The Print – Dear Amit Shah, stop distorting history to explain your failures today: Shashi Tharoor

Home Minister Amit Shah saying new citizenship law was necessary because Congress divided India on religious grounds shows he learned nothing in history class.

Shashi Tharoor

New Delhi – India, 17 December 2019. The protests erupting over the Citizenship Amendment Act in the Jamia Millia Islamia University, across the northeast and elsewhere in India is the direct fallout of the BJP’s malicious reading of India’s history and plan to make the country a Hindutva version of Pakistan.

But the immediate crisis should not obscure the fundamentals. We are now accustomed, alas, in our irremediably tedious political controversies, to seeing history used as cannon fodder by the Bharatiya Janata Party. Given that the BJP is determined to drag us back to the 16th century, I suppose we should be grateful that currently, it is restricting itself to the 20th century.

But Home Minister Amit Shah’s astonishing assertion in Parliament, in a response to me, that the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), now a law, was necessary only because the Congress had divided India on religious grounds in 1947, is such a breathtaking piece of effrontery that it deserves a response.

My initial reaction was that Amit Shah must not have been paying attention in school during history class: had he never heard of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the “two-nation theory”, or the Muslim League’s Pakistan Resolution of 1940?

Could he seriously believe that Partition wasn’t the demand of the League, voted for by a significant plurality of India’s Muslims in 1946?

Did he actually consider that Mahatma Gandhi’s Indian National Congress, the flag-bearer for six decades of a united nationalist movement, a party that had been led multiple times by Muslims and actually served under a Muslim president (Maulana Azad) in the crucial period from 1940 to 1945, wished to divide India on religious lines?

But then, I also came to realise that it didn’t really matter what Amit Shah believed: it only mattered that he had said it. And in saying it, the BJP, hero-worshippers of V D Savarkar who first propounded the two-nation theory as president of the Hindu Mahasabha before Jinnah seized upon the same idea, had continued its tiresome political tactic of ascribing to the Congress party responsibility for any error, tragedy or event that had cast a blight upon India. Partition was bad, ergo blame it on the Congress.

Ironically enough, Amit Shah found unlikely allies in the most improbable place, across the border , where my denunciation of his ruling BJP for ushering in a Hindutva version of Pakistan in India was fiercely condemned by Pakistani liberals. Asad Rahim Khan in Dawn and Yasser Latif Hamdani in ThePrint both criticised me by name for venturing to suggest that Partition was Jinnah’s fault.

In their telling, the man who had once been hailed by Sarojini Naidu as the ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity was blameless: it was Hindu illiberalism, and Gandhiji’s use of Hindu religious concepts to stir the masses, that led Jinnah to demand a separate country.

Dear Amit Shah, stop distorting history to explain your failures today: Shashi Tharoor

The Statesman – We are not criminals,’ Shashi Tharoor tweets Lok Sabha MP Farooq Abdullah’s letter

Calling it a ‘preventative measure’ the Centre has detained thousands of Kashmiris including Srinagar MP Farooq Abdullah under the Public Safety Act, which allows the authorities to detain an individual without trial for two years.

New Delhi – India, 06 December 2019. As Kashmir completed four months of unprecedented communication and movement lockdown, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor shared a letter by former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and member of Parliament Farooq Abdullah, who called out the government for not allowing him to attend the winter session of parliament.

Former chief ministers, Omar Abdullah, and Mehbooba Mufti, whose Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was in an alliance with the BJP, are among hundreds of local political leaders who are under arrest in one of the two newest Union Territories.

“Thank you for your letter on 21st October 2019 which has been delivered to me today by my magistrate who looks after me while I am in the sub-jail,” Mr Abdullah said in the letter. “It is most unfortunate that they are not able to deliver me my post in time. I am sure this is not the way to treat a senior Member of the Parliament and leader of a political party. We are not criminals,” the National Conference chief said.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah has given no certain date for when the lockdown will be uplifted. Calling it a ‘preventative measure’ the Centre has detained thousands of Kashmiris including Srinagar MP Farooq Abdullah under the Public Safety Act, which allows the authorities to detain an individual without trial for two years.

The opposition has been raising the issue of prolonged political detention in Jammu and Kashmir, alleging that the Centre is not freeing Abdullah to stop him from speaking up.

“Letter from imprisoned Farooq saab. Members of Parliament should be allowed to attend the session as a matter of parliamentary privilege. Otherwise the tool of arrest can be used to muzzle opposition voices. Participation in parliament is essential for democracy and popular sovereignty,” Tharoor tweeted along with the letter.

‘We are not criminals,’ Shashi Tharoor tweets Lok Sabha MP Farooq Abdullah’s letter

The Hindu – After Shashi Tharoor, Amarinder Singh backs Priyanka for Congress chief

“She has the intelligence and instinct to understand and relate to the needs of the nation,” the Punjab Chief Minister says on Priyanka Gandhi Vadra

Special Correspondent

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 29 July 2019. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has backed Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to take over the party’s reins, and that she was “a good bet” to replace Rahul Gandhi as the new leader.

“Priyanka would be a perfect choice to take over the party reins but it would all depend on the Congress Working Committee, which alone is authorised to take a decision in the matter,” said Captain Amarinder here.

He regretted the decision of Rahul Gandhi to step down from the top party post. “India is a young nation, and will respond to a young leader,” he said, while reacting on Congress leader Shashi Tharoor’s remark that Ms Vadra would be a good choice for being chosen as party chief.

Captain Amarinder made it clear that Ms Vadra was ideally suited to head the party, which needed a dynamic young leader to rebuild it after the recent Lok Sabha election loss.

“She has the intelligence and instinct to understand and relate to the needs of the nation, and also has the courage to take on any challenge and take the fight to victory,” he said, adding that he had earlier also advocated for a young leader to take charge of the party at this critical juncture in the nation’s journey.

“Given Rahul Gandhi’s refusal to take back his resignation, Priyanka was a good bet to replace him as the new leader,” said the Chief Minister. He expressed the confidence that she would easily get the support of the party’s rank and file, across regions.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/after-shashi-tharoor-amarinder-singh-backs-priyanka-for-congress-chief/article28745971.ece