NEW DELHI – Shashi Tharoor tore through Prime MinisterNarendra Modi’s government, saying it cannot promote its ambitious ‘Make in India’ programme abroad while a ‘Hate in India’ campaign was on in the country.
Speaking during a charged debate on intolerance in Lok Sabha, Tharoor said that the “bomb of communalism” was dividing India. “It’s safer to be a cow than a Muslim in India today,” the Congress lawmaker said, inviting a loud protest by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members.
Tharoor quoted a Bangladeshi friend as telling him that fundamentalists in his country were attacking India after incidents of intolerance and communal polarisation grew in the country. “We are shamed with the reputation we are gaining abroad,” he said.
The lawmaker said that India was built on the premise of respecting diversity, and it was the responsibility of the government to uphold that promise. Attacking Modi and reminding of his election promises, he said, “Has the prime minister forgotten that he is supposed to walk with people belonging to all caste, class and religion?”
Tharoor also demanded the abolition of death penalty, describing it as an aberration in a healthy democracy. He said that hanging people was not deterring crime and there was a lot of subjectivity in application of death penalty. He said that instead preventive and reformative measures should be strengthened to prevent crimes.
Contending that death penalty had mostly affected the marginalised people, the lawmaker said that the state should not become killer. “We should abolish death penalty to uphold the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi,” he said. According to him, around 70 percent of the UN members have abolished death penalty.