The Hindu – Congress defends Rahul’s warning against exclusion

Special Correspondent

New Delhi – India, 23 August 2018. The Congress on Thursday strongly defended party president Rahul Gandhi’s speech in Germany where he had argued that excluding large sections of people from the development narrative could lead to insurgency in any part of the world.

On Wednesday, Mr Gandhi told the Bucerius Summer School at Hamburg (Germany) that the BJP government has excluded tribals, Dalits and minorities from the development process and that could be a “dangerous thing”.

He said that in 2003 after the USA attacked Iraq and defeated Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein, they brought a law that stopped a particular tribe in Iraq from getting jobs in the government and in the army.

“It took the United States a couple of months to defeat Saddam Hussein’s Army, hardly any American soldier died. A few months after the invasion, the network that was excluded from jobs in Iraq, the Tikriti tribal network, linked up with the cellphone network in Iraq and with the network of artillery shells that were left in villages.

And you got an insurgency that caused massive casualties to the Americans. It didn’t end there. That insurgency slowly entered empty spaces. It entered the empty space in Iraq and in Syria and then it connected with…a horrific idea called ISIS,” Mr. Gandhi said

“If you don’t give people a vision in the 21st century, somebody else will. And that’s the real risk of excluding a large number of people from the development process,” Mr. Gandhi said.

After being attacked by the BJP, the Congress explained the context of the party chief’s comment. “Unemployment is the biggest issue and Mr Gandhi explained how this sort of anger, not just in India but across the world, can lead the youth to the wrong path, violence and hatred.

But the BJP doesn’t even acknowledge joblessness as a problem,” said former Union Minister R P N Singh at a press briefing.

At the Hamburg speech, the Congress chief linked the lynching incidents in India to joblessness as well and the lack of opportunities for the poor. He claimed lynchings were the result of the anger emanating from joblessness and destruction of small businesses due to the note ban and a flawed Goods and Services Tax.

Asked about his now famous hug to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Parliament, the Congress chief revealed that many of his party colleagues didn’t like it. He said it is “foolish to respond to hate with hate” and alleged that the Prime Minister had made hateful comments against him.

Mr Gandhi said he disagreed with the suggestion that India was the worst place for women in the world but admitted incidents of violence against women in the country were rising.

Asked how can the rising violence be tackled, he said through non-violence and forgiveness. “And for forgiveness, you need to understand where it is coming from. My father was killed by a terrorist in 1991.

When the terrorist died a few years later, I wasn’t happy. I saw myself in his children,” he said, referring to LTTE chief Velupillai Prabakaran, responsible for the killing of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, being shot dead by the Sri Lankan Army in 2009.

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