The Telegraph
Saturday , September 9 , 2017

Targeted: 'So-called liberals'

- BJP fields trolled Ravi to echo bhakt line

New Delhi, Sept. 8: Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, trolled by Modi bhakts for condemning celebratory tweets over the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh, was today fielded by the BJP to do what the trolls had advised: condemn "selective outrage" at killings.

"Why is that all my liberal friends who speak so eloquently and strongly against the killing of a journalist maintain conspicuous silence when so many RSS workers are killed in Kerala and Karnataka?" Prasad asked, addressing the media at the BJP headquarters.

The law minister accused the "so-called liberals" of speaking up for Maoists and their human rights but remaining silent when RSS workers were killed brutally.

"Do RSS workers have the right to their ideology? Are they entitled to human rights?" he asked. "This hypocrisy and double standard needs to be exposed."

Prasad underlined that this was a very important and serious question he was raising.

On Wednesday, a tweeter who uses the handle @kailashwg and proudly proclaims that he is followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had said: "Minister Sir, pls also condemn selective outrage by Lootyens journos against killing of people?#GauriLankeshMurder."

This was in response to Prasad's tweet: "I strongly condemn & deplore the messages on social media expressing happiness on the dastardly murder of #Gaurilankesh."

Another bhakt, who goes by the handle @RitaG74 and is followed by Modi, had been less polite: "Bowed down to media, secular and liberal bullies? We work for you tirelessly, selflessly. This is the reward?"

Yet another tweeter wrote: "It's none of your business Mr Minister. 100's of RSS workers were killed while you are enjoying power gifted by Modi. Shame on u."

Today, at the media briefing where he took no questions, Prasad attacked Rahul Gandhi and other Opposition politicians for their "malafide and regrettable" comments against the RSS.

He said that immediately after the killing of Gauri, Rahul had concluded that RSS ideology was responsible for the murder and wondered how there could be a fair probe now.

"Even before the investigation could start, great leader Rahul Gandhi gave a certificate that RSS ideology killed Gauri. He gave the verdict," Prasad said. "I want to ask the chief minister of Karnataka, does he agree with Rahul's unilateral conclusion?"

The minister also asked why Rahul had not questioned the role of the Karnataka government, and underlined that the state had failed to identify the killers of rationalist M.M. Kalburgi. He also asked why no security was given to Gauri.

"Indrajit Lankesh (Gauri's brother) is on record stating his sister was working actively to ensure Naxals surrendered. So was she doing it with the consent and approval of the state government? If so, why was she not provided adequate security?" Prasad asked.

Responding to the BJP attempt to link Gauri's murder to Naxalites, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala asked for proof. "On what basis did Prasad say that Gauri had links with Naxals?" he asked.

Surjewala highlighted how a BJP legislator in Karnataka had been reported as telling a rally: "Gauri Lankesh wrote an article titled ' Chaddigala Maranahoma' (Demise of the Knicker-wallah) in her newspaper. She would be alive had she refrained from writing such articles."

He asked why the Prime Minister was silent about the murder of a woman journalist in a major city that has drawn international outrage.

Surjewala said: "Rationalists, thinkers, journalists... are under threat in this regime. There is an attempt to crush dissent."

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