Shashi Tharoor criticises Congress for its silence on issues like Bilkis Bano, attacks on Muslims, Christians

Congress could have been more vocal on issues like Bilkis Bano, murder in name of cow vigilantism, said Shashi Tharoor.

Sounak Mukhopadhyay
First Published26 Feb 2023
Jaipur: Congress MP Shashi Tharoor speaks during the Jaipur Literature Festival, in Jaipur, Friday, Jan. 20, 2023. (PTI Photo)
(PTI01_20_2023_000080B)
Jaipur: Congress MP Shashi Tharoor speaks during the Jaipur Literature Festival, in Jaipur, Friday, Jan. 20, 2023. (PTI Photo) (PTI01_20_2023_000080B)(PTI)

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor called on his party to be clear in its ideological stance in favour of an inclusive India and to take a stronger stance on issues such as cow vigilantism and attacks on minority communities. He argued that failing to speak up in defence of India's diversity and pluralism would constitute a surrender of the party's core responsibility.

Speaking at the party's 85th plenary session, Tharoor emphasised the need for the Congress to stand up for its foundational principles and not downplay certain positions for fear of alienating voters.

"We could have been more vocal on the Bilkis Bano outrage, attacks on Christian churches, murder in the name of cow vigilantism, bulldozer demolition of Muslim homes and similar issues," he said.

These are Indian citizens who look to the party for support, Tharoor added.

The release of all 11 convicts who had been sentenced to life imprisonment for their involvement in the 2002 post-Godhra Bilkis Bano gang rape case caused outrage from various sections, including the Congress, when they were allowed to walk out of the Godhra sub-jail in August 2022 under the Gujarat government's remission policy.

Also Read: Shashi Tharoor takes dig at Centre over Adani row

Tharoor stressed the importance of strengthening the country's secular foundations, arguing that "India's future is bright as long as the Congress fights the good fight". He praised the party's recent Bharat Jodo Yatra, which he said had revived the confidence of Congress supporters.

Tharoor also addressed the party's economic resolution, calling for a progressive economic agenda that addresses the challenge of unacceptable economic inequality. He emphasised the need to ensure that the fruits of economic growth reach the poor and marginalised.

Also Read: Shashi Tharoor hits back after facing 'fierce' flak over his Musharraf remark

On foreign affairs, Tharoor criticised the Modi government for undermining the tradition of national consensus on policy. He expressed concern about the deteriorating situation on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China and accused the government of failing to take the nation into confidence on vital foreign policy issues. Tharoor argued that foreign policy must return to being a consensual national endeavour with bipartisan support.

In its resolution on foreign affairs, the Congress expressed concern about the situation on the LAC and accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of failing to stand up for India's security and territorial sovereignty.

The party called for all measures to be taken to defend India's territorial integrity and reaffirmed the guiding principles of the 2005 India-China agreement on the boundary issue. The Congress also called for a strong reaffirmation of India's commitment to peace through strength and negotiation.

In its political resolution, the Congress accused the BJP government of neglecting India's vulnerability and increasing tension on the LAC. The party contrasted this with its own approach to the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, which it established in 1962 and gave a statutory basis in 1992. The Congress argued that its approach to the ITBP reflected its commitment to peace through both strength and negotiation.

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