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Congress ‘communal’ punch at BJP

Resolution comes at a time the Congress had resolved to restrict itself to making constructive suggestions during the Covid-19 crisis
A health worker sanitises an area near Nizamuddin mosque, after people who attended the religious congregation at Tabligh-e-Jamaats Markaz, tested postive for COVID-19, in New Delhi

Sanjay K. Jha   |   New Delhi   |   Published 23.04.20, 11:16 PM

The Congress Working Committee on Thursday accused the BJP of trying to inflame communal passions amid the pandemic while failing to satisfactorily address key aspects of the grave humanitarian crisis.

“(The) CWC notes with concern that the BJP is seeking to inflame communal divisions even as the entire nation battles Covid-19,” said a resolution adopted by the Congress’s highest decision-making body.

The resolution comes at a time the Congress had resolved to restrict itself to making constructive suggestions during the Covid-19 crisis.

It added: “The virus does not discriminate on the basis of caste, creed, religion or gender. As a nation we must be wary of forces that seek to polarise in times of crisis such as these. The onus lies on us to ensure that we stand together as one nation in the face of all odds.”

Party president Sonia Gandhi had expressed similar sentiments in her opening remarks.

“Let me also share with you something that should worry each and every one of us Indians. When we should be tackling the corona virus unitedly, the BJP continues to spread the virus of communal prejudice and hatred,' she said.

“Grave damage is being done to our social harmony. Our party, we will have to work hard to repair that damage.”

The Congress hit out at the BJP also from its Twitter handle.

“Hatred for BJP is like oxygen for humans, integral for survival,” the tweet said.

“When lynching happens, everyone condemns it, demands anti-lynching law and prays for unity. The BJP checks the religion (of victim), religion of the attacker and tries to communalise the issue.'

Asked about the context of the CWC resolution and whether it was prompted by the Palghar lynching, party communications chief Randeep Surjewala took a swipe at the BJP.

“When the entire country is fighting the coronavirus, the BJP is spreading the communal virus,” he said.

“Former chief minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis and many central leaders of the BJP tried to whip up communal passions when three persons were lynched in Palghar. This continued even as the chief minister (Uddhav Thackeray) placed all the facts in the public domain.”

Two Hindu monks and their driver were lynched in Palghar, Maharashtra, on suspicion of being child-kidnappers. Thackeray has clarified that all the accused are Hindus.

Surjewala added: “We have seen what happened in the case of the Nizammuddin gathering of the Tablighi Jamaat. The BJP tried to whip up communal passions with the help of sycophantic TV news channels.”

A campaign had been launched to blame the congregation, held in Delhi days before the lockdown began, as the main reason for the spread of Covid-19 in the country while ignoring the role of gatherings held by non-Muslims.

“Did they tell the media why permission was given by Amit Shah's home ministry (for the Tablighi gathering) when the Maharashtra government had refused permission for a similar gathering?” Surjewala said.

“Did they tell the media why the ministry of external affairs give visa to these persons (foreign delegates to the gathering) to assemble in Delhi and why the police allowed the function to continue? Did they tell you why national security adviser Ajit Doval went there at 2 in the night and how Maulana Shad (the organiser) was allowed to escape?”

The Congress held a news conference in Mumbai on Thursday and linked many of those arrested for the Palghar lynching to the BJP.

“The 25-year-old Ishwar Bandhu Nikole is a member of the BJP’s booth committee for Gadchinchale village,” Congress secretary and spokesperson Sachin Sawant said. “Another accused. Bhau Sathe, too is a member of the BJP’s village booth committee.”

Sawant released what he said were the two men's photographs and the official list of BJP booth committees in the region. He also released a photograph showing the two accused with Fadnavis and senior BJP leader Raosaheb Danave.

Editor outrage

The Congress is furious that Republic TV editor Arnab Goswami has linked Sonia Gandhi to the lynching controversy. Congress leaders have instructed party workers to lodge FIRs against Goswami in every state for maligning Sonia.

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