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Varun virus spreads, Cong leader talks hate

Varun virus spreads, Cong leader talks hate

D Srinivas says will "chop off hands of those who trouble minorities".

New Delhi: First it was BJP's Varun Gandhi, then RJD's Lalu Prasad and now Congress' D Srinivas has sparked controversy with an alleged hate speech.

Srinivas, the President of Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee, has come under Election Commission scanner for allegedly delivering a hate speech.

Speaking at a rally in Nizamabad, Srinivas allagedly said that he would “severe hands of those who point a finger at minorities”.

The BJP immediately jumped at the opportunity and flayed the Congress.

“EC and media has been put on test. Now we will see if we observe double standards in dealing with similar situations or we have set rules. Now will the EC advice Congress to drop Srinivas as the candidate and also whether the AP government will arrest him under NSA? Same thing goes for Lalu Prasad Yadav. Now we have to see whether Manmohan Singh retains this man considering the PM went out of his way to pick on Varun Gandhi. It is a very dishonest defence. It is a language full of violence and I don’t see why Srinivas should be out when Varun Gandhi rests under NSA,” said BJP’s Balbir Punj.

The party also filed a complaint with the Chief Electoral Officer terming the speech highly objectionable.

The party alleged the speech was made to earn votes of the minority community by inciting them against Hindus.

The Chief Election Officer, having taken note of the complaint, will watch the footage of his speech and decide on the matter on Tuesday.

Srinivas made the speech while trying to project the Congress as pro-minority. “I am ready to sacrifice my head. I will not let anyone raise fingers on anyone from minority community,” he allegedly said.

When contacted, Srinivas claimed he was a "true secularist" and that his speech was meant to discourage communal disharmony, not to instigate communal violence.

“We have maintained a peaceful atmosphere in Nizamabad. I had only said that nobody should try and disturb the peace as we want the people of Nizamabad to live in peace. I had only said that if anyone disturbs peace, their hands will be cut off but that doesn’t mean that I will actually cut off. It could be a curse as well. The text of my speech needs to be looked into and I am confident that EC would take a judicious decision,” he said.

Congress went on a defensive and spokesperson Manish Tewari said it was a case of choosing inappropriate words.

“It is more of a rhetorical articulation of what is the essential committment of the Congress to safeguard secularism. It shouldn’t be taken in the perspective that it has been taken. i don’t know whether he has said it and if he has then the essence and substance of what he was saying is that Congress stands to safeguading secularism. If he has used such words, I would say it’s a wrong choice of words,” Tewari said.
first published:April 07, 2009, 11:15 IST