Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s description of Hamas as “terrorists” at a Palestine solidarity rally, organised by the Indian Union Muslim League in Kozhikode, has landed him and his hosts in controversy.
Tharoor, the chief guest at Thursday evening’s Human Rights Rally, was the only senior Congress leader invited to the event organised by the Congress ally.
“On October 7, terrorists attacked Israel, killed 1,400 people and took about 200 people hostage. But in their response, Israel bombed Gaza and killed not 1,400 but about 6,000 people,” Tharoor, a Congress Working Committee member, told the rally.
Rahul Gandhi had, while describing Israel’s killing of civilians in Gaza as “crimes against humanity” on October 19, said the Hamas attack was “a crime and must also be condemned”.
Tharoor has clarified that he has always been with the Palestinian people.
“I have always been with the Palestinian people. None who heard my speech would believe that I support Israel. I have nothing else to say since all this is being said by culling out just one word,” Tharoor told reporters in Kozhikode on Friday.
The IUML, which too faced attacks for inviting Tharoor to the rally, sought to sidestep the controversy. Its national general secretary, P.K. Kunhalikutty, alleged that those attacking the party over a single word were against the Palestinian cause.
“Whoever tries to defeat the purpose of such a rally would be doing gross injustice to that (Palestinian) people,” he told reporters on Friday.
“He (Tharoor) made it clear even today that he is with the Palestinian cause. That is what should be taken into consideration. He is capable of giving any clarification on his speech.”