatt, then it hurts.”
This is not the only time that a senior BJP functionary had addressed a terrorist with respect or was seen glorifying them since, by BJP’s own logic, addressing them with ‘shri’ or ‘ji’ amounted to their glorification. Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had once addressed Hafiz Saeed as Hafiz ji. That video clip of Prasad has now gone viral on social media in light of the fresh controversy.
Watch this video.
Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister is saying “Lashkar chief Hafiz ji”
— SHIKARIPURA YOUTH CONGRESS (@IYCShikaripura) March 12, 2019
Also going viral now is an old comment by veteran BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi, who had referred to the mastermind of 2008 terror attack in Mumbai as ‘Shri Hafiz Saeed.’
Speaking to his booth workers in Delhi on Monday, Gandhi had taken a dig at the BJP and the current National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval, for escorting Azhar out of an Indian jail to Kandahar in Afghanistan in 1999.