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National News
Tharoor blames right-wing activists for attacks, demands PM intervention
 
New Delhi, July 18 (PTI) Congress leader Shashi Tharoor today accused right-wing activists for death threats as also vandalising his office and demanded Prime Minister's intervention in dealing with such anti-national elements.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour in the Lok Sabha, Tharoor said the attacks are on people who are expressing dissent and the victims, in recent months, have included intellectuals, minorities, and various citizens of the country.

"I am sorry to raise before this House the attack on my constituency office in Thiruvananthapuram and the death threats that I received from members of the ruling party in response to my criticism of far right extremism.

"This is not just an attack on constitutionally-sanctioned MP's office but also a larger attempt by incendiary elements and their digital equivalents to destroy the idea of India as a pluralistic and accepting democracy," Tharoor said.

He further said that even Swami Agvinesh was attacked for expressing dissent against rising intolerance.

"We cannot and should not stand by as communal violence, mob-lynching and hooliganism replace rule of law and rights guaranteed by our Constitution.

"I strongly urge the Prime Minister to break his silence on the behaviour of his own party men and take action against these anti-national elements and anti-Indian elements who seek to abridge the freedom of speech in our democracy," Tharoor said.

His remarks drew sharp reaction from the Treasury benches with Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar saying that the law and order situation has to be dealt by the state government.

"There is a state-organised terror...in Kerala," Kumar said, adding the allegations that attack was carried out by right-wing activists are baseless and far from truth.

Heated exchanges ensued when Kumar said the attack was "state-sponsored" and was countered by members of Congress and the Left parties, leading Deputy Speaker Thambidurai, who was on Chair, to expunge the names of the parties they have blamed from the records.

Thambidurai said the entire House was concerned over a member and his office being attacked.

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said Kumar was misleading the House as the government had all intelligence agencies, and it can find out who were involved in the attack.

Earlier this week, Tharoor's office was vandalised following remarks that the BJP, if voted to power again, will rewrite the Constitution and pave the way for creation of a "Hindu Pakistan".


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