BJP’s Kerala chief in trouble for comments against Muslims

On a day when the Election Commission issued gag orders on Yogi Adityanath, Mayawwati, Azam Khan and Maneka Gandhi for violating poll code with their speeches, the BJP’s Kerala unit president P S Sreedharan Pillai came under fire from the CPI (M) and the Congress or his purported comment that Muslim can be identified ‘by removing their clothes” in an apparent reference to circumcision.

He allegedly made the an election rally in Attingal on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday Referring to the Balakot air strike carried out by Indian Air Force in February, he said “Rahul Gandhi, Yechury and Pinarayi Vjiayan are saying our soldiers have to go there and see the count of the dead, their caste, religion etc.”

“If it is Islam there are some signs also. If you remove their clothes you will be able to know. These are people are saying we have to do all that and return,” he was heard saying in the video of the speech which has been widely shared on social media.

He was referring to the controversy about the exact number of people killed in the air strike.

“He is spewing venom. It clearly exposes the BJP’s attitude towards the minority community,” said CPI (M) leader V Sivan Kutty after filing a complaint with the state electoral officer. The Congress has also slammed his speech. “He should withdraw his statement and tender an apology,” said opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala.

Pillai stoutly denied his speech and said he did not do anything to tarnish the minority community. “Some people have quoted me out of context and circulating a video. It is a baseless exercise aimed at portraying the party in bad light. Everything gets politicized during poll time. I will take legal action against them,” he said adding his speech was “heavily edited” in the video.

The BJP is trying hard to get a foothold in Kerala which has 20 Lok Sabha seats. The party drew a blank in the 2014 general elections.

First Published:
Apr 16, 2019 01:00 IST

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