The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Domino effect: cry for ‘Aryan’ roots probe

New Delhi, Sept. 5: If Sonia Gandhi is of Italian origin, how many Indian leaders are of Indian origin' With ADMK chief Jayalalithaa resurrecting the issue of Sonia’s foreign origins, the origins of many other leaders are also coming under question.

Udit Raj, chairman of the All India Confederation of SC/ST Organisations, an umbrella body representing about three million government employees, today demanded a probe into the “Aryan” origins of scores of north Indian leaders.

Ridiculing Jayalalithaa and the BJP for raking up Sonia’s foreign origins and trying to give a historical twist to the controversy, Raj said the Aryans had come to India from Central Asia and the origins of those leaders with Aryan lineage be questioned first.

“The Mughals and the British ruled the country for centuries and we should find out how many of our leaders belong to their foreign lineage,” he said.

A day after the ADMK chief raked up the issue, reporters in Chennai asked her whether deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani could occupy a high constitutional office for being born in Karachi. Jayalalithaa defended Advani saying his origins could not be dubbed as foreign because Karachi was part of undivided India before 1947.

Reporters also questioned if her mentor and the late Tamil Nadu chief minister, M.G. Ramachandran, originally a Malayalee born in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), was also of foreign origin. Jayalalithaa replied in the negative, saying MGR’s parents were Indians who had temporarily migrated to Sri Lanka.

Karnataka chief minister S.M. Krishna had earlier raked up the question whether Jayalalithaa herself was a Tamil or a Kannadiga.

The ADMK chief promptly insisted she was a “genuine” Tamilian even though she had been born in Karnataka.

But Raj did not question Jayalalithaa’s origins. Instead, he accused her of being worse than Napoleon Bonaparte and Alexander the Great. “Just because a Cabinet colleague termed her former chief minister inadvertently, he was sacked from the ministry,” he said, citing the instance of Jayalalithaa’s autocratic reaction in which she dropped state rural industries minister R. Vilwanathan on August 29 for mistakenly referring to her as former chief minister.

Raj said he was not a supporter of the Congress but believed that “such frivolous issues (as Sonia’s foreign origins) were part of a conspiracy between Jayalalithaa and the BJP to divert public attention from burning issues such as poverty, unemployment, illiteracy and misgovernance”.

Raj has converted thousands of Dalits to Buddhism to protest against upper-caste hegemony and discrimination and plans to convert the confederation into a political outfit that will contest elections in Gujarat and other states. The confederation also plans to take out a “Gujarat Bachao Rath Yatra” on September 8 to counter chief minister Narendra Modi’s Gaurav Yatra.

Raj criticised the Congress for lacking the guts to take on Modi and the BJP in Gujarat. “How many statements Sonia Gandhi made on Gujarat' Did the Congressmen come out in the streets to protect the innocent riot victims'” he questioned.

He also objected to VHP president Ashok Singhal’s statement that “we’ll repeat our Gujarat experiment”. Singhal had told reporters in Amritsar on September 3 that the Gujarat experiment was a success.

“Godhra happened on February 27 and the next day, 50 lakh Hindus were on the streets. We were successful in our experiment of raising (the) Hindu consciousness, which will be repeated all over the country now,” Singhal was quoted as saying.

Raj said Singhal should be sent to jail for making an anti-Constitution statement. “If a Muslim says it he would have been dubbed a terrorist,” he added.

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